As I mentioned, I've decided to give clicker training a more thorough try than I have in the past. I ordered a book - Clicker Training: Colt Starting the Natural Horse, by Leslie Pavlich. I already had the clicker and the carrots. :) Today I joined the clickryder group on Yahoo and of course the first post I read was about a horse throwing a fit and biting his owner. My big worry about clicker is that it will cause bad behavior. We'll see...
Scout's day one with the clicker (before I got my book or reviewed clicker info)- I did too many things, I realized a little too late. Probably part of the problem I've had in the past. But I did communicate that the click meant carrot, and I did a lot of click and reward for him backing a step (because as I said, I don't want him turning into a pushy butt-head).
Scout's day two with the clicker - doing less, correctly. I clicked and treated to remind him what it was about, then I held out my "target" which was an empty water bottle. Being the inquisitive guy he is, he nosed it, I clicked and treated. He mugged my pockets, I ignored him. I held up the bottle, which interested him enough to stop the mugging, touched his nose, clicked and treated. The only time I corrected him was if he mugged me in a way that seemed dangerous, I'd flap my elbow, hands in pockets. No hitting. It would be a long process to type all the repetitions, but it didn't take long at all, and he wasn't mugging me, but was following me around, touching the bottle. My only complaint is that he was trying to bite the bottle. I decided not to click and treat for that, but to take the bottle away and present it in a way that would help his nose touch it before his teeth, and reward the nose, not the teeth. I think it was great progress and I'm surprised at how quickly he quit mugging me.
In the past I never tried just ignoring the mugging, I always flapped or pushed or said NO or something to discourage it. Which probably kicked in a play drive. These boys love to play bitey face or "I'm not touching you!" and it can go back and forth forever. Interesting that just standing there ignoring it was WAY more effective. I learned something new today. I love it!
Now I'm going to go out and do it with Tonka or Cisco, whichever volunteers first. Tonka already knows the clicker and is very much wanting to come play when he hears it. Cisco is going to love it, he's so incredibly smart. This is fun!