I taught my horse to fetch a Frisbee because we were both bored.
|"Limited exercise" while recovering from injury means |
stall/paddock rest plus daily handwalking. BORING!
I started with basic target practice where she had to touch an object with her nose to get the cookie.
When she was reliable about touching the object, I changed the rules: she had to take it in her mouth.
Fiddle is extremely non-oral. She was a biter when I got her, so we extinguished the biting by strongly discouraging all oral behaviors around people.
In fact, the very first trick I taught her was "LOOK AWAY," where she turns her head away from the person with the treat in order to earn the cookie. Details about that trick are HERE.
With that background, teaching her to bite the Duckie was a challenge. Teaching her to bite the Frisbee, which kind of feels like biting somebody's shirt sleeve, was an even bigger challenge.
But she learned it. After all, we have plenty of time during rehab to practice, and I have plenty of cookies in my pockets.
The next step was convincing her to walk to the Frisbee after I threw it. At first, she would only take a step or two, and then look back at me. So, I would throw it, and then walk over to it. She would walk with me, and then pick it up.
After a few days of that, I would start walking towards it, but when she started walking, I'd stand still until she got there. Then I'd catch up with her and let her hand it to me.
The next step: bring the Frisbee back to me.
At first, she preferred to stretch back to give me the Frisbee. I rewarded that, because it's an old trick that she was using in a new way.
But I wanted her to move her feet towards me, so we refined it more.
Today, she put a new spin on the trick--she took it to Santa Jim, who was holding the camera!
The next stage is to have her fetch the Frisbee when somebody else throws it (and take it back to the thrower, not just the person laughing hardest).
I'll update with more videos when we get there!