5-day Clicker Trainer Challenge

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Improve your Clicker Trainer Skills in 5 days

In this 5 day Trainers Challenge you will be challenged to take a look at your training habits.

Did you know that you can make small changes that will lead to big differences?
Let’s take a look and find out! in this FREE 5-day Challenge. Every day a new challenge for the next 5 days!


  • Training Habits: your ‘mechanics’ of clicker training your horse
  • Training schedule: How much time do you really spent training and how to become more efficient
  • The value of your reinforcers
  • Communication: Are your cues clear and does your horse follow your cues or is he guessing?
  • Training skills: Test your skills in practise!

Course materials for 5-day Clicker Trainers Challenge

Day 1

  • Training video of yourself
  • Pen
  • Paper

Day 2

  • Calendar
  • Green marker

Day 3

  • Pen
  • Paper

Day 4

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Additional: videos of your previous training¬†

Day 5

  • Simple video equipment (phone, camera, video camera)
  • Paddock/arena or other closed environment where you can work at liberty with your horse
  • Horse
  • Pole
  • Clicker
  • Appetitive reinforcements (anything your horse likes to receive and willing to work for)

4 thoughts on “5-day Clicker Trainer Challenge”

  1. I enjoyed doing this 5-day challenge. Day 1 topics immediately nailed the reason I decided to do this course. Conscious Incompetence is how I would describe my training at this point. Rusty or sloppy might work too. I knew I needed to have some guidance and accountability to help me really focus on reminding myself that I do know what I need to do because that knowledge alone does not always seem to be enough to force me to use that knowledge.
    I have not yet figured out a good spot or way to set up to video my sessions but hopefully I will soon because I made some mistakes this week that I recognized but just in case I didn’t, my horse let me know in some humorous ways. For example, when I was asking him to target something with his nose and he was doing so well that I got over enthusiastic and ended up not stopping when I should have, he grabbed the target and took it from me. The next session I decided that to force myself to keep the session restricted I would have a certain number of treats on me and when I was out we were done.
    Cues are something I’ve always struggled with. Again, I know the theory and method of teaching them but sometimes don’t follow through well. One problem I’ve had with dogs is that I just run out of ideas for cues. For example, I did freestyle with my dog and among the many many behaviors there were multiple versions of circles. There was a spin to the left and right starting from standing in front of me facing me, there was a spin in each direction while healing on my left, then while healing on my right, there was a circle around me to the left, circle around me to the right, then I would send him to go around another object to the left and to the right. Not only did I run out of words but I could not for the life of me keep them all straight in my own head.
    The final exercise reminded me of this and it was something I had thought about before. When I run out of ideas of things to do with Cello I often fall back on things I do with dogs and one dog sport I have done called Rally Obedience (basically a version of obedience that is focused on your relationship and having fun with your dog) has a behavior where you have your dog stand, stay and you walk around him/her so I have done this with Cello. I realized however that I didn’t have a clear clue that told him to stay after the whoa rather than to continue to walk beside me when I walked off. Due to the close bond that he and I have he lets me get away with this because he knows my body language generally better than I do. However, as I continue to teach him more and more behaviors I know I need to be more clear and self aware of what I am asking for. As I often teach my students, both dog training and horseback riding: When your horse/dog is doing something “wrong,” they are actually usually doing exactly what you are asking, you just might not realize you are asking for it. This is largely because dogs and horses use body language as their primary form of communication and people are generally very unaware of their own bodies so we frequently tell them things without intending to. I have worked very hard on being more intentional about my body language but I often have this problem in reverse where I create a cue with my natural body language but because it is consistently successful I sometimes forget take time and effort to really identify what it is that I am doing to communicate.
    Cello and I had a lot of fun this week. A lot of my flaws were highlighted but he was kind enough to make sure that I was able to laugh about them rather than get frustrated by them. And that is the joy of positive reinforcement training, you get to make mistakes, learn from them and move on and you get to do so without worrying about the negative side effects you might experience in other methods of training.

    1. Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. I call mistakes and failures rather Learning Points or Stepping Stones to Success. We all fail and make mistakes, that’s clearly a part of the learning process.

      Have you made a Cue List? Simply write down all behaviours that you’ve trained, their verbal and body language cues so that you can see if there are ones that are very similar.
      When you ran out of verbal cues/words, try a second language! I use English (my horses speak Dutch ;-)) and French to make verbal cues more distinctive.


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