Atticus and the Trailer, 5-30-13, Session #75

All conditions are the same as yesterday and the day before: Trailer is in the driveway next to the paddock and about 40-50 feet closer to the back fields than it has been for several weeks.

Atticus loaded up just fine – no need to be shaped this morning. 🙂 I did not hook up the butt bar or close the back door. His side door is open.

I then went off to feed the other horses and get water for the chickens. At some point, he off-loaded and managed to squeeze by the truck and trailer to go to the “front” end of the driveway. The gate is closed, but still. I guess the bits of grass up there were beckoning.

I got him turned around and back down to the open end of the trailer and he loaded again. I let him target his boat bumper and I CT’d for that. Then I started playing with walking toward the truck a couple of steps at a time. If I went too far toward the truck according to Atty, he started to back off. I think he got all the way off a time or two. But he always came back and got back on.

We did get to a point where I could get all the way to the truck’s door and he’d stay on, watching for me. He might have backed up a step or two, but he’d come back to target his boat bumper.

At some point, he was all the way off and he squeezed by the trailer again. This time I asked him to back all the way back to the open end of the trailer. He had to negotiate the tight space backwards, including a slight turn to get by the gate post. And, BTW, “pickles” works just fine to cue him to back! 🙂

When it became time for me to ask him to back off, we played the same game as before: “Can you stand there while I walk to the back of the trailer?” I did that four or five times. Then I just walked to the back. He started to back off and I added “pickles” and a tail tug as he was backing. We’ll work on cleaning that up tomorrow.

So, tomorrow’s plan is to work on my getting all the way to the truck door and opening it and closing it without Atty backing off. And we’ll clean up the backing off cue as well.


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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