Originally Posted by RubaiyateBandit View Post
My gelding, Dante, just has no patience.
He'll rarely stand still for anything longer than a few minutes,
Mate! You want to try dealing with a human 2yo - I dream
of getting a few minutes in one go!
But seriously, patience is not something that comes easy to most animals & has to be *taught* gradually. You need to do this by positively reinforcing(rewarding) whatever you do get, lots of repetition & only asking for more when he's reliable at the level he's at now.
I untied him and signaled for him to back up by tugging back on his leadrope, (this is what I've always done with 2-Pak and Bandit to get them to stand still), and he took a few steps backward, stopped, and tossed his head about before turning to face me. I moved to make him back up again, and he reared up.
I'm interested to know how you reinforced him for doing the right thing(backing up)? Perhaps the head tossing was just fidgetting, perhaps it was him 'giving you the finger', perhaps it was his frustration & confusion that his early(right) response wasn't reinforced, particularly in light of the last sentence.
"Awhile later, he repeated the entire episode, and I began to lunge him rather than continue grooming. He refused to go at anything slower than a trot, and then suddenly just stopped and tried to walk away. I brought him back and tried to get him going again, and he reared."
Were you lunging him as punishment? If so, there's no point. Reinforcement or punishment must happen instantaneously with the behaviour you want to effect. Even a few seconds will mean the horse cannot associate the cause with the 'effect'. Again, you need to reward whatever you get *instantly* and work gradually from there, to teach him what's right
about his behaviour & encourage him to repeat it.
Without knowing how you have trained him, how you have prepared him for lunging, knowing what you're doing, I can't do more than guess why he did that when being lunged. It does sound like he may be a rather 'dominant' type personality tho, so I'd try to avoid getting into any battles with him for a start.
His rearing issue has been going on for nearly a year, and I'm consistantly correcting him, and rewarding him for standing calmly.
So he's obviously well practiced at being reinforced for the behaviour, so I'd expect it to take some time & effort to eliminate & it'll likely get worse before it stops. Even well timed punishment isn't all that effective and is often misunderstood & feared. I would therefore try hard to avoid pushing him so far as to cause him to rear. I would teach him more gradually & less confrontationally. I would ensure he was getting lots of *well timed* positive reinforcement(reward, Good Stuff) and making sure it was effective enough(for eg. Patting & praise is generally a very weak reward, if at all) to motivate him to want to do as you ask.