Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taming Zeppelin

I mentioned the progress I was making with petting and taming Zeppelin on Chrome's Monthly Progress Report the other day. I finally got a video of me petting him, not using any treats to lure him with. You'll see in the video that I can almost touch his neck. If anyone has any suggestions on the next step I'd love to hear them. All the horses I grew up with were used to being handled. The one filly I had that we couldn't touch was very curious, friendly and not at all scared. One day I was sitting in the pasture while they grazed around me and I reached up and touched her belly with a long stick. From that day forward I could love all over her. I don't know if teaching Zep to touch a target and then teaching him to let me touch the target to parts of his body would work or not. Let me know what you guys think.

I also have an adorable video of Chrome playing with Jackal. I really hope you all can see it. I forgot to take snapshots from the video when I was editing it. You really have to see the video to hear Jackal barking and to see the fun they're having. :)

Anyway sorry for the short post. I hope you enjoy the videos. :)


  1. I somehow lost you in the blog transition - glad to have found you again!

  2. Seems to me that once Zep figures out how good scritches feel he will be all over that (provided Chrome doesn't try to stick his big old head into the action). I liked the playtime action video. Kind of like me playing with PeeWee.


  3. You are doing so well, he's come an awful long way since you first got him ;D

    I think the sitting in the pasture is a great idea, I really think that helps the animal be able to approach in their own time and develop trust. The target idea is great too, are you going to use clicker with Zep?

  4. Emma I might try using the clicker with Zep, but I'll just have to see how my schedule is. Chrome, Jackal and Storm are my number one priorities. If I have spare time I'll probably work with Zep, but I also have to spend some time working with Aslan too. And just general daily critter care takes time too lol. My plate may be a bit full hehe. But I love it that way. :)

  5. I'm stealing your Donkey!!!! He's tooooo cute! LOVE the videos! :)

  6. Zep looks like he's doing awesome!

    You are making good progress, I would keep doing whatever you have been doing. :)

    Targeting would be a great way to work on having him approach you and/or follow you.

    With any clicker work or work with treats (well, w/o treats as well), make sure you are reinforcing him not just for being near you or letting you touch him, but also for calmness/relaxation.

    Since your presence is still slightly aversive to him, walking away and giving him distance and a break can be a very powerful reinforcer, even during clicker training.

    I find lots of repetition can be very helpful with the fearful ones. So, approach, pet/scratch (or target a few times, or whatever I'm working on), wait for the horse to look more comfortable/relaxed, then back off for 15 seconds or so. And repeat.

    He is absolutely adorable in the video! totally a cutie. He reminds me a lot of our donkey named Jack Jack. Definitely looks like he is enjoying having those big ears scratched!



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