Clicker Training – Law 7 of Shaping Behaviour

Once you are underway with clicker training (positive reinforcement) you can teach your horse anything.  However, there are some keys to training that are key to successful teaching of clicker training.  These rules or laws were defined by Karen Pryor (from her book;  Pryor K (1999) Don’t Shoot the Dog! Bantam Books, USA) and the 7th law is presented below with my explanation of the rule.  Check back each week for a new law for shaping behaviours.

When clicker training your horse, if behaviour start to break down, you can’t seem to get to your end goal, get stuck at one point in the path towards your end goal, then check in with the 10 rules of shaping and it will be one or more of these rules that are affecting how and how quickly you get to the end goal….

Law 7:  If one shaping procedure is not eliciting progress, find another. There are as many ways to get behaviour as there are trainers to think them up.

This is the rule ….’if the plan isn’t working, be prepared to change it’.

There is more than one way to get to the behaviour that you are aiming for.  The best advice I can give here is to observe your horse and see how that behaviour will naturally evolve.  Not only will this help you understand how your horse moves and how their body works, it will also let you see subtleties in mood and so will help to create a better bond between you and your horse.

Also see ** in Law 10.


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