ROLLING

This is another fun exercise. There may be other, better methods of teaching a llama to roll to cue but my "method", if you can call it such, was to wait, and wait, clicker and treats ready, until I caught the llama doing it naturally and that was the start! It took a bit of time and patience to wait for a second and third performance but by then it was getting easier.The llama was actually connecting "my rolling" with "something nice going into my mouth". ..which is what operant conditioning is all about. It needed then just to add a verbal cue ("Roll Over") and a hand cue and then we were ready to roll from the "Play Dead" position. Incidentally, the roll begins with a "snaking" of the neck along the ground.

 

 

 

 

RECENT NOTES: (June 2010) Banksy, my alpaca is coming on well. I am still at the stage where I reward the start of the roll, ie four legs off the ground, but thinking I must now progress to accepting only a full over. He can do it, but is a bit lazy as regards the kick-off.

RECENT NOTES (July 28th 2010) Banksy is improving! He's better on some surfaces (eg grass) than he is on others (eg sand). I am mostly just rewarding the full roll now, though he does sometimes have two goes at it. One problem is that because the roll starts with "Play dead" (neck along ground) I sometimes get an off-cue roll when I simply ask for Play Dead. And of-course, it's always the best rolls that I cannot reward, Murphy's law being what it is!

RECENT NOTES (March 2012) Oh, reading the above, we really have come a long way! Banksy is now, quite readily, doing two rolls for his reward. Always to the right, mind, and he has to pause to get the kick-off for that second roll. And I always get a full roll when I ask for it; maybe his legs are stronger?

UPDATE (July 23rd'12) And now a triple roll.. The effect is, perhaps, a bit lost because there is, of necessity, a delay between the rolls to position his legs for the next turnover...but at least there are three before he erects his neck...and certainly before the treat!

UPDATE ( June 2016) I have recently reached a situation where I tried to STOP the roll! I was in fact cursing having ever taught it. Let me explain: I was trying to teach Oscar to lie right over on his side, with legs outstretched. I got as far as kush and chin down, which is how llamas start to lie down on their sides, as well as to roll, but when I asked for anything further, Oscar thought I was, of course, asking for the roll. And he rolled and rolled!!! It took WEEKS to convince him I only wanted the START of the roll, and then stillness. But we got there!

UPDATE (October 2016) And now four rolls from Banksy. Mind you, I have to cue it four times so it's not really a quad roll from one cue, is it!