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!