Thursday, September 18, 2014

Update on Clicker Catching

Just chillin'...
So, Fancy Pony has new digs and is living in a pasture. WITH OTHER HORSES!
I'm ridiculously excited for her, as you might have noticed...
My only concern is that she might be difficult to catch, given her history.
The herd has not instantly accepted her, but there haven't been any real throw-downs.  And she has absolutely no "initiation marks."  She hangs out at the edge of the herd, or she walks off to be by herself.  She is so independent, she just doesn't care if she is with them or not!
I mean, when they all get to running, she is right in the mix of it; but she doesn't feel the need to be glued to someone's side.
My first attempt to catch her from the pasture went much better than I had anticipated.  I armed myself with clicker and treats then headed out wqith halter thrown over my shoulder.  I called to her like I usually do, and headed in her general direction.  She never even acknowledged me as she ambled away.  Slowly.
So, I followed, just as slowly.  When she stopped, I stopped.  I maintained the same distance that initiated her relocation attempt.  Finally, after about 20 feet, she looked at me.  I clicked.  As I reached for a treat, she took a few steps my way, so I clicked again.  While I finished retrieving treats, she marched right up to me and waited to be haltered!!
I continue to take the clicker with me, but ever since, she has made an effort to meet me near the gate to be haltered!  So, I get her all hooked up, then click and treat just for the sake of reinforcing this helpful behavior.
I would call this success!!
I did have video catching her from the back of the pasture in which I whistle and horses come trotting to the gate, but it pixelated pretty bad when I uploaded it, so you guys just have to miss out.  I'll work on that video thing... 

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