How Do I Train My Mini Donkey to Do Tricks?

You already keep your mini donkey as a pet, and so, like most pets, you’d expect them to do tricks. Is it possible to train a donkey in this area? How would you even go about it?

Yes, you can train your miniature donkey to do tricks. To get started, try the following:

  • Choose the trick you want them to learn, such as giving kisses or nodding their head
  • Get the necessary items for the trick (a stick to encourage head nodding, for example)
  • Begin to teach the trick with vocal and physical commands
  • Repeat as necessary until the mini donkey grasps the command
  • Reward with treats

If you’re ready to begin training your mini donkey to do cool tricks today, we recommend you read this article first. In it, we’ll discuss the types of tricks you can teach your donkey, how to train them, what you should reward them with, and how to get a reluctant donkey back on track with their training.

Let’s get started.

What Kinds of Tricks Can You Train Your Mini Donkey to Do?

First, let’s discuss the many tricks your mini donkey is capable of learning. While it can vary from animal to animal, here’s some commands you may choose to focus on in your training.

Go Hee-Haw

The signature donkey sound is that of a hee-haw. This is known as braying. Donkeys will do this on their own, including your miniature donkey. It may seem like you can’t control when and how often a donkey brays, but with training, it’s possible to commandeer this vocal skill of theirs.

Show Some Love with Kisses

Donkey kisses? Yes, they’re a thing. If you’re into this means of affection from a pet, know you can train your mini donkey to show love.

Shake Their Head

It’s possible to teach your donkey to move their head so it looks like they’re giving their consent or disapproval. While this trick isn’t really useful, it would certainly impress your friends and family.


Mini donkeys and their bigger counterparts can learn to move their lips in such a way that it looks like they’re smiling. This is a tougher trick to teach that will require time and effort.

Play Fetch

Who needs a dog when you have a miniature donkey? After all, the animal can also learn fetch like other pets.

Hop Through a Hoop

If you want your donkey to pull off death-defying (not really), incredible feats, then you can instruct them to go through a hoop.

How Do You Train Your Mini Donkey to Do Tricks?

Now that you know all the amazing things your mini donkey can do, you’re very excited to begin teaching them a trick or two. How can you ensure you do so successfully? Here’s an expansion of the pointers we shared in the intro.

Choose a Trick

We recommend you start with one trick and master it rather than try to teach your mini donkey several tricks at once. You’ll confuse them and probably prohibit their learning any one command fully.

You can indeed instruct your donkey on how to do every trick we outlined in the prior section, but it’ll take time. You must have patience during training for it to go well.

Grab Your Items for the Trick

Depending on the trick you chose, you might need certain items to pull it off. Here’s which items you’ll require for the tricks we talked about:

  • For teaching your mini donkey to give kisses, some pet owners will use honey or another sweet substance to put on their cheeks. Others just use their hands to direct the donkey to the right place (cheek, chin, etc.). The latter is the safer method.
  • If you want your donkey to shake their head in the affirmative or negative, a stick can incentivize them to learn this trick.
  • Smiling doesn’t occur naturally to mini donkeys, so you’ll have to adjust their top lip and tell them to smile as you do so. Keep this up and eventually when you say “smile,” your mini donkey should move their lips on their own!
  • For getting them to learn fetch, you should have a frisbee or a stick to throw.
  • To have your mini donkey jump through a hoop, you of course need a hoop. Make sure the animal will fit through without getting stuck.

Begin Teaching the Trick

Okay, so you’ve got all your supplies for teaching your mini donkey some great tricks. Now you can get to work doing just that. Remember that even though your donkey might learn a physical action, you need to reinforce their learning with vocal commands.

Let’s say you’re teaching your mini donkey to jump through a hoop. Setting up the hoop alone isn’t enough. You need to tell them to jump each time they do it. Eventually, your donkey will associate your vocal command of jump with the action. That’s how real learning occurs.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like with training any pet, repetition is the name of the game. Mini donkeys may be incredibly intelligent, but even they won’t learn a trick if you only show it to them once. You need to get out there with them over multiple days and keep working on the same trick.

How Should You Reward Your Mini Donkey for a Job Well Done?

Think of your miniature donkey—or any animal, really—doing tricks as a transaction. Their performance of said trick is them giving something to you, so they expect something back in return. What is that something? Treats, of course.

While positive vocal reinforcement is nice, to really get your mini donkey in the mood to learn, you need to give them food for their troubles. Treats such as apples or carrots work well for training purposes.

You shouldn’t use treats to make your donkey do something. That’s all in the training. Only rely on the treats as a reward. If you’re having your donkey practice a lot in one day, then maybe cut the vegetable or fruit in half rather than give them whole treat. You don’t want to ruin your mini donkey’s diet simply by training them.

Also, do keep in mind that you shouldn’t use food as positive reinforcement for your donkey’s training forever. Eventually, as they get closer to mastering the command, you can dial it back to physical or verbal praise.

What Do You Do if Your Mini Donkey Isn’t Learning?

Okay, let’s say you’ve hit a snag in the road—or several—while trying to train your miniature donkey. They seem somewhat willing to learn, but then you issue a command and they just don’t follow it. What gives?

There’s a whole host of factors that could be prohibiting your success. Check out these pointers that should help you figure out what to improve on:

  • Remember what we said before and only train your donkey at one trick at a time. Otherwise, they’ll get overwhelmed and likely won’t learn any command.
  • Sometimes, depending on the trick, you have to intervene a bit. Take training your mini donkey to smile, for instance. This isn’t something they’ll ever learn to do on their own. No amount of saying “smile” will make it happen, either. You must guide them along by moving their lips. You may even have to do this a few times until your donkey gets the hang of what you’re asking them to do when you say “smile.”
  • As we said before, you can’t just train your donkey at something once or twice and expect them to master it. Repeated training sessions will yield the best results.
  • Miniature donkeys can get tired, just like any animal. If you’ve already spent several hours training them on one thing, pack it in for the day. There’s always tomorrow.
  • Even once they learn a command, you must reinforce it, or your donkey could forget.
  • Finally, you must give your donkey treats for a job well done. Failing to do so could majorly hinder the training process.


Training your miniature donkey to do cool tricks impresses others around you while bringing you and your pet closer together. Donkeys can do a range of things, from giving kisses to smiling, nodding their head and jumping through hoops.

No matter which trick you decide to train them in, you must practice over several days (sometimes several weeks) while rewarding your donkey with treats. Good luck!

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