So, the second key is staying true to clicker principles – no matter the challenge. It may seem easier to slip back into old training habits, but that wasn’t going to help this stallion. It might have gotten compliance – for a short time – but it would only have cemented his anger.
Once you recognize that there is ALWAYS another way to train everything, it’s easy to find the third key.
The Third Key: Managing the Training Environment
Learning how to arrange the training environment so you can stay true to clicker principles is another of the keys. This really is one of those areas where you find yourself saying trust the process. When this stallion was galloping out to turnout, someone could easily have said all you’re doing is “letting him get away with ripping the lead out of your hand. If you let him run out on his own, he’ll never learn to lead.” But by side stepping the issue he didn’t have the opportunity to practice what was already a well rehearsed behavior. Instead Marla bought herself the time she needed to show him how to stay with her. More than that, he decided that he WANTED to stay with her. He likes his clicker games, including the game of walking out politely on a lead, walking calmly through gates, and waiting patiently until the lead is unhooked and you are released to your waiting pile of goodies.
This key fits easily into the third lock and turns the bolt. The locks fall away and the door opens. What lies beyond is pure clicker magic – the joy of a great relationship.
The Three Keys
So in summary we have three interconnected keys:
- The first begins with belief systems and takes you replacing make-it-happen tactics with patience and persistence.
- The second is staying true to clicker principles.
- Which brings you to the third: managing the environment well while you build your clicker skills.
** I should end here, but I’m going to add one more piece. This might be a good time for you to refresh your morning cup of tea or to go feed your horses before you finish this post.**