Yesterday, the donkeys and I had 5 visitors who were interested in meeting everybody and naturally I talked to them (probably for too long) about clicker training! Three women and two little girls watched as I haltered all three donkeys and dragged out the cavaletti jump. I put them through their paces one by one .... clicked and treated each donkey for trotting and giving their all over the jump .... that meant Dorica heaved her two little front feet over, Ringo practically walked over and Deenah gracefully tucked up her hooves and "flew" over! Everyone clapped appreciatively!
But, but, but ... was this the "right" thing to do? I puzzled all through today about whether "showing off" the donkeys was undermining their training. Clearly Ringo seemed to have "forgotten" our game where he goes and touches a target and then finds me for his reward. I'm certain he didn't "forget" ... so what was he telling me? He kept trailing after me and ignoring the target.
The things that I have taught the donkeys are still not on cue ... not really firm, although they do know my intentions and what I mean most of the time. But I think I still confuse them.
I did allow the two little girls to groom the donkeys, after determining that Ringo was good with them and visa versa. No feeding though ... at least I feel that feeding by "others" is not a good idea - I'd like to keep the treats directly related to our clicker work.