Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 60

Session #1 - around noon

Again I called once before going out, and again Little Man was waiting close to the fence for me. I was holding the spray bottle, so he wouldn't come up to me, but when I sprayed the rag and set the bottle down, he let me walk up to him. I wiped his face, neck, and chest, and he was fine. I had to talk to him a bit in order to get his shoulders, back, and sides, but we did it together! When I was stroking the rag along his withers and down his side, his head was bobbing up and down. I'm not sure what that meant, but at least he didn't run off.

We worked with the rope very briefly. I had him target it, then I rubbed it on his neck and up by his ears. I'm just going to keep doing that until he doesn't pay much attention to it any more, then I'l move on to doing something else with it.

Before I left, I kissed his nose, and laid my cheek against his. He was very still, and let me!

Session #2 - around 7:00 p.m.

I called Little Man before I went out, and by the time I tended the birds he was waiting in the pen for me. As I walked towards the gate he walked over to meet me. I wiped him down, as usual. He was much steadier when I wiped his back and sides. I can't get too far back, but I am so pleased that I can get any of his back and sides!

Then we "played" with the rope. I rubbed his neck and behind his ears with it, then I draped it over his crest, clicked, pulled it off, and treated. Then I left it there, and as soon as I treated him I started barely moving the rope, clicked and treated again. I did this several times, and when he started getting antsy I clicked and pulled it off before treating. Then I slipped the loop over his muzzle, clicked, pulled it off, and treated. Then I left the loop on and repeated the above procedure.

Unfortunately, he turned and started pulling away. I wasn't able to get the loop off, and didn't want to pull, so as he turned completely away from me and started walking off I just dropped the end of the rope. The loop fell off his muzzle, and he stopped and nuzzled it a bit. I left it on the ground, and started talking to him.
Then I moved back a bit so he had plenty of space, and as I talked to him he turned around and came over to me.

I petted him a bit, rubbed his ears, and put my face to his. Then I went over and got the rope, slipped the loop over his muzzle one more time, clicked and treated. He followed me to the gate, and we stood there almost ten minutes. I petted him, and when I would stop he would push his muzzle out to me. When I was scratching behind his ears he was lipping my sleeve.

Again, I never worry that he will bite me, so I'm guessing that was his way of saying "You scratch my ears, I'll scratch your arm!" Or something to that effect.

Day 59

Session #1 - around 9:30 a.m.

I stuck my head out the door and called Little Man once before I started getting my things together, to give him time to come up. Then I fed the rabbit, and when I looked up he was standing not too far from the fence, waiting for me. I gave him fresh water, then walked out to him. I sprayed the rag, set the bottle down, and walked to him. He had flies on him, and I think he is understanding that the wipe helps them go away.

I wiped his face, neck, chest, shoulders, and even part of his back and sides! I had to click pretty often when I was wiping his sides, but he let me. He was very calm, probably because I didn't take the hula hoop out. He wouldn't let me wipe his left ear, though.

When I was done, I put the rag on the bottle and walked back to him. I petted him for a few minutes. He let me gently rub his left ear, and rub behind both ears. He even lifted his muzzle to my face! I kissed his nose, and laid my face against his. He stood very still, and when I moved my head away he lifted his muzzle again.

Session #2 - around 7:30 p.m.

AGain, I called Little Man once before I got my things. When I looked up from tending the birds and rabbit, he was standing at the gate waiting for me! We went through our usual routine of wiping marigold spray on his face, neck, and chest. He was pretty steady while I wiped his shoulders, but did some backing when I moved towards his back and sides. I talked to him and went slowly, and was able to get wipe part way down his back and on his sides! He still wouldn't let me wipe his left ear, though.

I put the rag down and got the halter. He targeted it, then I slipped it over his muzzle. I rubbed it on his neck and up close to his ears. I slipped it over his muzzle, and held the end up on the left side of his face. He did fine with that, but started to pull his head back when I tried to move the halter up the right side of his face. All in good time; he's getting there!

I wiped him a bit more. Then I showed him how the sprayer worked, clicking when the liquid spurted out. He watched it a couple of times, but when I held it close to him he sidestepped. He is really good at sidestepping! He moved a couple of yards! I put the bottle down, and spent some time just petting him. I rubbed his forehead and ears, and he kept lifting his muzzle up towards my face and working his lips. I was able to rest my forehead against his, and my cheek against the side of his face.

