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

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tricks for Chloe

A recent comment on an old post got me thinking that maybe Chloe should come out and have some activities rather than just graze the lawn.  Perhaps the Chloe Rule - Chloe Never Has To Do Anything She Doesn't Want - doesn't have to mean that Chloe never actually does anything.

So I went into the field with the halter to fetch her out. She saw the halter and wouldn't let me catch her until she was good and sure that George was not going to come and play the boogie man while she was helplessly caught on the end of a rope. After I'd managed to convey to George three or four times in a row that this was not his turn, Chloe must have been finally convinced, and she stood and waited for me to come up and put the halter on - her assessment of the situation is always superior to mine.

Then we had to get out of the gate. Chloe hid behind me while George stood nearby making evil big brother faces at her. I didn't chase him but stood and talked to him for a little while, feeding him a few treats and asking him to back away. Finally mollified, he walked away, and Chloe and I were able to exit the gate without drama.

We ran around together a little bit. Then I lead her over to an upturned bucket. First we shook hands, and then I asked her to put her foot up on the bucket. She immediately struck the bucket with one foreleg, and on being asked again, struck it with the other one. About five years ago, I briefly taught her to put her foreleg up onto things - did she remember that, or perhaps she just understood what I was asking ... ?

Then we ran over to the brick ledge of an old outdoor firepit. She stopped dead a few feet away and refused to budge. I cajoled and coaxed to no avail. When I sat down on the ledge and said "It's ok, you can stay there," she stepped forward. Again I asked her to put her foot on the ledge. She reached out and pawed it. But I wanted her to leave her foot there, so I put my own foot up and waited. She looked, thought for a moment, and then lifted one foreleg, placed her foot on the ledge beside mine and left it there. But not long enough for me to get a photo!

We did the spinning trick, went for a very short walk, and then I took off the leadrope and let her get on with the important business of lawn grazing.

There then followed the action-packed interlude recounted in the previous post.

Chloe was the last one back into the pasture, and of course George was guarding the gate as usual.

I stood in the open gate, Chloe watching and waiting for the right moment to enter.

Eyes on George
George stood by the gate opening next to me, and no way was Chloe going to walk past him.

Again, I had a conversation with him, although this time I had no treats left to give. He knows I need him out the way to let Chloe in, and before long he switched to the other side of the opening, positioning himself behind the gate so that there was a barrier between him and Chloe as she entered. She walked right in, and George didn't follow us when I took Chloe's halter off.

Today, I took a leaf out of Spilker's book and doled out treats as encouragement rather than just as rewards. I gave Chloe treats when she refused to move, or when she looked confused, as well as when she did a trick. And I handed them out to George not only when he backed up as requested, but also before asking him.  Hooray for warmer weather and getting out and doing things!

I know. I'm such a great guy.


  1. I'm sure Chloe enjoyed the stimulation. She has a similar mark across her nose to Rosie. Is it from a badly fitting headcollar when she was young, do you think?

  2. Yes, I noticed that Rosie and Chloe shared that mark. I think Chloe acquired hers since she moved in with us, although I never turned her out or left her alone wearing a headcollar. It may have been her fly mask. I don't know if the greying could have been a delayed reaction to an ill-fitting headcollar worn earlier.