Sunday, November 13, 2011
Sunny Day Clicker Training
I decided to go play with Chrome a little since it was almost in the seventies today. I just couldn’t waste such a pretty day, even with being sick lol. I’m so glad I did. We had so much fun!
I only intended to review the stuff he already knows. I started with backing because he hasn’t been listening to it well when he’s distracted. He did really well, but Faran was being nosy so we left the round pen. Unfortunately that put us in the area where the persimmons are falling so he completely ignored me while he searched for dessert. When he didn’t find any he came back lol.
He didn’t really want to listen, but when he realized I wasn't dishing out treats unless he performed the behaviors he started listening again. I think he was just in a lazy mood today because it’s been so cold lately and today was unusually warm. Then I worked on shoulder yields. He did perfect on his right side, which is the side he learned first, but needed refreshing on his left side. I just applied the cue and waited for him to do it, when he did I clicked and gave a treat.
After that we worked on following and whoa (not much because Faran got in the way again). Then we moved to the pedestal and worked on circling his hindquarters around the pedestal. He did really well and only tripped off of it once when he forgot to straight his front legs out before stepping over with his rear legs. It was cute seeing him stand on the pedestal with his front legs crossed hehe.
Then we worked on head lowering (which surprisingly he did perfect!), lateral flexion (which he now only does if I’m standing on the opposite side I’m cueing, because if I cue the side I’m standing on he thinks I’m asking for a shoulder yield since they are in the same spot - that’s how light the cue for shoulder yield is that he confuses it with the tickle lol) and picking up all four feet which he did fantastic on! Brat. Now why can’t he do that all of the time? I’ll just have to repeat them so many times he doesn’t even think about it or if that fails just work on fading the clicker. I don’t really care because we have fun and he’s a really well behaved horse.
After reviewing all of that I decided to work on something new. The first thing that came to mind was teaching him to lead by his mane. I’ve been wanting to teach it because it’s so helpful if you don’t have a halter and need to lead them. My Appaloosa mare I had growing up would lead by her forelock through anything. Even when they escaped from the pasture and were eating grass (front yard was fenced too), she would lead back to the pasture. :D Faran was making things difficult though and Chrome kept lowering his head, so I decided to work on him backing up from a light pull on his tail. I’ve been wanting to teach that because it’s a common method used for asking horses to back off of a trailer.
At first Chrome just stood there and ignored me. He’s used to me messing with his tail to clean it and comb it. I increased the pressure a little and he still ignored me, so I started using a bumping pressure (pull, release, pull, release). Keep in mind this is very gentle pressure. I’m not hurting him or aggravating him to a point where he would want to kick. So when I started doing that he started yielding his hindquarters (probably trying to face me), but I just followed him around and kept the cue consistent.
After his third or fourth time of yielding his hindquarters when he came to a stop he placed his foot behind the other instead of across in front of it. I clicked and treated. When I walked back around and started pulling lightly again he almost immediately stepped one hoof backward. C/T. The next time he tried yielding again and when that didn’t work he stepped backward with both front and rear hooves. :D I got him to do it several more times with two steps backwards, gave him a jackpot and ended the session. I’m so proud of how quickly he picked it up! We’ve never worked on anything like this before. Such a good boy.