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Training Your Equid: The Many Benefits of Protected Contact

What is protected contact? Protected contact means that there is a barrier between you and the animal you are working with or training. This term comes from zookeeping, where zookeepers often work with the animals in their care through the confines of the animal’s enclosure. The barrier keeps both the human and animal safe. How will protected contact benefit me? Protected contact keeps you safe from behaviors that may make you uncomfortable or put you at risk, like your horse bumping into you, pushing you with their nose, or nipping.… Continued

Animal Training Foundations for Future Success

I’m very much into practical training and tend to focus on building behaviors that make managing and handling animals easier. Practical Training Foundations The benefit of this approach is that most of the behaviors I focus on build a foundation for the more advanced behaviors that people ultimately want. Teaching your horse to line up at the mounting block is great, but not if your horse is throwing his head up when you try to halter him in the stall, or is cutting you off when you’re trying to walk… Continued

Daily Dog Training Conversations

by Michelle Martiya “He knows you’re the treat person.” Do you know the easiest and fastest way to get your dog to respond to you like they respond to me? BECOME THE TREAT PERSON, TOO! Do you know how I know if you’ve been stingy with the treats or tried bribing your dog instead of reinforcing your dog? Your dog ignores you when I’m there and only pays attention to me! I know when you’ve been doing your homework and generously offering your dog treats because your dog either pays attention to… Continued

Understanding Horse Training Videos

There are tons of horse training videos all over YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms. It can be very challenging to determine which videos are worth following and maybe practicing with your horse, and which ones should be avoided. I often receive videos from students asking if what the trainer in the video is saying is correct because it sounds like it might be but they have doubts. Or someone posts a video in a Facebook group asking how the horse was trained because the horse “looks” happy… Continued

Managing and Training Fearful Equids

Fearful Equids   Caring for fearful equids brings its own special challenges but can also be exceptionally rewarding. Here are a few simple tips to ensure your success.   Move how you naturally move, but slower. One of the things most people do when they start working with fearful animals is to tiptoe around them and move hesitantly. Instead of helping, this can actually make them more anxious and it makes you seem suspicious. Instead, try moving the way you naturally move, but slower. As I often tell my students,… Continued