Equine Behaviourist - Emily McDonald
Emily has a positive approach to challenging behaviour using the latest scientific research. She will give you simple, safe, permanent solutions using positive reinforcement (reward based training) to help your horse to feel happy and calm. Emily is Natural Animal Centre registered, confidential, fully insured and will only work with your vets consent.
Emily has a holistic approach and looks at the animal as a whole. She will review the horse's management to ensure they feel emotionally and physically well. It is vital that we remove any stress from the animal's day to day life as this greatly impacts behaviour e.g. if they are not sleeping properly they will feel irritable and not be able to form memories appropriately and so learn. Also, changing the environment changes the animal's context which makes it much easier to train a new response as the context is one of the most important triggers for a behaviour e.g. you behave differently in a nightclub compared to a church.
Emily will find the underlying cause motivating the challenging behaviour and help you to understand why. From there we can change the emotions motivating them bringing about a permanent change. Emily trains using positive reinforcement. This involves setting the animal up to succeed and then rewarding them for good decisions with food or scratches. This changes the association to help them feel positive and so behave differently. Training in this way is enjoyable for both owner and animal. There will be no whips, flags on sticks, pressure halters or 'corrections'. Behaviour Modification Programmes will be tailored to your animal. We will start with a foundation whereby the animal learns to learn and you learn to train (or Emily can do the practical training). Then we will go through each of your unwanted behaviours until all issues are resolved. To see examples of Emily practically training
Benefits of using reward based training (positive reinforement) are:
o It is the quickest and most effective way to train.
o The horses motivation is changed rather than just suppressing the behaviour which can cause other problems.
o The horse has to think what to do, instead of 'traditional' training where they is pushed and pulled into position.
o As they are using their mind to problem solve they learn super fast.
o You ‘pay’ them for their hard work.
o They become more optimistic.
o Horses gain an enthusiasm for learning as they have a positive motivation, which creates a willingness to try.
o As they are never punished they become creative, curious, and confident in both themselves and you.
o Studies have found that animals trained using positive reinforcement have stronger, healthier brains.
You can find Emily's facebook page
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