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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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Clicker training

The torrential rain tapered to a drizzle today and everyone came out of the barn for the first time in a couple of days.  Phew - that was some storm!  Needless to say, all the donkeys were soaked by the end of the day.

Although it's certainly not cold at 8 degrees, donkeys can get drenched and they don't shed water like horses do.  So I felt the need to towel dry them as best I could.  Deenah is prone to rain rot (ears especially) and with the long dark night ahead, I felt it best to rub and fluff.  You want to make sure you don't rub water deeper into their coats, but rather wick it up and fluff their hair coat.

Deenah is easy - she loves to be toweled off but the minis hate it!  So clicker training can be a big help.
Dorica is pretty clicker savvy by now - she well understands the concept.  I asked her to touch the towel, then clicked, removed the towel from sight and treated.  After doing this a few times, I laid the towel on her back - at this she immediatetly starts walking around the stall, so I asked her to "ho" when she did, I removed the towel, clicked and treated.  Pretty soon she understood that she was to stand still when the towel was placed on her.  She still is apt to walk a bit, but will soon stop and let me rub her with the towel.

Siog is brand new to clicker training so I started by using the towel as a target for her to touch with her nose.  She really doesn't understand yet, although she touched the towel a few times by accident more than curiosity.  When the towel is placed on her back, she tries to shrink from it.  I am able to leave it draped over her while she eats some hay and that way, at least it absorbes some rain water. But I can't towel her off without scaring her so I don't try to do that yet.

Baby steps in training lead to confident, safe animals.

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