Atty and I played with heads up, apples, targets, and saddle pads today. We started with the saddle pad and he chose to be at the hay box. He was willing to play a little, but I did notice that he backed up more than I’d like. However, he did target it gently with his left barrel.
We practiced on the “head up” exercise again as I work to add a cue to the behavior. I drop a treat into his bowl, his head goes down and he eats it, he starts to raise his head and I say “up”, click, and treat by dropping another treat into the pan. We did two sessions of 10 trials each.
Over at the targeting tree, we practiced some more on not allowing non-cued targeting nor “ghost” behaviors. He’s getting good enough that I wanted to raise criteria in some way. I’ve noticed that he plants his feet and only moves his head, so what I changed is moving just far enough away from him that he has to really stretch to get the treat or, better, take a step toward me to get it. I give him two treats, rather than one, for the extra effort.
In Apple Bobbing game, there was even more water in the muck tub today so that if he tried to push it to the bottom, he really had to dive for it. He’d start then pull his nose out right away. I think he wrinkled it a bit and maybe gave a tiny snort. At one point, he tried blowing bubbles on the way down! Good idea! But the next attempt he got water in his nose and he had to snort a lot and make the Flehmen motion with his nose.
He walked away at one point, so I picked up the apple and took a bite out of it for him. He must have heard that because he came back to try again and I dropped the bite into the water. He got the apple a couple of times, but dropped it, and I had to pick it up and drop it back into the water for him. He eventually got the apple after taking bites out of it himself, but I don’t think he liked the new depth.
While I was filling the tub, he grabbed one of the rope handles and I thought he was going to overturn the tub, but he didn’t. It’s curious that he hasn’t overturned the tub when the apples are in it since I know that he’s emptied that tub many, many times. He pawed at it the very first day we tried this and I thought he was going to dump it over then, but he didn’t.
Maybe more tomorrow.