As you might guess from these images, the legaliities of this DVD are that you use what you learn at your own risk!
You can avoid getting in this situation if it is more than you want to tackle, by training llamas when they are young — around 6 months is a great age — or by only acquiring trained adult llamas. We did that; I never found myself in this position!
I’m sorry the photo is rather fuzzy — it’s just a snap taken from the DVD and the llama was moving pretty fast! There is a lead rope going up to the halter of the llama.
No longer airborne, the llama is coming back to a more normal position. After just a little more prancing around, the llama was quite willing to work with Bobra.]]>
Click on this link to add Llamas Information to your RSS reader:
If you don’t use a RSS reader, here’s a tutorial I wrote about how to use them. It’s on another website of mine, one on dog training:
… just skip down past the part about dog blogs I like to the how-to part which applies to any RSS feed!]]>
This llama had already been haltered once by someone else, and that did make it easier. Here, Bobra isn’t having much trouble getting her hands on him.
Once she has her arms around the llama’s neck, she gives him a nice firm massage with her fingers, while talking steadily to him in a reassuring manner.
She’s got the halter in her left hand below, and the llama is leaning into her, seemingly enjoying the continuing neck massage.
She’s moved the halter to below his head. Bobra calls this the slow motion haltering technique, as she doesn’t rush any of the steps.
Now the halter is approaching his face. He knows what she has in mind, since he has been haltered before.
And here she is sliding it up over his nose, but not making contact with his face yet.
Now that she finally has it where she wants it, she lets it touch his face. She is still massaging his neck a bit and also talking to him.
In the last shot in this sequence, she is continuing to massage as she moves the halter around the back of his neck. She will clasp it in a moment.
To see a similar sequence with another young llama — a more reluctant one — watch the 2+ minute llama training video on the homepage of this site. It’s a short snippet from the two-hour program we made with Bobra.]]>
It reminded me of the time that we had a baby llama who wouldn’t nurse. We watched the bonding between him and his mother weaken hour by hour. We got very stressed about how much we should feed him to keep him alive! That link takes you to where I begin the story. It continues with the baby llama still not nursing, our questioning whether we should bottle feed the baby llama, and what finally happens.
Here is what Kelly wrote for me:
This wonderful film feels like a real documentary, but actually was scripted and the parts were played by actors. It tells the story of a nomadic Mongolian family who raise camels. The last of their pregnant camels to give birth during the birthing season had a very difficult labor lasting nearly two days. In the end they had to intervene and help pull out the colt. Unfortunately the mother refused to bond with the infant after all of this travail, so the drama continues with trying to save the baby. Eventually they have to call in a violinist to help perform a ceremony…but I won’t give the ending away.
You can watch it online at http://www.netflix.com/Movie/The_Story_of_the_Weeping_Camel/60037341?trkid=931747
if you join and there is a no-cost trial. You do have to be in the US, or maybe some other countries too.
It’s been over twenty years since we made the program, and a good long time we’ve lived with llamas. Working on the makeover of this website over the past weeks has brought back that very special era in my life. Working on the video brought tears to my eys, as I watched our llama Lil Bit interact with Bobra, our nephew Reb (then a child) seriously lead a llama, and more. The tears were of gratitude, with maybe a tiny tinge of regret that we have left that part of our lives behind. But we have done a bunch of wonderful things since, so the sadness was fleeting. But how beautiful our ranch was! How alive and interested the llamas are!
When we made the program with Bobra, I was really fascinated with learning as much about llama training as I could. I worked with our llamas — okay, more in good weather than in bad! I thought about the principles. I never became truly great at it like Bobra was, but I did have a lot of joyous moments, some of them training successes and some of them just good because of the pleasure of doing something with a llama.
Well, life has taken us in quite a few directions since then, and one thing that followed directly from llama training was my increased skill over time at training dogs — that link takes you to my large website on the topic. I’ve always trained my dogs and in the past few years I’ve immersed myself a lot more in the topic. I’ve learned a lot about clicker training dogs — there is even a free ebook I wrote, Seven Steps to Clicker Training Success, on that site.
