Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 16

Session #1 - sometime between 12:30 and 1:00

Little Man was in the pen watching me work with the birds, and stood right up against the fence. So I went up to the fence and he didn't leave! I stroked and petted his face for a minute, then walked around to the gate and out in the pasture. When I walked towards the pen he got out, and stood not too far away. I walked in the pen to see if he would come back in, but no, he stayed put. So I walked out to him. I was carrying the soft brush, and I held it up so he could see it.

He wasn't sure he liked the brush, and tossed his head and blew. I held it out, and clicked for any movement of his muzzle towards the brush. Now the click he understood! He eventually touched (barely) the brush, and was duly rewarded. I began to say "touch it" before he made contact. Once he started touching it, I began to move it. Not anything dramatic, and not far away from him, but I held it on both sides of his muzzle, down a bit, and up a bit. He touched it everywhere except when it was up. Perhaps he thought I was going to hit him with it. He tossed his head and moved back a abit. So I lowered it so he could touch it more comfortably.

After I clicked and treated, I rubbed his face, cheek, and neck, being careful not to go too high or too near the shoulder where we have been working. But he seemed to like having his face rubbed, and didn't offer any resistance to having his neck stroked. I want him to start looking at being touched as a reward in itself.

I finished the session by letting him sniff the brush a longer time, then giving him a peppermint treat after the click. He knew that was the end of it! He moved his head away when I tried to stroke his face one more time. I think that I did pet him before I left, but I don't recall.

He seemed more relaxed, possibly because the pressure of being touched so much was off him. I have used this soft brush on him before, but it took a long time for me to be able to touch him with the brush. And he never stood for it long.

I didn't crowd him. I stood right in front of him, where he likes me to be, and just reached out my hand with the brush so he could touch it. Except for when he moved back when I held the brush up, I don't believe he actually stepped away from me any other time. I can't remember though.

Session #2 - between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Little Man was way out in the back corner of the pasture when I went out. I called hello to him, then walked in the pen and over to say hi to the neighbor's goats. Little Man walked all the way up! I went out of the pen and met him in the pasture. My son was filling Little Man's water buckets, and I didn't want him spooked by the water. He doesn't like the hose.

We worked on targeting the brush again. He did so well! He touched it immediately. I moved it on each side, up a bit, and down a bit. He touched it everywhere except when I put it below his muzzle. He blew, and pie eyed me when I put it down. I clicked for any move towards it, though. I also tried stepping back and holding out the brush, to see if he would step towards it. He didn't, but he did reach with his head, so I clicked and treated, then moved back.

He seemed very calm, and seemed to like being petted and stroked in between targetings. The last few times I turned the brush so he was touching the bristles instead of the back. He did fine. The last time I held it down, but not so far that I thought he wouldn't touch it. Then I rewarded him with a bite of cookie, and petted him a bit more.

I think he really likes having a break from the stressful touching we have been doing.


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