Session #1 - around noon
Little Man was in the pen getting a drink when I walked out. I walked slowly, giving him a chance to come out if he wanted. He did, and circled around to my right side. I petted him, then walked slowly in the pen, asking him to follow.
He came in behind me. He seemed a little skittish today. He was shy of the rope, but I was able to hold it, with about a foot of the end swinging, and rub his neck with it. The end gently bumped his shoulder, but he held his ground. He was not willing to have the halter up over his muzzle, but he lipped it once.
He would bump it with his muzzle, but I was only able to get it over his muzzle a couple of times, and only just barely. I petted him for a minute, and he let me cup my hand under his jaw and lift his muzzle up to my nose. I didn't lift it much, but he moved it up when I applied just a bit of pressure and moved my face down to his.
I decided that maybe he has had enough of halter work, so I hung the halter over the fence, and worked on touching the crest of his neck. The first time he sidestepped away about a foot. Following the advice I was given on the clicker list, I didn't click when he jumped away. He moved back, and I tried again. I'm thinking I applied pressure on both sides of his crest, and this is what spooked him. So this time I just laid my hand behind his ears, and clicked. I did it several more times, and was able to rub the crest of his neck without his moving away.
Next I worked on touching his shoulder and withers. He wouldn't let me stand beside him, so I tried moving beside him and clicking. No dice. He didn't like it. So I stood at his head and leaned. I started out moving my hand down to his shoulder, and he stayed put, though he seemed a bit edgy. Then I ran my hand gently down his neck to his withers. The first time I did it he whirled his front end away from me, about a yard, but he did not whirl all the way around and he did not kick. It is huge progress that he is not kicking! Again, I did not click when he whirled. (See, I'm learning too!) When he moved back I met him halfway and tried again. This time when my hand reached his withers he didn't whirl, and I immediately clicked.
I was able to rest my hand on his withers for several seconds. He seemed very nervous, but he did not move. I gave him a large handful of feed, and he turned and scooted out of the pen. He stopped right outside, so I walked slowly out, talking to him. I went up to him and petted him for a minute, rubbing around his ears. I stroked his ears, which he tolerated but didn't seem to enjoy. He moved his head a bit, and seemed a bit nervous. I laid my forehead against his for a few seconds, then gave him a cookie. He seemed glad to be done and moved away a few feet and started grazing.
I am working hard to learn what to do and how to do it. I need to be a little quicker on the clicker, and I need to not be impatient. I am also learning how to read Little Man, and switch focus when he isn't ready to do something. I know he would do so much better with someone who really knows what they are doing. But I'm all he has, and I love him, so I'll just keep on working.
Session #2 - around 7:00 p.m.
My husband was out tending to the birds, and when I went out he told me Little Man had been standing at the gate watching him. I had decided to just work with touching Little Man, and give him a break from the halter, so I asked David to come out with me. Little Man had moved away a bit, but came back when I called him. I had David stand inside the gate, and I went out. Little Man came up to me, and I clicked when his muzzle touched my hand. I worked on running my hand down his neck to his shoulder, both side, and to his withers. He did much better. I could see him starting to get a little concerned and starting to tense up while I had my hand resting on his shoulders and withers, but he did not move away. I also rubbed my hand along the crest of his neck several times, and he moved his head a bit, but didn't pull away. A couple of times he stood without moving his head, but he kept his eye on me.
Then I had David hold out his fist, and I tapped it and asked Little Man to touch it. He kept moving his muzzle towards me, but I kept tapping David's fist and saying "touch it". He really stretched his neck out, but wasn't quite there yet. I didn't click because David has actually petted him once or twice before, and I have seen Little Man sniff his hand before as well. So I didn't click until Little Man's muzzle actually touched David's hand. I asked David to move his hand out just a little, to make it a bit easier the first time. Little Man got a cookie for touching David's hand. We did it several more times, and I had David move his hand position. Little Man hesitated, but touched him every time.
Then I went back to resting my hand on his shoulder and withers, just a few more times. We finished with a big peppermint treat when he stood for me to rest my hand on his withers for about 4 or 5 seconds. He pie eyed me, but he didn't step away.
Again, in between times I rubbed his face, and around his ears. I was able to rub at the base of his ears and actually move his ears a bit. I stroked his ears, from the base up, and told him what a smart boy he
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