Posts Tagged With: stick to me

Don’t just do something, stand there!

River gets sticky and tends to lag on-line, not just walking 12 feet behind but kind of dragging on the halter at times. To instill a new pattern of cooperation — walk with me, not against me — Erin taught me how to teach Stick to Me on-line, with an eye toward future Liberty.

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Rocky sorta kinda always wanted to stick to me, and in fact looking back, I can see that Rocky taught me how to play Stick to Me game — at Liberty, no less. I didn’t teach him nuthin’.

With River, I’ve had to learn how to be particular about her finding the sweet spot, able to flick behind instantly when she lags or to use the stick in front if she surges forward. The stick, not the lead line, as at Liberty I wouldn’t have the lead line.

We did well the first two sessions but on the third, I felt like I was getting after her constantly, and that every walk turned into several flicks or a turn to the inside hindquarter yield. I didn’t want her to think that being with me means being flicked all the time. Embiggening my phases just made her less willing, so I had to think about what else I could do. I thought … well, she’s lagging, so what if we walk v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y. Not just step and pause, but actually moving our feet in slow motion.

She loved it. Her ears came forward, she looked at me, she matched her steps to mine, and I slowed us down even more. Then we rested and licked and chewed. After that, I could alternate among stealth walk, normal walk, jog, and trot, and she would stick to me.

We had varying success in the fourth session yesterday. We are taking today off. In the next session, I want to combine Stick to Me with Point to Point. I’ll hide cookies, apple slices, and other goodies around the ranch — guess I better put the donkeys away first — and we’ll practice all our gaits and find treats everywhere we go.

That should work on two levels. One, she won’t get so obsessed about the idea that I might have cookies on my person that she can only think about mugging me and not about anything else. Two, she will find new interest in Stick to Me because we’ll put the principle to a purpose.

Categories: On-Line, River | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Observations not only disturb what is to be measured, they produce it. ~ Pascual Jordan

If ours is an observed universe, where a quantum thingie fluctuates and flits and does not become something (particle, wave, mote, sandwich) until it is observed, then a few days ago I created a soccer ball for Rocky.

The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynne McTaggart

We were sticking to each other again, and I was making the game more challenging for us, with lots of stops and back-ups and gait changes. I tried contrasting “active halts” — we could leap into action at any moment, so be ready! — with “resting halts” — we’re just going to hang here and breathe and eventually we’ll mosey on. We did more trotting and less worrying on my part about whether it was too much, because I have learned that he will show me if it is, simply by dropping to a walk or by wandering off.

Salsa watches this game with intense concentration, because Rocky likes to drive him when he can’t drive me, and I am still learning how to protect Salsa in these situations.

We were jogging toward Salsa on one circuit, with me on the inside of the bend and Rocky on my left, so that Rocky’s body was between Salsa and me. The smaller of our two horse soccer balls was in the middle of the arena. And I wondered: Can I get Rocky to go after the ball instead of the pony, without using my stick to protect Salsa?

I started turning to my right without checking to see if Rocky would follow. (Trust that he will respond…) I narrowed my eyes, drew my limbs and my energy in toward my body, pushed my nose out in front, and pinned my ears, glaring at the ball with every ounce of focus I could muster. I think I even snaked my neck. Without changing speed, my jog became more deliberate, each foot pushing off the sand with some power, and I held the carrot stick like a jouster’s lance. I made a direct line (ha!) to that ball and bared my teeth just as my carrot stick knocked it forward.


Not only did Rocky not dart at Salsa, he mirrored my actions, lowering his head and sending his energy ahead of him. He still kept an eye and an ear on me though, with that “my word, what is she doing NOW?” look that he does so well.

We did a nice wide turn and came at it from the other direction. I tucked in again and focused hard on the ball. This time, most of Rocky’s focus was on the ball too, and I let him be the one to push it.

We did one more pass, both of us hitting the ball this time (his nose, my stick), and then I dropped to a walk and then a halt for scratches. Lots and lots of scratches.

It’s not that Rocky hasn’t seen the ball before. It’s that in the past, he has nudged it to please me when we played on-line. Occasionally he would nudge it on his own in hopes of finding a cookie underneath. But this time, he homed in willingly, picking up on my intense interest in the ball.

Or, in quantum terms, my observation of it as a sphere to be rolled, and thus it became such, rather than merely an obstacle required by our level 1/2 auditions.

Quantum Physics: The Dreams Stuff Is Made Of

Categories: Leadership, Liberty | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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