Looking for things to do with a young foal.
I took in an orphan around 3 1/2 weeks old. And right from the start I used positive reinforcement (voice and scritches).
I also started right away teaching her about feel. Leading, picking up hooves lightly, moving all her body parts.
Now she is interested in bits of food. Just today I started target work with her. Because of the curious nature of foals, she was 100% touching the object presented. (A RED bucket lid) She appeared to get the touch the toy, get the bit of grain. I DO realize that tomorrow she might very well go "HUH???" But, I think age is on her side in a way. She is interested in everything.
Looking for fun and safe little things I can teach a baby. It has been a while. I know I can help the little one to grow into a solid citizen. But, I would like to teach her little trick type things to keep her mind occupied and help build a solid foundation for her future.
I am excited to have the chance to start fresh, with an innnocent and unspoiled mind and soul.
Would love to hear your suggestions on things to do with her.
Yes, get one of (or all of) Alexandra Kurland's books and DVDs.
The main thing is to be sure she learns that she won't get treated for bullying you. Alexandra demonstrates this on one of her DVDs. She has the horse behind a stall guard, and he's fussing and pinning his ears, demanding the treat. As soon as he momentarily stops (probably by accident), she clicks. In time, the horse learns that standing still and looking pretty gets clicked. Pinned ears and ugly faces don't.
Honestly, your imagination is your limit. Teacher her to move away from pressure, to stand on a pedestal, to touch your outstretched hand, to back between two barrels, to follow you "off lead," to touch a series of cones in a circle around you.
Karen Pryor (who is the founder of the whole clicker training movement) has a brand new book out this week, Reaching the Animal Mind, which is a wonderful overview of clicker training and the science behind it and around it. It's not a book of training recipes (though there are a couple in the back), but more a book of case studies and principles. In the second half of the book, she aggressively explores WHY clicker training works, and what works about it, and finally she finds the scientists who knew all along that the clicker accesses a different neural pathway - and didn't everyone know that? One of the surprises to me is that it really does make a difference to use a clicker rather than your voice, because anything that sounds like speech is processed in a different center of the brain than a sharp, unusual noise like the click.
She also talks about using clicker techniques (renamed 'tagging' because "everyone knows clicker training is for dogs) for people - gymnasts, riders, and special needs kids. What the clicker does is it allows the trainer to be extremely precise and focused, plus it also accesses the amygdala, so you get that same instant learning again, the same permanent learning that you get when you touch a hot stove only once rather than having to be reminded a month later that fire is still hot. With the gymnasts, for example, the coach was able to more precisely communicate when they were exactly vertical in a handstand.
There is also a section describing Panda, the seeing eye pony.
I have a pony that was getting mouthy and who always mugged for treats. I did one clicker training session with her where I would only click and then feed her when she backed off. Then I got busy and didn't do it again for a while... but the lesson has totally stuck. I watch her when I'm holding carrots, and I see her subtly look away while still looking at me - she's cuing me for her carrot! And it works. We've trained each other to our mutual satisfaction.
Anyway, it's a terrific book, and just out this month. I highly recommend it.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket