(RANDOM SELECTION OF COLOURS)
THE METHOD I'M USING
this game! So do the llamas. It's simply a game where the llama collects
a few items strewn around a table or in a box, and drops them into another
box one by one. Anything that a llama can pick up will do so long as they
are small enough so he can get lots of them in the box.
The toys I use are stuffed, knitted, red, yellow and blue triangular balls (lovingly knitted by an American fan of Thomas's who, sadly, is never likely to meet him). I use the same method that I use for retrieving, rewarding the llama for first touching then mouthing the toy. We then progress to reward for picking it up, then dropping it near the box and finally putting it into the box. All this can be broken down into dozens of tiny progressive steps. I found Oscar was placing it in the box rather than DROPPING it in, so I "shape" the behaviour by clicking (or half-clicking the clicker for precision) the split second that the jaw is open at the desired height over the box... something I could not do with my voice.
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 had this game off to a fine art so I decided to introduce a bit of colour recognition into the activity by rewarding only the yellow triangles dropped into the box. Success! These days, he will burrow under a pile of reds and blues to find that single hidden yellow. Toby is pickng it up well now, using blue a his collecting colour, but lacks accuracy in delivering the triangle.
RECENT NOTES ON PROGRESS
June 22nd 2012
I am training the alpaca in this exercise, with a view to progressing onwards to colour recognition. At present he is allowed to pick up any of the three colours ( red, yellow and blue) and he has to drop them into a blue box on the table. We have come quite a long way and the toys are now going into the box rather than beside it. For quite a while he was having trouble dropping the wolley toy; I think they may have been catching his teeth, but he seems to have sorted that one out and today we were getting a continuous stream of toys, accurately collected from a basket on the ground and dropped in the box on the table. Soon we'll be doing colour selecting in the same game and I'll record that in Colour Recognition.