Atticus and Butt Bar Noises, 2-2-13

Okay, today, in practicing trailering skills with Atty, I didn’t use the camcorder again because IT said it was too cold to operate! That’s right, folks. The camera told me it was too cold! Well, I guess I won’t leave it out in the cold, windy weather while I wait for my partner/helper to get out of bed. I’ll have to leave the camera in where it’s warm until I actually need it. Sigh.

Anyway, we went to the trailer with this plan: Kelsey was to slowly raise the butt bar, pause, and then lower it again, approximately ten times. Then the next step would be to raise it, clank it as if she was going to hook it up, but lower it instead and do this ten times. Then raise it, hook it, unhook it, and lower it ten times.

While she was doing her part, I would be using the cone as a target and to see if Atty remained operant or disconnected at all, and to see if he was going to back up. Kelsey was to let him off if he started to back off. The butt bar would only be hooked for a second so it should be a problem if she’s already going to unhook it anyway.

He readily loaded and I began my targeting, clicking, and treating. When Kelsey finished her ten reps and dropped the butt bar is when Atty decided to back up. Since I can’t see what’s going on back there, I just kept offering the cone to see if he would still touch it or continue to back up. He often chose to touch it and stay on, but he did back off a couple of times.

When he did back all the way off, we practiced with the pedestal. After a bit of practice backing onto the pedestal, he would offer to get back on the trailer and we would do the next set.

Even when the butt bar was hooked, he didn’t try to back into it. He only offered to back off after the butt bar came down. And in this last trial, he just stayed where he was, touching the cone and getting treated.

There were a few times in each set that he’d rather eat hay or search for treats in the hay bag rather than touch the cone and get a new treat. This was also the case when the butt bar was hooked and stayed hooked, but he never tried to back up either.

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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