Saturday, January 8, 2011

Making Firewood With an OX and a Dog: Day 2

Scout the Ox started easily on this cold and windy day. No block-heaters or jumper cables to deal with. We got out several small loads of firewood. I have switched from the wagon to a sled, and have replaced the lead rope with the broomstick.

Haltering and Hitching the Ox: A Two Act Play

I set everything up for an unflawed demonstration of haltering and hitching the ox to a sled, but everything didn't exactly go as planned! To start with Harry the Dog stole Scout the Ox's collar --- and wouldn't give it back--- Scout the Ox took over from there. It all turned out to be a bit of a yoke. 

PitambarTheRedBull commented on YouTube
Loved it! Made me smile!

I have no association with eNasco nor do I endorse this particular halter. I have done business with this company and have been a satisfied customer
This type of rope and sliding chain cattle halter has been an excellent training tool. It offers some control by tightening around the nose when the ox-in-training resists. Once the animal complies, a gentle shake of the rope relieves the tension as a reward for correct behavior. Rough or indiscriminate use would constitute aversive behavior training, or even cruelty, and is to be avoided.
As Scout the Ox's training progresses I use this halter less and less. In a work situation I prefer a standard nylon web halter. The ox should be controlled primarily with the gentle guidance of the whip or goad --- not by tugging on the halter. Playing tug-of-war with an ox sets you up for failure.
With teams of oxen the halter should be removed as soon as reasonable control makes that possible. With the single oxen, in complicated working situations, the halter may continue to be a desirable tool for communication and to help him overcome distractions. Some teamsters would maintain, however, that the ultimate goal should be to eliminate the use of any halter.
The yoke pictured in the video is highlighted in this previous post.
The broomstick used in place of a lead rope is highlighted in this previous post. It has been a valuable training aid, and when it's unsnapped from the ox it doubles as a goad.
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Scout the Ox: Can You Come Out and Play Now?

Scout the Ox managed to pop the latch on the pasture gate. He didn't wander away, but rather, came to our front door to see what was happening. He voiced his arrival, and I have little doubt but that he would have come right in if the door had been open.

Here's a video of a Pitambar the Red Bull who lives on a distant tropical island.  He is being trained as an ox. In this clip he is allowed a visit in the house --- but don't tell the the lady's husband! 
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