Chino Hills, CA (PressExposure) April 12, 2011 -- Lukas, the World's Smartest Horse (according to the World Records Academy), and Guinness World Record Holder ("Most numbers correctly identified by a horse in one minute: 19), is making his techniques available through an article series. Owner/trainer Karen Murdock is offering the six-part series: Basics, Liberty, Rewards and Punishment, Pressure, Touching and The Smile to publications with attribution. According to Murdock, "It has been more difficult to keep up with the increasing volume of Lukas' mail. I wrote these to be able to continue to help others with training questions." Excerpts from Basics follow:
"Together, through these articles, we'll be reviewing the techniques and how to blend them to magnify results. Additionally, you'll discover ways to refine these techniques for advanced lessons. You'll also learn principles I've found helpful. Keep in mind that this system, as with all approaches, should be tailored to fit the individual learner's needs. There are no rigid formulas or recipes, and viewing difficulties and obstacles as ways to grow and improve will keep our training fun and fresh. Being open to possibilities has enabled me to learn much more from animals than I'll ever be able to teach them!"
"My program has three main parts: Shaping, Clicker Training and Positive Reinforcement. Shaping is the overall process, the basic foundation; the tools are your click, an indicator that the desired behavior has occurred, and positive reinforcement, which energizes your methods. I was impressed with the effectiveness of clicker training when it came out years ago, but there were several disadvantages as far as I was concerned: I didn't want to carry anything around in my hands, it wasn't conducive to riding (horses), and there always seemed to be a time lapse between the response and click, from what I could see. So instead, I substituted sounds - words and whistles - for my click. Be aware that you'll need to pair the click of your choice with primary reinforcement - food usually - so the animal learns to work for your click. And the click promises food, so be careful what you choose. If you repeatedly, accidentally click and say "Good" for example, and no food is forthcoming, you're weakening the link and lessening the student's motivation."
"Shaping is a way for me to introduce a behavior in a gentle and subtle manner. It teaches small behaviors by growing and connecting them. In order to shape a behavior, I have two choices: I can create it and/or capture it. Think about this: not only am I cueing my horse Lukas for expected responses, I'm also always watching and looking for things I might want to use and save for later. This doubles your training potential and is very powerful tool. Creating and capturing resemble a steep staircase - the trials and attempts are the flat steps and as the horse catches onto the game, learning rises sharply. In the next article Liberty, you'll discover the secret key element in putting these strategies to work for you."
Murdock, a retired psychiatric nurse, donates her time and services to show how wonderful and intelligent animals are for their improved treatment. Feel free to contact her for free complete articles and additional information.