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Guidelines for spending time
with young llamas
How do I get young llamas to understand what I want?
In order to learn how to be a successful mentor to crias in terms that they can easily understand, the most important initial step is to pay attention to acceptable and unacceptable behavior in llama society, and the consequences thereof. Sit down for a day and watch a group of adults and crias interact. You will likely witness quite a bit of corrective responses for improper entry into another's space directed at crias (particularly older crias) by the adult llamas. You can learn which behaviors are acknowledged and which ones are not, and how that is done.
A cria (particularly a younger cria) entering an adult's space may not be acknowledged unless that entry is accompanied by other actions (pushing, rubbing, mouthing or attempting to nurse, for example). Adult llamas certainly don't bend over a cria who is being submissive and looking for a free lunch, look him/her in the eyes and say "My what a CUTE little cria you are!" When the cria is new, some adults may blow in it's nose, but just as many adults don't, and most inspect the newcomer on their own terms and for as long as they want, and baby has to just tolerate it.
Notice that adults (other than mother) certainly don't hum back. When a cria walks over into another female's space (i.e., not it's mother) and says, "I'm a baby, you got any milk for me? I can smell it! Give me some milk, now!" (a warbling hum), the response is more than likely to be translatable as "I'm NOT your mother, and if you stick your nose any closer, I'll turn it so green you won't be able to eat for hours!" Certainly the adult female doesn't flip her tail over, put her neck down, and squeal ecstatically (a mixed message no matter how you look at it). What must a cria think when a human does something that seems like submission combined with squealing? Certainly the conclusion is not that humans are respectable adults!
The following rules, guidelines, and lessons will help you make clear to a young llama just where humans fit into their lives. As a mentor, you will be the primary source of information about humans and the primary force that shapes young llamas' view of us, and thus, you are the primary guardian of their futures.