It took several weeks to train the mini-donkeys to respond to a recall signal. There were complications with finding the right reinforcer as well as finding a way to reinforce them without creating competition.
The recall sound is made by a dinner triangle. The reinforcers are special horse treats that we use only for recalls. We spread the reinforcers into multiple feeders placed along the fence so that each donkey has room to enjoy them.
Ken Ramirez is the Executive Vice President and Chief Training Officer at Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT). A trainer and consultant for nearly 40 years, Ken most recently served as the Executive Vice President, Animal Care and Training, at Chicago’s world-famous Shedd Aquarium. He is the author of several books and DVDs, including ANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management Through Positive Reinforcement, which has become required reading for many trainers in the zoological field. Learn more about Ken Ramirez.