Monday, March 8, 2010

Halter Training

Halter training can be quite trying, but if you approach it with a sense of humor, it can be fun.
I have a friend, I will call him an Intern, who wants to learn everything he can about alpacas. He manages a pet store and owns all sorts of animals. Alpacas have piqued his interest, and so he is working with me to learn.

The first picture is of us herding the girls into the barn.
This first girl is Nutmeg. Obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer. We use the Camelidynamics method of training and never leave an alpaca in training on the halter for more than 5 minutes to start. We take the halter off when they have behaved or accomplished something. Nutmeg faught me the whole way. What I am doing is exerting pressure on the lead in small jerks. Usually, the alpaca finally takes a step forward, at which point I let up on the pressure. Then you can actually see the lightbulb go off in their brain. " Oh, so if I walk, there won't be any pressure on me." Well, Nutmeg figured out that if she took a step I would let up, but then she would brace herself full force again. Oh, well, another day. She will probably get it on her third session.
This is also a good time to learn about the individual's personality. I know my herd well, and I could pretty well predict who would succeed, and who would be a chore.

Nutmeg again, fighting me. I finally just got her to stand still and removed the halter.

Here is Velvet. Her entire family line is very smart, so she did as well as I expected. I could take her for a walk down the city streets if I wanted to now. But we will save that for the younguns.
Abigail's Mom is a psycho, so I expected her to be a handful. She was, but she was catching on. I think she will get it in her next session.

This one was a surprise. Pippi Longstockings thinks (knows) she is special, and when I put the halter on her, she was devastated. I've never had one throw themselves on the ground like this. I was cracking up. We let her lie there for awhile. She then stood up and stood straight, so I removed the halter. I really don't know what to expect of her next session, but I think she will realize we didn't hurt her and will do better.