Hand feeding.

I have to be honest and say that I haven’t been training much over the last few months. There are lots of reasons. Lack of time. Indecision can I fit the work in with all the upheaval of our daily lives with 2 kids on the spectrum? Missing my amazing training partner (Alexis! That’s YOU!).

So I’ve felt distant from the herd. Our relationship has changed. William seems to look at me with the ever present question of are we training for treats today? But I don’t and he seems annoyed. But then he always looks annoyed. That’s part of his charm. Ida is still the same Ida but she is probably worried I may lock her in a small hurdled space with Leander for romance.

But today was a great day. It wasn’t actually the first time but this time was better. The tentative looks had vanished. The hesitation had disapeared.

Aragorn is eating out of my hand.

He has a current love of dandelions and fat hen. He was tentative and furtive at first but then he was eating like Susie and Ida. In fact he nosed Susie out the way. Has anyalpaca ever done that before? Not in Susie’s herd. But she let him.

I’m excited all over again. It is such a special feeling being with them all. Each of them has such a distinct and special personality. I want to share them with others. I want to see children get the same joy from hand feeding and working with them that I feel being around them. I need to find a training partner and start writing grants for cash to get the project going….

Ahhh but it’s massive!

Anyone for weekly alpaca training? (no spitting allowed).

Training updates and successes with apples.

I can’t believe we have been quiet here for so long as so much has been happening.

Training is going amazingly well. Alexis and I have taken Susie out around the field together and best of all we have discovered a secret weapon to use with Susie. Apples! She is very happy to have the halter put on and to be lead out when she is offered pieces of apple every 5 to 10 metres. It is so exciting and fulfilling to watch this transformation. Thank you to Alexis for working this out.

We have both been working with Leander in the walkway and will be taking him out into the field on our next training session. He is much more relaxed once he has been haltered but he is still hiding in the corner of the pen when I halter him. So I need to work on my own handling skills to improve the experience for him and reduce his anxiety.

With William, Roger and Marmite we have been focusing on clicker training. They absolutely love it. So much so, that we are using the halter as the target with amazing results in just a few sessions. William loves clicker training so much that mid way through a session he is reacting to the clicker (which produces dopamine and serotonin in the brain) and moving straight back to the halter instead of accepting his food reward. Unless, that is, I train with apples as we did in the last (freezing) session which sends him into a frenzy. Which begs the question;

Do apples contain something other than fructose which is a stimulant??

We have also found our dream piece of land and are looking at how we can finance it. Which means lots of time spent on the phone and typing business plans and finances. If we can pull it off it will be amazing so please wish us luck.

We also met with Stephen over Christmas to talk more about the film Tommy.com would like to make about the project. Filming has been pencilled in for early March….