It was another great learning session on Julie’s Camelidynamics course today. Nose loops, more clicker training, tag teaching, and agility. But can I do agility?
We did more tag teaching in the morning. To teach me some of the things I had missed on day one. So I got taught what Julie calls the snoot loop or the nose loop. This is a technique to get a halter shy alpaca prepared for having pressure over the bridge of it’s nose. After the tag teach session we went out and collected the boys so we could all have a practise.
During another yummy lunch Julie took a phone call about some 25 year old escaping guanacos. Their owner had had them for 17 years without any problems but when she brought in some kune kune pigs they freaked out (hmmm sounds familiar) and started escaping. The pigs have gone but the guanacos having discovered they can escape keep on escaping and their owner can’t afford to put in higher fencing. Unfortunately they will probably be euthanised rather than rehomed because they are already so old. Although as we discussed is it worse or better that their lives end in a field while they are happily eating? They wouldn’t even be aware they were about to go. I don’t know the end of this story. Maybe the legend of the guanacos of Bodmin moor has been born? We did all decide that camelid owners did need to be more aware of how badly their animals could react to pigs and in our experience it seemed that camelid owners mainly get kune kune pigs. No idea if there is a reason for that but three of us round the table had kunes. I am actually really grateful to our kunes for giving our alpacas the opportunity to learn they are not so scary. A great lesson for animals I would like to take out and about.
After lunch we went and herded the girls in. We practised leading on eachother althtough that was quite strange. It was useful though as getting the hang of starting and stopping is quite hard. Mainly stopping especially on a human as they are happy to start. Then we haltered the girls and took them out to practise for real.
I took Rosetta out. She is such a loveliest suri. And Chris and Rachel took out the two Llamas, Katia and Lucy. We practised leading them up and down the lane. The only issue I had with Rosetta, who seems to be beautifully capable at everything, was she would start to overtake me. It took me most of the afternoon to get the hang of this. I have to use the wand to slow her down or do a little circle turn with her.
Then we lead the girls up to the agility paddock. My years of dog training Misty and Rupert came back to me. I really love this. Rosetta was showing her alpaca side and missing leaving the herd behind us in the other paddock although she still managed to complete most of the course. There were only a few things that she shied at doing. The main one being the trailer which she did have a little moment about coming down the ramp. The whole experience was an amazing lesson for me in that while leading an alpaca along a lane and through a field or through trees is lovely the most powerful way to learn and build a relationship is leading the alpaca through a series of obstacles. I learnt different placing for my hand depending on what we were going through. Different body placements. How to use the wand. How to listen to Rosetta to give her time to look at an obstacle or slow her down so she is better prepared. I learnt so much and I still know very little. It has left me very keen to try this out with the ChyPacas herd.
Agility is an amazing learning tool.