While I was petting him, my husband walked out. Little Man started to back up, but I put my hand on his neck and said, "Whoooa". I had my husband hold out his fist, and Little Man targeted it. After three times, my husband reached up and rubbed Little Man's forehead then left. I petted him a little more, then left. He followed me up to the gate, and I stroked his face then laid my hand on his muzzle.

Day 58

Session #1 - around noon

I called Little Man one time before I went out; I stuck my head out the sunroom door. Then I got all my gear and went out. I tended to the rabbit and birds first, and when I looked up from petting the rooster, there was Little Man standing at the fence watching me. When I finished with the other animals I went out, and Little Man walked into the pen. I took the marigold spray, the halter, and the hula hoop, and he walked into the "L" portion of the pen when he saw that!

I hung the hoop on a T-post, and went in the pen. I hung the halter on the fence, and set down the bottle and rag. He came back into the other part of the pen, and I went up and petted him. I sprayed the rag and wiped his face. He was a little shy of it still, but he did allow me to wipe him. I wiped his neck and chest, but he backed up almost constantly while I was wiping his shoulders and sides. He was nervous enough I didn't press it too much, but I did try to get as much spray on him as I could; when I went out he had flies and mosquitoes all over him. The spray chased them away from his front, though!

Then I showed him the hula hoop and asked him to touch it. He looked at me like I was crazy, then stared at the hoop. I asked him again, and stood holding the hoop. He slowly stepped up to it and stretched his head out to touch it. He warmed up to it pretty quickly. I held it to the side, down low, up high above eye level.

Then I held it vertically beside his head and asked him to touch it. When he moved his head, he touched it with the side of his face. I held it up so that when he raised his head his forehead touched it. He did very well, and I was pleased that he took to it so quickly. He doesn't love it, but he didn't really shy away.

Then I just petted him for a couple of minutes. He is not letting me really rub his ears now, but he will let me rub behind them. I moved my hand to cup his ears a couple of times, and he got cookies and peppermint treats for that. I kissed his nose and petted him. As I continued to pet him, he was lifting his muzzle up towards my face. I'm wondering if he wanted me to kiss his nose again.

Session #2 -

Little Man was slow to come to me tonight, probably because I took a hoop out. I grabbed a different one, which was bigger and had something inside it that made it rattle. It wasn't the best choice, but I didn't realize it rattled until I was out there. I hung it on the t-post at the pen gate, then went in the pen to pull weeds for the goats. Little Man stopped outside the gate and sniffed the hoop, then backed off a couple of feet and did not come in. So I went out to him.

I wiped him with marigold spray, and he was still shy of having his ears wiped. He was better about letting me wipe his shoulders, but I could only do a few inches behind his shoulders. He kept backing up.

I let him target the hoop, which he did just fine. But when I moved it to his left side, it rattled and he spooked. He ran off several yards, and would not come back. I did walk towards him and ask him to target it, but he just stood there and looked at it suspiciously. I hung it back on the t-post, and walked out to pet him. He let me, but tossed his head and backed up.

I let him target the halter a few times, and also the swinging rope. Then I put it all up and just petted him for a minute. He let me rub behind his ears, but wouldn't let me stroke his ears. I did kiss him on the nose, and talk to him a little bit. Then I left him to graze.

Day 57

Session #1 - a little after 10:00 a.m.

Little Man was out in the pen, and he and the neighbor's goat were standing next to each other at the fence. He stayed where he was when I went out, so I walked into the pen. He still eyes the spray bottle with suspicion, so I stopped a couple of yards from him, sprayed the rag, and set the bottle down. I wiped his face and neck, then his chest, shoulders, and even his withers and side, right behind his shoulder.

I noticed yesterday, and this morning as well, that when I stroke the rag from his withers down his side, he lifts his head and puts his muzzle close to my shoulder, then works his lips. Hopefully he is telling me that he likes it. He gets very nervous if I get too close to his belly, so I stopped short of that. He was very insistent that I not wipe his ears this morning. But I wanted to get a little solution on them, so I moved pretty quickly from his forehead and did manage to wipe the outside of each ear at least once. I made sure he got a cookie for that.

Then I took the rope and rubbed his neck with it. I looped it over his muzzle, and he stood still while I held it there. He is still very shy about having it up around his eyes and ears. So I decided to use it as a scratcher. I coiled it up and held it in the middle, then I proceeded to use it to scratch behind his ears. He began to calm down, because it obviously felt good. I also rubbed it up on his forehead, below his forelock.

