Originally Posted by WhattaTroublemaker View Post
The nail trick really works with a variety of things! My old gelding was really bad with food aggression, in a straight stall he would pin you when you dropped his hay and went to leave. I tried kneeing him in the belly, pushing, poking and pinching and nothing worked. I started carrying a screw, and when he pinned me he would poke himself with the screw. It took twice and he quit pinning people in the stall!
One of my first training projects was a filly like this. She was beautiful and huge, bigger than your average saddle horse at only 1.5 years old. She was an angel any other time, but in her stall, she would pin her owner, snap at her, and literally rear up over her head! I witnessed it and was afraid for the woman.
So I took the filly and worked her in the round pen. I remember there being very minor things that we worked through, but overall, she was good just like they said she was. Then I grabbed her halter and lead and took her back to the stall. I turned her loose, spoke with the owner for a minute, then went back in to see what she would do and if I could catch her. She immediately started her aggressive game.
What did I do? I did what other horses I had seen do with aggressive horses they couldn't get away from. I stuck like glue to her hindquarters where she couldn't do any real harm to me and pushed and shoved as hard as I could, keeping her moving in a circle around the stall, all the while being the tag-along on her hindquarters. She was very annoyed and snapped at me at first (couldn't reach), and then wasn't able to anymore as I forced her to keep moving. After a short minute of this, I let off the pressure and she stood rather perplexed. She continued to stand quietly for me to walk up and put the halter on, which I immediately praised her for.
The owner tried next and was unable to repeat this. The mare pinned her and reared over her head again. So I had her take the 'flag' (a short lunge whip with a plastic bag in the end instead of a lash) and go in the stall. Every time the filly went to charge her and act aggressive, she used the bag to make noise and chase her back a few steps. This resulted in the filly eventually standing quietly for the halter.
Two different methods, for two different people. Mine was an odd one and I came up with it in a split second as a result of being in a small space with a dangerous animal. Since the owner was unable to repeat what I did, I had her use the flag. Both worked, and both got the message to the horse. Both were negative reinforcement WITHOUT physical aggression.
Most of the -N I use is like this. I always use it in conjunction with positive. But I am certainly not afraid of giving a wallop where one is warranted.