It's almost impossible to write a post about the donkeys
with adorable pictures that follow the story line.
Unlike goats, who are always happy to strike a pose.
Donkeys, on the other hand, just don't seem to get the concept.
These two gals, sweet as pie, are the absolute most curious animals that I have ever had.
And so, if I am in their yard, crouched down with my camera...
they are right in my face,
or hanging on my shoulders.
Yesterday I did a little hoof trimming on these gals.
When we were finished, they started to show a little interest in their Jolly Ball.
Hoping to get cute pictures of them playing with it,
I settled down on the edge of their run-in shed and watched with camera poised.
It took all of two seconds for them to forget the Jolly Ball and invade my space instead.
See what I mean?
|"Hey Mom, whatcha doin?"|
Most of my donkey photos end up like this!
Four legged curiosity is always expressed the same way.
First.... a little wary inspection to make sure that said object is not "danger".
Tasting is always the next step...
I find that donkeys are a bit more wary of new things than horses are.
They take their time to investigate new circumstances.
Which is why I think they get a bum rap... "stubborn as a donkey/mule"
I don't feel that donkeys are stubborn at all.
It just takes them a while to ensure that things are "safe".
Perhaps this is because they are prey animals,
and have to rely on their wits to avoid danger.
They can run and retreat like horses, but are not quite as fast as horses.
So, perhaps this is why they are extra careful.
What I love about animal behavior is the fact that there is always a reason for behaviors.
It takes learning to think as they do and you begin to see their reasoning.
Mean spiritedness is not an inherent behavior in animals...
it is often just our perception or interpretation.
Essentially, they have good reason for their behaviors.
We have only to ask them....
My mantra, when I am with my gals is "be the donkey."
"Be" the donkey, and you will truly "see" the donkey.
Because some of you have expressed the desire to understand how our animals get along so well....
I will give you a little illustration.
First off....there is no magic formula, and I consider myself very lucky.
Historically, donkeys and dogs don't usually get along.
Again... donkeys are prey. Dogs are predators.
Mixing the two requires a lot of patience.
And oh, so much trust.
First and foremost, both animals must trust their handler.
What I have taught the dogs, when in with the donkeys, is to sit still and hold their ground.
I sit their with them, as security, and allow the donkeys to smell and taste them....
rewarding the dogs with my voice and strokes of my hand for sitting still and allowing this.
All the while, I also calmly speak to the donkeys and stroke them...
rewarding them for their patience as well.
The dogs have learned that if they run, the donkeys will chase.
It's a game.
I allow this game in the pasture, where there is lots of room,
but not in the yard, or dry lot which is the area that the equines consider home.
This area is off limits for chasing.
This is where the equines eat, sleep, potty. So, this area is "sacred".
It is important for animals to have areas that are safe and secure.... where nothing is scary.
I think this helps to maintain trusting relationships.