Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 42

Yesterday was Little Man's day off, but I did go out to see him a couple of times. When we got home yesterday afaternoon, I went out and petted him. He moved around a lot, perhaps because there was no clicking and treating. I did give him a couple of goodies before I left. Last evening, around 7:30, I went out again, and we walked around the pasture together. Whenever we stopped I petted him, then I would ask him to walk with me again and we would. I was probably only out there about 10 minutes, but he walked right with me. He really likes company and attention, and he is slowly becoming more comfortable with contact. I can hardly believe how far we have come in just a little over a month!

Session #1 - a little before 2:00 p.m.

Little Man was out getting a drink, so I opened the kitchen window and called hello to him. He looked up, and I talked to him a moment. Around 10 or 15 minutes later, I looked out again, and he was standing by the fence. Hi might even have been waiting for me! So I called to him again, and after a couple of minutes I was able to go out.

By the time I got to the gate he was already there, waiting for me. I had him target the washcloth, which he did, even low towards the ground. But when I dropped it on the ground (while his muzzle was down low) he lifted his head and wouldn't touch it. So I picked it up, and moved it to a completely different place, where I held it about his knee level and had him touch it. Then I put it away and pulled out the catch-'em halter/rope. I slipped the loop over his muzzle, and pulled it up a bit, and he stood calmly. I did this several times, then I started taking another part of the rope and touching it to the right side of his face. He did fine with that, too.

So I switched to the rope halter. I slipped the loop over his muzzle, and he did fine. I switched the clicker to my right wrist, so I wouldn't be clicking right by his ear. Then I slipped the loop over his muzzle and with my left hand moved the loose end of the halter up the right side of his face. He did well until I started moving close to his ear. Then he pulled his head up and backed up.

So I took the end of the halter and gently moved it up the side of his face until it was close to his ear, then clicked. I worked my way up until the halter was actually touching his ear. He pie eyed me, but we worked until he held his head still for a second, then I clicked and removed it. Each time he let me touch his ear with it, he got a very small peppermint treat, then I immediately moved to touch his ear again, so he wouldn't think we were done. I did give a large peppermint treat to finish, after the last time he held his position while the halter rested against his ear.

Then I petted him and told him what a good boy he is. When I walked back to the gate he was right behind me. I petted him over the gate for a few minutes, then gave him a cookie bite before I left.

I had the halters hanging on the gate, and whenever I switched from one thing to another I walked over to the gate. We were only a few feet from it. Every time, when I turned around he was right behind me.
As we worked, he did back up, but the next time I went to the gate, he walked right behind me again.

We didn't have a second session today, because I just wasn't able to get outside before we left for swim lessons this evening. But I did go out around 5:00 or so just to say hi. I took a couple of cookie bites with me. As I was walking up to him (I was about six feet away), my foot hit a hump in the ground and I lurched. Little Man snorted, whirled, and ran off. I gave him a few seconds to stand and look at me before I started moving towards him again. But then the mosquito truck came down the country road, and the wind was blowing straight towards me. So I turned around and ran back inside. When I looked out the window, Little Man was back up at the fence, looking into the yard as if asking "Where did she go?" I felt bad about it, but I didn't want that spray on me. There's always tomorrow.

My husband said he went out in the pasture with the cookies while we were at swim. He said Little Man wouldn't let him near him, and snorted and ran off.

No comments: