Teaching Donkey to Backup

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by jojozwiebel, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. jojozwiebel

    jojozwiebel Senior Member+

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    well title says it... duke is going to be shown this year inhand and in cart so we have a lot to accomplish. He is such a gentle soul and nothing gets him worked up. He responds best to treats, not pressure and release. This is a challenge for me because no matter how I try, he doesn’t react like a horse. You press on him, he presses back. Smack him with the lead rope, he just gives you a look. Try to back up with a chain (like for showmanship), nope. He doesn’t respond to body language either.

    Any tips for showmanship/back up practice for the “stubborn” donkey?
     

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  2. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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  3. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    Stubborn?! That's just how a donkey is:rofl:. He is adorable! But I have absolutely no advice:barefoot:.
     
  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    If he's treat motivated then give him treats.

    I had a horse that was horrible to back up. He'd rear and fall over backwards if you pushed him.

    I arranged things so that he had to back up one step to get into his stall to get his feed. I'd lead him past the door, then say 'back', and if he even moved ONE foot back in turning around or whatever he did, then he'd get to get to his feed. I let him have time to think about it and just fiddle with it a little each time and pretty soon it was a perfect rein back a half a step.

    That was the start. It started with 1/2 a step, to get some feed.

    I took it real slow. Then it was a half a step back right before I dismounted. Then it was a half step back and stand with the reins loose. "Good boy" and pet his neck. Then a whole step, lol.

    If it's an in hand class, then after he backs up, slip the halter off and let him be. Walk away. Let him graze. You could back him up one half a step as you put him out to grass.

    If it's in harness back him a half step before you unharness him.

    It's all about finding a good, positive situation and asking a tiny, tiny bit. That's what it's about.

    Just be sure he isn't refusing to rein back because of a sore back, hocks or stifles.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  5. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

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    My guess: ask him to walk forward. :ROFLMAO:

    JK, he's so adorable he can clearly do nothing wrong.
     
  6. secuono

    secuono Senior Member

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    Could you lure him to take that first tiny step back with a treat? At the same time, asking with the lead gently giving a tug backwards. He may associate that tug with backing, if so, build from there and slowly move on to less treats, too.
     
  7. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

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    So, the same techniques used on other equines will work on donkeys but you have to give them time to think.
    Find some YouTube videos of folks working donkeys and you will see what I mean. They will do things in their own time and you cannot make them do it faster than they want to.
    I used pressure and release with great success but treats work too.
    Small increments with things they are resistant to with quick praise for any try.
    He is adorable!
     
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  8. jojozwiebel

    jojozwiebel Senior Member+

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    @doublelranch yes, stubborn is the word! He just likes to be... not ever in a hurry, really not interested in work although he has taken everything in stride thus far.

    @slc yes, he is very treat motivated. Only for the peppermint cookies though, nothing else. I have tried this and will continue working with that. No matter how much pressure I use with chain, lead, or bit, he just stands there. Nothing aggressive or crazy, he literally never reacts. I don’t think there is any pain as he has only been in light work this year and showed no resistance to trotting in hand, walking, or squaring up. All this donkey has had is positive in his life... maybe too much! Thanks!

    @Faster Horses he could never do no wrong... he thinks he’s a dog :)

    @secuono will try, although he gets distracted by treats and will just tuck his head. I gotta be persistent though!

    @equinitis i will watch videos, he just seems to have no reactions which makes pressure release training difficult. For my horse, if I throw the lead rope at him or smack him in the chest, he reacts highly and backs up no problem. Good ol Duke looks at me like I’m crazy! No matter how much pushing, pulling, etc, he rarely budges. I will watch videos, thanks! He’s my baby, that’s for sure.

    We did some showmanship tonight and he walks in hand, trots in hand, and squares up. I attempted the pivot, no response. So I put my rear towards him and made him “respect my space”... I would kiss and hop around until he figured out “oh, I gotta move when pressure is applied!” This was not ideal, but it worked. It sounds crazy trying to explain lol
     
  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    You HAVE to teach him by pressure and release.

    Stand by his head, to one side, find the nerves on each side of his face, a few inches above the nose. Now put pressure on them and wiggle them under your fingers. As SOON as he just starts to lean away, stop, rub his face and look away. Stand there for a minute and let him think about that, then ask again.

    Drop that after he tries again, or does steps back and do it later on again.

    Everything you do depends on his learning pressure and release. Leading, riding, driving, all things we do depend on you put pressure, and he moves AWAY from it FOR the release.

    Be patient. Do not stop working the nerves in his face until he TRIES, takes weight off a front leg and leans back. Horses have to first be taught to take weight off, you reward that by STOPPING the pressure , then step back, you reward that, then take weight off the opposite foot, you reward that, then step back with ...and so on, and so on.
     
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  10. secuono

    secuono Senior Member

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    You could signal with a crop tapping the chest as an alternative. Then once he knows that, add the lead at the same time.
    I stand a little ahead of the shoulder, arm out under the neck and take a step back, mine see that as a cue to also back up. Or face them head on and take a step towards the head, they back up.
    Idk what the showmanship allows as cues, though.
     

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