Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 30

Session #1 - around 2:30 p.m.

I was out in the front yard and Little Man saw me. He was standing at the fence waiting for me, and he brinnied when I started walking towards him. I petted him over the fence for a couple of minutes, and then went to get my gear. I walked in the pen, but he wouldn't come in, so I walked out and met him outside the pen.

Today I decided to take the "catch-'em" halter I got. It's just a rope with a ring on one end. You slide it around the neck, push a loop through the ring and slip the loop over the nose. We're not ready to actually do that, but I thought it might put less pressure on him than a real halter.

I held the end of the rope out, and asked him to touch it. He eyed it, but touched it readily. After moving it around a couple of times, I held it in a coil, and we kept working. I held it to each side, down low, and up high. He tossed his head a bit when it was low, but touched it. When I held it up high I must have moved a little too fast. He shied back a few feet and pie eyed it. I just held it, asked him to touch it, and waited. He slowly moved back, and slowly reached out his muzzle and touched it. I held it high a couple more times, then started working on touching his neck with it. He shied a couple of times, but he accepted it more readily than he has in the past. I stroked it down each side of his neck, not quite to the shoulder.

Then I touched it to the crest of his neck, on each side of his neck. He pie eyed it, and stepped sideways a bit, but I was able to do it. I didn't click whenever he shied away; I just waited for him to come back and try again. And he did! Then I moved it up his face to between his ears. Again, when he shied I just waited, and he came back to try again. He got a peppermint treat to end, after letting me run the rope up to between his ears.

He turned abruptly after the last peppermint treat, and walked off a couple of yards and started grazing. It was a short session, but it was actually pretty intense. He did very well, and I am so pleased that he is so willing to come back and keep trying when something is new and scary. I think this evening I may take it easier, and just play "touch it" with the rope in different places. Perhaps I will step back and see if he will step up to touch it.

Session #2 - around 4:30 p.m.

I wasn't going to work with Little Man so soon, but my friend's daughter (the one who gave us Little Man) was across the street, and wanted to come see Little Man. So I grabbed my gear on the way out. When he saw us, he walked away. I went up to him, and he was wary. I petted him a little, but when she stepped towards him he turned and ran off kicking.

We went over to where Kong usually stands, though he was in another pasture, and Little Man followed us. I asked her to stay back while I went over and petted Little Man, and I clicked and treated when he touched my hand. We targeted the brush several times, then I brushed both sides of his neck. I stepped back, and held out the brush, and asked Little Man to come and touch it. He walked up to it and touched it! He got a cookie for that!

I gave our visitor a peppermint treat and had her hide it. I had her hold out her hand, and asked Little Man to touch it. He worked up to it, but he did it. As soon as he made contact with her hand, I clicked, and had her hold out the treat. We did that twice. She actually tried to give him a treat before we targeted her hand, but he wouldn't take it until we used the clicker.

I petted him and told him what a smart boy he is. He got a cookie to finish.

Session #3 - around 7:00 p.m.

Little Man came up when I called him, and came into the pen with me, where I was petting the neighbor's goat. We worked with the catch-'em rope again. He targeted it on either side, low, and high. I touched it to his neck and shoulders, and even his back! Towards the end I held it up by his crest, which he shied away from. But I didn't click for that, and waited for him to come back and try again. We ended with my touching the coiled rope up by his crest a couple of times, for which he got cookie bites.

I petted him for a few minutes, stroking his face and neck, and rubbing his ears. I was even abale to stroke my hand past his shoulder to his side! I gave him a peppermint treat so he would know we were done.

I don't want to pressure him, but I feel he is doing really well. And he is pretty good about telling me if I push more than he is ready for.
I feel that we are learning to read each other, and that we are truly building a relationship now. I am SO thankful I was led to clicker training! What a blessing it is!

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