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Tips on making friends with an unhandled donkey?

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  • Tips on making friends with an unhandled donkey?

    We were very privileged to acquire a 7 month old standard jennet weanling as a companion for my 2 horses over the weekend. She's about the cutest thing ever:

    http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c6...ps1c2162ef.jpg

    My older gelding is smitten with her-- they are inseparable already!

    http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c6...ps8e8f8e9b.jpg

    http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c6...ps410e1208.jpg

    http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c6...ps3d622e86.jpg

    She was unhandled previously. While she is not scared of people, we can't touch or catch her right now. She'll tolerate my presence, but as soon as I make an attempt to get closer than a couple feet, she moves off. She doesn't seem to have an interest in people at all.

    I'm sure she'll come around with time and patience... but I would like to get her dewormed and vaccinated and be able to get started on some hoof care in the near future. I've cared for donkeys in the past, but they were all very people-oriented!

    Plus, I now have a 26 year old OTTB who feels the need to follow his donkey's influence and revert to a semi-feral state at all times excluding feeding time. (Why does the good never rub off on the bad? )

    Any suggestions to aid in the bonding process? So far food bribes have been a bust...
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

  • #2
    Cute!!
    My suggestion is to play "Wild Horse Poker"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-eauilWAXk
    ie. you ignore the donkey and let HER come to YOU. No agenda, no trying to halter her or touch her the first few times. You go in there with a book and a chair (or some friends and a deck of cards) and let her curiosity work in your favour. Best done in a smaller pen with no food or other distractions in it.
    I have also had success with some of the rescue horses (untouched or scared of humans) with teaching them to target using clicker training. They could be moved from pen to pasture or even pen to trailer via targeting without a halter or without being touched until they gained confidence and trust in people.
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

    Comment


    • #3
      First, she should have been dewormed, vaccinated prior to being put loose out with your other horses' paddock. You could have done her feet as well while she was in a short 'quarantine'.

      Do you have a stall/smaller enclosure where you could put her and play with her a bit everyday? Maybe feeding her appart from the other two?

      Once you catch her, leaving a halter on her for a while until you can easily catch her would be a good idea. And then you can practice putting on and off another halter everytime you can catch her.
      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

      Originally posted by LauraKY
      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
      HORSING mobile training app

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      • #4
        I have a post on this thread:

        http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...tame-next-step

        that may be helpful. She's young so she will come around very quickly.
        "Crazy is just another point of view" Sonia Dada

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        • #5
          She will come around but as long as she doesn't think she needs you for anything she won't see the point of being your friend. I suggest you utilize a small enclosure, you bring the food and no social contact with anyone but you or other humans. Keep all contact as positive as possible. Bring cookies.
          "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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          • #6
            I got a 30 year old basically unhandled donkey three years ago. I kept her in my dry lot, with run-ins. I had a swing gate attached to one run-in so that she could be shut in the run-in. I "fed" (a handful of grain) her in the run-in every day (I think I had to move the feed pan closer and closer to the run-in, then just inside it, then further and further inside it. After that I moved the gate closer and closer to being closed each time I fed her, until it was routine for her to be fed in the run-in and closed in. I never did anything with her at first. Then I'd get closer and closer etc.

            The whole get-her-in-the-run-in phase probably took two months, though i don't really remember. Once she was OK with being enclosed we could work on her there -- do her feet, teeth, get her used to being blanketed etc. I still can't lead her, I must confess.
            https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
            Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
            www.PeonyVodka.com

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            • #7
              There are videos of Monty Roberts joining up with horses on the Net, I tried the technique with a stray cow that wandered up and within fifteen minutes the cow was following me around and letting me rub her all over. The neat thing with "joining up" is the animal accepts you as leader of the herd and gives you its loyalty. It's like a miracle and works so fast. You could also read his book, "The Man Who Listened to Horses."

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for the tips everyone!

                Originally posted by PRS View Post
                She will come around but as long as she doesn't think she needs you for anything she won't see the point of being your friend.
                I think that describes her to a "T"!

                She has no idea what treats are, and therefore no interest in them. I've tried feed, horse treats, carrots, apples... nothing. She sniffs them and walks away. How do you give them incentive when they don't want food? LOL.

                I think I'm going to set up some corral panels and try luring her in with my gelding and some hay...

                Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
                First, she should have been dewormed, vaccinated prior to being put loose out with your other horses' paddock. You could have done her feet as well while she was in a short 'quarantine'.
                I knew someone here would have that response. Basically, she's outwardly healthy and came from a farm of outwardly healthy donkeys, my horses are healthy, and I don't have the luxury of a true quarantine area. Is it a calculated risk? Sure. But honestly, my biggest health concern is parasites, and they are easy enough diagnose and deal with.
                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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                • #9
                  How cool! I actually have gone through this, but the donkey was younger and too weak to run away so I had the advantage. However, he gained weight and spunk soon enough.

                  First of all, dismiss everything you know about training horses. Donkeys are different. Don't try Parelli or round penning or any of that other stuff. Donkeys and mules respond to different training.

                  The very best donkey and mule trainer is Meredith Hodges. She rides and jumps her mules and donkey jacks. She knows long ears like no one else.

                  http://luckythreeranch.com/website/

                  I can tell you a few things about donkeys that make them very different from horses. One, they will ask you about 99 questions when you introduce anything new. It will take much longer to halter break, handle their feet, etc... but once they good, they are golden.

                  Treat her like any other weanling. Separate her from your horses and put her in a small pen (adjacent to your horses) where you can handle her. Feed her a tiny bit of feed several times a day in a pan on the ground and see if you can sit a little closer. Be patient. Once you can touch her, progress to introducing a halter.

