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Grooming
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hurleycane
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Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
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 Posted: Tue May 20th, 2008 04:21 pm
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http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=12&forum_id=1

Thanks for the today's link to this thread above.  Great lesson here.  

I think I need to incorporate this lesson with Holiday and his latent grooming issues.  I am approaching this issue as a pattern of avoidance caused by the very real back problems he initially had - and my efforts are to change the response we are getting. 

Prior to chiro/rehab, he used to cringe with pain from a spastic back when being groomed, especially on his torso (you could actually see his back muscles cording).  I have switched to the lightest of brushes and curries as well as avoiding vigorous strokes in the back and torso area.  He no longer 'cringes' while grooming his back but rather he tries to evade it: he will paw, stomp his front feet, swish his tail, move away. 

After reading the Birdie book and other threads I used the question Dr Deb often asks folks to determine exactly what the horse did just before an unwanted behavior.  So during grooming I paused to 'observe' as soon as I noticed him do anything to indicate discomfort.  In doing this I noticed he 'paused' in his behavior as well.  So I took advantage of that to try to change his behavior. 

Now I  pause/hesitate my grooming the second he begins to shift his weight, lift a shoulder head or tail.  When I do this he seems to notice "I have noticed" and will stop his avoidance to consider me.  Then I slowly finish the grooming stroke and will stop again the second he begins to shift his weight.  I can usually get a few strokes in till I have to pause again.

If he does walk or move away, I have been moving him back to the position he started at and then resume the grooming.   We eventually finish the grooming with him more or less quiet and in one place. 

I have unsuccessfully tried to groom him free in the stall while he eats his hay and he will circle away very agitated by the effort.  So I have kept the grooming to the cross ties only.  After reading this, I will now try to groom him with a lead line so he feels less confined but is more controlled then being loose.  

I am now wondering if this hesitation I do the moment he indicates avoidance is a good approach to continue with?  I think it is working as he seems to regard it as "I am caught" and remains still even though his intent was to move away.  And it seems far better than the constant scolding or my ignoring the behavior which I had been doing. 

Any other suggestions?



hurleycane
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Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
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 Posted: Thu May 22nd, 2008 05:13 am
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Problem Solved.

Two Words: Lead Line!

Thanks Pam!  http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/224-3.html 

Now, where's my corner...

~Mary Ann :~)


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