THE METHOD I'M USING
I am always a little surprised at how few llama-owners teach their animals to sit; it is so easy, with males anyway..and so useful at times, especially when you're grooming a tall llama.
I am indebted
to Paul Rose of Roseland Llamas for advising me some years ago on how to
kush a llama. . The method involved two persons, one at each end of the
animal, one applying a downward pull to the head by means of a lead-rope
threaded under a gate and the other person applying downward pressure to
the rear end. Eventually the animal would fold down, usually with only a
This was the method I used on all five boys, successfully. (But I must add that it would have been impossible had the boys not been fairly relaxed with me in the first instance.) I was lavish with my praise (I hadn't a clicker then!) and the favourite grain as I gradually got the response I was seeking. And then many repetitions.
Gradually the boys learnt they had to kush whenever I gave a downward pull to their heads. At first this was a struggle, with chins on ground but legs straight, but they slowly got the message. By this time I was clicker-training and kushing was thus rewarded with a click and a food reward. From here I ascribed the behaviour a name: "Sit down"( though nowadays I use the command at the start of the training.) Gradually, gradually (but see * below!) the downward tug on the head was replaced with the command "Sit down" and a downward finger movement.
is a very abbreviated version of kush-training. If you want much fuller
details just click on this
*Is this a record?! Toby, at 5 months, had never before kushed within 25 yards of me and he learnt to sit on hand signal/verbal command ( no halter)....in just under 7 minutes.
If you can add anything to my work or have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
HOW WE'RE DOING
The story so far: All five boys sit readily to hand signal/verbal command at the farm. Oscar, David and Toby usually only need verbal request. I have never yet been able to get either of the two girls to sit. I tend to think of female llamas as different animals from the male, but then my experience of them has hardly been vast!
The alpaca was a dream to teach. Probably half an hour in total, to verbal command only.
RECENT NOTES ON PROGRESS
Kushing is something I do on a daily basis with one or other of my boys....all of them over a few days.
It's such a useful thing to have taught, especially when I'm giving out treats and want to separate the llamas and avoud them trying to take another's treat.
In general I find hand signals are far, far more distinctive than verbal ones, but with the "Sit Down" command, I'm finding that it is enough to simply say it. There is something about the "s" in a comnand that seems to understandable to a llama. A hiss sound perhaps? I notice this in the command "Givvus a kiss" (two hisses). Interesting!