Are you a treat dispenser? What is it about donkeys that make us want to give them treats? Maybe it is because they are so darn adorable, maybe it is because they are so interpersonal, maybe it is because we want to earn their trust and be loved by them. Maybe it is because we don’t want to put a lot of time into them, so we bribe them when we need them to do something. Whatever the reason, most donkey owners and caretakers fall into the trap of becoming treat dispensers.
Here is what you risk when you give your donkey the desert equine treats:
1. Giving treats regularly to your donkey undermines their health and can be dangerous. Apples have a high concentrate of sugar and acid making them dangerous for colic. Horse cookies and treats sold in farm stores, as well as human foods such as cookies and crackers, are made of processed wheat, sugar, salt, and other nasty additives. All of these put your donkey at risk for metabolic disorders, such as Cushing’s Disease and Laminitis. You are also putting your donkey at risk for a choke and/or colic. A donkey’s digestive system is NOT designed for these foods and feeding such treats can lead to impaction, colic, and/or peritonitis.
2. Giving treats regularly to your donkey undermines your authority. Many owners and caretakers often find themselves in a dilemma: They don’t have a lot of time to spend with their donkey but they expect their donkey to come, lead, go through the gate, get their feet trimmed, and stand for the vet. If you haven’t put in the time and training chances are your donkey is not going to listen to you! Under pressure, or in desperation, you resort to bribing your donkey with treats. This completely undermines your leadership and reduces you to a beggar! If this is happening to you, PLEASE find the time to connect with your donkey and teach him/her basic manners and training. I train the owner or caretaker worldwise how to tame and train the donkey via Donkey 101, 102 Video On Demand sold with my E-book.
3. Fear. Donkey owners and caretakers are often afraid of their donkeys; afraid to get kicked, afraid to get pushed through, afraid to get walked on. These are all signs of a donkey in need of a good leader and that leader is YOU! These are normal donkey behaviors in a herd, but not appropriate when living with humans. Bribing your donkey with treats or food to get them to behave is simply dangerous and creates a more demanding and belligerent donkey. Sooner or later you will lose and so will your donkey. REMEMBER: This is about you, not your donkey! To overcome fear you must learn donkey psychology, learn to join up with your donkey, and teach your donkey boundaries, manners, and basic skills. To learn more go to our website Donkey Whisperer Farm ®. Giving a treat during training as a reward for a job well done is encouraged. There are times it is very appropriate. Giving treats to show your donkey love, get him/her to mind you or because you are afraid of your donkey is simply dangerous. Learn healthy ways to be with your donkey. If you work all day, instead of coming home and giving your donkey a carrot, spend 15 minutes with your donkey; massage his/her ears, brush him/her or hang out and talk with your donkey. More than anything your donkey wants to be with YOU!
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!
Melody Johnson, Trainer/Owner