On the plus side I’ve joined a research group on the down side…

On the down side I have lost all confidence in myself, my ability to work with animals and my animals.

What is going wrong?

I took the girls in for a training session. I started with Ida but she was difficult to catch. Trying the assertive method I probably caught her in a compromising position. She was annoyed about it and wouldn’t leave the shelter without me giving her some gentle encouragement from my hips. I did also try to take her towards the house whereas previously we always walk down our track. So it was a short session with Ida and not so fulfilling although once she is on the halter she is super sweet. I am also aware that leading one alpaca by itself isn’t going to work. More on the solution to that in a minute.

Then I took Susie out. She was fantastic at first. I caught her easily. She left the shelter easily. Then just as we stepped onto the track she just lay down. I gave her lots of Ttouch and even tried Ttouching her legs only to discover that got her up. Useful trick to know. It worked again when she lay down ‘dead’ two minutes later. So Susie isn’t keen on this trekking with alpacas thing.

Then I thought, why not? Let’s try Dolores. As you can see in the photos she was very good at standing still. But she wouldn’t really go anywhere.

I need a refresher course or some more compliant animals. Hard not to feel like this was another  crazy idea and I am not capable of pulling it off. But I don’t feel like that for long. Did I ever think it was going to be easy>? Nope I did not. Am I longing for the satisfaction of  getting them to be trained and super duper easy? Yes that is all I dream of.

They say never blame your tools. Can I blame my set up?

It is terrible and I need to get my midway finances for the SSE grant in so I can buy new hurdles so I can do the handling in a proper setting. Phew. I will get there.

And if it is me that needs to change my techniques (almost definately is) then good thing I am going on Marty’s advance in two days!

The research group is a project Cornwall Council are setting up about asking organisation if they feel they have enough autism training. We get to write the questions, chose who to ask, go ask people and write the report. Or course we aren’t paid but it is useful avenue to networking with others.

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