Training was really fun today. I took a little break from the target training since he has been doing well with that and played around with him following me and walking up to me when he isn't attached to a lead rope. I want to start leaving him at night without a halter on, but I'm worried that if something happens and he gets loose, it will be very hard for someone to catch him. Since I don't have my own property, Marley is boarded and I'm not there 24/7, I worry about situations like that. He is still wary around a lot of people, but then, he is getting much better. I was clicking and giving Marley a treat or a pat on the neck (random interrupted reinforcement) any time he would follow me or walk up to me when I left and came back into the round pen. He figured it out really quickly, so we just played for a little while.
We started with the saddle today. Yesterday Marley had a blanket and saddle pad on, and he was pretty comfortable with both again today. I decided to see how he would be with the saddle, so I just picked it up and walked around him with it in my hands. Surprise surprise, he was too busy looking at anything else to care. When I placed it on his back, his attention immediately came back to me and he swung his head around and stared at me like "hey!" but he didn't spook or anything. I walked him around with it on his back, sans girth, and he did really well. Next I connected the girth to just one side. Of any place on his body, he is the most nervous about being touched on his belly. I didn't want to go backwards on any of his training by cinching up a girth, so I just let it hang there. Eventually I started lifting it up and letting it touch his belly and then allowing it to fall back down again. He was concerned, but when he relaxed I left it at that. No need to damage any of the trust we've built up.
For the most part, today was just about play and bonding. The training sessions we did have were short and sweet, but I still spent about 3 hours with him. He took a little break from chasing me around to get a nice roll in... of course I didn't have my camera in my pocket, so by the time I got it, he was already getting up. Oh well, they're still cute.
|Marley's yoga pose|