How to Train a Donkey

Donkeys have a reputation for stubbornness, but this is due to their highly developed sense of self preservation. It is difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something it sees as contrary to its own best interest or safety. They are more independent in their thinking than horses and will reason, then make decisions based on their safety. Otherwise, donkeys are social and intellectual animals that can be trained to follow simple commands. Here are some basic points to remember while training a donkey.

Things Your Will Need

Treats like carrots or apples, a halter and a soft broom.

How to Start

Familiarize the donkey with your and his environment. It is necessary to establish a trust with the donkey to get him to cooperate. Be friendly and consistent in your temperament, approach, body language and tone. Use your voice as the first tool of training and start with small commands for following you, backing up, slowing down, and lifting her feet for the farrier to inspect. Make your commands clear and consistent. Donkeys are slow learners, and they can get confused and startled by anything new. Repetition is the key. Combine the voice commands with treats like carrots or apples during the initial training phase. Use them only as rewards and not as a bribe. Gradually change the rewards to verbal praises and pats.

Introduce the halter to the donkey by rubbing his back with it and holding it near his face while giving treats. This familiarizes the donkey with the position in which the halter is fastened. Slide the noseband on and praise him for his cooperation. Take off the halter and repeat it until he is accustomed to it. • Lead the donkey by pulling the rope gently with voice commands. If she does not move, pull her on her side in a circle, so she takes a step to maintain her balance.

Train the donkey to lift his legs for hoof inspection by getting him comfortable with grooming. Use your hands and a soft broom to stroke down the legs all the way to the knee. With gentle praises, lift his leg without enclosing his ankle in your hand and put it back down.

Tips & Warnings

Repeat all commands and training, without overworking, for the donkey to get comfortable in following them. Use praises every time while training, as donkeys really love to please their owners.

Did You Know

Donkeys are much more of an all-terrain animal than horses. A donkey is also stronger than a horse of the same size.

They are in fact a highly intelligent animal despite popular misconception.

Donkeys can live for over 50 years.

Donkeys have an incredible memory. They can recognize areas and other donkeys they were with up to 25 years later.

Donkeys are not easily startled (unlike horses) and have a keen sense of curiosity.

Donkeys originate from desert areas of the earth. In the desert environment a donkey can hear the call of another donkey 60 miles away

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