Those with enough land may consider taking up a donkey as a pet rather than a dog. One reason for this is because of a donkey’s intelligence. While a donkey is typically stereotyped as a fool, this may not actually be the reality. Many vets actually consider donkeys to be smarter than horses. Depending on the breed of dog, they may also be smarter than a dog.
Donkeys are often used as a labor force. They haul carts, carry heavy loads, and can turn mills in lieu of moving water. Because they’ve been used for labor for so long, they’ve developed a natural intelligence for following instructions. The same might be said for horses, but the instructions given to them don’t require the same kind of mental gymnastics as labor that a donkey performs.
In regards to dogs, intelligence varies by breed. It also depends on what one defines ‘intelligence’ as. If it refers to trainability and following commands, then you’ll likely find that working dogs are more intelligent than other dog breeds.
This is because they, just like donkeys, were trained centuries ago to follow commands. In today’s world, they still maintain a natural instinct to herd or perform other work. They have high energy levels that need to be satisfied by performing some kind of work. Mental stimulation is another key aspect of working dogs.
When comparing the two, you might find that it’s easier to train a miniature donkey than a dog. One reason may be due to a dog’s ability to become easily distracted during training. Dogs have keen senses. When a new scent or sense is triggered, they have a natural need to discover or investigate it. This can make training frustrating when all they want to do is look around or sniff around.
Donkeys, on the other hand, have a bit better of an attention span. They’re able to focus for longer periods which means training them can go a bit faster.
Of course, you may run into a few cases where the donkey becomes “stubborn.” This isn’t always because the donkey just doesn’t want to perform an action. It’s typically because they’re frightened. Unlike horses which will run at the sight of danger, a donkey will actually hold its ground.
It will freeze and refuse to move. This is where the famous stereotype of the stubborn donkey comes from. If your donkey refuses to do something and locks in place, then it may be because it’s frightened of something.
When training your donkey, you should never slap it or strike it. This can make the donkey hand-shy. It may even start nipping at your hands. Instead, you’ll want to loudly and clearly cry, “No!” The sharp sound will help it associate bad behavior with certain noises that you make.
This speaks to the memory of a donkey. They’re able to remember certain words a bit better than dogs. While dogs are typically trained with a clicker, that’s just a single sound and isn’t a word. That’s because dogs can forget what certain words mean. Or it may be because you often use those words around them. This can make understanding the intent behind the words confusing for dogs.
Donkeys, on the other hand, are used to responding to certain words. All the same, when training your donkey, try to make as few vocal commands as possible. Create specific words that you only use to tell your donkey what to do and that you don’t use in typical speech.
Is the donkey the smartest animal?
While the smartest animal award typically goes to elephants, chimpanzees, and dolphins, the donkey should certainly be a contender. One reason is because, like the elephant, donkeys have an incredible memory. Part of this may be due to the fact that donkeys can live for a long time. Most donkeys live for 30 or 40 years. One even reached into its 60s before dying of old age.
Creatures that live a long time tend to develop a sense of memory. Their memory is showcased in cases where they come to someone when they call their name. They even recognize other animals after a long period of separation.
Donkeys are emotionally intelligent as well. They form bonds with other animals and often use a buddy system. It’s not uncommon to see donkey friends grooming each other and joining one another in their grazing. When a friend is removed, the isolated donkey may show signs of anxiety. They’ll pace, chew wood, and may even become depressed.
This social intelligence clearly depicts a larger sense of intelligence that the donkey hasn’t been given credit for before.
While chimpanzees may be issued intelligence because of their ability to use tools, donkeys don’t have the same dextrous limbs to use tools. However, they make do in their own way. They have alert systems that they use to call each other over long distances. Their long ears help them hear the braying of other donkeys that are miles away.
What is the IQ of a donkey?
To determine the IQ of a donkey, researchers tested donkeys based on 13 traits that would determine their intelligence. Those traits revolved around aspects like trainability, memory, curiosity, and concentration. The testing was done by holding a cloth in front of the donkey and seeing how it reacted. In some cases, prompts were used, and in other cases, prompts were not used.
The researchers found that donkeys had a positive correlation in almost all of the traits that they tested. Their correlation ranged from .12 to .81. This means that the donkey scored rather higher on the IQ chart.
What is the IQ of a dog?
Testing the IQ of a dog followed similar patterns. They were tested based on their ability to be trained, memory, curiosity, and concentration. Researchers found that dogs share an IQ similar to 2 or 3-year-old humans. However, they aren’t always able to understand word meanings.