There are a number of excellent handling and training methods you can learn. Many of our members have been very successful using the Camelidynamics methods, and Clicker Training. See our ‘Links Page’.
Llamas are generally intelligent yet docile and respond well to appropriate handling.
The enjoyment you experience from working with your llamas, and the trust they develop in you, will be directly proportional to the kindness and respect you offer them.
A happy, contented llama who feels safe in human company is a pleasure to work with. Even the occasional medical and husbandry procedures can be stress free for both llama and handler.
Llamas are herd animals and find safety in numbers. When working with llamas it’s a good idea to have at least one or two other llamas around to help them feel safe.
Like other grazing animals such as sheep and goats, llamas were preyed upon in the wild and evolved to run away from things they fear or, if they were caught and held, to struggle to avoid falling over. Rather than chasing them to catch them, or using physical restraint to hold them still, llamas respond well to being herded quietly into a small area, then being penned while you work with them. You can ‘contain’ a single llama in a small pen (say 2m x 1m) while shearing, trimming toe-nails, etc. A larger pen containing a number of llamas can work well for haltering and other training.
Using containment pens, versus physical restraint such as holding around the neck, will put your llamas at ease and, with practice, you will be able to complete your tasks quickly, easily and stress-free while your llamas stand quietly and in balance, both mentally and physically.
A vet can administer a sedative in medical emergencies where the llama is very frightened or agitated such as after an injury.
Llamas who are handled in a way that is kind and respectful quickly learn that it’s safe to be around humans. They will reward you with their trust and impress you with their calm, collected demeanour and willingness to participate in handling and training.
Llamas who are handled politely are quick and willing learners. With patience and a kindly approach you can easily teach your llamas to stand without restraint while being haltered, to walk on a lead, go through an obstacle course, or train them to wear packs and accompany you on hikes. They can even be taught to pull carts. See our Llama Uses page for more information.
There are a number of excellent training videos and CDs available. Again many of our members have found the Camelidynamics and Clicker Training approaches very helpful.