THE METHOD I'M USING
This is really just a fun thing! Llamas have such long necks that it's great to see them stretched along the ground with the chin hard down and the eyes looking heavenward hoping for a treat. The public love it too. But I dont keep them in that position for more than a few seconds. Training-wise, it's really just an extension of the kush (sit). From kushing, I trained my boys to lie simply by pushing them into the elongated position, clicking and rewarding. I added the cue "Play Dead" and very soon they were all doing it on verbal request. But they wouldn't stay like that long!!
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: Oscar has got this off to a tee. Actually, all sx boys (5 llamas and one alpaca) "play dead" to hand signal and seem quite relaxed for at least several seconds. I'm working on duration with Toby, Oscar and Banksy, the 'paca.
RECENT NOTES ON PROGRESS
Last summer I tried an "extention" of this exercise with Oscar. I had been trying to get him to lie on his side and stay still in this position. One of the problems I had was that Oscar very rarely adopts this position naturally however I worked at it and later was able to write:
..." JUNE '17 I've got it!! At least Oscar has got it. It came very suddenly. He will now just lie on his side, having obeyed the command "Lie down"..and simply wait for the click."
With the drier pasture conditions, I re-tried the exercise a few days ago and behold! Oscar had retained it all completely. In fact, it was all much easier: he knew immediately, without any of the confusion we had last summer, exactly what I wanted.
I have also been working with the alpaca this week at the Play Dead exercise. I've got the duration up to about five seconds, but I do find that I need to repeat "Wait" over and over, else he goes into an off-cue roll. ( The roll is always preceded by this neck-down position.) Obviously, from the "play dead" position, the camelid is unable to see any hand signals, so it has to be verbal only.
Dillon playing dead for me
Banksy, the alpaca, is giving me more and more "duration" these days. Maybe he's getting more mature!