Clicker training llamas has developed since we had llamas, and that makes perfect sense to me. Llama, dog, human, dolphin — we all learn in such similar ways! People have sometimes asked me which is better, the methods that Bobra taught or clicker training. I always say that the best method is the one that you get out in the pasture and do. And really, it isn’t a matter of either/or. It’s both/and… learn about llama training from everywhere that you can!]]>
The reason that you will probably be moving too fast is that you are intent on your purpose. But the llama has noticed you and is also intent on his own purposes. Often, he would rather not be caught, though sometimes llamas like to be caught and haltered if they know that something enjoyable is probably in the works — like going for a walk with you.
Llamas can run very fast, and this is perhaps the most important part of their natural protection. So if you head out quickly into the pasture, the llama may become wary. Thundercloud always did.
On the other hand, if you meander as if you don’t have a care in the world, any llama nearby will certainly notice you — they don’t miss much — but you will not alarm them. Just wander into the barn and pick up a halter and lead rope. If you are going to use a little snack to entice the llama, get some cob (a sweetened corn, oats, and barley mix) or whatever you want to use.
For some llamas, the snack will be enough that they will come right up to you. But not Thundercloud. Now you go into his pasture, without staring intently at him. If it is shaped so there is a narrow area that one person can catch him in, great. If he will go into his barn or shed, then you can get him there. But sometimes you’ll need to lure the llama toward a corner of the field.
Wherever you are, you can continue to slowly walk toward the llama, slowly raising your arms out to the sides so you create a larger silhouette. If you see that Thundercloud is thinking of bolting, slow down or back off and look away. Then gradually walk closer. You could offer the grain with one hand and if the llama nibbles, your other arm could encircle the back of his neck and come around so that you have the halter in position to put on.
Once you have the halter below his head, raise it up slowly and easily until you can slide it onto his face. Then attach it and you’ve got a llama ready to go somewhere with you.
Things may not happen so easily with some llamas. The first year we had llamas, Tumbleweed didn’t like us to catch him. Luckily our eight-year-old nephew came to stay for a few days. He caught Tumbleweed over and over, dozens of times, with far more patience than we adults had. After that, Tumbleweed was generally easy to catch.
Learning how to train a llama involves more than just moving slowly. My husband and I were very lucky to have a mentor in Bobra Goldsmith, a well-known llama trainer. I always loved watching Bobra demonstrate how to work with a totally untrained llama or with one who had developed suspicion of people. So many people easily learned llama training with her slow-motion haltering and other methods that she devised based on her close observation of these intelligent, graceful animals.
My husband Kelly and I honed our skills a lot when we produced a video program with her, now a DVD only, called Llama Training with Bobra Goldsmith. The link takes you to more information about it here on this website, along with a $10 discount code if you decide to order it directly from us.
Or you can get it directly from Amazon, though without that discount. Just click on the image to go there:
1. To allow you to halter him quickly and easily.
2. To walk along with you when on a leash, keeping the leash loose.
3. To jump into a van, pickup, or trailer for transporting.
4. To let you handle their body, so you can do grooming or check injuries.
Beyond that, what a llama will be doing will determine what you train it to do. If a llama is destined to be a pack animal going into the mountains with you, then a series of lessons in carrying a pack will be called for. Llamas can be trained to drive to cart, to sit down and get up on command, and much more.
“Llamas are very fast learners,” says Bobra Goldsmith, a well-known llama trainer. “When you are teaching a llama something, don’t be surprised if he gets it after just a few trials.”
After I heard Bobra say that once, I thought I would test out her assertion by counting how many repetitions it did take before my llama Whiskers would willingly enter my VW van through the side door. I didn’t have to count very far, just to five! Afterwards, he would always jump right in the van when we wanted to take him somewhere. Sometimes it was many months between outings, but he never forgot. In contrast, I have never succeeded in teaching any of my dogs something in only five trials.