Then I decided to see if he would tolerate the rope over his crest, so I took the single end and draped it over, then rubbed with it. I clicked, pulled it off, and treated. I did it a couple more time, but the third time he really pie eyed, then snorted, turned and ran out of the pen. I guess the pressure was just too much. Or the rope might have pulled his mane a bit. He did not attempt to kick, which is really great! He stopped outside the pen, and I talked to him and walked towards him.

I stopped just at the gate, and held out the rope and asked him to touch it. He hesitated, then walked over and stretched out his neck and touched it. I petted him, then stroked his neck with the rope. Then I gently used it to scratch behind each ear. I finished by looping it over his muzzle one more time.

Then I dropped the rope and petted him a minute. This morning he was really pie eyeing and popping his head up when I moved my hand up to his poll and crest. So I moved to gently rubbing behind each ear. I gave him a large peppermint treat before I left. I was also able to put my face to his several times and kiss his nose.

We have come so far in less than two months! It is amazing that he will let me touch his sides and ears. And I believe he is learning that I am not going to hurt him. I know that one day he will realize that he does not need to be on the defensive when he is with me.

Session #2 - around 7:00 p.m.

Little Man was very jumpy tonight. It was thundering, and gulls were flying overhead, moving inland from the coast. He let me wipe him with marigold spray, but kept moving away when I tried to wipe his shoulders, back and sides. I did finally manage it, but it took a lot of clicking and treating. He did let me lift his muzzle and kiss his nose, though.

I took the halter and lead out, and he targeted it, but was jumpy and suspicious when I tried to stroke him with it or slip it over his muzzle.

Finally I just held it various places and had him target it. Then I had him walk a few feet and target it. Then I just petted him for a minute. I tried to rub his ears, but he kept moving his head and pie eyeing me. He did let me rub right behind them, so I did, and gave him a large peppermint treat.

Day 56

Session #1 - around 2:00 p.m.

Little Man was fairly close to the fence, so I went out with my gear, including marigold spray and a rag, along with the catch-'em. I sprayed the rag, while he stood watching suspiciously, then walked over to him. I let him touch the rag, then I wiped his face and neck. I went back for more spray, and he did not follow me, but kept watching me. I tried to spray where he could see and hear it. Then I went back and wiped his shoulders and chest, and even managed to wipe his sides behind his shoulders. I even was able to wipe down by his belly, right behind his forelegs. He really quivered his skin, and started to move, so I didn't go any further.

He surprised me by turning his rump towards me several times. I thought perhaps he wanted me to continue wiping, as the spray was working and he had no flies where I had wiped. But I just don't trust him enough to get by those hindquarters. I know he would not kick aggressively. But I also know that he doesn't trust me completely either, and he could easily misinterpret any movement I make. If that happened, not only could I get kicked, but it could cause us to lose ground. So I did not attempt to wipe him any farther, though I did go over some of the same places again.

I held the rag and sprayer just a foot or so in front of him, and sprayed (downwind, of course) so he could see the liquid coming from the sprayer to the rag. Then I set the sprayer down and wiped him with the rag. I also had him target the bottle. He was very suspicious of it, and his targeting was accompanied by much snorting and backing up.

In the middle of all this I worked with the rope just a little. I had him target it, looped it over his muzzle, rubbed it on his neck up by his crest, touched his ears with it, and laid it over his face below his eyes.

I am hoping he will make the connection between the spray/wipe and the fact that there are no flies on him where he was wiped. I really think he understands. But he does not connect it with the spray actually touching him. I'll just save that for when he's ready.

I had the thought that if I tried wiping him over the gate, he might turn his side/rump to me again. Then I could attempt to wipe him with the gate between us. It might make him feel better; I know it would make ME feel better!

Before I left him I stroked his face, and lifted his muzzle up so I could kiss his nose a couple of times. I am still clicking when I do this, though not every time. He is becoming less shy about having my face right in his.

Session #2 - around 7:00 p.m.

Little Man wouldn't walk towards me, but kept grazing. I was holding the spray bottle and rag, and I think that may be why he wouldn't come.
So I walked towards him, stopped a couple of yards away, laid down the rope, and sprayed the rag. Then I walked up to him and asked him to target the rag. He still doesn't like the way it smells, but he targeted it and stood steady. I wiped his face and neck, shoulders and a little on his sides: the same places I was able to wipe this morning. He would not let me wipe his ears tonight, though. And he still did a lot of backing up through the whole thing.

