Sunday, August 22, 2010

Run JuJu, RuN!

Me and JuJu have been having issues when we go for our walk. Almost once every walk she would run from me.... pulling the rope so hard that if I didn't let go I was going to be dragged like a tin can on the back of a Just Married get away car. It seemed to me that she would do this randomly, at various places and unexpected times... sometimes cause she didn't want the walk to end and decided to get away from the gate, another time when she heard a loud noise and ran out in front of me to protect me, then sometimes just going downhill in general would set her off into a running frenzy. But the real clencher was when she ran onto a neighbor's land, a neighbor who happens to take pride in their mowing and landscaping..... WHOooPS JuJu!
So at first I would run (fast) after her yelling things like "NO!" or "You Are an ASShole!" ..... thinking my disapproval should be known to help train her. I would run after to her so hard I would have to take breathing breaks, bent over holding my knees about to vomit. Then I stopped. I stopped running and she stopped running as far. She would stop after 30-100 feet and wait for me to walk up, acting like she'd been waiting for me all that time and nothing bad had ever happened. I would still show her I was upset after by saying "NO!" and stomping my foot......
Let's just say the truth here- I am not a donkey expert (yet). I have never had an animal larger then a fat cat in my life, I never even had a dog! I wanted this donkey in my life for many reasons, most of which I would say are yet to be revealed - I read up on it, I did the research but like anything in life research is nothing quite like reality.
So tonight I looked up "how to train your donkey" (again)....
and found this tiny paragraph of brilliance:
"In Vicki Abbott's discussion on communication she presents the illustration of the donkey who has pulled away while being haltered with the human shouting, "No!" and chasing after him. Her point is that to the donkey, this human is signaling danger whereupon they must all get some distance away from the snake (lead rope) that has just been detected and is chasing after them. The donkey's flight in this scenario is therefore predictable.
Of course the secret to success here is to understand how to read donkey body language and for us to convey appropriate messages to the donkey so that he doesn't bolt in the first place, and also avoid human-like responses that do little more than reinforce in the donkey's mind that the misbehavior was absolutely the correct thing to do.

Oh my gawd. Tomorrow some shit is gonna change around here! Me and JuJu are going for walk.....
but when she runs off, now what do I say?



Lou Cheese said...

It's like I said in your Barnyard Relation ship post, although it may not be popular with some of your readers on the surface of it, Ju Ju has to understand what the rules are, or else she will put yourself, herself, and the visitors at the Luck Cabin in potential danger.

She doesn't know what all of the potential dangers are, she just is learning what she can do physically and what she can do around you. As someone who had an incredibly powerful, unbelievably intelligent animal with them as a full-scale member of the family for many years, I can say that the sooner you can teach her the rules the better it will be for both of you, her, and everyone else who comes to Luck Cabin. And I don't want to hear diddly-squat from anyone else unless they raised a donkey or an over-sized guard dog on their own.

For the record, there were two times when my family member and beloved guard dog saved my @ss. Once when we where in a remote, deserted location and a gang from Grand Island, Nebraska, approached me with the intention of ripping me off, if not worse. They didn't know she was there, and not less than a few seconds after she came full-force to defend me she had 5 grown men running away as fast as their pathetic feet could take the.m.

Once she instantaneously and instinctively came to my defense when she was almost still a pup and I was charged by a fully grown male rottweiler. I have to say charged because she saw what was about to happen and she totally annihilated a dog that was 3 times her size when it was well on its way to causing me harm, but before it could actually attack me.

Trust me, Ju Ju's instincts are there and she will know you love her, but she has to understand what the rules are. If not, she might pull your arm out of it's socket when there is not medical help readily available, or she might run away and hurt herself in some fashion.

A strong & smart animal requires a strong & smart owner. 99% of the people on this planet could not have made it as far as you have, don't be afraid. Knowledge will come with experience, just don't let the bad experiences repeat themselves, because to Ju Ju, the same experiences might not be bad to her, quite opposite in fact.

Cosmic said...

Just remember You're in control, Leslie!


Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Mr. Cheese ---
Thanks for your concern!
I have been training Juju - I also have someone professional coming to help me train her in a week. I have been exerting who's boss and showing her I am the alpha female. I also have been very loving and showing her this is the place she is taken care of.
Donkeys are not like horses, and although they are similar to dogs in intelligence they do not behave entirely like a dog or a horse.
My donkey was already trained by some unknown person(based on her gentleness), and everyone who has seen her (including a esquine trainer this morning who brought hay) said she is a very gentle animal and won't be biting or hurting anyone, and will be easy to ride.
Here is the difference between her and an attack dog----
Juju will not attack like a dog, she will not run up and bite/kick someone, when donkeys are afraid or startled they do NOTHING.... literally, they stop and stand still. A neighbor's dog already tried to bite at her legs and barked loudly at her, and she hardly nudged him. This shows her level of patience and calmness.
DOnkeys will however attack and kill coyotes, and sometimes a dog if it threatens enough. I can imagine if a person really tried to hurt me in front of her, she may knock them a good one too.
She is accustom to children and very careful with them, you can tell she takes extra special care.
About her pulling me---- this is something i can work on, i don't see her pulling my arm out of socket if i let the rope go (since she doesnt jerk it, she just builds up speed).... it's only if i held on stupidly that something bad could happen. She also stays on the roads and open pastures, she doesnt run into danger, because of her natural instincts to avoid anything sketchy.

On a side note about riding safety, I learned that not only are donkeys great to ride, but they are especially good with children, people with handicaps, and the elderly because they do not spook like a horse and they do not buck people off their backs.
She is so gentle, that my chickens like to nest under her feet.

On another note to what you said - she is a huge hardy and strong animal, who knows her strength and that is why respect and good treatment is the most important.

PS--- your dog was awesome.

COsmic -------
I am soooo in control. ha ha.

Vicky said...

In my experience, the best way to train an animal is to use positive reinforcement. Basically reward the behavior you like and ignore what you don't like. Animals and people learn better when you tell them what TO do, instead of what NOT to do.

Also spend a lot of time with her and observe her body language. This will help you to treat her like a donkey instead of a furry human. If you can figure out WHY she's doing something, you can figure out a way to stop her.

Good luck! She sounds like a great donkey.

Joan said...

I am so happy this morning to find your wonderful blog. laugh out loud! I like donkeys..I think. I lived with an ex circus donley once..Petra..very old an docile and put into retirement. The only other donkeys were those in Morocco and that's another story. Love your blog..followed from Kitty Howard. Thanks Kitty.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Vicky :)
I like that advice and am putting that into use now - alot of positive reinforcement, and not so much drama on the bad stuff. It seems to help me relax, and if i relax then she does too.

Hey Joan!
So glad you can join us... thanks to Kitty also, who i Loooove.
How did you end up with an X-circus donkey? I want to hear more stories!!

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