The Fun in Clicker Training

What’s the best part of clicker training your animal, whether it’s a cat, a dog, a horse, a rat, or something else? What do you list as the most fun part? Is there more than one thing that’s fun about it?

Sometimes I wish I had a head-cam and wore it all the time when I interact with my animals. I’m having too much fun watching and laughing to try to also get the cell phone out, on, and set up with the camera. It’s a smart phone, but it’s not smart enough to do all that by itself!

The other day Atticus was supposed to leave his stall and go on outside. He got halfway there when he decided that he had to make a “short stop” at the hay stall where I sometimes keep a few flakes of hay, the barn tools, the muck cart, and a few other assorted things.

I went up to him and asked him to back from behind. No dice. I went forward to his head which he picked up from the hay he was tasting and he offered to back out of the hay stall.

Now he could have just backed up far enough to then turn right and go on outside, but he didn’t. He backed all the way back to his stall, about 25 feet!

The fun part was noticing how he maneuvered his way out of the hay stall, down the middle of the aisle, and to the opening to his stall (the opening for the hay stall and his stall is something less than four feet, the aisle way is six feet wide). I watched him turn his head to one side and then the other in order to see what he had to maneuver around so as not to back into anything. I have asked him in the past to back this whole way, including into his stall. This day he turned around first before going into his stall.

One day, he walked between the trailer and a hot fence to graze while I went to get more treats. When I came, he voluntarily backed out from the tight space, negotiating the hot fence on one side and the trailer door on the other. He was careful about it and so deliberate, that it’s telling to me that he learned this from the work we’ve been doing.

We’ve done so much work on hind-end awareness (backing onto a pedestal and backing in general), that he now really knows where his hind end is and how to negotiate around obstacles in the way going backwards. It’s so fun to see him using this to his own advantage, I just have to laugh.

Be careful training your animals with clicker training! They might actually learn something! 😀

About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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