Trailer Loading with Atticus, 5-22-13

No video today as both of my camera’s batteries died. 😦

I moved the trailer again to what we call the “parking area”. It’s a large gravel area where all of cars fit and it’s in front of the barn. To get there I just drove the truck left, across the gravel, and into the trees. Atty has been off-loaded in this area many times. It was a longer walk for him to get to the trailer today.

We walked down the “driveway” next to the barn where I usually park the trailer, up the grass ramp for some grazing, then on to the trailer. He loaded slowly, but calmly and I put the butt bar up and closed the back doors. He had his breakfast and a Stud Muffin in the hay bag to keep him entertained while I fed the other horses.

I came back, opened the back door, and treated him. Then I picked some fresh grass for him. When I decided that it was time to off load him, I walked back to the butt bar and started to lift it out. He backed into it, so I left it hooked and went up front. I CT’d him for looking at me then I asked him to target his boat bumper three times. After that, I went to the back again and unhooked the butt bar and let it drop. I went back up to the front to CT him and ask for three more target touches, which he did. Then I went to the back, he waited for me to get there, and then I gave the cue to back off and he did very calmly – no rushing.

We went to graze a little and then I took him with me to show him that I was putting another Stud Muffin in the hay bag. Then I asked him to load again and he did – a little faster this time! I put up the butt bar and waited for him to finish his breakfast. I picked some more grass for him.

When it came time to ask him to off load, he didn’t wait all that much. As soon as the butt bar was down, he came off. I did ask him to load two more times, which he did, and he got to graze in between. But I finally realized two things: 1) I’m never going to ask him to load twice in succession if I ever take him anywhere, and 2) the reload is just to see if he will load again. That’s all. I don’t really have to worry about his waiting for the back off cue the second time.

And, while he did drop manure yesterday (not mushy), he did not drop manure at all today.

I consider today’s session to be a success. 🙂

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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