Saturday, January 16, 2016

Doing It My Way, Part II

I had realized the night before that I was trying to be someone I wasn't and that was killing my confidence. I was constantly second-guessing myself, wondering if I was doing it "right".

I woke up excited to work Skeeter. We didn't have a lot of time, but I was going to work her by my rules.

Holy cow, what a difference a day (and a change in attitude) makes. My confidence came flooding back and Skeeter snapped right to.

Julie always says to use the amount of pressure that motivates change. I was trying to be nice and quiet, with very subtle cues, but that wasn't cutting it. Once I went back to what I know I felt so much better.

I asked, expected her to do what I asked and if she didn't, I immediately escalated. For example, she's a bitch about backing. She would evade the correction by just raising her head without moving her feet. However, once I changed my attitude she didn't even think about evading. I gave the lead rope a slight wiggle to ask her to back and she didn't, so I immediately escalated and told her to move with a big, scary correction. After the first correction, it took just a wiggle of the rope to get her to back up. After that, all I had to do was wiggle my finger without moving the rope.

We did circling work (again, I don't think we'll ever be done with that), lots of change of direction, backing, and standing ground tied. She's by no means perfect after one session with the "new" me, but leaps and bounds better than with the "faux" me.

It was a much shorter session than the day before, but when we ended both of us were in a much better place mentally. I'm actually looking forward to working with her again. I hadn't realized that I was dreading working with her before, but now I realize how much my lack of confidence was weighing on me.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Hooray! I wonder if Jessica had been using more pressure in the beginning and by the time you saw her working with Skeeter she had whittled it down to lighter cues, making it look calm and clear and easy. I've been trying to train Rock to move out of the way of the gate quicker, and he's such a lump on a log. Then one night I lunged at him with my tiger claws out making growling noises and he moved out of the way in a hurry. Now it's easy getting him to move. All I have to do is point to the far corner of his stall and blow a raspberry.

Linda said...

Every trainer is different, why shouldn't you be? Once they understand what their job is, I think you're okay to ask them any way that's clear and fair. A little toughness goes a long way. They remember. Glad you're looking forward to it now. That's important.