I have just registered for Clicker Expo 2010 in Portland at the end of January! And so I had better shake off the winter doldrums and get back to work!
Haltered and tied all three and set up the cavaletti jump. First I cleaned hooves, just to get that done - Ringo was grumpy and trying to kick but I managed to work him through, although he hated being tied and almost chewed through the lead rope!
Deenah is such a good jumper that I wonder if someone had actually taught her ... she tucks her feet up neatly and really sails over the jump as if she was in a competition ... it's beautiful!
Dorica was hilarious! She trotted towards the jump, tucked up her front feet nicely and ... plopped just her front feet over, leaving her hind feet on the other side! Too funny and I couldn't help laughing as she did it over and over again. But clicked and treat her anyway. Clicker training has motivated her so much - both her pace and interest have quickened!
After putting Ringo and Dorica in their stalls with some hay, I led Deenah a ways up the road . Prior to clicker training, she wouldn't even venture down the driveway without the rest of the donkeys, but now she focusses on me and what I am asking her to do and gets rewarded for trying. So her motivation is up and it's really obvious how clicker training can both motivate and encourage.
After all three had their 4:30 meal, I decided to try working with Ringo again. I brought out my target stick - blue ball on the end of a dowel with a clicker taped to the end -and we went back to basics for a bit just to make him feel comfortable. Then backing up around all 4 corners of the stall - he did well! So out into the paddock and I asked him to follow the blue target at the distance I wanted him to be ... a couple of feet beside me to my right. He does so much better at liberty than haltered. And he did well, didn't try to cut me off, although kept trying to bite the target (blue ball) so I had to remove it and hide it behind my back (of course he knew where it was but didn't persist in biting it.)
Felt much better about his progress! Links to Clicker Expo: http://www.clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/