Trailer-Loading Monster! The Good Kind.

Okay, now I’ve created a MONSTER! First I had one that wouldn’t load onto a trailer, now I have one that won’t STOP! 😀

We went out to practice backing onto the mat. Going through the gate, I throw the lead over his back and let him loose in the driveway, since it’s secure, as I latch the gate. Today, he went straight for the trailer and loaded himself from about 90 feet away! Yes, there was a Stud Muffin and a carrot up there for him to enjoy!

He backed off and turned around. We walked to the mat, over it, and started practicing backing to the mat. He was better today about backing to it and putting his hind feet on it rather than trying to side step it. Not perfect but better. At one point, I did ask for him to step over so that he would step onto it with his hind feet.

I would have him come forward to a hand target and then we’d back again. I CT’d for the hand target. In the beginning I CT’d for each step backwards. Sometimes I’d wait for him to offer, sometimes, I used a hand signal, sometimes a verbal “back”, and sometimes very light pressure on the line to help guide his hindquarters (perfect the aim toward the mat). Near the end, I was not using the line at all.

At some point during these proceedings, he loaded himself on the trailer again (!) and I had to run to give him another Stud Muffin that I had in my pouch.

We went back to practicing backing to the mat. These first two rounds, he was facing away from the trailer. So when he took himself to the trailer, he had to turn around to face it.

Then, after he unloaded after this second self-loading, I wanted to try backing onto the mat while facing the trailer. He immediately thought that he had to load himself again! He got a handful or two of Alam cubes.

Back off he came and we went back to the mat to again practice backing AWAY from the trailer to the mat. He did pretty well and I decided we were done for the day. We only got about halfway back toward the gate to leave when he stopped. I released the lead line to see what he’d do. What he did was get back on the trailer! Again!

He got off and again I tried to leave and be done for the day. I had to ask for him to come forward and CT that so that we could leave the driveway and the trailer. I think if I hadn’t, he would have continued to load for the rest of the day!

It’s now a reward for backing onto the mat?

And, I think he’s better about coming off the trailer, a little bit better about placing his feet and being careful about how he comes off.

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About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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