Monday, June 29, 2015

One of our fellow classmates posted regarding negative and positive punishment and it got me thinking about a conversation I had with a professor last semester in my Personality class.  I spoke with her after class trying to get a better grasp on the idea that one is not suppose to punish.  I work regularly with young horses and I wanted to understand how I could "correct" without punishing.  Negative punishment should not be used and things should not be taken away so how do you train an animal that way?  They are not going to learn from a time-out because they will not understand that they did anything wrong due to the language barrier.

After my conversation with her, we came up with the idea that positive reinforcement should be used regularly and that the trainer should try their best not to overexpose a young horse so that you do not have to correct for safety.  This ideal is way easier said then done, but I think that if trainers go in with the mind set that they can only use positive reinforcement, they happen to go about the whole experience a bit differently. I did try this philosophy out on our most skittish youngster and I have to say he has made leaps and bounds within this past month.  We exposed him to scary objects and treated him when he gave the correct response.  As a results of this positive reinforcement, he seems to be more confident in all that he does and now he approaches new tasks with a braver mindset.

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