Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 44

Session #1 - around 1:00 p.m.

I didn't log right when I came in, as the computer was off. So I don't remember all the details what we did.

It rained all morning, so it was fairly muddy outside. Little Man was pretty clean, considering. He came up when I went out, but stopped a little way off. I walked up to him and stroked his muzzle. We worked with the catch-'em and the regular lead rope today. I had him target them, rubbed them gently on his face and neck, and looped the catch-'em over his muzzle a few times. He seemed spooky this morning, and moved his head around and backed up a lot.

It was thundering, so I didn't stay out too long. I believe I ended with gently rubbing the rope over his cheek and neck, and maybe up around his ears.

Session #2 - a little after 6:00 p.m.

Little Man came up and stopped a little way off. I approached him and stroked his muzzle. I let him target the washcloth, and stroked it gently on his face. I moved gradually up towards his ears, and let the cloth rest against each ear. He raised his head and pie eyed a bit at first, but I held it gently against the base of his ear and talked to him. I clicked when he lowered his head a bit and quit pie eyeing. During this time he got a few little bites of a roll my daughter was feeding the chickens (she gave me part of it for Little Man).

Then we worked with the rope halter. He was very calm, and let me slip it over his muzzle. He stood quietly for a few seconds, and I clicked and removed it, then treated. We continued, and I moved my left hand, holding the free end of the halter, gradually up the right side of his face until my hand was right below his ear. He held his head perfectly still, and looked steadily at me without pie eyeing.

After I treated him with a cookie, I thought I would do it one more time, to really reinforce it. But when I was slipping the halter over his muzzle, he suddenly snorted and jumped back, pulling his muzzle out of the halter. Then he was suddenly nervous and suspicious of the halter. Perhaps I accidentally pulled a hair or something? So I gave him plenty of time to sniff and examine the halter. He even lipped it a few times. I didn't click during this time; I wanted him to take all the time he needed to make sure it was okay.

I didn't want to leave on a negative note, so we worked a little bit more, with my encouraging him to put his head down into the loop. He did move his head down, not actually in the loop though he did move his muzzle towards it, and I was able to slip the halter over his muzzle. I held my hands still for a few seconds, then moved my left hand halfway up the side of his face. I held that for a few seconds, then clicked and treated with a cookie bite.

I hung the halter on the gate, then went back and petted him for a bit. I rubbed around his ears, and stroked his face, then gently patted his neck. Then I took both hands and gently alternated stroking them down the front of his face. I moved them to the sides of his face until I was holding his face in my hands - no pressure, just resting my hands against the sides of his face. I laid my hand on his forehead and rested it there a few seconds, then gave him a cookie and patted his neck.

When I went in, he stayed around the gate to graze.

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