When we got home from church I looked out and saw Little Man was grazing not too far from the back yard fence. So I grabbed my gear and went outside. I walked up to the fence where the pen is, and he came inside. I petted him for a minute, he seemed a little skittish, so I laid my hand on his head, clicked and treated. After a couple of times I decided to go out in the pasture with him. So I walked over to the gate, out in the pasture, then towards the pen. When I got close he hurried out, to protect himself from being trapped, I assume.
I waited until he took a step towards me, then I clicked. He moved towards me and I stepped up to treat him. Then we worked for about 10 minutes or so. We went through all the daily wormer and moved on to the feed.
Today I worked on laying my hand on the side of his face where the halter buckle is. My short term goal is to be able to unbuckle that doggone halter and get it off him! I progressed to actually grasping the halter at the buckle. He didn't like that, but the sound of a click kept him from leaving. He wanted the treat he knew was coming to him! He actually showed his teeth in the direction of my arm a few times, which was something new for him. He does kick, but he has never offered to bite. I told him no, and when I grasped the halter and he didn't show his teeth, I clicked and treated.
By the time we finished, I was able to grasp the halter at the buckle and hold it for a few seconds, without his showing his teeth or pulling his head away.
I rubbed his forehead quite a bit, only clicking when I was actually working on the new stuff. He did so well, and I'm so proud of him!
Kong came up to the back fence, and brayed at us. But I only had on garden clogs, so I didn't venture out into the pasture any farther. :-( I'll make it up to him this evening.
Session #2 - 8:00 p.m. About 20 minutes
When I went out this evening, Little Man was towards the back of the pasture. He actually walked up towards me instead of going to the back fence. So I stopped a couple of yards from him and held out my hand. He inched up and stretched out his head. As soon as his muzzle touched my hand, I clicked then treated. I started out sliding my hand from his forehead over to the left side of his head, where the halter buckle is. Then I progressed to grasping the halter. He jerked his head away a couple of times, and showed his teeth a time or two. Nothing major, though. It wasn't long before I was grasping the halter and holding it for a few seconds, and he was standing still and keeping his head still!
After a bit Kong came up to the back fence, so I walked out towards him. Little Man followed right behind me. I included Kong a bit, but continued working with Little Man. By the time I was done, I was grasping the halter, lifting it and moving it around! Sometimes, when I would rub his forehead again, he would angle his head as though he was trying to get my hand back over to the halter!
I held it an extra long time (probably only about 3 - 4 seconds), then gave him a peppermint treat. I rubbed his forehead, patted Kong, and walked off. Little Man turned and walked right with me, right at my right hand! This is real progress, because usually he walks either behind me or off to the side a ways where I can't reach him. So I stopped and touched, clicked, and treated a couple more times, then held the halter a few seconds and gave him another peppermint treat.
He went back to Kong, and I came back up to the yard.
I am ecstatic over how well this went! I have great hopes that I will be able to get that halter off him soon, perhaps within the next couple of weeks. I think it needs to come off, though I am tempted to try working with him to move his head by exerting a bit of pressure on the halter. But I think his safety is my primary concern right now. If he keeps responding as well as he has been, we will eventually get another halter on him.
Thanks so much for letting me share our progress with you all! I appreciate all the advice, support, and encouragement.
Blessings on you, Kelly