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Conditioned Reinforcement with an Equine Subject

By Karen Kolb Flynn

Abstract

Historically, horse trainers have relied primarily upon repetition, negative reinforcement, and punishment to teach new behaviors. Positive reinforcement has been eschewed, largely on the basis of the wides read belief that positive reinforcement is not effective with horses. Additional difficulties in the timely application of such reinforcement have further inhibited its use. After repeated pairing of an auditory stimulus with an established primary reinforcer, the auditory stimulus was predicted to be a reinforcer. An equine subject was then successfully trained to perform five different, novel tasks using only the auditory stimulus. Subsequently, extinction of behavior was noted in the absence of the conditioned reinforcer. Implications for many phases of horse training were discussed. Some weaknesses of the present study were noted along with suggested issues for future investigations

Topics: horse training, Operant conditioning., Reinforcement (Psychology), Horses -- Training., reinforcement training
Publisher: North Texas State University
Year: 1980
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Provided by: UNT Digital Library
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