Session #1 - a little after 1:00 p.m.
Little Man came up as soon as I went out and called his name. He targeted the lead rope a few times. Then I rubbed his cheek and neck with it, and worked on laying it over his crest and over his face. I even laid it over his withers a couple of times. I tried leaving the rope over his crest once while I treated, but as soon as he took his treat he started slowly moving to the right until it pulled off. I pulled gently to help it come off better. He wasn't panicky, just determined that he was going to keep moving until it was off. Then he turned and moved back to me so we could "play" some more. I looped the rope over his muzzle, and laid it over his crest again.
I stepped back and held out the rope, and asked him to "touch it". He stepped up to it and targeted it. I did this several times, once from about six feet away, and he stepped up to it every time.
We finished with a couple of cookie bites and a peppermint treat. In between I stroked his face, neck, shoulders, and withers. And I rubbed his ears, around the base. I even rubbed for a couple of seconds on the outside of his ear. He's not exactly comfortable with it yet, but he tolerated it and seemed to almost enjoy it.
Session #2 -
Little Man came up when I called him, but he stopped before he got to me. I waited a few seconds, then went on out to him. I brushed him for a minute, without clicking, but he kept moving away, so I stopped. I had him target the lead rope a few times, then worked with laying it over his crest and neck. He would move, then freeze when I clicked. He knows that when I click, whatever we are doing is done, and I will release the pressure (in this case, the rope over his neck). I would gently slide the rope off then treat him. I worked with this a bit, then stepped away and asked him to target the rope. He stepped up to it and touched it. Then I asked him to touch it and moved away a step or two as he started walking towards it. He walked with me and touched the rope, and got a cookie bite.
I brushed him again, without clicking, but again, he moved away. So I stopped and petted him, stroking his face, neck, and shoulders, and patting his neck and shoulders. I left, and stopped a little ways from him. He walked up to me, and I petted him a little more and gave him a peppermint treat. Then he walked off.
I think what we have been doing is actually pretty intense for him, and I may back off a bit tomorrow. I may either go out and brush him, using the clicker, or we may just play with targeting the rope or something else. I think that backing off is an important part of any training, as it allows time for lessons to settle and be internalized.
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