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October 13, 2005

More of the Touch Game

I recently found another way to use the “touch” game with Andy. You might like to try it with your longeared critters, too.

Every evening I put my donkeys in separate pens and stalls to eat their supplements before I turn them out and give them their hay for the evening. Andy eats his supplements in a box stall. I put him in his stall and give him his bowl of supplements and fresh apple and carrot pieces to eat. Then I close the door and leave him to finish his food while I feed the rest of my donkeys.

After about 15 minutes I come back to pick up their bowls and let the donkeys back out. Andy is a big mammoth donkey gelding, and I don’t want him trying to run over me to get out when I open his stall door! So I have started a little routine that we go through before he gets to come out.

First I open his door, walk in to his stall, and pull the door shut behind me (not latched, just shut). I ask him to back up a few steps so that he is not standing right up next to the door. Then I walk around beside him to pick up his empty bowl. If he tries to head for the door while I’m doing that, I quickly make him back up again. He has to wait patiently until I’m ready to let him out.

Then comes the fun part! Once I’m done getting his bowl, I walk back over to the door, and ask him to “touch” my hand before I give him permission to leave his stall. Usually I ask him to “touch”, and once he has done that, I open the door and walk out of the stall and call him to come with me.

Now that we have been doing this routine for a few weeks there have been a few times when I have opened the stall door wide before I asked him to “touch”, and he just stood nice and patiently in his stall waiting until I asked him to “touch” and told him it was ok to come out.

In this case I use the “touch” game as part of the process of Andy getting permission to leave his stall. It teaches him to be polite and patient while he waits for me to tell him he can come out. That is so much safer than him just rushing out and trampling anyone in the way!

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at October 13, 2005 10:00 PM