Welcome to my blog - a diary about living with donkeys, notes about care, my training sessions and the absolute pleasure of donkey companionship.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Defensive Dorica

Dorica LOVES clicker training!  But as the smallest donkey, she gets bullied by Ringo and has become
a bit on the defensive. 

I usually do some clicker training in the barn after the donkeys have had their 5 PM feeding.  While they are eating, each donkey is shut into his or her stall so that there is no competition and they can eat peacefully.  This arrangement also means that I can feed each one as an individual - different amounts of vitamins or supplements.

Dorica looks forward to this with great anticipation.  She stands at her stall gate and makes the silliest sounds - some days I think she is about to sing opera while she waits for me to deliver her dish!

After they donks have finished, I usually let Ringo come out into the barn aisle first.  He stands while I clean his hooves.  We go through our routine of head lowering, targeting my fist, flexing his neck from side to side, grroming and finally backing down the aisle and right into his stall.

Deenah is next and while this is going on, Dorica waits for her turn.  But when it finally comes, she is rather beside herself and hasn't yet learned to stand still!  I really think it's the presence of the other donkeys even though they are back in their respective stalls and can't "steal" her treats.  It seems she doesn't realize that however, and she pins her ears and makes horrible faces, even growls at the others.  Yesterday, this sweet little donkey kicked out at me a few times ... she seemed confused as to who is human and who is donkey.

In observing her behaviour and thinking about it, I think I need to work with her at quite a distance from the others so she doesn't feel threatened in any way and can concentrate.

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