This is something that is covered thoroughly within The Academy for our Members.
All behaviours and their cues first need to be formed positively and then actively taught to the horse.
But as Yvette Van Veen states: “Teaching a dog [/horse] a behaviour is the relatively easy and “fun” part. Proofing it, making it solid takes effort. So much in this world that is meaningful takes effort. Learning music, a sport, math, cooking, a marriage. It’s worth it. So is the path to training your dog [/horse]. It’s not super hard. But it is a skill.” (Awesome Dogs)
Generalisation can be described as an extension of a behaviour from a familiar situation to a less familiar situation. Discrimination on the other hand is the tendency for a learned behaviour to occur in one situation, but not others.
As humans, we generalise very easily, but discriminate less easily, whereas horses are fabulous discriminators, but not natural generalisers.
When we are teaching discrimination between cues we are not just teaching the horse about the cue, we are also teaching him that things in the environment might be similar but they are actually NOT part of the cue (and therefore won’t lead to any reinforcement).
As such, it will be the LACK of reinforcement from ANY reinforcers when he makes a wrong choice whilst learning that will give him the specific information about the intricate details of the final cue and therefore will help him figure out which element of what we are doing WILL lead to reinforcement.
So discrimination gives us a way to draw the horses focus to highlight significant details, whilst generalisation allows us to fade out the insignificant ones in the environment. And of course all of this adds many more layers to our communications with them.
Once they really understand and have learnt those behaviours and which specific cues prompt them, the next stage that MUST ALWAYS be completed as an integral part of any training of new cues and behaviours is this generalisation stage.
Areas of Consideration During the Generalisation Stage:
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This entry was posted in Academy Online Courses, Clicker Training, Equine Training, Positive Reinforcement Training, The Academy of Positive Horsemanship and tagged discrimination, generalisation, Proofing behaviours, testing cues.
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