THE METHOD I'M USING
of-course, is really an extension of the "Sit"
procedure... and the most difficult bit! It is one thing to teach a llama
to DO something, it is quite another thing to ask him to do NOTHING. Well, really,
how do you do nothing?
My method to date ( and I'm always changing it ) is to ask the animal to sit down , then to add the cue "Stay" right from the beginning, since the required behaviour, staying, is already there. My hand is flattened and raised above his nose. A reward is given for staying for just a second or two initially and then the llama is gradually, very gradually, required to stay longer and longer before the click is given. The command is repeated at intervals and a reward always follows a click. This is a very gradual process indeed. I have learned that it is fraught with distraction problems: a bird flies over, a child runs past, or a horse in the next field neighs... and up leaps the llama.
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: All my five boy llamas and the alpaca will sit, off-lead, to verbal request. It is with Toby and Oscar, and more recently, the alpaca, that I concentrate on duration in this exercise. .As Toby and Oscar mature, the staying is pleasingly increasing in duration in relaxed settings. I can even walk away and find that the animal is still kushed on my return. But being animals of prey, they are naturally alert and wary of all that is going on around them and it takes very little to distract them from the business of sitting still. The alpaca is a fidget bum
March 3rd 2015
I come back to this exercise with all my boys from time to time. Of course it's a duration exercise that they do with dogs. 'Never had a dog but I bet they aren't as easily distracted as camelids. With conditions favourable viz no distractions and an animal that is keen to work, I can keep the animal kushed for a minute or so with the "Stay" signal kept on.