Thursday, November 29, 2012

Help . . .

. . . he's still biting.

This week he managed to grab skin and muscle on my forearm, which left a really nice welt, for which he got whacked. Involuntary reaction to intense pain. He also got yelled at. Then last night he bit my thigh, grabbing skin and pants, for which I grabbed him and yelled in his face, but did not hit him.

My actions resulted in him throwing his head up when I reach for him now. I don't think he's learned not to bite, just to avoid my hand coming at him. Not the result I wanted. Help.

We've stopped feeding any treats by hand. We've stopped giving him treats at the beginning or during the middle of our handling of Ashke. He only gets his bran mash with carrots in his bin when we are done.

T thinks he is biting more because of his ball play. J thinks he gets more nippy when he's not being worked. He's not being worked, in part because I don't want him stressed right before the move, in part because I hate riding in the indoor arena, and in part because I have no time right now.

I do know this horse has a tactile need to touch, lick and bite with his mouth. When he is stressed he licks. When he is uncomfortable he licks and bites. I want him to be comfortable and not shy away from me, but I don't want him to bite. I don't even care if he is using his mouth to communicate, but I don't want him to use his teeth. This is the only area where I feel he is untrustworthy.

T bit twice when he was a toddler. Both times I did to him what he did to me. I bit him back. He stopped biting really quick. I need something that is similar in modifying Ashke's behavior.

I just read a great article on changing the behavior and I need to talk to J and T about implimenting the process. Once we are all on the same page, and I see if we get any results, I will report back. In the meantime, any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

And, because I like you, I have videos to share:

Gads is he funny or what. In this next video my favorite part is when he stops and stands square. Isn't he a great looking horse?

1 comment:

  1. I've been pondering this as I read the other posts. It sounds like you have a plan. I do think that his play with the ball has bled over into interactions with you guys. But I also think that you can use that to his advantage--make it clear that it is okay for him to bite on the ball--an that there is no biting (even just what seems like friendly grabbing of clothes) on people. When he reaches for clothes I would turn and face him, make "ugly face" (human version of ears pinned back) and maybe advance on him a little. Basically telling him "I'm Alpha, you do not have permission to touch me." Wait a minute and then touch him--which reinforces your position of being the one to initiate touch and also gives him whatever reassurance he was seeking in the first place. Who gets to touch first is very important in horse language. It is the same thing with horses who rub their heads on you because they are itchy. The head rubbing is also dominance thing--so you have to firmly let them know, I will scratch you--but you can't scratch yourself on me.


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