Often when we are working with horses we give a cue that ‘we’ think should go with a trick. Then we get frustrated when the cue doesn’t work.
It is so important in our training to take a step back. Not being determined to use one certain cue but to be willing to experiment and find something our animals can better understand can avoid frustration for both of us.
I thought that stepping forward and back would be a workable cue to ask Ghost to step forward and back. After all, it works on the horses. The horses don’t have spin down like Ghost does.
My step back was close enough to her spin cue that she offered spin instead. I didn’t reward it because that wasn’t what I was after. She was trying her heart out. Just not giving what I was looking for. If I kept going at it her frustration levels would skyrocket. She would quit being so happy to try.
That is the last thing we ever want.
Catching myself and realizing the problem, luckily, I started experimenting. What would she do if I touched her leg? I didn’t expect back, I was just trying it out to see what sort of response I got so we could look for something from there.
Fortunately what she offered was what I was looking for. Now we had a cue that was clear and not frustrating to her and getting back was easy.
When something isn’t working quitting the thing we are doing and searching for other ideas can be the best thing we can do for our animals.
- Horse Whorls, Lop Sided
- The Diagonal Double Whorl, Horse Whorls