Just want to share our news–prob not that exciting, but further proof of your often stated philosophy of slow and steady with these guys.
Brett’s only ‘hole’ has been head shyness–especially his ears. Joan and I have spent three years on this issue, slowly but consistently exposing him to more and more head/ear contact. I’ve ‘clicker trained’ him, and that’s how he learned to tolerate having his muzzle clipped–took me a good 3 months, but we got it done. The ears have been a much more challenging issue, as it took a full year until I could hold one, and it’s taken another year + to get to the point that I can grab an ear (gently) and he drops his head and turns it to me.
Friday, Joan and I were chatting as I clipped his muzzle. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so Joan trimmed the hairs along his jawline. She then slowly sneaked the clippers up to his bridle path…and he stood there. A few minutes later he dropped his head and turned it to me. I quickly gave him a treat, and indeed, Joan was clipping his ear! No twitch, no drugs, just consistent rules and cookies when he offered the trained behavior. He now has two beautifully trimmed ears, and he looks like the fancy show horse he is. I’m pretty darn proud–not of the neatly trimmed ears, but rather of the trust that those ears represent.
Of course, this is Brett….so he is now facing nearly daily ear trimming until we are sure we have installed the new behavior!
Patience and consistency win again!