Ollie, Splitting the Environment, Body Awareness, and Impulsion, 5-10-16

Many of my blog posts have been updates on the boys’ training.  This is one of those.  But it is also related to the “Lumping and the Environment” series because Ollie and trailering skills is what got us to look at that topic in the first place.

For this post, I just want to update everyone on how good Ollie is getting about backing off a pedestal and getting onto a teeter.

The world scares Ollie.  The whole world and everything in it.  I’m sure it doesn’t help when he doesn’t know where his body parts are.  I’m still hoping that someday he’ll learn where his nose is.  But that doesn’t seem to be on the near horizon at all.  He bumps his nose rather frequently, I think, and then spends five minutes dealing with it.  It must be a lot like when we hit our crazy bone and then dance around for awhile until that weird feeling goes away.

Anyway, here’s a short clip of Ollie practicing on the tall pedestal.  You may remember in a previous post that it took him 19 tries to get that right hind foot on the ground.  He’s improved since then.

This next one if of Ollie with ALL FOUR FEET! on the teeter!  You  have no idea how hard it was to get him to commit those hind feet!  Before I started the “Lumping and the Environment” series, I was using Stud Muffins to get him to interact with the teeter.  But since I’ve lowered my expectations and my treat value back down to Alam cubes and let him take all the time he needed to get comfortable with the process of getting on the teeter, he’s been getting better and better.

Another big change happened recently because we’ve been working on forward around a round pen.  I’ll add a video of that, too.  Working on forward creates impulsion.  Having more impulsion has definitely helped Ollie get onto the teeter and I’m sure it will help in getting on the trailer as well.

It’s important to know that this behavior was shaped at liberty.  I have no cue for Ollie beginning to trot yet.  We are still in the process of shaping this behavior.

Having said that, I want to emphasize, though, that for Ollie, body awareness (proprioception), and core and limb strength were really more important than impulsion.  Impulsion is the last piece of the puzzle, but impulsion alone wouldn’t have gotten him where he is today.

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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2 Responses to Ollie, Splitting the Environment, Body Awareness, and Impulsion, 5-10-16

  1. LIsa Rossman says:

    What a change from the last videos!! He is so much more confident and aware of where his hinds are.


    • Isn’t it great, Lisa? When I began this project, I didn’t expect that I would need to do much with Ollie. How wrong I was! I’ve had to do so much more training with him and peeling back the layers of his challenges that I ever would have thought I’d need to. It’s been a very enlightening process for me.


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