I have a big problem. My human is making me crazy. She used to be normal but now I can’t understand her. We’ve always had a good relationship, I thought, but for some reason she’s decided that in order to interact with me she has to wave this stick, with a flappy plastic thing on the end, at me. She does it in the round pen and my stall. Then she plays these creepy games with me and talks to me about getting in touch with “our spiritual” sides. The stick waving is getting on my nerves, and I and finding it very difficult to trust her when she’s waving the thing. It also throws off her body language and makes her look like she’s got ants in her pants.
How can I get her to drop the stick and go back to being the considerate human she was before?
I have seen several instances of this odd behavior and it always confuses me. I can read my human’s body language and don’t need a stick to tell me not to step on her. In fact the only stick I want to see my human carrying is a carrot stick.
You really do have few options beyond making her miserable or finding a new human. Luckily both of these can be achieved with the same actions. I suggest you ignore the stick and learn to jump out of the round pen. Yawning also produces a break in the stick waving, since it shows that you really don’t care what she does with it. If she ever sets the stick on the ground then quickly run over to it and step on it. Breaking the stick is demoralizing to humans in this phase.
If your human reverts back to her old behavior, even just for a moment you MUST reward her with good behavior and your absolute attention. The second she picks up the stick ignore her and if you have room turn your back. Trust me, this unnatural humanship behavior is very hard to break and can flare up at a later date. Be prepared for long term retraining and many setbacks. It might be better in the long run if you just find a new human and start from scratch.