Treatment Name: Training Theories: Positive Reinforcement

Treatment Type: Training Techniques

Rated for: American Paint Horse x American Quarter Horse Cross

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What is Positive Reinforcement?

Stephanie Marie



Cashmere, Washington, United States

Posted Jun. 15, 2018

Many people are confused about the true definitions of different types of reinforcement with the different types of punishment. Positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement are two extremely effective methods for training horses that horses really understand well. Both provide the horse with some kind of reward and increase the likelihood of a behavior happening again: Positive punishment ADDS some kind of preferable stimulus, like a treat or pet on the neck. Negative punishment is the removal of a less pleasant stimulus. So when you squeeze with your legs for the horse to move ahead - it's the application of a stimulus the horse doesn't necessarily like. When they respond correctly and the leg pressure is REMOVED or released, that is the reward.
Treats when used correctly can be an excellent motivator to keep a horse working hard and interested in learning new skills. Studies now have proven that horses remember training better when some kind of positive reinforcement is used at least part of the time. The key is timing, and not letting the horse just "take" the treat on their own terms.

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