I gave Little Man the "day off" yesterday. He didn't come up when he saw me, so I hung his bucket (with wormer and a treat) on the fence. I did go out and pet him and sing to him a bit last evening, then I gave him a treat before I left.
Session #1 - around 11:00 a.m.
Little Man was grazing in the pen, so I went out and talked to him as I walked up. I went in the pen, but was careful to move to the side so as not to position myself between him and the open gate. He moved around where we was on the gate side of me.
I worked on rubbing the top of his head, and putting my hand on his shoulder. I did attempt to move where I was standing more on the side of him than his head, but he kept moving. I did a lot of stroking and rubbing on his face, though I don't usually click for that, unless he is really nervous.
When we were done, and I gave him his bite of cookie, he was standing practically in the gate. So I just moved toward him and kept telling him "back", and he backed right out of the gate! I gave him another bite of cookie, then he walked off a bit so I could come out.
Session #2 - around 6:30 p.m.
Little Man was fairly close to the fence, so I went out and walked into the pen, then over to say hi to the neighbor's goats. Little Man came into the pen with me and walked up behind me. He let me walk right up to him, and I stroked his face, then we started working.
I worked with touching the top of his head and both shoulders, just moving from place to place as it seemed good to. He was better about having me rub his head and right behind his ears, even seeming to almost enjoy it a couple of times. He seemed wary or nervous about having me touch his shoulders. He still will not let me stand beside him, and once he turned around and walked in a half circle to approach me from the other side. He was telling me he didn't want me to stand at his side.
I did move a bit so I was standing towards the side of his head, but I kept my body angled so I wasn't directly facing him. I sang to him some more, but I'm not sure if he likes it or not. He seems to like it better when the range is lower.
I told him what a good boy he was, and ended the session with a bite of cookie, then a couple of gentle pats on the neck. He enjoyed that. I started walking towards he gate and he looked concerned. He started moving towards the gate too, but I kept going and walked out ahead of him. I made sure to keep going once I exited the gate, giving him plenty of time to get out of the pen, as I didn't want him to think I was going to trap him. When he came out he started grazing not too far from the gate, and didn't move away much.
Interestingly enough, he will no longer come up to the fence to let me pet him. I went out later to give the rabbit some hay, and took a bit out to the fence for Little Man. He came only as close as he needed to, and stretched his neck out to take the hay, then immediately backed up and turned around to chew.
Blessings on you,
Teaching a Horse to Talk
6 years ago