On Your Mark, Get Set, Start Button (2019)

Note: This video is excluded from the Back to School sale.

As positive reinforcement trainers we search continually for ways to create partnerships with our horses. However, there can be a huge difference between simply gaining an animal’s cooperation and giving the animal true choice! “Start Button” behaviors are behaviors that are taught to an animal partner to direct the pace and progress of another behavior or procedure. Start buttons are an integral piece within the training philosophy, highlighted in the last few years through Animals In Control and other Sessions at recent ClickerExpo conferences. They provide greater control to the animals themselves over aspects of the training process.

In this Session, which combines lecture, personal examples, and videos, Peggy introduces ways of teaching horses to “give you permission” to proceed or to indicate that they are “ready” to participate in an activity or procedure. She will also move to the next step, actually teaching the animal to signal or “invite” you to continue.

Encouraging horses to enter into this type of dialogue lets you be more aware of and responsive to a horse's body language. Start buttons can be taught and used in a wide variety of applications. You will see illustrations that range from husbandry to riding behaviors.

This lecture will benefit anyone who wants to learn techniques to reach the place where you and your animals are harmonious participants in a teaching and learning process.

Peggy Hogan

Through her business, The Best Whisper is a Click, Peggy Hogan has traveled internationally providing clicker training clinics and lectures; she also leads online courses.

A horse-lover since the age of three, when her sister put her on a pay-per-lap pony ride, Peggy loves all animals and has a passion for training. Her training background is varied, and she has studied techniques that range from natural horsemanship to classical dressage, having immersed herself in the teachings of Peggy Cummings, founder of Connected Riding. In the late 90s, with inspiration from Alexandra Kurland, Peggy fully embraced clicker training and positive reinforcement.

Learning from clicker trainers of other species, Peggy has investigated ways to add more shaping, capturing, luring, and targeting to her clicker training for horses program. She explains and demonstrates that horses will offer complex behaviors freely if given the choice—behaviors that range from riding to horse agility to freestyle to medical procedures. Peggy has also worked with clicker training techniques successfully in the area of horse rescue. Peggy has a master’s degree in psychology. A speaker at ClickerExpo conferences since 2013, she lives with her husband and seven horses.