Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 25

Session #1 - a little before noon

Little Man wasn't too far out when I went out. I called him once, and by the time I had walked where the pump house wasn't in between us he was already walking up to me! He came right up to me. We worked with the swinging rope end again. He seems comfortable with it swinging slowly by his head.

When I tried to move it back towards his neck and shoulders, he kept moving his head around so he could touch it with his muzzle. When he did I laid it across his face. He turned his head back to nudge at some flies and I was swinging the rope beside him. When he turned back it bumped his neck, and he whirled away from it. I clicked and he came back for his treat.

We kept working, and in just a very short time I was able to touch the rope to his neck. Instead of swinging it, I held it and just laid it on his neck. I was able to do it several times, including once on his shoulder. He got cookies bites for those.

I stepped back about five or six feet and started swinging the rope end in circles on both sides, and in a figure eight in front of me. Little Man was watchful, but he didn't seem nervous. Then I stepped back up to him, and touched him with the rope a couple more times. We finished with one shot at putting the halter up over his muzzle, and he got a peppermint treat.

In between times I rubbed his forehead, and up around his ears. We would have worked longer, but in my excitement to get outside I only refilled the wormer bag in my fanny pack, not the feed bag. I did take plenty of cookie bites and peppermint treats, though, which worked out fine since having that rope touch his neck was so scary for him.

I stood and petted him for a bit, then turned to go in. He was right behind me, and when I closed the gate he came right up against it. One of the turkeys was there, and they studied each other for a bit. He stood and let me pet him, and . . . I was able to stroke his ears, from the base up on the outside, AND handle his forelock! He just stood calmly, and enjoyed being petted. I had the halter draped over my left arm, and several times he nudged the gate trying to touch the halter. I guess he wasn't ready for our session to end. He finally turned a bit and dropped his head to graze, and I went in.

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

Little Man was about halfway out in the pasture, but he came up as soon as I called. We worked with the rope a bit. I swung it by his head and he moved his head until his muzzle touched it. I stroked it on his neck a few times, but he was a bit shy of that. He did start once and moved his front end away from me, but only about a foot.

We worked with the halter a bit too. He was really tossing his head and not wanting to have it around his muzzle. Towards the end, I was able to get it up on his muzzle a bit, and he got some special treats. In between times, I rubbed his forehead and stroked his face. If I petted him too long, he would push his muzzle out towards the halter on my arm, letting me know he wanted to work some more! My daughter came out to the fence to tell me something, and Little Man turned and walked off a few feet, then started grazing.

The flies were really bothering him, plus the mud had dried on him and probably felt uncomfortable. He didn't seem to be quite as focused this evening, but he still did really well. I even had my husband come out and take some photos at the beginning, and Little Man pretty much just ignored him. This is progress! I'll post the photos on the list photo page later. It's so much fun to see how much he has progressed!


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