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[personal profile] teadog1425
So, I noted this down as interesting (and now I cannot remember where I found this link, so apologies to whoever it was that posted it earlier) - I clicked through on a link to a thought-provoking article about "seeking" behaviours and how they're linked to 21st C technologies - i.e. how and why Google, Twitter and texting are so addictive (see here), and the following quote jumped out at me:

“Panksepp says a way to drive animals into a frenzy is to give them only tiny bits of food: This simultaneously stimulating and unsatisfying tease sends the seeking system into hyperactivity.” (pg 2)

I had exactly this experience the other weekend, when I took Marco into the school to practice our groundwork with a handful of hi-fibre cubes - thinking that the treats would help reinforce the successful tries - but very quickly (after about 3-4 treats) he became completely fixated on the treats and obsessed about getting more treats.  He stopped listening to what I was actually asking him, and instead kept offering behaviours I hadn't asked for in an attempt to get another treat.  And there was a quality of frenzy about it, which was unsettling to me but which is completely explained by the quote above, which is an idea I had never come across before. 

When I realised that the session was going pear-shaped, I put the treats away, and we spent the next while practising 'doing nothing if nothing has been asked of you' and him staying where he had been put (and not walking forwards to try and mug me for a treat), and me keeping my cool, and remembering to breathe!  In some ways, it was a very useful session, because one of the things I'm trying to work on is allowing myself to make mistakes and not avoiding doing anything for fear of doing the wrong thing, so, looking on the bright side...!!!

I will remember that for next time tho...  no more treats doing groundwork for Mr Marco!


Date: 2010-04-11 10:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glenatron.livejournal.com
This is why if you're doing clicker-work you have to go through a lot of exercises to teach the horse that the click-and-treat is the only way they ever get a treat and they don't ever push you for it. It's not an approach I go for really - no doubt a useful tool but not one I've needed so far and Tom has some interesting things to say about that and getting to the inner horse which make sense to me.

Theres some interesting talk about this on the Horsemanship board (http://explorehorse.proboards.com) I help run. You might find it pretty interesting and you would be very welcome there.

Date: 2010-04-12 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teadog1425.livejournal.com
No, I have to say, I've always been a bit dubious about the clicker training, though I know some people swear by it, mostly because I've seen the videos of people clicker-training while riding, and I think that the 'stop, turn head, reward' looks pretty disruptive of getting any ridden work done...

I'll definitely check out the Horsemanship board - it sounds very interesting - thanks for the invite!

Date: 2010-04-16 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] megfuzzle.livejournal.com
I have absolutely REFUSED to join Twitter for that reason. I have enough techo-addiction stuff already, much less needing to be addicted to reading when a celebrity has to go potty, or donates a dollar to a homeless guy. Seriously. I definitely have noticed that I get worse when I'm stressed, like checking my e-mail de-stresses me. Which is why working in an office is BAD. When I'm at the barn, I NEVER feel like I need to run to a nearby computer and read it. Or on weekends. But sitting in an office chair? You bettcha.

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