When you think of a dog, you probably think man’s best friend, but what about other animals? Can dogs be friends with cats, sheep, horses, donkeys, and other animals that are frequently kept on farms or as pets?
Fortunately for many dog owners, dogs are known for being highly social and trainable. This means that dogs tend to do well with all kinds of other species. Dogs in the working and herding groups tend to have instincts around other animals, so many of them naturally know what they are supposed to do, which is pretty incredible. But, how do donkeys handle being around dogs? Can they be friends?
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Signs That Dogs Could Live with Donkeys
Dogs are great at making friends—at least most of them are! Dogs are social and like to be around others, and they don’t really seem to mind what the species is. The most important thing to remember when you want to have a dog around another animal is that you need to introduce the two slowly. Whether the animal is big or small, it can be dangerous to let two unfamiliar animals loose near one another, especially when they are of different species.
Dogs are also naturally curious creatures, which means that they are likely to be interested in donkeys, because they don’t know what they are. You may notice that your dog wags and barks with excitement when it sees a donkey. You may also see it become alert and pop its ears up. Your dog may also whimper when you don’t let them go investigate the unfamiliar creature.
- Wag tail
- Raise ears
- Ears up
- Friendly behavior
- Staying close to the donkey
- Calm temperament
History of Dogs Living with Donkeys
In the past—and even on some farms today—dogs and donkeys were kept in close quarters. Both animals were considered workers on the farm, and they probably spent a lot more time together than many people realize. However, just because they spent time together doesn’t mean that you should put them together.
You need to first consider the personalities of the two animals. Donkeys tend to be stubborn and hard to get along with. Dogs are typically very social, eager to please, and curious. It may not be a good idea to introduce your two animals if they are just going to aggravate one another. You may want to consider a slow introduction where the two animals are allowed to get used to each other without having direct access to one another.
Once the two are familiar with each other, you can start to allow them to get closer to each other. This method should help them feel more comfortable around each other, and it will hopefully prevent any incidents. If either of the two animals have a bad history around other animals, you may want to prevent them from seeing each other and focus on the two animals individually first.
Science Behind Whether Dogs and Donkeys Can Co-Exist
Dogs are incredibly social creatures that can also adapt to almost any situation. This makes them great around a variety of other animals. Plus, their herding nature makes them feel comfortable around large, hooved animals. In fact, dogs are often used to help herd cattle and sheep without hurting them.
Unfortunately, however, donkeys don’t have the same social skills that dogs do. While dogs are unlikely to hurt your donkey, your donkey might try to kick or stomp on your dog. If you want to keep dogs and donkeys in close quarters, you should probably only do so with large dogs that are trained to be around large animals like a donkey.
Training Your Dog to Live with Donkeys
You can easily train most dogs to interact in a positive manner with other animal species. However, the same cannot be said about donkeys. Your best bet when it comes to getting these two animals to co-exist is to train your dog how to behave around your donkey so that the donkey doesn’t try to harm the dog.
To try to start these two animals off on the right foot, you can work on a slow introduction. To do this, you will want to have both animals on leads with someone responsible for each one. Start off with the two of them stand a good distance apart. You will want them to be able to see each other, but not get close enough that they can start anything.
Once both animals are calm, you can move them a few steps closer to each other. Keep repeating this until they can be next to each other. If your animals can’t settle down, you can either take steps backward, or you can put the introduction on hold until a different day.
You will want to keep the animals leashed around each other for a while, so you have control over the situation. After they both seem comfortable, you can consider letting them freely interact with supervision. Just be careful, because donkeys have a powerful kick and could easily injure your dog. Dogs can also nip at the donkey or make them uncomfortable by getting too close.
It is important that you don’t just leave the two animals alone together right away. It takes time for animals to learn how to interact with one another and rushing the process can lead to serious injuries. Since dogs generally live in houses and donkeys in barns, it is fairly easy to keep the animals apart.
Safety Tips for Dogs Living Near Donkeys:
Introduce the two animals slowly.
Don't leave them unattended together.
Monitor their interactions.