I continue to be impressed by the effectiveness of positive reinforcement training - aka clicker training.
This approach really relies on a communicative relationship between animal and trainer (human) and since it's a "two-way" process, learning takes place quickly and easily.
What I mean by this is that the trainer has to be tuned in to each individual animal - for example, who is this, what does he/she need to learn? What would I like this animal to learn to do? What is this animal capable of doing?
But the animal is also engaged in the "game" of learning and trying to figure out the rules and the agenda. This is true as long as the trainer ensures that the animal is reinforced and supported for every "try," every nuance, every attempt at the right answer to the training puzzle.
If BOTH of us are listening to each other (in a deeply observant, non-verbal way) then human and animal seem to develop a compassionate understanding of one another, a willingness to learn and to please. If the animal is to learn without intimidation and retain new stuff , the trainer must be generous, rewarding every try, exercising the utmost patience. Then it's FUN!
Our sessions are full of laughter (me!) and amusement (donkeys!) I always end my training sessions in a good mood, never frustrated.
I've been seeing such amazing changes ... in trust, in willingness, in understanding. My donkeys are such good buddies!