Yogi and the Metal Garbage Can Lid

Posted by Lynn Elston on April 26, 2015 at 3:05 AM

Greetings, Herdmates...

One day this past week, I took a metal garbage can lid and a stick out into the boys' pasture, just to see what would happen.  I left the pasture gate open, so they could go anywhere they wanted to, on the property.  As with the "Stickie" playing, I had no intent to go after them or even to interest them, I was simply going to play with my garbage can lid. 

I began by tossing it up into the air and allowing it to crash to the ground.   Whooo-hooo!!! Scary and got those feet running! But, they each turned, eventually, and faced me with pricked ears and snorty faces.  I put the lid on the ground (without making noise) and invited Moon into me.  He came within 5 yards, but was clearly telling me he did not trust the shiny thing on the ground next to me.  I touched the lid, toed it with my boot, as I invited him over.  He came closer, I lifted the lid and let him small it.  Then I put it back on the ground and he and I went for a nice walk together.  Then I sent him off from me and returned to make noise with my lid.

This time, I used the stick to make a rhythm of bangs, and then a long pause, then the same rhtythm again.  Everybody was flying around the pasture, tossing their heads, having a fast and furious run about!  Yogi turned towards me and showed interest, so I invited him in in the same manner as Moon.  He actually came and nosed the lid on the ground, but then had to leave, as it was just too scary, in memory.

So, I returned to my rhythmic banging.  The boys flew out of the pasture, through the barn and all the way down to the compost bins.  I followed, at a great distance, keeping my rhtyhm, and heading their way, but down through the woods...again, because I was not chasing them with this noise, I was simply making the noise...their reaction was entirely theirs.  I did, however, entertain the thought, as I headed down the woods, and caught sight of them reversing course and running back up the way they'd come, of what a powerful being I must seem, to be moving their feet from such a distance away!! Hmmmmm!!  Who moves whom, eh???

That was my big discovery for that day.  I let the garbage can lid rest for the next five days. 

Today, I went to call everybody in from their pasture graze and nobody was paying attention to me!  So, I thought I'd bring out the garbage can lid again, with a bit more intent this time.  I stood just inside the pature gate and banged on the lid intentionally rudely...kind of akin to snapping a whip to get their attention.  OMG, everybody freaked and ran away.  But, wonder of wonders, Yogi went only a short distance and then turned to face me...I asked him in and he cam right up, giving me a few yards margin at first, but coming in on a further invite, to touch and sniff the lid.  His curiosity must have overcome his fear!!  It was a very sweet moment.  And he and I walked together into the barn and into his stall for his lunch.  I got the others in, with less remarkable results.

About an hour later, I asked Yogi if he'd like to come for a liberty walk with me, intending to just meander and "go poking" into whatever was around the property.  We walked by a row of empty metal garbage cans along the backside of the barn.  We poked at them, me first, then he would "Touch" them with his nose.  Then I asked him to "Push It" (which he knows from gate opening) and he gave the biggest can a nose clanged against the wall and Yogi reared back and took off running!!!  I was in hysterics...he was SO surprised!!!

He hadn't gone too far away, just around the corner and out of sight of those nasty cans.  As I came around the same corner, he lifted his head and came trotting over to me.  Didn't I feel like a hero?!?!  We continued our walk and ended up, a bit later, back at the garbage cans.  This time, I asked him to Touch It and he pushed it very gently, so it only made a little clanking noise...he threw his head up, but stayed still.  Then he pushed it again, bigger and it made a noise enough for him to startle back a few strides...but he stayed near.  Then I pushed it and we both startled backwards, but stayed.  It was as if we had both now discovered a fun thing to do together, make a noise, be pretend scared and then giggle about it!

It was really fun to watch his whole process from complete running from the undirected noise, to curiosity, to action, to reaction and then come closer to acceptance...all under my company and guidance.  I can't help but feel that he believes a little more that  I "have his back!" and he is safe to indulge his curiosity when I am around.

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