Thursday, June 10, 2010

Clicker and Cole

We are clicking!

Last night, I took Cole out in the indoor arena, threw his target on the ground, he walked right to it, touched it with his nose, I clicked, his head shot up and he came over for his carrot. Now I am sure he has got it.

We started off with walking around the yard. It is pretty big, and I took him places he hasn’t been, yet. We practiced multiple walk transitions with the clicker, and he did well. He was starting out with the lightest of pressure. Even when he thought he was going back to the barn, and I turned him away, he only hesitated for about 2 seconds. I did about 15 minutes of work on this.

I put him back in the barn, cleaned stalls and took Cruiser out for a ride. When we got back, we started new stuff. I warmed up with head down—something we started a couple days ago, and he took to it very fast.

In the indoor arena, I worked on sending him away from me as if I wanted to lounge him. Now, I know I can chase him away with a lounge whip—that is how his old owner did it, but I prefer a gentler approach. My problem? He doesn’t want to leave me. I worked on both sides, and I got him to step about 3 feet away from me. It was a big improvement.

We then started to teach him to move over from hand pressure. He was clueless on this one, and I discovered it when I was cleaning his stall and I wanted him to move away from me. Instead, he moved into the pressure and started to squash me towards the wall. I had to shove him to get free. This happened a couple times, so this lesson went way up on the list.

I had him standing, and I poked my finger into his side and waited. After about a minute, he finally stepped. I clicked and did it again. It took about 3 times on each side for him to step fairly quickly to a light pressure. We will practice this one every day, and I think he will be on to it pretty good in no time.

Next plan was to get him to move his hindquarters over with a tap of the whip on his leg. I tried this without clicker before clicker was installed, and I tapped and tapped and tapped. He never did budge, so I gave up. This time, it took him a minute to shift his weight. I clicked for that. Then next attempt was 30 seconds and he backed. I clicked—at least he was moving. My third attempt was a sidestep. The fourth was a big sidestep. I was starting to run out of carrots, so I went to the other side. It was about the same as the first side, but I spent less time tapping to get results. I will work on it more tonight.

I got such quick results getting him to move at from the tap this time compared to the first time. I think it is because I got him into the learning mode. I think he was trialing behaviors to figure out how to get a carrot. It was wonderful. I am so glad I found clicker. Who would have thought that teaching my cat to jump through a hoop would lead me to this? Thank you Little Thunder for showing me how to teach with a clicker.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Awesome!! That is so great! I love it when everything clicks lol don't you? :D