Riding The Spiral Path

Science

New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 2

Isaac Newton For science-based trainers, there have been some really good conversations here recently that are challenging how, in some circles, we assume the need for a ‘new paradigm’ which throws the baby out with the bathwater, and often, influential horsemen under the bus. Some of these conversations have gained momentum from being discussed at… Continue reading New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 2

Science

New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 1

I’ve noticed a trend that, as our horsemanship evolves, we seem to forget that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. For instance, while natural horsemanship clinicians are often criticized as fixating on marketing by ‘reinventing the wheel,’ I find that us science-based trainers aren’t immune to this Christopher Columbus syndrome either, sometimes throwing… Continue reading New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 1

Operant Counterconditioning/CAT-H

CAT-H AS OPERANT COUNTERCONDITIONING

I will probably start referring to the work I do with unhandled or reactive horses as Operant Counterconditioning, instead of CAT-H, to avoid any misunderstanding of my stance on how it functions. I personally no longer refer to CAT-H as Negative Reinforcement, but Operant Counterconditioning, which, from my understanding, is how the originators of CAT,… Continue reading CAT-H AS OPERANT COUNTERCONDITIONING

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HYPERVIGILANCE AND REACTIVITY, PART 1: THE UNREGULATED ANIMAL

“Why do you do all that head-lowering relaxation posture stuff? It seems unnatural. Why don’t you just let the horse relax on his own time? Why don’t you use straight positive reinforcement to fix the mental state instead of fixating on posture? Looks like learned helplessness.” Because horses aren’t built to self-regulate; they are built… Continue reading HYPERVIGILANCE AND REACTIVITY, PART 1: THE UNREGULATED ANIMAL

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CLICKER COMPATIBLE NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT

This year’s Art and Science of Animal Training Conference seemed to focus on a lot of the issues which are a little controversial in the positive reinforcement community right now, such as… CAT-H (Operant Counterconditioning)The potential for coercion in Positive ReinforcementThat Negative Reinforcement cues don’t necessarily function as conditioned aversivesThe idea of clicker compatible Negative… Continue reading CLICKER COMPATIBLE NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT

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Lions and tigers and working over threshold, oh my!

Two hands for first touch… and, Lions and tigers and working over threshold, oh my! and, How do I tell the difference between approach and retreat and CAT-H? Mary Kitzmiller is also the horsewoman who inspired me to try clicker training. Little tricks like this are great when we’re working with a lot of unhandled… Continue reading Lions and tigers and working over threshold, oh my!

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APPETITIVES, AVERSIVES, & ABSOLUTES

Or, FALLACIES OF THRESHOLDS & STRESS, & PARALYSIS OF ANALYSIS WITHIN THE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT BUBBLE Or, BLACK AND WHITE DUALISTIC THINKING VS POLYISTIC THINKING VIA THE POLYVAGAL THEORY There has been a mixed response to some of the topics from this year’s ASAT conference; particularly, pertaining to CAT-H and Negative Reinforcement, and the research showing… Continue reading APPETITIVES, AVERSIVES, & ABSOLUTES

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CLICKER TRAINER USING A SIGNAL BIT… PARADOX OR SCIENCE?

SIGNAL BITS & HACKAMORES…LEVERAGE DEVICES OR DISCRIMINATIVE STIMULI SIGNAL DEVICES? PRE-SIGNAL APPLICATION & SIGNAL DEVICES…BRINGING ‘BALANCE’ TO NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT? A lot of western tools are all about enhancing pre-signals before we ever apply pressure… Why?Because in the working horse, when we are doing precision speed work, our tools might need to make up for the… Continue reading CLICKER TRAINER USING A SIGNAL BIT… PARADOX OR SCIENCE?