Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Number One Reason I Like Clicker Training My Alpacas

Last night as I was feeding the alpacas, I went into the stall where I feed my boys carrying their bowls.  I have already put their pellets in their bowls so I just have to come in and distribute their bowls.  I have a latch that has to be hooked or the door will open on its own allowing boys to get out to some of my girls.  Normally, I hook the latch effortlessly but last night, it was not cooperating.  I had my one hand full with the bowls so I must do it single-handedly and the darn latch wouldn't go where I needed it to be.  Mowgli and Olivier were standing at my elbows waiting expectantly and eagerly for their bowls.  Since it was taking longer than normal, Mowgli must have assumed I wanted him to do his trick I clicker trained him to perform.  He started to bow.  I recently started training Olivier the same trick and he saw Mowgli bowing and he started to bow on the other side of me.  Then I really had a hard time latching the hook because I was laughing so hard at my cute boys.

The number one favorite reason I like clicker training is that the alpacas OFFER behaviors.  If the alpacas want attention or a treat and even when we are not in training mode, they will start offering some of the behaviors they have learned.  I just love the spontaneity when the alpacas start going through their repertoire of learned behaviors.

I love how clicker training gets the animals to think.  I taught a couple of my alpacas to kiss on cue.  It is really funny when guests come to the farm and they are handing out carrots and Misty comes over for some treats and after a few bites, she starts to reach over to give the guest a peck on their cheek.  The guest usually pulls back and is startled and I tell them that she is wanting to give them a kiss for the carrot.  Soon, there is a lot of giggling going on as they get kisses for carrots.

Teaching alpacas to take a bow or give a kiss is really easy.  In my next blog, I will describe the steps to get your alpacas to take a bow or give a kiss.  Next farm day, you will have alpaca ambassadors charming your guests too!

Dulcie Learning the Kiss Behavior

Cindy Myers
Alpaca Sales

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