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Training, Treats and Curiosity at The Square

 

Kat, Maia, Rana and Lady

Lady watched Rana’s treatment along the fence with fascination and rapture a few days ago.

We treated Maia and Rana along the fence line again today – this time, we had a third person with us, so Kat did the treatment on Maia near the gate at the square where yards 1, 2, 4 & 5 intersect. Meanwhile, Scott and Shirlei treated Rana further up the fence line.

Lady was not around when we began, but quickly appeared and started watching Maia with the same fascination we saw before with Rana. When doing any treatment or training, we use a whistle. With Maia and Rana (and somewhat with Lady) we use ‘terminal bridging’ meaning we whistle when their requested behavior has been completed. So when we have Rana lean in to clean her eye, the whistle lets her know she is done, she can move, and a food reward is on the way. (FYI – We use whistles as it keeps both our hands-free, but “clickers” are also commonly used.) Lady also knows this sound means treats.

Just like before, Lady was engrossed. She got closer. She was fascinated. When Maia and Rana were both finished, Rana came back over to Maia. So, on one side of the fence (near the square where the four yards meet) was Maia and Rana standing together. On the other side was Lady, almost close enough for Maia to touch.

As you may recall from our Friday post, Rana showed great restraint last time. She showed great control again.
Maia, however, reached her trunk through the fence towards Lady to say hello in that very Maia way.

Lady took a step back. She paused. She took another step back and tucked her head as if she expected aggressive behavior from Maia. Of course, Maia just wanted to say hi and wasn’t aggressive at all. After another moment, Lady turned around and took a few more steps away. She didn’t go super quickly, and she didn’t go super far. She stayed pretty calm about it.

Lady seems to resonate more with Kat over the other humans at the moment, so Kat gently spoke to Lady. Kat used a sweet voice, calm tones, and positive words, and Lady started to walk back over. Rather than bring Lady directly back to where she was, across from Maia, Kat decided to give Lady more treats further down, but still along the fence. This reinforces Lady thinking through her concerns, coming back in the right direction, but not pushing her boundaries.

Maia, Rana, and Lady continued hanging out in that general area and seemed good, calm, and comfortable. The humans removed themselves and quietly left the area so the girls could interact as they chose.

Lady is getting there, and we couldn’t be prouder of all of our lovely ladies.

Photo is Kat in the square where the yards meet (the “human cage”), with Maia’s rear to the left, Rana facing Lady, and Lady on the right with an open mouth.

If you missed Friday’s post on Lady watching Rana’s treatment, you can read it here →

February 3, 2020

 

Read More About the Girls on Their Pages:

 

LOCATION OF “THE SQUARE”

Phase 1 female Asians junction/square

Comments(12)

  1. REPLY
    Barb says

    I like seeing the “square” which gives protected contact. Seeing Kat so near the girls is a reminder of just how “big” the girls are relative to Kat. Thank you for including us in your lives.

  2. REPLY
    Maggie says

    Woohoo she’s getting there. Good girl Lady. Maia and Rana want to be your friends. Be brave beautiful. .

  3. REPLY
    Sheila says

    THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT UPDATE! 👍WOW THIS STORY TODAY CERTAINLY ENSURES POOR SWEET LIL LADY WAS BEATEN BY CIRCUS ABUSERS OFTEN AND OR BY OTHER AGGRESSIVE ELEPHANTS! MAKES MY HEART SO SAD💔. I RECALL SCOTT TELLING US THAT LADYS CIRCUS TRAINER STAYED WITH HER AT THE ZOO! WAS HE PART OF THE CIRCUS PROBLEM THAT CREATED THIS FEAR??HE TOLD SCOTT LADY WAS AGGRESSIVE BEATING OTHER ELEPHANTS UP!!! I NEVER BOUGHT THAT STORY AS OF ALL THE VIDEOS AND REPORTS SAY THE ONLY THING LADY EVER DID WAS WHEN SHE WAS IN THE CRATE SHE BANGED HER TRUNK ON THE BARS! AS SOON AS LADY WAS OFF LOADED AT SANCTUARY SHE WAS PRETTY FEARFUL SMELLING OTHER ELEPHANTS!🐘AND HER DEMEANER IS CLEARLY NON AGGRESSIVE!‼️SWEET LADY IS. SLOW LEARNING TRUSTBUT SHE SURE IS TRYING HARDLOVE TO HEAR KAT IS BEING SWEET TO HER IN BUILDING HER TRUST ‼️ TODAY WAS A GREAT SHOWING MAIA IS EXCITED TO GREET LADY ALONG WITH 🐘RANA! NO CONTACT BUT NICE TRY 🐘MAIA I PRAY 🙏THIS. HESITATION WITH 🐘LADY TO BOND WITH THE LADIES CEASES SOON! I VERY HOPEFUL SHES CLOSE TO TO GIVING UP HER FEAR! WOULD U CONSIDER TOUCHING MAIA AND RANA CLOSE TO LADY SHOWING LADY THE GIRLS R VERY PEACEFUL⁉️ 🙏. THANK U FOR UR LOVING ALL THE LADIES SO MUCH❤️

  4. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Fascinating to read about these small but oh so big changes toward acceptance between these girls. The shot of the overhead view is really helpful in understanding the posts of where the girls are, etc. As always….thank you GSE.

  5. REPLY
    g,j,hilton says

    This blog is an educational resource on applied animal care rich like no other, Your extraordinary insight and generosity would be exceptional enough in themselves, but it’s the detail, care and empathy with which you consider and apply your philosophy that is so humbling and instructive. It should be a set text. It WILL be a superb book one day.

    And of course it works like gangbusters as soap opera too. The episode where Lady and Rana finally hug will basically make people weep across six or seven continents,

    Thank you.

  6. REPLY
    Julie says

    I love the photos; I feel like I’m there.

  7. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    That training square is such a good idea. It serves four yards and keeps everything together. I can see Lady getting there. I also feel that three elephants or even three human friends, one is always a little left out. As a human, I identify with Lady, as I have two good friends and I consider each of them as a best friend, but at times they are each with their own best friend from before my time and then I do feel a little outside.

  8. REPLY
    Irene Olson says

    Thanks for this wonderful update! Poor Lady obviously has had disturbing encounters with fellow elephants! So sad! But she is getting closer to having companionship with Rama and Maia♥️♥️♥️👍🏻

  9. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Very interesting to read and great to see the area from above. I have learned so much from these blogs and I make sure I tell friends and family just what sanctuary means for these elephants. Many think it’s simply a place of refuge (so it is) but it is so much more. This is where they are loved and cared for and allowed to be who they were born to be. A place of healing of mind and body, forming bonds and friendship and being part of a world where they can smile again and lose their fear…….where they are listened to and heard. Heard to herd!!!!!!! LOL! Thank you millions for what you do.

  10. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Thank you for the photo of the yard. I have a better concept of the facility. The elephants are very smart and learning about
    how life should have been and how good it is becoming everyday in their very own sanctuary.

  11. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Aww, my heart breaks for that one quick moment where it seemed Lady expected trouble from Maia (I can just about see and feel a flinch), but I am glad everyone, including Lady, persevered through it all. I am so proud of all three of them, in so many different ways. I will keep thinking good thoughts for them. LOL, and the humans, too, of course.

  12. REPLY
    Muriel Servaege says

    Those elephants are really sweet and sentient and this is what thgiir behaviour shows; What a shame to have abused them!

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