What My Mule Taught Me About Communication

Opening the door to the truck, the heat assaulted me with the punch of a sauna. Today's training with the Dually Halter would be challenging due to the high humidity; fortunately, there was a slight breeze. The breeze brought with it the scent of a nearby estuary. Okay, I thought, get your kit and visit Miss Molly for a while before we start groundwork.

Walking toward Miss Molly's paddock, I noticed the fields were lush with green grass. The blue sky was highlighted with titanium white clouds. Each footfall on the crushed gravel made a distinctive crunch reminded me of my progress toward the paddock. I began to wonder who would be more distracted in training today, me or Miss Molly.

Sitting on a boulder in the shade of an oak tree, I shared my apple with Miss Moll and chatted with her about life and today's training. Have I told you lately that you are such a good listener, Miss Molly?

Together we are going to learn about leading and ground manners so that we can be good partners.

Once we have fitted the halter properly, we will work on walking at my elbow, backing up, moving forward, left and right turns, stopping, and standing still. We will use verbal and hand signals, including pressure and release with the Dulley halter. Miss Molly, I have plenty of peppermint treats in my pocket to celebrate each successful task.

As leaders, our communication must be clear, concise, immediate, and fair without anger or force. Train for the task, perform the job, observe the lesson, correct the performance if necessary and reward good performance. Lead the way to better communication.

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