Sunday, September 24, 2017

Smile Trick Training

For the past couple of months I've been casually trying to teach Casey a new trick, specifically how to "smile." I was inspired by several cute horses photos on the internet. Wouldn't it be awesome to get your horse to pose for a photo with you?
Trying to teach Casey to smile
I tried to teach her this trick by holding a treat up to her lips, causing her to try to grab the treat with her lips. When I was first training her to do this, just one grab with the lips was good enough for her to get the treat. Over time I gradually increased what I was asking her to do, making her hold her lips open for a little bit longer at a time.
Step 1: Hold treat in front of her lips
Step 2: Casey tries to get the treat
Step 3: What kinda looks like a smile
At this point, Casey is mostly understanding the concept of how to smile. She'll hold her lips open for two or three seconds. That means I can kind of catch the "smile" on camera, but it's not quite as good as I'd like it.
Casey's smile
What I'm going to continue to work on is trying to get Casey to hold the smile for longer, hopefully at least five seconds. I'd also like for her to "smile" off of the voice command alone. Right now she'll only do it if she knows that a treat is right in front of her. For my envisioned scenario, she'll need to be able to smile without a treat being right in front of her face to capture it on a photo. Also, when smiling Casey tends to keep her head low, in resting position. I'd like for her to lift her head a bit so that you can see the smile better.

So yeah, that's the frivolous and silly thing that my horse and I have been working on. Do you have any useless things that you are trying to teach your horse?

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