Comparing llamas and dogs in another way is interesting. Llamas will learn more rapidly than dogs that walking with the leash loose is really the way to do it! This makes it a lot of fun to take a llama out hiking along backcountry trails. However, if horses come along, do be quick to yield the right of way. Move your llama a ways away from the trail so the horses will be less likely to spook. If they haven’t encountered llamas before, they may be a bit afraid.
Bobra has had many llamas herself and out of her experience she has developed many ways to train them. For instance, she teaches llamas to allow themselves to be haltered by using a slow movement in approaching their faces with the halter. The animals seem to appreciate the calmness, and it’s really quite easy for anyone to learn to halter llamas this way. Her methods are also widely used with alpacas.
She trains llamas of all ages, and you can learn to do it too. While you might wish that all your llamas would be already trained when you get them, you are likely to find some that need more work. This is because people often don’t know how to train or they just don’t bother. But you can get a DVD online which shows Bobra Goldsmith’s methods. It’s useful for learning to train llamas, naturally — that’s what it was made for — but it also turns out that quite a few people get the DVD before they get llamas, to get a sense of what is involved in llama training.
For more about expert llama trainer Bobra Goldsmith and her methods, visit this llama training page.
Rosana Hart is the author of “Living with Llamas” and worked with Bobra to produce the DVD.
Click on the image to see it at Amazon.
Some of these directories may list ebooks for sale too but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was looking for professionally done directories of free ebooks that I could submit mine to without charge. So that’s what these links are to, in no particular order.
Hunt’s Ebook Directory – Ebook & Writing Related Links.
The Ebook directory — offering thousands of free ebooks
eLibrary – Open Ebooks Directory – includes most of the ebooks sold on the internet. Free for addition of one’s own ebooks.
Published.Com a Free directory listing service for authors
Ecourseweb.com — for ecourses and ebooks]]>
 An old friend is Marty McGee Bennett. She and I happened to be roommates in 1987 at the International Llama Association conference where Linda Tellington-Jones demonstrated her groundbreaking TTEAM methods to the llama community. Marty became deeply involved in this work, and Kelly and I made a video with her and Linda — long out of print now, as Marty has refined the methods tremendously since those early days. We went on to make videos with Linda about the Tellington Touch with dogs and the TTouch with cats.
After Marty studied intensively with Linda Tellington-Jones, she developed Camelidynamics, which is derived from Linda’s work but adds Marty’s own profound understanding of camelids (that is, llamas, alpacas, and their wild relatives guancos and vicunas) to the process. Her website is http://www.camelidynamics.com and it too is well worth exploring. Her workshop schedule and the training information products she has created are there too.
 Our friend Cathy Spalding teaches a lot of workshops with llamas and alpacas, and she and her husband Craig have a herd themselves — it was all llamas when we lived near them in Olympia, WA, and used to go out to their place sometimes. Her site http://www.gentlespiritllamas.com is well worth browsing around — and here is a page that lists many of the useful articles on the site: http://www.gentlespiritllamas.com/html/articles/articles_index.htm Cathy also studied with Linda Tellington-Jones.
When I was at the site recently, the workshop schedule ended with a workshop that was already over. You will find a lot of llama websites that tend to be a bit behind, because the people tend to be out with the animals; I suspect that’s the case here. It’s easy to contact the Spaldings from the site. Oh, and the “Questions from Readers” section has some interesting things too.
 Terry Crowfoot and her husband live in the south of England and have seven llamas. Her website is http://www.llama-training.co.uk/ and it’s a lot of fun. I mean, really a lot! Kelly and I have just been howling with laughter as llama Dillon takes Terry’s hat off over and over again and as other llamas play soccer. (She thinks they can’t see the ball, but Kelly commented that he thinks they can, as llamas’ eyes stick out way more than you might imagine.)
There is text commentary too. This site is a work in progress, with short videos and comments going up regularly. Terry explains how her training approaches descend from the pioneering work of dolphin trainer Karen Pryor, who is now famous in the dog world (and other places) for clicker training. That figured, I thought, as I use methods of Pryor’s in dog training and know how effective they are.
