ABOUT ME (...and an apology!)

REWRITTEN : March October 2013

Hello. My name is Terry Crowfoot and I live with my husband in Hampshire in the south of England with one Siamese cat and a tankful of marine fish. I also own just seven llamas and one alpaca.
I am keenly interested in the training of these animals, two in particular, and this is what this website sets out to describe.
I apologise for the quality of this site; I was born long before computers were invented. Though I hope you can find (..er..navigate..) your way around, it is obviously an amateurish home-made effort and will maybe convince you that my interest lies more in training llamas than in website design
!

How I got involved
I had no interest in llama training when I bought my first pair of llamas a few years ago. Indeed, I bought them merely as easy-to-care-for animals which would graze and grace our fields and provide companionship for our Shi
re horse who had lost his companion. Some two years into ownership and whilst surfing the Internet one evening, I came across an American site on which I read an account of llamas, who, it was claimed, had been trained to turn off barn lights and ring bells. I chuckled, dismissed the whole story as a bit of harmless American fantasy and then moved on.
Some months later, whilst again casually visiting some of the llama websites which the Americans do so well, I came upon another strange story. This time the llamas were "dropping hoops into buckets," and "fetching their own halters" I decided to investigate this ridiculous story further!
My investigations led me to into much fascinating reading, or rather re-reading, of the work done by the behaviourist Burrhus Skinner, whose experiments I had been forced to study decades ago as part of my educational psychology course at college. This time I had a real interest.( For those of you who wish to know a bit about his work, I have made a separate page on operant conditioning  since it's a bit heavy on a site that is intended to be fun.)

It was the work of Jim Logan of Snowdridge Llamas in the States that finally decided me to start training llamas. With his wife Amy, Jim had worked extensively with llamas using operant conditioning. Jim and Amy have achieved great things but it is sad that they have only used the medium of entertainment-style videos to describe their work, when they clearly have the knowledge and experience to come up with a far more serious and detailed piece of literature on their subject.

In the llama world I have had much thought-provoking advice from Sue Curliss in Australia, Sue Ailsby in Canada and Jim Krowka from Oregon, USA. I haven't always followed their advice, but have always learnt something from it.

I have read a fair amount about operant conditioning as used to train animals, particularly dogs and horses. Amongst others, Alexandra Kurland has made a great contribution in this field. But it is Karen Pryor author, of "Dont Shoot the Dog", who has had probably had the greatest influence on my approach.. Karen has worked extensively with dolphins and other animals in USA, using operant conditioning methods. Sadly she has never tried llamas!

 

"training llamas begins with getting their trust"