Because donkeys are herd animals and are ‘species specific’ their happiness meter increases dramatically when they are paired with another donkey or in a donkey herd. Happiness equates to improved psychological well being and physical health which means fewer behavioral problems and veterinary bills for owners. It is a win/win for both donkeys and their owners/guardians.
But, what happens when donkeys become ‘herd bound’?
Because many donkey owners/caretakers don’t spend time socializing and interacting with their donkeys on a regular basis their donkeys bond and become attached to their donkey companion or herd. Inevitably, when it is time for their donkey to leave their partner or herd the donkey panics, becomes stressed or misbehaves. We have seen far too many disasters when a donkey must be separated from its partner and one or both donkeys are plunged into hysteria. Being ‘herd bound’ is extremely dangerous for both the donkey and the owner!
As donkey owners and guardians we must be able to separate our donkeys and attend to them individually. At some point all donkeys will need to be separated, even temporarily, due to an abscess, illness, injury, diet change, medicating or for the farrier or vet.
Being ‘herd bound’ reflects on the owner NOT the donkey! Donkeys naturally migrate toward the leader of the herd and the strongest member for companionship. There is a natural hierarchy in herd psychology and as with all herd animals donkeys have a strong instinct for safety and survival. If your donkey does not consider you the leader of the herd or his/her partner you cannot expect your donkey to feel safe in your presence. You must be a leader worthy of your donkey’s trust and respect.
The solution for a ‘herd bound’ donkey is your time and patience. Learn to be a leader. Prove to your donkey that he/she can look to you for safety and natural herdsmanship.
To learn how to be a leader go to: http://donkeywhisperer.com/onlinetrainingcourse.htm