Objective One: habituate to humans

Our goal today is to be able to hand feed the boys inside their pens. Everything goes in stages and is rewarded with positive reinforcement.

    Stages in Habituate to Humans

  1. Look at human
  2. Turn body towards human
  3. Take a step towards human
  4. Come near when human is sitting
  5. Eat from hand when human is sitting
  6. Eat from hand when human is standing
  7. Eat from hand from active human
  8. Move around pen to eat from hand
  9. Eat from hand from human in pen
  10. Follow human around to eat from hand

As of 11 a.m. we are just starting task five. This phase of training is time intensive and I just have to spend my day next to the pens. Lucky for me the biting midges (aka sage gnats) are not biting too hard. I am chewed up from the last few days. It was totally stressful until I found the last drops of skin-so-soft in the tack shed.

I tossed a few beet pulp pellets into their feeders last night. The pellets were left in the bottom with some tufts of moldy hay this morning. Here I am once again fighting the problem of having no non-hay treat items to reward the ‘stangs with. There has to be a sensible solution, but I have tried so many things with no success. Nevertheless, I’m going to toss a couple of horse candy chunks into the troughs just in case they want to experiment.

The names have been chosen: Big Mike and Gus. Big Mike is the picky eater with the black face. Gus is the one seeking gustatory pleasure.

Gus has a broken off pinyon twig sticking out of his eyelid. It doesn’t seem to be bothering him, but my goal for tomorrow is to have my hands on that guy and get it out of there. That will require another set of objectives.

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