Today, Atticus walked nearly the full length of the lane to get on the trailer. This was of his own accord as I was standing by the open side door on the trailer. I did not have to go get him and target him up to the trailer. This was a pleasant surprise!
Atticus seemed less inclined to stay on the trailer as he got off three times. Maybe it was the attractive grass in the lane where we practice our skills. Maybe it was moving him 50 feet while in the trailer a couple of days ago. I don’t really know. All I can do is continue to work on the skills and make it worth his while to play and learn the game.
I used my regular Alam cubes (large pellet), Stud Muffins occasionally, and freshly picked grass in case that’s what he wanted. When he’s out, I wait a minute or two and then start dropping Alam cubes against the side of the hay bag. He knows what that sound means and he’ll often leave the grass to get back on the trailer to play the game again.
Along with backing off three times, he backed up once but didn’t get off. When he does this, I wait at the back of the trailer a minute or so. I might try putting up the butt bar and sometimes I just go up front and reward him for not getting off. Today, I went ahead and put up the butt bar. He stayed put.
We continued with our routine and I got in the truck, started the engine, and moved him 50 feet as I did that last time.
I came back to him, opened the side door and gave him a Stud Muffin for the extra-high criteria of moving. I usually do this.
We did our reverse routine and he backed off on cue. He also got back on when I offered him that choice. Of course he was rewarded for that.
I plan do repeat this three more times and then add the halter and lead back into the game. To drive any farther, I need the halter and lead for when he comes off the trailer.