Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 53

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

I had a migraine last evening, all night, and most of this morning, so I went out late for our first session. Little Man was way out in the far corner of the pasture. Kong was not too far from him, as his current pasture butts up to ours on the other side. I walked out to see Little Man, and he came right up to me when I got out to the corner. I had sprayed the rag with marigold spray, so I wiped and clicked and got a little bit of repellant on his face and neck. I'm not sure how much it actually helped, as we have a pretty good breeze so the pests weren't that bad.

I continued working on touching the rope to his neck and face. He was steady as a rock when I looped it around his muzzle and held it there. He pie eyed and backed up when I put it above his eyes, but I said, "Whoooa", and he stilled. I touched it up around his ears; he is still pie eyeing it, but getting better.

While we were working, the neighbor's cows started mooing and "talking". When they came around the corner of the barn suddenly, Little Man spooked, whirling around and running off a ways. Kong had been standing at the fence watching us. The rancher came around the barn, holding out a treat for Kong. He put a rope on him, and then we talked for a couple of minutes. He said Kong doesn't like the cows, so he has to move him to a different pasture. Kong walked pretty well on the rope, but just as I finished telling the rancher how Kong and Little Man were friends, Little Man walked up to the fence and Kong lunged at him with his teeth bared! So much for friendship! Little Man tossed his head, and because a shrub was between us I couldn't tell if he gave ground or not.

I did find out that Kong doesn't have a name, so I told his "papa" what I call him. We talked a little more, then he took Kong to a different pasture, and I talked to Little Man to get his attention again. The cows were pretty close to the fence, and he watched them for a bit, then he decided to go ahead and get to work. We worked a few more minutes with the rope. I sneaked in a kiss on his nose and a touch of my forehead to his, with appropriate bonus treats. I want him to think of that one-on-one contact as something good.

When I left he followed me for a few steps, then went right back over to his corner and stood next to the fence. He lifted his head and brinnied for Kong, then Kong brayed back from his new pasture. It's interesting how they like each other's company, but didn't seem to get along at the fence.

Session #2 - around 6:30 p.m.

Little Man was way out back; in fact I couldn't even see where he was.

But I called him, and it wasn't long before I saw him walking up. He was covered with mosquitoes. I petted him, then told him to wait a minute. I ran back in and got the marigold spray. He looked suspiciously at the bottle, but targeted it when I asked him to. He targeted it several times, then I began touching it to his face, neck, and shoulders. Then I gave it a trial spray and clicked during the spray. He whirled and jumped away, and ran off several yards. He looked at me accusingly and refused to come get his treat. I set the bottle down by the gate and walked out to treat him. Then I went back and sprayed the rag. He let me wipe his face and neck, with my clicking and treating all the while. I was pleased to see that after I wiped him, there were few if any mosquitoes on his face and neck.

Then I went to the rope. I had him target it, then I touched it to his neck and up by his ears. He still shies and pie eyes me when it touches his ears, but he does steady when I talk to him and hold the rope still against his ears. He also shies when I move the rope up towards his eyes and forehead, but again he steadies when I talk to him and still the rope, then move it very slowly up a bit before clicking.

I did kiss his nose several times, clicking and treating. He did not shy away as he has before. It's funny to see him prick his ears when I put my face to his.

I finished up by rubbing his ears and talking to him, telling him what a good, smart boy he is. When I left, he stood like a statue, with his ears back but not flat, just watching me. I called his name, and he finally moved, dropping his head to graze.

I am pleased that when he does spook or move away, he comes back, or at least lets me approach him again. There was a time when he would shy away and then not let me near him again. All things in good time. We are progressing, and I am so thankful I was led to clicker training!

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