Mule Psychology 101:"Rating The Mule's Learning Ability"
by Cindy K. (McKinnon) Roberts
Like children, the mule's learning capacity differs between each mule. Some are more intelligent than others and yet, their physical abilities vary too. The mule's learning capacity is dependent upon four factors: intelligence, athletic ability, age and the training techniques being used.
Intelligence of the mule, would be measured by the ability of the mule to learn the responses expected from him. If you are able to determine the intelligence of a specific mule, than this would be to your advantage at the time of purchase. I must make a point about this. Some people inaccurately judge a mule to being not so intelligent when in fact, he is. That is why it is important to understand how the mule's mind works. Yet, others tend to overrate the mule. Inaccurate judgement of the mule's intelligence will for sure interfere in training. Because, after all, the communication process is not there.
How does one determine the intelligence of a mule? Are there "tests" to be given? Yes, there are tests. Interesting enough, colleges and universities repeatedly do tests with animals to determine their intelligence. One test is to score your mule's ability to "read". Reading in the sense of recognizing symbols. Simply use a 6x8 inch card using a magic marker, draw a cross on it. Using another 6x8 card, draw a circle on it. Place the card with the cross on it, in front of the a bucket having grain in it. The second bucket should be placed about 10 feet away from the first bucket, using the card with the circle on it, placed in front if it. This bucket also has grain in it, but with a screen rigged on top of it so that none can be eaten.
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