Cole Train’s Trick of the Month

Last month, I told you about Cole Train teaching himself to bow, but that he would only do it in his stall. Well, he decided he could do it outside, too. When I ask him to bow, he parks out like a Morgan with his front legs forward and his back legs back. I click him and treat him. Then, he starts to shift his weight back to bow like a dog. I click/treat for that, too. In his stall, the bow can get quite low. I expect, in time, he will do that outside his stall, too.

Now, for the new trick. This one was particularly easy to teach and quite spectacular to show off. I got my chance to show Kevin, and he was quite amazed. I think that we spread it over 3 sessions for a grand total of ten minutes before he had it mastered perfectly.

Cole now plays ball.

We have a jolly ball at the barn that belongs to the barn dog. Since Cole understands targeting, I reviewed it with the ball. If he touched his nose to the ball, he got clicked and treated.

The next step was to teach him to follow it. I put it on the ground and clicked him for reaching down and touching it. That didn’t take long, so I started pushing it away from him with my foot. Now, he had to take a step to touch it with his nose.

I gradually increased the distance and clicked and treated for every touch. Soon, he was trotting to it. He thought it was a fun game.

I can now kick or throw the ball as far as I can with Cole loose in the arena. He will trot or canter after it, stop, touch it and stand there to wait for his click and treat. It is really cute. I suppose I could teach him to retrieve it, but this is good enough for me. We now have a little game we can play together.

Only problem is that before I ride, I have to remove the ball from the arena.

I think I have Kevin convinced to teach Starry the same game. I think Starry will catch on just as quick, and since Kevin doesn’t ride in the arena, it will give them a game to play when the weather is inclement.

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