Backing onto a Mat, 12-27-2012

Keeping in mind the axiom from an old Norwegian tug boat captain: “The weather is never wrong; only the clothes are wrong,” I put on another layer for the wind and went out to train.

Mr. Atticus appears to really know what he’s supposed to do now – turn around and face me and back his hind feed onto the mat. He was so quick about it, too! And equally well done no matter which side of him I was on. Now this is with his butt to the trailer. He got a Stud Muffin each time and then I let him go onto the trailer and I fed him through his side door.

I decided to try again with his head facing the trailer. This was harder for him. First, just this “small” change (to us) and it’s completely different for him. And he was facing the trailer. But he did very, very well. And since I was out of Stud Muffins, he got to load himself on the trailer.

He did another self-load just because at some point in there. I guess he decided that since he didn’t really know what to do he’d do that. Since I hadn’t asked for the loading nor had he accomplished anything to “earn” it, I didn’t immediately go to treat him for it. So he unloaded himself, looked at me, and got back on. I think the message here was, “Hey! Didn’t you notice I got on all by myself? Helloo! I deserve a treat here!” So I did. 🙂

Then we went back to trying again with him facing the trailer and he did quite well. Whereupon, I “released” him to self-load again. I treated, of course. 🙂

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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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