Have you ever noticed how our pets subtly train us? They are way more intelligent than we realize. When you step back and analyze, it becomes obvious they are using behavior modification techniques, and quite effectively. They are so good at it that often we just go with the flow with no awareness that our pet has just shaped our behavior.
I was pondering all of this after a recent incident with Jasmyn, our youngest filly. She is really enjoying the new run-in shelter I set up for the winter and spends more time there than the rest of the herd. They are not crazy about the acoustics and freak out every time the snow goes sliding off the roof. Jasmyn is the sensible one and does not let such trivialities bother her.
Being the brainy girl that she is, Jasmyn decided that it would be a great idea if I were to feed her in the run-in so she could eat undisturbed. She put her plan into action simply and effectively. When it came feeding time she left the herd and went into the run-in and waited. She knew I would be coming there to put the buckets away and see her waiting. I did and was happy to feed her there. Step one of her plan was completed.
The next day as I was feeding I looked around and noticed Jasmyn was missing. I called out to her and heard her high-pitched whinney in return (she’s the vocal one in our herd). She was waiting in the run-in again. So of course I went in and fed her there marveling at her resourcefulness. She now has me trained to feed her in her own private dining room and I do it gladly. Step two completed, plan fully implemented, behavior modification complete.
What will she come up with next?