Session #1 - around 1:30 p.m.
Little Man was grazing right by the pen, so I went out. I walked towards him, but he began to walk away. I went into the pen, and he stayed outside it, grazing. I played with the goats through the fence, but Little Man did not come in. I finally went out of the pen and approached him. He began to move towards me, and I clicked. He hesitated to come and get his treat so I walked towards him and he finally took it.
I spent some time talking to him, and stroking his face. I worked on rubbing the top of his head and behind his ears, moving my hand both from the front and the side. I also worked on touching and stroking both his shoulders. He is still very apprehensive when I do this, and appears ready to bolt at any moment. I worked on laying my hand on his shoulder and just holding it there. When he was about to back off I clicked and stepped back to relieve the pressure on him.
I ended the session with a bite of cookie.
Kong was out at the back fence, so I went out to see him. He behaved very aggressively, sticking his muzzle through the fence and grabbing towards me with his teeth. I told him no, and tried to pet his neck. He finally stopped trying to grab me with his teeth, so I touched his neck and clicked. Then I fed him one of those long pieces of green stuff he likes to eat. He actually stood alongside the fence so I could scratch and rub his back. He also let me rub behind his ears without biting at me. I fed him a bit more green stuff, then left.
Little Man came up behind me to watch, but made no move to come up and "horn in". I guess he figured he had had his cookie so he was done. I did go up and pet him for a minute before I left, then I gave him a bit of cookie. He walked with me a very little way, then stopped to graze.
I do find it interesting that he appears so polite when I am with another animal, especially when food is involved. His food aggression is the reason my friends got rid of him. Could it be he really is polite? Or is he just so distrustful that he won't come up even when there is food? Well, he will come up, but he isn't pushy. And he is extremely gentle when taking treats. Any aggressive action he has ever made has in actuality been defensive in nature.
Session #2 - around 6:30 p.m.
Little Man was grazing fairly close to the yard when I went out. He did not come to me, so I walked towards him. He circled, then let me approach him. We worked on touching his head and shoulders again. He is still wary, and I can tell he is really working at staying put when I touch his shoulder. I really think that the anticipation of a treat is what is keeping him there at this point. He is still angling his head when I rub the top of it, though not quite as much. We ended the session with a bite of cookie, then I walked out to see Kong.
Kong was still being grabby, but I managed to rub his forehead at a time when he wasn't grabbing, so I clicked. I am feeding him the long, green plants for his treats. No more eating out of my hand! Or eating my hand, for that matter! He seemed almost grumpy. I petted him, when I could, until all the green things were gone, then left. Little Man had not bothered to come out.
When I was walking back Little Man started moving towards me a bit, so I walked over and petted him. I touched his shoulder a couple of times, clicked and treated. Then I laid my hand on his shoulder for a short time, clicked and gave him a peppermint treat. He took it and turned his back on me. Guess he was telling me he was done!
Blessings on you,
Teaching a Horse to Talk
7 years ago