Lady is starting to understand the “big picture” of target training.
Simplistically, target training is the process of teaching her to touch a specific part of her body to a target. This morning, we used the “target pole” (which looks a lot like a giant q-tip) to ask for her back feet for the first time. To do all of the necessary work to improve her feet – such as filing her nails and trimming her pads, Lady needs to present her feet calmly and keep them in place while we work. As those who have seen photos of her feet know, her feet are in terrible condition, and this is a crucial step towards her physical healing.
This morning, we were placing the target near her back foot and asking her to touch it to the pole. The first time we asked, she swatted her tail towards the pole, as if to say, “What are you doing back there?” Her love of anything new. 😉 The second time, she moved her foot towards the pole a little bit, but also with a touch of attitude. It was still positive enough to earn herself some treats as we let her know that’s almost what we were looking for, but a bit more relaxed.
Twice more we asked for her foot – and both times, she picked her foot all the way up (about 3 ft up) and held it against the target pole for 3-5 seconds. Lady was calm and steady and only put her foot down when we blew the whistle to let her know she was done. It was perfect- unbelievably so for our first ask. Lady received what is sometimes called the ‘jackpot’ reward, to let her know how fantastic it was, just in case all of the verbal praise didn’t convey it enough. We love being able to end sessions on a super positive note, so we stopped there.
Lady seemed pretty proud of herself, and we were pretty clear about how pleased we were too, so all in all, today was an excellent day for Lady & humans alike. Elephants of the past have taught us that this doesn’t mean she’ll necessarily do it again tomorrow, but she’s clearly a thinker, and it was great to watch her figure things out and do it in a relaxed manner. Baby steps that are really giant leaps.
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Sheila saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:04 pm
GREAT NEWS SCOTT?! THAT LIL LADY IS A SMART COOKIE‼️ OH YES. SHE DID REAL WELL AND ITS ALL GOOD NEWS FOR U FOLKS AND WILL BE FOR LADY ALSO, SHE MAY JUST SEE THIS THIS THERAPY UP COMING WHEN U DO WORK ON HER FEET AS SUCH A GOOD FEELING SHE MAYBE BE HANGING OUT AT THE BARN EACH MORNING AT DAWN WAITING FOR YOU?
Dianna saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:20 pm
A great day for Lady, hopefully soon she will be on her way to some better feet and less pain.
Barb saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:20 pm
Yay for baby steps, Lady! So happy to get this description of target training for Lady. A mile begins with that first step.
Maggie saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm
Yay Little Lady you are a super star. You’re a very level thinking ele. This work will make your feet feel a lot more comfortable. ??????
Kelejan saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:22 pm
You are getting there dear Lady. Then your feet will feel much better.
Donna Johnson saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:36 pm
love her soo much! Thanks to Scott and all elephant lovers around the world!
Terry saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Lady! Lady Lady! You Rock girlfriend!!! So proud 4of you. You know how much these treatments are going to help you! Must be the Ramba effect touching you too!!!! ???
JoAnn Merriman Eaton saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 6:18 pm
Lady – so proud of you. Loving your independent, intelligent spirit, and no more stink-eye!!
Sallie Robbins-Druian saysFebruary 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm
Good job, Lady! You are such a Smartie and in great control! I love to follow your progress!
Rosie P saysFebruary 11, 2020 at 5:35 am
A positive step..she’s a rock star, for sure! I love the detail in the description. It’s so informative and I have learned so much from these blogs.
Well done Ladybug!
Carey saysFebruary 11, 2020 at 9:14 am
She is a star, and so is her trainer! Great news!
Sherry saysFebruary 11, 2020 at 10:27 am
Sanctuary you do a fabulous job because I sense the elephants trust you! Thank you so much.
Muriel Servaege saysFebruary 11, 2020 at 11:28 am
Lady, you are super. Congratulations for the progress you have made.
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Lady’s Baby Steps That Are Really Giant Leaps