Thursday, March 10, 2011

Short Clicker Session

I've decided to teach Chrome to talk on cue. I've read that stallions are more vocal than geldings so I worry that it'll be impossible to capture the behavior once he's gelded, so I'll do it now. I'm just guessing though. I don't know for sure.

Chrome always neighs or nickers to me when I come outside to feed, so I just clicked and treated for that. I got him to do it a couple more times just nickering and then gave up. You have to be patient to capture behaviors with clicker training and I was in a bit of a hurry this morning.

After that I went into the pasture and worked on lifting his front hooves. This time I asked him to pick it up, hold it up, then I would take his hoof and he would relax, then I would click and treat. :) I'm finally learning how to use those behavior chains. He did really well.

After that I did a few lateral flexes to his right (stiff side), but didn't do any rope work because I was working with him at liberty in the pasture. After working on his fronts I moved to his rear hooves and started working on getting him to rest his toes on the ground. It takes a while to get him to do it because most of the time he just stomps. When he does finally rest the toe instead of putting his hoof down flat I click and treat as long as he leaves it. I managed to get it twice on his right hind (the one I worked on before), but forgot that I wasn't supposed to push it beyond that. He got frustrated and started walking away from me. He finally rested his opposite foot so I clicked for that a left him alone. I have no clue if that was the wrong thing to do considering I wasn't tapping that hoof . . . we shall see. This is all new to me.

After that I worked with Zeppelin. I've decided to just work on his left side for a few days to make sure I haven't lost what I've gained and then I'll try again on his right side. He did well today with me standing on his left side petting his head, neck, ribs (on both sides) and back. I did actually run my hand down his forearm too, but he didn't like that. I still think I'm trying to go too fast, but it's so hard to slow down. I'm used to working with Chrome and Jackal who will let me do anything to them and catch on so quick. I'll just be patient. I'm thrilled I'm touching as much as I already am considering he's never been handled. Sweet guy is so brave. :) That's all for today I guess. It's been a long and stressful one and I won't be doing a second session.


  1. I was able to capture Cole urinating and it became a habit in just a few tries. It may not take that long to capture him talking with a few captures.

    I didn't use the clicker, because I didn't want him to stop until he was finished. I just threw treats in his dish. He now does it within about a minute of grooming in his stall.

    I always figured a horse would be more cooperative with training if he didn't have to do his business.

    He has been adding new moves to his performance. Sometimes he puts his head up really high, and sometimes paws quite elegantly.

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