At Mountain Hooves & Paws, we use an approach to clicker training that is force-free. In other words, we do not use pressure (even in the form of annoyance – pulling a rein or leash – or startling – shaking a whip or leash or rope) to get any behaviors from animals.
As a result though, our training methods have to be quite creative!
To help Flicka understand the behavior “walk” from someone on her back, we decided to create a situation where Flicka would want to walk forward. When one of us started with a couple steps forward, and Flicka naturally followed. Whoever was riding her would use the word “whoa” (which Flicka knew from ground work) to hold her briefly back, then release her with “okay” (the word she knew from ground work, too).
Within a couple of sessions, we transferred “okay” to “walk,” added the cue “back.” This video was taken after around five short sessions of riding Flicka. She’s showing the relaxation and contentment that’s common with clicker trained animals. They understand this language and enjoy the fun of learning!