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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Friday, December 25, 2015

Video taping your work

It's a quiet Christmas morning ... crisp and chilly outside and the ground has hardened somewhat underfoot - good news from the spongy, soft footing that the many days of rain created.  The day promises to be sunny! 

Two days ago, another sunny day, I got out my video camera with plans to make a little movie about walking out from the property with a donkey.  In everything the donkeys and I do, I try to set the environment for success.  That means that I gather what I need and plan things to minimize stress and confusion.  Going in and out of a gate where there are other loose animals is just one of those situations that can create jostling and where I might be tempted to hurry the donkey along and push the others back, either physically or verbally.  I try to avoid all that!

So I bring my donkey into a small separate paddock where the others can't try to follow and then lead her down a narrow walkway/ corridor and off we go.  But I have to go back and close the gate to the corridor,
which means teaching the donkey to stand and wait for me in an environment where she is free to head off into the big world on her own!

Many small steps involved, built on Alexandra Kurland's foundation lessons and I set up my video camera to capture this with Rose.  But I'm not going to post the video yet because I learned SO much from watching the short clip, that I want to redo it! 

Mostly I observed my own body language - we give off numerous cues to our animals all the time, and they should be intentional!  I saw where my food delivery (reinforcement) was not as precise as it should be  - Rose's head was turned or she was stretching her neck, putting her off balance.  Sounds like no big deal perhaps, but my goal is for clean, clear communication and a beautiful balanced partnership with my donkeys!

Video-taping yourself at work with your animal is SO incredibly valuable (I should do it more often)
And I will ... watch for it soon!  

In the meantime, happy holidays, peace and happiness to you and all your animals!


  1. I look forward to videos. I hope you had a good holiday, Merry Christmas.

    1. Thanks Kris - your latest photos are stunning! Merry, merry back to you - looks like some sunny days in the forecast next week, so I should have a chance to video!