Of course, Google and the other search engines will take you to more good llama training sites. Whatever you do, if you have llamas, do get into the joys of training these highly intelligent and curious animals!]]>
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It’s easy in two ways:
The second point is actually the reason for the first one! Because llamas tend to learn quickly, you can learn to train them relatively easily.
For example, if you have ever trained a dog or watched someone else do so, you know that it can take quite a number of repetitions before the dog really understands what you want and does it reliably upon request. Even with newer methods like clicker training dogs, they are generally slower to grasp what you want than llamas are.
I’ve had llamas be reliable about loading into a vehicle after doing it with them five or six times. The first few times, it can take some patience as the llamas are often reluctant to enter the unfamiliar confined space. But once they decide (with your gentle coaxing) to give it a try, each repetition increases their confidence. Nothing surprising about that — but it’s certainly rare for a dog to learn something with just five or six practices!
It’s also easy for us humans because it doesn’t usually require much strength. You aren’t pulling with all the force you can muster on the lead rope; you are encouraging the llama by showing it what you want. My mentor in llama training, Bobra Goldsmith, talks a lot about developing trust and willingness, and this is evident in her DVD.
Of course, llamas vary in their willingness to trust humans — just as we humans do ourselves. A llama who has been mishandled may be much less willing to trust people than one who has only know kindness. Llama personalities vary too — some are more placid and easy-going, some are more skittish.
If you have llamas, or the responsibility for some, you want to be able to move them from one pasture to another. You want to be able to groom them, to transport them to a veterinarian if necessary or to a new home. You may want to take them on hikes. These are just a few of the countless occasions which could make you much happier to have trained llamas than untrained. Believe me, I’ve had both kinds.
In a perfect world, every llama would be trained to do at least a few basic things: to accept a halter, to walk easily on a loose lead rope, to go into a vehicle or trailer. Every llama would develop a basic trust in the humans that handle it.
Well, between too much to do and not knowing quite how to train a llama, over the years, a lot of llama owners have not come very close to that perfect world. But you can.
Because llamas learn so easily, and because working with them is so enjoyable, a lot of creativity and effort has gone into llama training in recent decades. As I see it, there is no one right method to train. There are some basic guidelines that all the best trainers would agree on: You don’t need a heavy hand. Patience is a virtue. Llamas can learn by watching another llama being taught something.
My husband Kelly and I were fortunate that when we were just starting out with a small llama herd, we became good friends with Bobra Goldsmith, a well-known llama trainer even then. We have used her methods primarily, and we produced a two-hour program with her. It came out on video originally but is now only available on DVD. To find out more, see Llama Training with Bobra Goldsmith: What Every Llama Should Know.
Llama Training with Bobra Goldsmith: What Every Llama Should Know. More about this DVD here. 2 hours, $39.95, our internet price $29.95 if you type in the Discount Code of 82R2625S.
Training Llamas to Drive, with Bobra Goldsmith. More about this DVD here. 2 hours, list price $39.95, our internet price $29.95 if you type in the discount code of 82R2625S. (The same code works for $10 off each llama DVD.)
These DVDs are quickly manufactured after you order them, through a company called Createspace, owned by Amazon.com. They ship world-wide and the DVDs are guaranteed to work in your DVD player.
Since we don’t carry them in stock, these orders can’t be combined with our book Living with Llamas.
Virtually the full text of Living with Llamas is online here at this website, though without the photos. And you can download the ebook for free from this site. But there’s still something holding a book that makes for good reading!
Please note that the book comes to you from a different location than the DVDs, so you have to order it separately.
Living with Llamas: Tales from Juniper Ridge, book, list price $14.95, our price $12.00. Buy it now through Paypalby clicking below, and we will ship US priority mail.
WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.. We are down to our last few dozen.
Click on the t-shirt to see a variety of t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, bibs, etc., with this design. These are manufactured on demand by a company called Cafepress, and shipped worldwide, with a guarantee of satisfaction.
This is our llama Lil Bit, who is one of the main characters in my book Living with Llamas. And character she was — what a zest for life! Maybe wearing this llama t-shirt, or sweatshirt, or whatever, will brighten your spirits as it does mine!
