It’s been quite a while since I posted. Family events have taken priority – but now – back to telling you about my visit to Anja Beran’s in Germany last July. The last post was about the Warmblood Project. You can find the link here if you want to refresh your memory.
In the course of the week, Michaela and Alex had a discussion with Anja about her llamas and the difficulty they were having with one in particular. It was wary of people and hung back, which meant there would be a problem when any husbandry was needed. Michaela asked Anja if she’d like our clicker training group to see if we could help – she was delighted!
So it was decided to plan how the group would tackle this. Lisa – ( pictured in the feature photo – works with multiple species), Manu (works with a deer herd) and Alex, put their heads together to work out a plan. It was decided that most of the group would keep the other llamas occupied with food while Alex focussed on the shy one. Shy one isn’t a good name – let’s call it Blossom – because it certainly blossomed over the course of the next two days.
All this was done working with the llamas over the fence. We didn’t enter their area . This is how the training was approached. In the following photo you will see Lisa and Manu starting to separate the herd by feeding the more outgoing ones and moving them along the fence to the other end – away from Blossom.
The rest of the group gets involved in feeding the llamas.
Alex is left with two llamas. The white one is Blossom.
Alex starts in a non threatening position by sitting on the ground – and starts feeding both the llamas. As Blossom gains confidence, the next step for Alex is to put her hand in the food bowl, under the pellets, and see if Blossom is happy to take the food.
Blossom does not seem to be at all worried by the gradual transition.
In this final photo of the first morning session, Blossom is certainly interested in this game!
There was another session at lunch time – and several more the following day. Now I think in total there were roughly four or five sessions over the two days. This was the progress.
Lisa didn’t just feed her llama – she started adding some games – here she asks her llama “Can I touch your neck?” And she could! And Lisa Llama enjoyed this game!
Manu and Ingrid did some halter training and targeting.
Rebekka and Martina continued to build confidence with their llamas.
And Caeli and I took photos! Photo credits to Caeli for kindly letting me use some of her photos.
Below you can see the next session. Blossom was happily taking pellets straight from Alex’s hand without the need for the food bowl. What is more interesting is that Blossom started to confront the other llama that had been the more confident one. It just goes to show the mental/emotional changes that can occur during this training. You could imagine Blossom saying “This is MY person – go and find another one!”
In the following session, Alex gradually stood up – feeding Blossom at each stage.
You can see that Blossom was comfortable taking the pellets from Alex’s hand while she was standing. Blossom also followed Alex along the fenceline. Here is a video:
So this was a start. I hope they have been able to make further progress.
Back to the horses in the next post!
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