You might remember that I had mentioned putting the Bigs on a diet a few months ago. They still remain a little chubby, but certainly not like they had gotten on that rich summer pasture. Each morning, when I arrive at the barn, I open the gate from the dry lot to the front pasture (this pasture has the least nutritious grass) and let the Bigs out to graze for a few hours while I do the chores.
We are in the middle of a little Pavlovian training this Fall. I hung an iron bell outside of the back door of the barn. I ring this bell before feeding time. Also, during the day I ring the bell
when it is time for hay, and even at times when I am going to give them a little peppermint
treat. Hoping that they come to associate that bell with something good and come running when I ring it...this should help save steps (like having to walk out into the pasture, harness each animal, and lead them back to the barn).
If you had asked me how it was going last week, I would have said "not so well".
Today seemed to be the turning point.
I rang the bell.
Moonbeam looked up, and immediately started back to the barn.
Donnie, however took a few more minutes...but eventually came back on his own.
"Mmmmmm, I love breakfast."
Moonbeam always tries to finish Donnie's breakfast. Don't worry, I shoo him away every morning.
Moonbeam has taken this training one step further. When I am in the barn taking care of the other animals, he stands outside and rings the bell.....as if to say, "Hey, what about me?" Dieting is hard, but it's for your own good, Moonbeam.