Verbal behaviour, in ABA terms, includes all non verbal communication (e.g. pointing, gesturing etc). That’s pretty all encompassing….and means we can really think about verbal communication with out animal learners in a much more methodical way.
The material I was reading this morning got me thinking about proactively teaching our horses to let us know what they want (mand).
This is a big part of what I teach; ask your horse. But how do we ask them if they can’t answer with words?
By observing them carefully when making choices for either/or options we put in front of them we can learn what their gesturing looks like and thus learn to read their choices.
Sometimes it’s really obvious….Classic would go and get the rug he wanted to wear that day. It was very clear what he wanted. Brody shakes his head in a no gesture when his answer to my question is, “are you crazy woman!”. But there are all sorts of subtle responses as well and each horse will be different.