The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fun with Chloe

Last night, after getting me to scratch his tail for about half an hour, George finally released me, and I went to find Chloe, who was off by herself in the adjoining pasture.

We spent a pleasant, sleepy time under the moon, and after a long while, Chloe started sticking her foreleg out at me. When Chloe does this, I assume it's rather a different thing from when Bridget does, because I taught Chloe to "shake hands" for a treat reward.  Last night she knew there were no treats in store, and yet she wanted to play the game anyway.  After she'd voluntarily offered her foot, I stood up and asked her to shake hands, which she did.

I felt as if she were looking for something more.  So I asked her if she wanted to do the spinning-around-in-a-circle trick.  Yes, she did. Afterwards she nudged me, so I asked her if she wanted to do it again.  Yes. Another nudge.  How about would she like to do the coming-up-behind-me-and-pushing-me-with-her-nose trick?  Yup.  When she pushed me, I fell over deliberately - to add some fun feedback for her.  She came up and stuck her nose in my face, looking somewhat amused.

At that moment, along came Rose, and off went Chloe.  I said hello to Rose, went to say a quick goodnight to Chloe, who had started busily grazing, and retired into the house.

Chloe always thought tricks were better than other forms of training - possibly because I thought it was inappropriate to use pressure in teaching something so frivolous. We usually worked at liberty and used only positive reinforcement. Now she seems interested in returning to these tricks.  Is she trying to interact or connect? Would she like to learn more?  Is it fun?  Intellectually stimulating?

The difference between the way we did tricks before and the way she does tricks now is that it she is offering, on her own initiative, to do it "for free." If we're going to pursue this hobby, I think the thing is for me to follow her lead and wait until she suggests that we play.

I'm glad that she doesn't see everything we did in the "bad old days" in a negative light.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like she wants to play. Maybe she sees that you can offer her stimulation which she would not have on her own or with the other horses.