“Z stop. Z look. Z touch. CLICK CLUCK.” What the click is this craziness my mule mama is talking at me today? She says it’s her take on clicker training because she doesn’t have a clicker. Sometimes that woman just makes me laugh at her. Like a lot. She had led me into the round pen, or as I like to call it, my own personal workout room, with all sorts of things tied along the rails. I mean she had everything in there, from a brush to a ball cap and from a hoof pick to a plastic bag.
In and of themselves, none of those things were really frightening, but have you ever heard what a ball cap sounds like banging against a metal gate at point blank range? And she wanted me to put my nose on it?!? This chick has always had more faith in me than I’ve had in myself, I’ll give her that. But it was during those first round pen sessions full of mule voodoo, as her friend so lovingly refers to it, that our relationship started to build.
For days and weeks and months, I literally would be introduced to all sorts of new objects inside that round pen and I would touch each one with my nose. Often I approached new items rather cautiously, and other times I was surprised with an apple-carrot flavored reward stashed inside. Well, mama just took this little training game to a whole new level once the treats came into the picture. She’d absolutely found a way to hold my interest.
Because of her patient and repetitive approach, this round pen was also where I learned that having my ears touched wasn’t such a horrible feeling after all. Mule mama kept promising me that she’d never do anything to intentionally hurt me, but I’d been promised things before. She started slowly, using one of those carrot stick thingies and rubbing it all over me from butt to neck and then one day just shot it right up between my ears. She’s a sneaky lady, that one! I still didn’t care for it much, but I would tolerate it just to entertain her…on my left side, that is.