Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowshoeing and Llama Training

Now that the snow is deep enough, we've been snowshoeing into the state lands behind our house.  We've been taking Haegl, Mishka and Sid up the mountain.  As I've said in the past, Haegl and Mishka adore Sid, barking and inviting him to play at every turn.  Sid is unsure about all this Malamute love, but he takes it stoically. 

One problem Sid has is he does not have the concept of snowshoes.  He's constantly stepping on mine, which has almost caused me to face-plant a few times.  He acts surprised when that happens and picks his foot off my snowshoes with an almost apologetic look. 

His favorite trail munchy is pine needles and branches.  He also likes the bark, but I don't let him eat it because it'll hurt the trees.  I think he learned to eat pine needles and bark when he ran around a bit feral at his last owner's, until she tied him up so he couldn't run.  He gets plenty of hay and llama pellets, so the pine needles are now just a snack.

The other day I decided to start clicker training him.  He's a very smart animal, so there's no reason why he couldn't be clicker trained.  I started on some very basic stuff -- learn what the clicker means, recognize his name, and come when I call.

The clicker is a bit disconcerting to him.  It's not a natural noise, so it takes him a little time to accept it so he isn't surprised.  He comes to me when I have llama pellets, which is his favorite food.  He will eat them right out of my hand, which is very cute and ticklish because he has no top teeth and uses his lips to move them into his mouth.  I've gotten him to recognize his name now, and come when I call, but he's nowhere perfect on that.  My goals for him is as follows:

  1. Come when called.
  2. Accept petting without shying away.
  3. Accept the halter without theatrics.
  4. Accept me handling and trimming his feet.
  5. Accept me brushing and combing him.
  6. Accept a pack and carry things (this shouldn't be a problem, since he was a pack llama).

I think they're quite doable.  I've had some positive results with him accepting the halter.  Considering this was a llama who would not allow me to touch him when I first met him, he now allows me to touch, pet and even kiss him, albeit with reservations.  He is good with the Malamutes and good with my husband.  He knows gee, haw, get up, and whoa.  So, I think he's very trainable. 

1 comment:

  1. That's great! We thought about raising them at one time. They're fascinating animals. Miss you!