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close this book Animal traction
close this folder 4. Training draft animals
View the document Before training begins
View the document General comments on training procedure
View the document Training cattle
View the document Program for training cattle
View the document Training horses, donkeys and mules
View the document Program for training horses, donkeys and mules

Before training begins

Before formal training sessions begin, an animal should have time to adjust to its new owner and surroundings. Separated from its familiar environment and handled by someone whose touch, voice, and movements may be new, it may refuse to eat or drink, appear abnormally quiet or nervous, or try to run away.

New owners can help their animals adjust by:

• handling them in a calm, confident way. People who use hesitant motions, speak in excited voices or misuse ropes and whips can cause animals to react defensively. Cattle kick, butt, toss their heads, or simply refuse to move. Horses, donkeys, and mules may kick, bite, rear, or try to squeeze a person against a fence or wall;

• avoiding frightening the animal with procedures that cause it pain or discomfort. Inexperienced owners are sometimes anxious to make their animals more docile or trainable through castration, use of drugs, or restraints such as noserings or hobbles. While such measures may be needed or advisable under some circumstances, it is generally poor practice to use them before an animal has had time to adjust and reveal its natural disposition.