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
August 24th 2012
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 very easy to kush each of my boys on verbal command in their own field when they are relaxed. It is rather different when they are a bit stressed. Afterall, a llama has depended on his ability to flee away for his survival and must therefore feel vulnerable when down. I have, however, been trying to get the kush to verbal command in the local forest recently, during treks. David and the alpaca kush readily,Toby after a bit of persuasion and the rest not at all.
No luck yet with the girls,but then they're girls!