Dopamine, oxytocin and clicker training? Clicker training uses the reward circuitry in the horse’s brain. This causes an increase in the levels of dopamine and oxytocin in the horse’s system. These are neurochemicals that are responsible for making a horse feel good. As a side effect of training with positive reinforcement we actually end up increasing the neurochemicals that make a horse feel good.

My horse is not really interested in food rewards, will clicker training work? Yes! Some horses will appear to not be interested in food rewards in the beginning. They might take one or two treats and then seem like they are full or not interested in the food or even spit it out. These horses will end up keen and enthusiastic about clicker training within a few short sessions.

 Can you use clicker training while riding? Yes! It is easy to incorporate clicker training into ridden work. Using clicker training while riding will help the horse become very calm, motivated, obedient and responsive. It will also really help with teaching the horse advanced performance work such as dressage, jumping, western riding or reining.

Clicker training can be used to teach your horse almost anything! Clicker training can be used for:
  • Groundwork, handling, leading, in hand work.
  • Teach the horse to have their feet and legs handled safely.
  • Bombproofing, desensitizing the horse to scary objects, tarps, clippers, hosing, standing still for plaiting etc.
  • Loading and unloading in floats and horse trucks.
  • Teaching the horse to accept injections, wormers or allow you to treat an injury or apply medication.

Does the marker signal have to be a Clicker? A clicker is a very effective marker signal, which is why it is widely used by many animal trainers. Though the clicker is not the only possible marker signal that you could use. Dolphin and marine mammal trainers use a whistle. Fish trainers often use a spot light. When training deaf dogs, a vibrating collar also works as a marker signal. You could also use your voice i.e say “good”,  however using a clicker has many advantages over using your voice. Studies have shown that using a clicker as a marker signal reduces training time by up to two thirds compared to using a verbal marker such as the word “good”.