Today I decided to see what Diamond’s reaction to the trailer would be. Also, I thought that maybe if I worked on hoof handling after the trailer experience, that the possible negative of being near the trailer would then predict the good part of training for foot handling. This is Premack’s principle.
I had set up the trailer to be in her space but she could distance herself from it if she wanted to and the doors were closed for the first couple of days. Her hay net was hung on the trailer but she had access to grass away from the trailer.
Then I opened the doors and put her feed pan a little closer to the trailer. She moved away.
When I hung her hay net back on the trailer with the doors open, she moved right in to eat hay.
Then I walked up and got on the trailer myself with D following. I was rather pleasantly surprised that she began right where we left off when I first went to get her. She walked right up to the trailer and started to offer her front feet. She put her front feet on in very short order.
We got off and I put a few pellets in her feed pan.
I got back on the trailer and she followed. Again in very short order, she got all the way on! I was gobsmacked! She got on in about a minute and I spent five minutes just feeding her in there.
I let that be the end of the training session with the trailer and got off. She got off too and I walked away with the camera. I put pellets in her feed pan.
As I walked away, I heard a noise that I thought was just D playing with the feed pan or something. But when I turned around, I found that she had gotten back on the trailer all by herself!
It’s good to know that she doesn’t actually have any negative associations with getting on the trailer!
Next up: Training her to get on by herself so that I can close the doors. She also needs to find the food in the hay bag and I’m not sure she can reach all the way to the bottom of it.
If you would like to help us help Diamond, please click here to go to the GoFundMe page to help defray the costs of rehabbing Diamond.