|I will even stick my head through this hole for pellets!|
As I waited for the tools to arrive, I spent time reading and studying the new new ways to work with the boys. The most important thing I think I've learned is that it's me that has to be trained and then they are simply handled properly. It's a new concept to me, that all I want from them is to accept me as their handler and learn to do nothing. I don't mean that they won't learn to do things, they will, but first they just need to stand still and do nothing! And I have to breathe!
I continued to go out to the pasture and stall and give them their treats (alpaca pellets) when they come to me. And now when they see me coming they almost run, well, actually Sammy does run to me. He's the two year old and he has his own way of doing everything and is proving to be the most difficult to work with, but he's had two years of no handling, so I think that's to be expected. I am seeing progress with him.
|Lefty with his head between my arm and body to eat treats!|
Monday I headed out to see what I could do. I would love to say I headed out with confidence that I would accomplish great things, but I was actually not expecting much, if anything. They still pulled away if they even thought I was reaching out to them. But, Marty said in her book that you can't build trust just hanging out with them. You must work with them, they must learn to trust you as you do things with them and expect them to respond, so there I was ready to get one in the catch pen.
Well, I got three in the catch pen. It was the first time they had seen that the pen could be cut in half and it didn't seem to bother them, but now I had to get two out. Amazingly, using my wand I was able to herd two out and was left with just Lefty. I began running the wand down the back of his neck and across his body as he stood and looked out the gate at the other two. Sammy and Pancho were right outside looking in and I'm sure wondering when I was going to throw my arms around Lefty's neck and hold him in a death grip, but that never happened. I moved around with him in a non-threatening way and as I offered him so food I began to touch the top of his head. When he pulled away, I stopped! He would walk away and then come right back and I increased the touching. There are some massage techniques and I began to use them on his head. So there it was - he came up, I touched, he walked away and when about 15 minutes were up, I released him.
My first thought was and now I need to get another one in, but guess what? It appears that they had watched closely and saw that Lefty was getting food inside the pen and they were not! And so Pancho came rushing in! I worked with him and he wasn't quite as agreeable as Lefty, but it was a good session and then there was Sammy! When it was his turn he burst into the pen! He wanted his share of the goodies, but he really didn't want to do anything to get them! He paced, he didn't want the wand near him, he wanted treats, but he didn't want me to touch him in any way. Now remember he's our two year old, so he's gone twice as long without human touch, so I'm really not surprised by his attitude and worked with as much as I could and ended the day.
I was pleased and excited because I had hope!
|Lefty letting me rub his head for a snack!|
|Sammy being this close to me is just amazing!|
I am so excited! When I let them back out they don't take off they just hang around me . I really do see hope, but I'm taking it slow. We are taking this one step at a time! Next week I will try the catch rope, but if they're not ready, I will slow back down.