I’ve been having a bit of a lightbulb moment about how ”woolly” my clicks can be – brought about by recent comments on Clix College and also because I’ve just read Karen Pryor’s ”Reaching the Animal Mind” (brilliant book – if you haven’t read it then I recommend you do!).
In the last session we had with Frankie playing fetch, Liam joined us in the game as a 3rd person and he was not only totally new to the game, and had never done any clicker with me or the horses before. I explained what we were doing and said ”when I throw the toy, Frankie will pick it up, you hold out your hand and I’ll click him for bringing it to you and you treat him”. Liam held out his hand and kept it still and waited for Frankie to bring it to him, as Liam wasn’t moving his hand I had to click only when Frankie took the toy to his hand and was amazed (doh! very slow learner me!) that Frankie did this so much better than giving the toy to me or Amber who had been ”helping” him by moving our hands around reaching for the target.
So I’m making a conscious effort to decide exactly what my criteria is and only clicking for that (and it’s not easy!).
Karen Pryor writes a lot about TAGteach in the book and I’ve found understanding TAG points incredibly helpful with deciding my criteria. Frankie and I played fetch again and I decided my criteria (or TAG point) was ”touch my hand with the fetch toy” and only clicked for that. This of course worked so much better and was so much clearer to Frankie than my randomly waving around hand
So all this time I’ve been thinking I’ve been helping, or encouraging, or ”generous” I’ve actually been causing a lot of confusion. Hannah is always saying ”Clarity, Clarity, Clarity” but I think I’m only just beginning to realise what this actually means!