                  Take your time teaching her to lead. It will take quite some time, but short daily sessions will get you there.

                  Teaching her to stand tied and have her feet handled will be easier than with horses. Donkeys have a much better sense of self-preservation. If she throws herself on the ground, leave her for a minute. She won't struggle. Then, calmly untie the safety rope and let her get up.

                  Eventually, she will know how to lead, (pretty well), allow you to brush her, and stand tied. Now, this is where horse training and donkey training differ the most. There is a technique to this but it is much better to see it done first. It is a really good way to teach your donkey not to kick first and ask questions later. Its addressed by Meredith Hodges, but I can't remember if it's in her book or a video. You might find it on her website. She has a lot of free advice and videos. She also has a place where you can ask questions for free or look at the questions other have asked. Good information.
                  “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                  St. Padre Pio

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by microbovine View Post
                    First of all, dismiss everything you know about training horses. Donkeys are different. Don't try Parelli or round penning or any of that other stuff. Donkeys and mules respond to different training.

                    The very best donkey and mule trainer is Meredith Hodges. She rides and jumps her mules and donkey jacks. She knows long ears like no one else.

                    http://luckythreeranch.com/website/

                    I can tell you a few things about donkeys that make them very different from horses. One, they will ask you about 99 questions when you introduce anything new. It will take much longer to halter break, handle their feet, etc... but once they good, they are golden.
                    Thanks! Great info about them not being the same as horses. I had actually read a lot of that online when I was deciding whether or not to take her in... which is kind of why I was posting here. I had even "friended" the Lucky Three Ranch on FB... think I'll look more into her technique...
                    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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                    • #11
                      OMG! When I first saw the thread title I thought it said "Tips on making friends with an unhandled 'MONKEY'"?!?
                      My tip was going to be "Don't."
                      LOL - I'm afraid of what other things I may have misread (and never knew).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I got a donkey recently and he does not lead unless someone is behind him smooching and waving arms. That is not acceptable, he is going to have to be lead by just me. What i am doing with him is slowly bonding, forehead scritches and getting him to like and trust me. He will now follow me with no halter on. He changes from day to day, i swear they think about things over night and act differently the next day. I will never force him - that will destroy any progress. Pretty soon he will WANT to go anywhere with me. Its a process with donkeys and when you get to thinking you are doing pretty good with bringing him to your way, rethink it. That donkey will be teaching YOU! I got broke by my first donkey, so having another one is pure joy. Small victories every day.

                        Ive been doing a lot of "going about my business" and ignoring him. He watches me like a hawk. Noises and movements that put him on alert 2 weeks ago, he doesnt even acknowledge now. He is settling in.
                        from sunridge1 Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I got my tame but not friendly donkey as a companion 2 years ago. My pen with run-in has 2 sides divided by corral panels so that my horse gelding and the donk each have their own side but can be close. You may laugh but I would stand on the gelding's side of the panel, but near the donkey and very softly sing to him. Didn't matter what but I enjoy making up donkey songs so did that. It took awhile but he would eventually ease over to the fence and let me touch him a little, scratch his rump or withers, etc. The fence gave him security that he could get away if I did anything questionable and he eventually learned that my hands did nice things for him. Now he's completely approachable, likes being brushed, volunteers to have his feet cleaned out, etc.

                          I also use clicker training and little mini-shredded wheats as positive reinforcement. If I want to have a session with him I just click the clicker and he'll walk right on up.

                          And to this day I can softly sing "Bring your bohunk over here and I will scratch it for you" anywhere in the pen and he will move on over and back it right up to me. Donks are the absolute best - I hope you have a great time with yours and enjoy the process.
                          It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I second the "Throw away the Horse Training Book" suggestion. Donkeys are not the same as horses and don't respond to training the same way. They aren't going to do anything unless they think it makes sense. Example...I was working on ground training my donkey in preparation to harness breaking him....we were working on lunging. He would go around me in a circle approx 2 or three times and stop. Nothing would get him to move again. He just looked at me like ok, I can make a circle what's next? They are quick learners and very observant, they WILL learn the lesson you are teaching so just be sure you are teaching the lesson you want them to learn
                            "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Your donkey is adorable. Like others said in this thread and the other one, getting her in a smaller area will help.She will watch you handling your gelding and that will help in showing her that you are all right. If she wont eat treats then you become the "bringer of hay and water." and the one who brushes the horse and picks his feet up, etc. She will watch and that donkey brain will process that you are not a threat, but instead a bringer of good things. In no time she will want that same attention.
                              from sunridge1 Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                the thread title mislead me some, so its the donkey that you want to be friends with I thought maybe you wanted to use the donkey as an attraction to attract a person... like the guy who will get a nice looking dog to walk to use as a come on to get talk to pretty women

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by clanter View Post
                                  the thread title mislead me some, so its the donkey that you want to be friends with I thought maybe you wanted to use the donkey as an attraction to attract a person... like the guy who will get a nice looking dog to walk to use as a come on to get talk to pretty women


                                  That comes after I get a halter on her!
                                  Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I LOVE her... best of luck, I'm sure she'll come around soon! Keep us updated!
                                    http://www.leakycreek.com/
                                    http://leakycreek.wordpress.com/ Rainbows & Mourning Doves Blog
                                    John P. Smith II 1973-2009 Love Always
                                    Father, Husband, Friend, Firefighter- Cancer Sucks- Cure Melanoma

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                                    • #19
                                      She is still brand new - give her time. Love the place where the horses are -
                                      lovely country.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                      • #20
                                        Someone posted here a while back about using a broom to give donk a good scratch from afar.

                                        good luck. She is adorable.

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