A Blog About My Journey Riding and Training Sora, My Soulmate

Thursday, August 27, 2009

She's Always One Step Ahead :D

I keep talking about how smart Sora is and now I have a good story to prove it. :D

First a little background to this story. I've been soaking and bandaging Sora's left front foot, because of the abscess, twice a day since Saturday when I did my first session in the evening. I've been using treats as reinforcement and to keep her willing and happy. This isn't how I would do this if I had more time because it means that she's been getting away with some behaviors that I don't like. Because of this experience, when I have more time I'm going to work with her on standing still and keeping her feet in things without treats when she is sound. The reason I'm doing this now is because I don't want to hurt her when she is already sore and because it just needs to get done. I haven't had hours to work with her on the lead to get her calm and patient and the treats work very well for doing this and keeping her in good spirits lol!

I'll start the story with Saturday evening: Sora is sore and grumpy. She doesn't understand why she has to stand in the cross ties with her foot in warm water for ten minutes. I give her tons of treats when I get her foot in the water, along with lots of praise, and more treats periodically as she keeps it there. She only takes her foot out once and fights me when I put it back in which is accompanied with tons more treats.

Sunday Morning: Sora is fussy, now realizing that this has to happen more than once. She doesn't fight me when I put her foot in (tons of treats, HELLO) but she does take it out continually and dumps over the entire tray of water once. This is before I bring extra water so I spend the next 6 minutes fighting with her to keep her foot in an empty tray :X

Sunday Evening: I easily get Sora to put her foot in the tray but she takes it out a few times. By now realizing that when I put her foot in she gets more treats then when she just leaves it there. Overall she is much better and I can tell that the treats are starting to sink in. Instead of just being grumpy she is happy and is thinking hard about everything.

Monday Morning: Sora is in a GREAT mood today and willing PUTs her foot in the bucket but removes it at least ten times, knocking it over three times in the process. I realize something must be done.:~)

Monday Evening: I've decided that I won't give her treats when she puts her foot in the tray, instead I'll give them to her once she's kept it in there for a short while. At first this doesn't go over well.

Tuesday Morning: Sora figures out that she has to keep her foot in the bucket for a little while and stands perfectly the whole time, she is also distracted by something outside though lol.

Tuesday Evening: Sora gets the concept and is perfect through the beginning of our session but later on gets bored and knocks the tray over twice. I give up for the rest of the session and decide I need to think of a new approach.

Wednesday Evening: (yes, I missed my Wednesday morning and I felt SOOOO bad) I thought about it over night and have decided that every time she moves her body but her foot stays in the same place I'll give her a bunch of treats along with giving them to her when she stays still for a while. This way she can get treats for doing something which also consists of keeping her foot in the tray rather than taking it out. She does well this evening. She takes her foot out twice but easily puts it back in and I can see the gears turning in her head as she thinks about this new system. Realizing that it is better to move and keep her foot in than to take it out.

This Morning: I can tell right away that the new system is a hit lol! Sora moves around a fair amount but her foot never leaves the tray. Success!!!! I'm brushing her to pass the time and at one point I go over to get a new brush and as I'm walking back Sora looks at me and very deliberately picks up her right hoof and puts it in the tray with her left! I was laughing so hard that I could hardly stand. I eventually got control of myself and fed her a ton of treats. As soon as she got the treats she carefully removed her right foot, looking at me the entire time like "see, I know how this works."

She didn't remove her foot for the rest of her ten minutes and I actually took it out when our time was up. I'm getting a kick out of the new system because she'll shift around and then look at me like "Ok mom, where are the treats? Look what a GOOD girl I'm being!" ROFL. Now hopefully she won't get bored and this will continue to work :D

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