Thursday, March 8, 2012

Herd Any Good Ones Lately?

Hanging out with my boys at Alpacas at Hum Sweet Hum is guaranteed to give me at least one good laugh a day.  They are such characters.  I like to do more socializing with my boys.  I find that they love my clicker training games.  It keeps them engaged and interested.  Keeping them focused on something positive minimizes their fighting too.  It seems that the negative fighting behavior increases when they are more bored.  So if I can keep them busy with new activities regularly, I have minimal fighting in my pastures.  The boys like new things so working with them to teach them a new trick is fun not only for me but for them.  It also helps when it comes time to open farm days.  Visitors are wowed when Mowgli takes a bow or Baloo gives kisses on command.  Mowgli is the only one that has gotten into jumping through the Hoola-hoop thus far. 

Clicker training animals is such a cool technique.  It's one of the few training techniques I have found where an animal actually "offers"  behaviors to request what they want.  Raking up their beans can be so very entertaining.  I can be out there raking away and Mowgli or Baloo will come up and start taking a bow or giving me kisses to see if I have some treats in my pocket.  And when I'm trying to teach them a new behavior, you can see them concentrating on figuring out what it is I'm asking of them.  Nothing is more rewarding for me when that light goes on and they get it.  You can see it in their face and eyes when they truly get the new trick or behavior.  It's a real Aha moment. 

For a fun new thing, I took out my Easy button from Staples and thought it would be quite funny to see if they could depress the button and hear the canned voice say, "That was easy!"  I was thinking it would take a number of days of working with my boys to get them to learn what I wanted them to do with this funky looking device.  Much to my surprise, it took them about three clicks and they got it.  Did I have to chuckle when I realized that it was a true statement, "That was easy!" 

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