lost creek llamas


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The Basics

What we require before llamas graduate from basic training


1. Standing calmly when approached in a catch-pen area or other enclosure smaller than a pasture.

2. Calmly accepting an arm gently positioned around their neck when in the above situation.

3. Standing calmly in the above situation while being touched on any part of their body.

4. Calmly accepting a halter.

5. Walking calmly with a human partner on a loose lead (that is, no dragging, tugging, or rushing ahead).

6. Standing calmly while short-tied.

7. Standing calmly to allow all four feet to be picked up, inspected, and have toenails trimmed.

8. Standing calmly while short-tied for routine grooming (shearing falls into the next, or "elementary school," level).

9. Social desensitization to the normal things a llama might encounter in the shared environment such as children, dogs, motorized vehicles, bicycles, rural mailboxes (yes, some think that these are the boogieman), etc.

10. Loading into a trailer or another type of vehicles such as a pickup or van (ability to load into many different types of vehicles is the next, or "elementary school," level).

11. Intact males MUST learn that there is a time and place when hormones are allowed to control their behavior (little or no learning is taking place when a llama's focus is clouded by hormones). Walking responsibly while on the lead no matter what distraction is present is basic training for all intact males -- those who do not succeed become geldings.

There is more, but this will give you a good idea of both what we require and, more importantly, what llamas can easily be expected to do. A llama that has mastered these and other basic requirements is quite adequately prepared for more advanced activities, which can then be learned with much greater ease. There is really no end to the levels of training achievement you may reach as you and your llamas seek new challenges in your relationship together. Just some of these are cart driving, packing, performance showing, off-lead obstacles and dressage, and many other areas that are only limited by our own imagination.

Whatever level we are working on, we find it important to keep in mind that llamas are very intelligent beings that can be taught responsibility for their own actions. Understanding their own instinctive behavioral responses is part of our responsibility to them. Careful study of their inter-herd behavioral responses can provide invaluable insights which can greatly inhance human/llama interactions. We also find it extremely important to keep in mind that the llama and human are working together -- the llama is not working "for" the human.

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