Donkey Care [How to make Friends with a Donkey]

How to Make Friends with a Donkey

Donkey care isn’t just about the right food and shelter. It’s about the right mental health care and support too!
You need to be in the mindset of being “friends” with the donkey. There are many things to know about donkeys but One of the things new owners may need to know about donkeys is how to calm them down if they are stressed.


how to make friends with a donkey

Donkey Case Study

Some of you know my journey with these two and their buck wild foals. Which btw the foals are sweet as they can be now and on their way to being halter trained.

So they are all getting better all the time. I have devoted lots of time and effort figuring out how these girls think and what they need to feel comfortable. Because they haven’t been loved and handled, it’s not been easy.

They weren’t super wild like that jack I bought in 2015. Wow! Was I out of my skill set back then! He too started to calm down. After over a year! As much as I could expect a feral intact, never been touched jack to calm down. Getting him gelded would have helped but I didn’t know that at the time.

I’m seeing progress though, and that gives me hope! 

These girls would be great for a kid or small adult to ride, they could pack or drive a cart! Donkeys are stronger than a horse of the same size! If I set them up for success, I’m sure they would be useful on a farm.

I usually don’t like for donkeys to go to homes to just be guards because they get neglected. If you are thinking you want a donkey as a guard, please read this first!  Using a Guardian Donkey

 Donkey Care: 3 Ways to calm down and make friends with a donkey

There are many things that can work. Ultimately, a lot depends on how feral the donkey is, but here are a few tips that helped me with these jennets.

  1. Brushing with a soft bristle brush. My donkeys all have a favorite brush! 
  2. The calming effects of German Chamomile and Lavender Essential Oils Seriously… I put it on my wrist and a drop lightly on their foreheads. This link is a good reference for equine use of essential oils for calming effects 10 Essential Oils for Soothing
  3. Also, when I pet them and they remain still and calm, I use positive reenforcement training to mark this desired behavior. It has helped them understand when we stand still, good things happen! 

Many people may not want to hand-feed treats and I understand that! It can cause a lot of problems if not done properly by training treat manners.

I created a step-by-step program to help people with donkeys, especially for those looking to make friends with their donkey and build a solid, trusting relationship.

You can check it out here:

Donkey training


Here is a video of me starting a scared, shy donkey on +R training to gain his trust, so he started to see me as a friend, not a predator. 

Donkey Halter Training Video Series

Taming Donkeys and Making Friends with Donkeys Made EASY!

I hope these things help you as they have me. A little extra care and time go a long way with these guys! A stressed-out donkey is always sad for me to see. I want my donkeys to know I never mean them harm and they can be calm around me, no matter what we are doing.

UPDATE: The two jennies and their foals were all halter trained and rehomed. If I can tame a donkey and make friends with donkeys, so can you! I can’t say enough about the wonderful effects of using +R training!

Want more about donkey care and how you can make friends with a donkey?

Sign up for my Donkey Lovers List! Natural care, training, and everything donkey! 

Essential Oils for Donkeys ebook

I packed a lot of essential oil information into one book! Make your own beginner’s kit, learn about safety and more! This is ebook is available in my shop or it’s free with membership to my donkey training group.

Click the picture to go to my shop and see the book and all the other donkey care resources to help you make friends with your donkey! Take a look at my custom donkey halters too!

essential oils for donkeys

Till next time!