You can see all the things that this design is available on here: llama t-shirts and more at Cafepress.
Curious about some of our other llama t-shirt designs?This link will take you to them, or click on the image of Tumbleweed in the snow to see all our images at Cafepress:
As I mention on the page about how to create your own t-shirts, when we had a llama hikes business on our llama ranch, we had a bunch of t-shirts made up at a local store in two designs. We sold out of the popular sizes and ended up giving away most of the rest. But with Cafepress, the company that makes these, you can order as many as you want at a time, or as few, and they are immediately manufactured and shipped. Most of Kelly’s and my t-shirts now are made this way!]]>
When we had a llama hikes business, we ordered a bunch of silk-screen tee shirts to sell. We sold out of some sizes, but ended up with extras that eventually went to a thrift store.
Total profit? Ha. Never again, we vowed…
But now…There’s a business on the internet called CafePress. They have come up with what we think is a brilliant business idea. You can go there and for free create what they call a store, which you name whatever you want. You upload your graphics files, and then decide what t-shirts, mugs, sweats, caps, aprons, etc., you want each particular image to be available in.
I think this is a terrific way for you to publicize your llamas or alpacas, just by creating and wearing t-shirts, caps, sweats, etc., with a photo and the name of your place. You can sell them too. Or throw in a free t-shirt or cap promoting your llama or alpaca farm, to purchasers of your animals.
I generally put the images on the fronts and the backs of shirts, for maximum exposure, but not everyone does.
There are also other companies doing this now: Zazzle.com is probably the best known. I have never tried it.
You can create as many different stores as you wish, each one with a different image. You can also have one “premium” store with many different images in it, for a modest monthly fee. There are discussion boards and other information, to help you sell your designs.
CafePress offers a 30-day guarantee, and any returns go to them. They fill orders within just a few days. They handle all the credit card details and so on, and mail you checks for your share after the return time has passed. That guarantee impressed us, since many special-order places will offer NO guarantee.
They have moved beyond just tee shirts and mugs — they now offer a wide variety of clothing, tote bags, posters, and more. They are also offering Publishing on Demand for books, audio and data CDs, and more.
CafePress sets the base price of the items, at an amount that they can make a profit within. When you, the storeowner, buy your own stuff, that’s what you pay. (So if you want some inventory on hand, this is how you get it — and if you buy in quantity, there is a price break.)
You set your prices above theirs, and they have a suggested range for each item. The nice thing is that once it’s set up, you don’t have to do anything. I use up my profits in ordering more things for myself and my family!
Not only is this fun for people like us, who want to make their art, photography, or music available in this way, but it can be a terrific fundraiser for non-profits, church groups, etc.
We have purchased t-shirts, tote bags, and mugs in a number of designs. The t-shirts and totes are much nicer than any iron-ons. The printing technique, called sublimation, is said to produce an image that doesn’t fade or crack with time — we found that by the time Kelly had completely worn the shirt out, the picture had faded a little. The colors on mugs came out more muted than on the shirt, but still very attractive.
If you have something like a sports team, where you know what sizes you need and will be getting quite a few at once, you will most likely get better prices (and no shipping) by using a local company. Even then, you could simply post your design to CafePress so people could get their own shirts.
Once you set up a store, you can get to the pages where the size and file specifications for the different items are.
If you have ever done iron-on transfers, you know that you have to flip your graphics file before printing out the file. NOT so here; what you see is what you get.
If you want to link from your own website to theirs, you can simply do it as we did above, copying pictures of our designs on the products from their website to use on ours, and then using a standard link to the store.
I have t-shirts on a variety of topics, and for a long time, I just created individual stores for each item. But CafePress offers an option of paying a small monthly fee and having one large shop, and recently I did that. I like it better… for example, now when you click the text, you go right to the page with all my llama tshirts and more…
…or if you click on this next link, you go to the homepage of my entire Hartworks T-shirts line.
We’re using Photoshop Elements to create our designs. That program is far easier to learn than Photoshop and cost a lot less, but any graphics program should do it.
It’s fun! That url again: www.cafepress.com