It snowed again.
Good because we need every drop of moisture we can get. Bad because it’s cold and wet. I’ll take it though.
We had a calf born in the cold and snow. His mom went off and left him. He was alright, just hungry. We brought them both up to the barn, put her in the chute so he could get a meal but he had been too long without food and couldn’t figure out what to do. We let the mom out and bottle fed him. Our daughter is getting big enough she was able to help with that. It’s always been a bit intimidating for her. This time she held the bottle while we tried to show him how to swallow with no trouble. It worked and now he’s back with his mom and she finally wants him.
Feeding gets interesting in the snow. The wet melting snow works like glue sticking the bits of ground hay to the windows of the feed truck making seeing impossible. The windows have to stay up to keep it all out and then they fog over on the inside. It makes life interesting.
After feeding I walked back to the house, stopping along the way to visit the horses. I’ve been remembering to bring a treat bag along. I can give a couple to the goats and keep them from going completely feral. I can visit Poppy and ask for a couple of tricks from Ghost. And most importantly, I can stop like this and get a few minutes of horse time.
Rusty has learned his group manners perfectly. He knows he will get his turn if he stands in one spot and waits patiently. Lady is only barely brave enough to join the others in the line up. Harvey runs after me, he can’t control himself enough to wait his turn. As I get to each one they are asked to perform one behavior, they get a cookie and I go to the next. Back and forth, up and down the line. I get plenty if exercise because they can’t stand close together to do this.
For Rusty I’m working on stimulus control. I appreciate him offering a sound YES and saying ‘thank you’ but only when I ask. For now he is mostly rewarded for being still. Harvey I’m happy with just holding his quivering over excited little body still. When Lady is brave enough to come up we work on treat manners. Heildorf offers smiles and kisses. They are sweet but I torture him by stepping onto the feed bunk. He bolts then comes back for a treat. I hope the repetition will sooth him. Instead he stops coming back to the fence and we go back to smiles and kisses.
Inside the house in the snow and cold we pass some of the time playing computer games with the children. We are starting new characters in World of Warcraft. I’m willing to play because there are pretty horses. The kids want to know why it’s so easy to play these entry level characters. My husband, who is truly brilliant and actually listens to me when I talk, tells them it’s like positive reinforcement. They are teaching us to play by thin slicing, small easy steps, and rewarding us as we accomplish them.
Then he turns to me and says they really are training us aren’t they?!
I said yes. If they do it right we will be like the horses standing in their pens begging us to come let them out to play! Just then my son said “I want to play!!” and confirmed their training.
Apparently they don’t talk about how they are being trained in the gaming world.Not the same way we talk about how games are a good example of training in the positive reinforcement training world.