I wanted to work on something different this morning to hopefully avoid the 'before breakfast' attitude from Chrome (and also because I'm bored lol), so I pulled out the target. We haven't done any target work in over a year. As soon as Chrome saw it his ears perked up and he started toward me. I did some regular touches at chest level, then some a little higher, then some on the ground. I might use the target to build duration in the head down cue.
Then I walked to his side, reached over his back and used the target for lateral flexion. He liked that and never tried to yield his hindquarters. :) I did a little more work on his stiff side to try and help him loosen up. Then, for curiosities sake, I wanted to see how high he would target so I held it way up in the air and he reached up to touch the tennis ball on the end. When he reached up he lifted his upper lip in a 'flehman' or 'smile'. I about fell over dead. Could it really be that easy to teach him to smile??
So I did it several more times and he got it every single time. He didn't even have to touch the target. As soon as his lip came up I clicked and he got his treat. The only problem I had is he was wanting to step closer so he could reach the target. To fix that I went to the outside of the gate and did it a few more times. :) I'm excited because smile is one of the cutesy tricks I really wanted to teach him. Fading the target is going to be the hard part I think lol. I'll try to get video of it tonight. It's so cute!
Also tomorrow is his progress report day so we finally get to measure him to see if he's reached 15hh. And on Sunday I get to go visit with the Appy mare I had for twelve years as a kid. I've been missing her a lot so I called up her new owner and asked if I could visit. I'll get some pictures so you all can see the adorable mare I learned to ride on. She's twenty one this year.