THE METHOD I'M USING
Targeting, or getting the llama target-wise, is the key to much other training, including useful things like loading into trailers, walking towards and around objects that cause alarm , etc..... besides "fun" activities like hurdling, weaving, spinning, retrieving etc.
involves establishing a relationship in the llama's mind between touching a given
object and pleasure. In the early stages the llama will be able to touch the target
when standing still, but in more advanced stages, he will be required to move
in order to follow and make contact wih the target and gain the reward.
Almost anything can be used as a target but for mine, I copied Jim Logan of Snowdridge Llamas, well known for his work on training llamas. Like Jim, I use a lollipop-style target where the stick is a three foot piece of quarter-inch bamboo cane and the end is a red, eight-inches-across, knitted circle, stiffened by backing card.
begin stimulating interest in the circle-end of the target simply by holding it
in front of the llama's nose and clicking and rewarding the moment he approaches
and so much as looks at it.From there on he is required to touch it to get rewardsd.
Often I have to wait quite a while for the first touch but after that it doesn't
take two minutes for the llama to learn how to get that inviting grain! Gradually,
inch by inch , I begin to move the target further away, so the llama has to move
to touch it. From there I progress to a slow-moving target which the llama readily
follows. I practise with moving the target high and low, to the left and to the
right. It has been a learning process that the boys really loved .
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 and Toby are fully target trained. ( I also trained David, Dillon and Thomas some years back) I have tried off and on with the girls but have got nowhere. Is it just my pair or is it female llamas in general? The alpaca is coming on but appears to be limited by shortsightedness.
June 1st 2013
RECENT NOTES ON PROGRESS
I have been making a film about clicker training for the British Llama Society Conference and needed to show a "targetwise" llama. I hadn't tested Thomas with the target for ages, years, but it was all there. Just as though he had been taught it yesterday. Llamas never forget.
Banksy, the alpaca, is now fully target traned, but appears to be limited by poor vision. This is especially true if the target is not moving.