Deworming Rita the (nonetheless) Unapproachable Mule

Rita, the Unapproachable Mule that I’m working with within the Donkey Refuge is making progress! I nonetheless can’t strategy her so shut that I can contact her, however she comes fairly near me now.

Husbandry ability: deworming

The herd she’s in (all donkeys, she’s the one mule) wanted their deworming completed. Rita hasn’t been dewormed in 6 years as a result of there’s NO WAY you possibly can strategy her.

They’ve tried the whole lot and even tried to sedate her within the hope they might get her, contact her or strategy her, however nothing labored…

After I began with constructive reinforcement (Might 2022), it was actually exhausting. I needed to study Rita’s language (I by no means labored with a mule earlier than and Rita was on high of that very, very traumatized. Nonetheless is!)

Anyway, two weeks in the past the herd wanted to be dewormed and Rita too.

The employees makes these ‘meals balls’ with soaked pelleted and candy meals, through which most animal would eat their meds.

Not Rita!

We tried placing the dewormer in these magical balls as a result of she did take them along with her antibiotics final month when she received damage!

Rita bit into the ball and spit it proper out! Yak!

I assumed, why danger damaging the belief by ‘tricking’ her into consuming the dewormer paste?

Right here comes Key to Success #1 for Trainers: Ideas of Studying & Motivation!

As a substitute of tricking her, I made positive that each interplay with the meals ball with dewormer was positively bolstered.

As a substitute of placing the dewormer within the inside, I requested the employees to put it on the surface… (Sure, they gave me a puzzled look)The Precept is, to coach Rita to settle for an aversive (with constructive reinforcement and selection).

Selections in Coaching

I gave her decisions: There was extra to eat than simply the ball with dewormer, she received treats (regular meals pellets) in different meals bowls and on mats.

The intention of deworming coaching was merely to show her that the scent is OK. I put meals across the edible “deworming ball”

t took some time for her to strategy the deworming ball, since she was unpleasantly shocked earlier than when she bit in one among them and received a (not so good) shock…🤮

Subsequent step within the deworming coaching

Reinforcing her to the touch the meals ball. Once more, deworming was on the surface of this edible ball. That took additionally a couple of coaching classes to show her to the touch it persistently. Aim was to make the scent (and later style, too) acquainted and to associate it with good issues taking place.

Then I bolstered ‘utilizing her lips to the touch’ it and likewise bolstered pushing it along with her chin towards the rim of the meals bowl and so she squeezed it. On the finish of our coaching she lastly ate a part of the ball!

Coaching after that, she ate a part of the dewormer meals ball, once more.

Final coaching she ate the entire ball, on the finish of our 1-hour coaching. The coaching after that, she ate it once more. All of it. It took her a complete hour once more!

Right now she select the meals bowl with the dewormer ball first! Which was fascinating!! And gave hope! Throughout the first quarter-hour of our coaching she ate the ball! WIN! 

Every ball has only a few ml of dewormer on it, however that is such a promising begin!

I hope to get her dewormed inside the subsequent 3 classes. I’ll maintain you posted!!

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