I have dabbled with clicker training, never ready to fully commit. I started reading Karen Pryor's, Don't Shoot the Dog and I bought and perused Alexandra Kurland's books on equine clicker training. I played around with it and had some fun and some success. But I just wasn't ready.
Last night I started re-reading (for the umpteenth time!) Sharon Foley's book, Getting to Yes. I first heard of Sharon from a good friend and fellow PNH student who was combining CT and PNH. I "met" Sharon through an interent clicker group and actually had some lovely conversations with her. Sharon's approach combines classical dressage, natural horsemanship and clicker training. Three of my favorite subjects all rolled into one. How cool is that!
I came across Sharon's blog and started looking through some of the archives. In her post, The Paradigm Shift, she writes:
The rule, that applies no matter what you are training, is behavior that is rewarded will tend to occur more often. All trainers depend on the horse finding doing what you want more desirable than not doing it. Some people may use the method of forcing the horse to “want” to cooperate by making not-cooperating more unpleasant. This puts the emphasis on the “wrong” thing. Clicker training turns the equation around and looks instead only at the goal, the right thing. By giving the right thing the most attention and reinforcement you simply get more of the right thing.
Sounds like a damn fine idea to me. In the above post and in her book, Sharon uses a quote from Bill Dorrance. I've heard part of it from Pat but Bill's twist just seems to be more about where I'm at right now.
Some fellas will say, make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult, and that may work for them. But, I say, why not just make the right thing obvious? - Bill Dorrance