We worked with the rope just a little. He targeted it, and I rubbed it on his face and neck, and looped it around his muzzle. I draped the end over his crest, clicked and pulled it off. After a few times of this I left it there after I clicked and while I was treating him. I was planning to reach under his neck for the end, but as soon as he took his treat he sidestepped away and out from under it. I coiled the rope and gently shook it, asking him to target it. After a brief pause, he walked over and touched it. I rubbed him with it a couple more times, then called it a night.

My daughter was out feeding her rabbit, so I gave her a cookie and told her she could go see if Little Man would take it from her. He wouldn't even take a step towards the fence, so I had her go put it in his bucket, which is hanging on the fence. I'm sure he'll eventually get over there to see what she put in the bucket.

Day 55

Today was Little Man's day off, but I did go out with the clicker. I wanted to get some marigold spray on him, and didn't want to mess up the progress we have made by trying to do it without the clicker. He stood pretty well, though he tensed when I got to his withers and sides. I only wiped his sides just behind his shoulders. I tried to move the rag down to his leg, but he moved away at that. Once I gave him all his wormer, I stopped wiping and petted him for a minute.

I went out again around 6:00 p.m. or so. I just took a couple of peanut butter crackers with me. I petted him for a few minutes, then gave him a cracker. I asked him to walk with me, and he did. I petted him again and gave him the other cracker. He followed me back to the gate, and I petted him for another minute or so. I noticed that there were not many flies on his face and neck, so the marigold spray worked as far as flies go. However, there were mosquitoes all over him, so I'll have to find something else to repel them.

Day 54

Session #1 - around 11:30 a.m.

Little Man was fairly close when I walked out, and walked away from me and into the pen. I followed him in. I had him target the bottle of marigold spray, then I walked a few yards away and sprayed the rag. He watched suspiciously. I set the bottle on the ground and walked back to him. I had him target the rag, then I wiped his face, neck, shoulders, even his withers and a little of his back and sides. He tensed, and I watched him carefully, making sure that I clicked and stopped before he "broke".

That's all we worked on this morning, but I was pleased to see the spray seemed to be working, and there were only a couple of insects on him.

Session #2 - around 7:00 p.m.

I took the spray and rag again, along with the catch-'em. I wiped him with the wet rag, then worked with the rope. I continued to stroke it on his face and neck, and up by his ears. He is fine when I loop it around his muzzle, but still uncomfortable when I raise it up towards his eyes and ears. He raises his head and backs away, but will eventually stop when I talk to him and hold the rope still.

I was able to drape the rope over his crest, though he was a bit antsy. I was even able to leave it on him while I treated him, then reach under his neck and grasp the end. I held it for a moment, shook it ever so slightly, clicked and released. I did it again, and tried holding it a little longer.

I waited too long to click, though, and he turned and sidestepped until he was out from under it. I know that it is not a good idea to let an animal pull away, because it teaches him to pull away, but I want him to feel comfortable and not trapped. I know that if we keep working, he will eventually want to stay with me, even with a rope on him. So, I tried again. Again, he pulled away because I didn't click soon enough. I realized I was just pushing too much, draped it over him again, clicked, pulled it off, and stopped that particular activity. I wanted to end with success, though.

I also worked a little bit with leading. He wasn't on the rope, but I held it out and walked away, asking him to follow. I continued walking, and we walked several yards, as I held out the rope and he followed it. I figure if we do this enough, he will be used to following the rope when we do finally come to terms with the rope around his neck or the halter on him.

Once while I was treating him, I was a bit careless and he was a bit quick, and I accidentally ended up with my fingers in his mouth. They bumped his teeth, I pulled my hand back, and he whirled, ran, and kicked a bit. I walked after him, talking to him, but he would not come back to me. I finally stopped a few yards away from him, held out the rope, and asked him to touch it. He just looked at me. I shook it and asked again. He slowly started walking towards it, stretching out his neck and barely bumping it with his muzzle. We worked our way up from there.

I was able to pet him, and stroke him, and rub him with the rope again. I noticed he was even more gentle than usual when he took the treats from my hand. I was able to put my face to his, and kiss him on the nose. He is seeming less uncomfortable with having my face in his.

Once I felt that we had had enough positive interaction to counteract the earlier goof, I petted him one last time and gave him a peppermint treat.