From: Vicki/ladywife <ladywife@b...>
Date: Sun Jun 4, 2000 3:35pm
Subject: Donkey Training E-Clinic:
In the previous three parts I explain my thinking on how a donkey
communicates with other donkeys, how I read his body language, how I can
speak to him using my body language, how understanding his place in the
donkey hierarchy helps me train him and how to approach him, and how I
that first physical contact with him. All of these things are done
training pen of a suitable size so I can walk all the way around him and
stay at a safe distance without crowding him so he will not feel threatened
by my presence.
This first phase of a donkey's training takes me 3 to 5 days of spending
about 30 minutes a day with the donkey. To train a donkey is not
where I change into my donkey training clothes and start out for the pen
with a notion in my head I will spend 30 minutes today training a donkey.
Every minute that I spend with a donkey I am training him. Every
that I do not take that extra second to stop and talk to him is actually
training him too. And it is not training him in a good way.
time to spend with him teaches him I will only give him my attention WHEN
DECIDE I HAVE TIME. This is not good and is something I work very
avoid. My time is not more important than his time. My wants
and needs are
not more important than his wants and needs. To build a strong, lasting,
pleasant partnership the donkey and I have to be equals. One of us
the boss and the other the slave. It is the give and take of training.
must give of myself and my time if I want the donkey to give me his
cooperation and willingness.
The 30 minutes a day I spend with him may be 5 to 10 minutes at a time
spread through out the day. I allow the donkey to decide how much
wants me to spend with him. When I read his body language and it
says "I am
bored, tired, or just want to take a nap", I respect his request for me
stop pestering him. As long as he is asking me questions, I stay,
it means he wants to learn more about me and what I want him to do in this
partnership relationship we are building.
If by now my donkey (in the training pen) will allow me to walk toward
and stop just out of reach and he then steps forward to close the gap and
touches me, then it is time to move on to the next phase which is teaching
him to turn and walk toward me. This is the basis for developing
willingness to go with me where ever I ask him. Before when I entered
training pen I approached him at his shoulder so it was easier for him
turn his head and face me without having to turn his entire body.
when I enter the training pen, I will walk toward his hip, stopping 6 feet
away from him and call his name. If he does not turn toward me, which
require him to turn his body so his face is toward me, I will turn around
and walk away from him, going to the other side of the pen and ignore him
for a couple of minutes and try to make sounds like I am doing something
very interesting. I carry a small tin bell in my pocket. When
I want the
donkey to wonder what I'm doing, I'll put my hand in my pocket and jiggle
the bell. A pocketful of change will do the same thing. Anything
that I can conceal from his view that will make noise. I will not
toward him. I want him to take the first step by turning his body
me. Now I will try it again, approaching him with my hands at my
now he should have learned the pleasure of body rubbing (Photo DT6) and
should want me to give him a good scratching.
I will keep repeating, giving
him the opportunity to turn and face me until he does take that important
step to turn his body so I can rub his neck. I will praise him and rub
couple of minutes and then turn around and walk away. Only this time
not go quite as far away as I did before. I will stop with my back
him and don't turn around. I will stand there and wait for him.
follow me and ask for more rubbing. This is what I want him to do.
him to follow me when I walk away from him. It may take one lesson
may take several depending on his understanding of the previous lessons.
he does not follow me, then I will go back to lesson one and begin again
because somewhere along the way he failed to understand part of a lesson.
Even if this donkey is already "halter broke" I will still take him through
each lesson from the beginning to make sure there hasn't been any holes
his training. Those overlooked and missed steps in his training are
things that could crop up later and cause a disaster.
When he does follow me and ask for more rubbing then he is ready to progress
to wearing a halter. The fit of the halter is more important then
the halter is leather or web. I do not recommend rope halters for
because donkeys have very sensitive facial nerves and the narrowness of
rope halter can cause them discomfort. Photo DT7 shows the different
fits on different head shapes.
Before I put a halter on a donkey the first time I put it in his feed pan
he has to root around it to get his oats for a couple of days and then
it over the fence of his training pen so he can look it over and sniff
when I am not around. When I am ready to put the halter on him, I
over my shoulder before I enter the training pen. I enter the pen
him come up to me for rubbing. Moving slowly and calmly so I don't
him, I take the halter off of my shoulder and rub it on the side of his
neck. If I don't make a big deal about putting the halter on, he
a big deal of letting me put it on. The more matter-of-fact I am,
easier it will be. Holding it down, I slip his nose into it (familiarize
yourself with the halter beforehand so you'll know which part goes where),
and then pull the poll over his head and buckle it, not too loose and not
too tight. I should be able to put 2 fingers easily between his jaw
noseband, his throat and the throatlatch, and his poll and the poll piece.
The first time he wears his halter I do not take hold of it. He is
donkey he was yesterday when he wasn't wearing a halter. I continue
his body rubbing and when I am through, I remove the halter. This
pattern I will establish; halter on, lots of rubbing and attention, halter
off, leaving. In his mind he will soon equate the halter with good
and stand quietly while it is put on. This part of his training is
the foundation for later when I will want him to stand quietly while being
bridled, saddled, or harnessed.
Next week: Attaching a rope to the halter and teaching him to lead and
having his feet handled.