Yesterday, since it was Sunday, I gave Little Man the day off. I gave myself the day off too, and didn't even turn on the computer to type until today. I went out yesterday midafternoon and he was out in the shade in the back corner, visiting with Kong. Kong brayed so loudly when I approached the fence that he almost blew me over! He seemed quite glad to see me. I petted him, carefully, and gave him a few pieces of the green stuff he likes so much. Little Man came over to me too. I gave him his daily wormer in the bucket, but he wouldn't eat all of it. When I reached in and scooped it in my hand, though, he ate it right up. I petted him and talked with him a bit, then gave him a bite of cookie and said goodbye.
I went out again in the early evening, and he came up when I called him. I thought he wasn't going to at first, but he must have known it was his day off, so he took his time. :-) I petted him and stroked him, and gave him a bite of peanut butter cracker (probably his very favorite treat) now and then. I even rubbed his ears! I rubbed the base of the ears, and even up the ear a little. He will not let me touch the inside of his ears, but he is getting much better at having the outer ear stroked. I gave him another bite of cracker when I was ready to say goodbye, and he followed me up to the gate. After I chained the gate, he stood and let me pet him over the gate a bit longer. I succumbed to his big brown eyes and gave him a whole peanut butter cracker. When I left he dropped his head to graze right in front of the gate.
Session #1 - around 3:30 p.m.
It was really hot out, and Little Man was someplace where I couldn't see him. I called him and walked out in the pasture. When I looked up I saw him walking towards me. I walked in the pen to pet the neighbor's goats through the fence, and Little Man stopped outside the pen. So I went out and met him. We worked with the soft brush today.
He targeted the brush readily, even when I turned it over so he was touching the bristles. I held it to the sides, down low, and up high. He pie eyed it a bit when it was high, but I waited, and he touched it. His hesitation wasn't quite as great after doing this a few times.
Then I decided we needed to work on brushing him. I stroked the brush down the front of his face a few times. No problem. But he clearly did not want me touching him elsewhere with it, even though I have in the past managed a few brush strokes on his neck and shoulders. I tried standing beside his head, but he immediately moved so I was in front of him. So, I brushed my arms and legs, making sure it made as much sound as it could. He kept moving his muzzle around, trying to target the brush. I finally was able to stroke the brush down the right side of his neck, so I clicked and treated. Once I was able to do this a few times, even moving down to the shoulder, I tried with the other side. He kept backing up but I brushed myself again, and finally managed to stroke the brush down his neck on the left side. I did this a couple more times, ending with moving it over his shoulder and giving him a bite of cookie.
The whole time, in addition to backing up quite a bit, he appeared very watchful of that brush. There was never a problem with my stroking him with my hands (he even let me stand beside his head while I was using my hand), but the brush was quite another story. At first I clicked while the brush was in the middle of the stroke, since I started with only one stroke. But I increased the number of strokes until I was able to do four in a row, and I clicked on the last stroke each time. When I stroked it over his shoulder, I clicked when it reached his shoulder.
I petted him a moment more, and rubbed his ears, and talked to him. Then I went in and he went over to get a drink.
Session # 2 - a little after 6:30 p.m.
Little Man was about halfway out in the pasture, and I called him as I went out. He made a high pitched noise (not a full brinney, but an abbreviated one) and TROTTED to me! I said "whoooa" as he began to stop. I figured it couldn't hurt. :-)
He touched the brush as soon as I held it out. I didn't work very long with him, because I had gone through his wormer and over half his feed earlier today. But I worked on brushing both sides of his neck, as well as both shoulders. I was even able to brush a bit further back than his shoulders! He did keep backing up, pie eyeing the brush, and tossing his head quite a bit. But he was compensated with clicks and treats, and he did not run off.
As I moved the brush farther back, I gave him cookie bites (since I ran out of feed, I just increased the intensity a little bit, to coincide with the special treats), and even a peppermint treat when I was able to brush from his back down his side, just past his shoulder
When I left, he went in the pen to get a drink, then came over to the gate, where I was fastening the chain. So I went out, petted him, and brushed him one more time, clicking and treating with a cookie bite. He followed me to the gate, and after I chained it I petted him over the gate a bit. I was running his forelock between my fingers when a bit of dried mud in the top of his many caught and pulled just a bit. He jumped back a couple of feet and snorted. But when I called him he came back, though not quite as close. I reached out and ran my hand up his forehead until it was resting in between his ears. I held it for a couple of seconds, then clicked and gave him a peppermint treat. I wanted to end on a positive note.
He grazed for a minute or two, then when I looked again, he was trotting around out in the pasture. Perhaps he felt a need to work off all those extra calories!
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