Donkey Society of Western Australia Inc


Training Notes

The Donkey Society is happy to assist with the training of donkeys and/or owners, either over the telephone or with a visit.  There are also a number of very good books on training available.  Here, however, are a few tips to help get you started.

Your most important training and control weapon is your voice.  This requires levels of voice from the soft cooing  'Aren't you the most wonderful donkey in the world', to the very cross  'Any more of that nonsense and you will be dog's meat by the end of the day'  sort.  Try to use praise and expressions of gratitude for every step achieved and restrict the most powerful growls to when your donkey knows exactly what you want and is just trying it on.  Always approach your donkey with your sense of humour intact; the growls must be tongue in cheek or your donkey will say, 'Oh, if you want a fight I'll give you one'.

There is no single right method, except the need to use your voice effectively.

These training notes keep mentioning 'treat' - which can be carrots, apples, peppermints, licorice or something else your donkey particularly fancies.  You might find he refuses to take any treat.  If so, you have a very distressed donkey on your hands, and will need to hold off the training until you have gained more of his trust by just being there chatting to him while he eats and not crowding him.  However when he will take treats, never use them as a bribe - it doesn't work and you will find he soon trains you to keep bribing him while he only pretends to be cooperating.  Use the treats only as a reward in conjunction with your voice, and as soon as possible cut the rewards right down and use the voice more.  Strange as it may seem, the more you hand feed your donkey for no reason, the less he will love you.

by: Helen McIntyre

Have a specific question on training your donkey?  contact us  and we will try to provide an answer.