Trailering Skills, Session #107

It was late before I got a chance to work with Atticus on trailering skills. First I made sure that both gates to the field were closed so that there were no possibilities of his changing the program on me. I just wanted to check to see what we had solid on the behaviors since it has been so long since we’ve worked on this.

He was quite willing to come out of the paddock and he somehow knew that I wanted him and no one else. Maybe that’s just because I always work with him and not the others? There was a little bit of a dance around the gate and the others to get him out and none of them, but we managed it. I went through the gate and waited. Atticus had to maneuver his way around both Buzz and Ollie to get out.

He first had to check out whether he could get to grass but quickly saw that both gates were closed. He then had to mow what little grass is in the lane where we work. I stayed by the trailer and waited. He eventually came near me, grazing what he could find, and I chose to play a little bit of the “Head Up” game.

Then he offered to look at the trailer and I shaped him a little for looking at the open trailer, taking a step toward it, etc., but waited until he got on. There was a Stud Muffin in the hay bag up front, which is our usual routine.

I then went to the side door, clicked, treated, waited for him to offer to target the boat bumper and CT’d each one (three). Then I dropped a few treats into the bag and went back to see if I could touch a hock.

He backed off, but got on again and we began again. We did a total of 20 trials split between two sets of 10 each. He got off four times in the first set but zero times in the second set. I varied which hock I touched and I don’t click until I get to his side door and open it.

If he gets off when I don’t want him to, I just wait for him to get back on. There is no clicking or treating going on.

Between the two sets, I asked him to back off and treated heavily. Then I waited for him to offer to get back on. He backed off on cue both times I asked.

I did not want to go on indefinitely and quit after the two trials. We practice more tomorrow.

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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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