how to train a donkey to do.... ANYTHING?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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how to train a donkey to do.... ANYTHING?!

i have two donkeys and i am absolutely clueless on how to train them to do anything! they're so stubborn!! they were NOT my plan to get, my aunt thought it'd be cute to have one and well when we found one, he had a brother... an inseparable brother... so we got two.

i have tried to lead them SOOOO many times with gentle coaxing and food but they will just not have it. one time we had to move one and so we tied it to fourwheeler and that stupid donkey literally locked its legs and let us drag it for like 6 feet.... one cooperates more than the other one, but by cooperate i mean when he escapes he's a bit easier to catch and he will drag me to the where we're going instead of locking his legs and refusing to step a single centimeter.

i've even tried riding these little suckers to get them somewhere.. NOPE. won't move.

they're about 6 and 7 btw.

are they really that complex of an animal?!?
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 12:46 AM
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I had one who came to me as a 6 year old stud. Got him gelded, made friends and never had an issue out of him. He was happy and willing to please as soon as he realized her could trust me. Same thing in his new home - he has been both saddle trained and cart trained.

Now with a donkey you can't make them. They are a different mentality than a horse and you are going to literally have to make friends unlike a horse where you want to show you are the leader.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #3 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
I had one who came to me as a 6 year old stud. Got him gelded, made friends and never had an issue out of him. He was happy and willing to please as soon as he realized her could trust me. Same thing in his new home - he has been both saddle trained and cart trained.

Now with a donkey you can't make them. They are a different mentality than a horse and you are going to literally have to make friends unlike a horse where you want to show you are the leader.
same scenario for me too! they were both studs, we gelded the one who kept trying to impregnate my horses and the other was ruled incompetent. and the one that is the skittish one of the two is the one who cooperates more? the other one is quite tricky and knows how to escape my grasp but knows who to come to for treats and a butt rub.

how to become better friends...? FOOD ISNT WORKING... they're just chubby little donkeys now..
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 01:21 AM
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Mine was so cute I just loved spending time and showering him with attention which after a while he just started basking in it. He started enjoying having his ears messed with and really loved having his pole massaged. Peppermints seemed to be the preferred treat as well. Not sure if the fact you have two together might influence the situation and make it harder to do?

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #5 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 07:22 AM
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Haha this thread makes me chuckle :) have you tried using a butt rope? We use that on the donkey at my farm when he doesn't want to lead.

Not quite like this, but rather have the red rope around the butt then hold it, and the lead in the other hand. We never wrapped it around the neck, but it could be worth the try. It just feels like your pulling them lol.


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post #6 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lubylol View Post
Haha this thread makes me chuckle :) have you tried using a butt rope? We use that on the donkey at my farm when he doesn't want to lead.

Not quite like this, but rather have the red rope around the butt then hold it, and the lead in the other hand. We never wrapped it around the neck, but it could be worth the try. It just feels like your pulling them lol.


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yeeeees ma'am... they're hopeless. maybe like cat said, having two of them may make the training process a bit harder. the butt rope worked for a little while but a lot of force had to be used to basically pull the animal anywhere

thanks for the suggestion though!!
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 10:26 AM
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Contact Meredith Hodges - she is the guru of training, riding, competing Donkey's and Mules. She has many books out and DVD's as well.

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post #8 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Contact Meredith Hodges - she is the guru of training, riding, competing Donkey's and Mules. She has many books out and DVD's as well.
why thank you! i will definitely do that! i never thought that there would be a pro out there ahaha
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 11:08 AM
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I had the priveledge of being able to work on a large breeding farm, were they bred Mules. I was able to learn to work with them, train and break them and learnt a lot from the years I was there.

I was given a few Meredith Hodges books as gifts and learnt a ton from her wealth of knowledge, and was able to find her via e-mail. She's a hoot!

One experience was working with the Mammoth Jack they owned, his name was Cracker Jack - he was a blast, and adorable.

The biggest thing you have to learn, is to work with them without the "You are going to do what I saw" mentality. They don't say "ok" - they ask questions. "Why? Why are you asking me to do this stupid thing?" "What benefits will I have by doing this?"

You have to let them think, that it is their idea - not yours. Meredith will help you :)
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Last edited by MIEventer; 12-31-2011 at 11:10 AM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-31-2011, 12:16 PM
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Yes, donkeys and mules are quite different then horses. MIE is steering you correctly. Once you get them to the point where they figure everything you ask them to do is a good idea, they are very dependable.

Also, you mention that they are chubby little fellas right now. Be careful not to overfeed. Donkeys are extremely easy keepers and one of the biggest errors I have seen with them is allowing them on 1/2 decent pasture. Honestly, they thrive on very, very little.

Food doesn't work for donkeys. Petting, scratching and verbal praise works better.
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