Atticus and Trailering Skills, 5-31-13, Session #76

Everything is the same as the last two days: truck and trailer are by the paddock, the hay bag had his breakfast in it, I walked him out on a target (no halter, no lead).

He loaded just fine with no shaping or other encouragement from me. I hooked up the butt bar and closed the back door today. Went up front and CT’d. Then I went off to feed the other horses and let the chickens out. When I came back, I went to him and CT’d.

From here I practiced walking toward the truck, one or two steps at a time. I let him offer targeting the boat bumper and couple of times, then I used his targeting to give me the green light to try turning away or walking away. When I came back, sometimes I CT’d for his looking at me, targeting, or if his head was deep in the hay bag. If his head was up and he was looking at something else or listening to something in the distance, I waited for him to target his boat bumper. If I heard him take a step, I came back and waited for him to target.

I then tried going all the way to the truck’s door and opening and closing it. I did that twice.

Then I shifted to walking to the back of the trailer. Within a few trials, I went to the back door and opened it. Then I went up front and CT’d him for looking at me. Then on to touching hocks a couple of times. If he backed up, I waited and repeated the touch or went up front and waited for him to target. Within a couple of trials, I switched to rattling the butt bar. He shifted backwards perhaps two or three times. I would go up front and wait for targeting and CT that. Again, within a couple of trials, I was able to drop the butt bar without his backing up, go up front and CT, then return to the back to cue the back off. He backed off on cue.

I CT’d him for backing off and backing a bit away from the trailer. Then I left him alone to decide if he was going to load again, which he did. Then we practiced the standing and waiting routine one more time, which he did perfectly again. 🙂

All done for today!

Maybe for the next session, I’ll have the engine running. 🙂

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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