ABC Horse Library

Habituation

Habituation is form of passive desensitization where the horse gets used to new stimuli that it normally reacts to, (i.e. avoids or reacts adversely to) by repeated exposure. With habituation, the exposure to the stimuli is not followed by reinforcement from the trainer.

This shows the process of habituation. You can see the paint pony observing the tractor some but through previous habituation, she has become fairly comfortable with it. The other pony pays no attention to it at this point. While they do have hay, this is their normal meal, not specifically placed out for counter conditioning purposes. Jane Leslie Jackson

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