I’ve been working with the alpacas twice a day – by taking them out and bringing them inside at night.
The poor little guys aren’t used to being handled, so this was a major project. At first I had limited progress, there was a lot of chasing and Grumpy did a lot of spitting when caught.
The change was very gradual – almost too subtle to mention, so I didn’t.
But yesterday had a ‘shining moment’ that needs to be recognised. While we were cornering the alpacas, I was able to easily hook Bashful’s halter. Grumpy was cussing at my husband
But when hubby reached out his hand to catch Grumpy’s halter, the alpaca pressed his neck into hubby’s hand.
The look on hubby’s face was priceless!
I’m used to dealing with these guys, and it really is great to see them try to figure out what we want them to do. Once we had the routine down, they’ve done small things to cooperate. They run into the catch area, it looks accidental. I always fuss and try to give them treats to let them know this is what I want.
It’s sad, in a way, to see just how badly they distrust humans. It’s plain no one has taken any time to tame them. Now, even the slightest sign of socialization is lavishly praised and rewarded. The upside is how Grumpy watches me with his ears up, curious about me. When I get too close, I get grunts and other grumpy noises, but the ears aren’t flat back, just turned back.
Even Bashful is trying to cooperate – he holds still, making anxious noises, but if I’m very gentle when I touch him, I get ears up, not back.
If I didn’t know ‘horsespeak’ like a second language, I would miss all these tiny changes.
Now, if I could just get the horses to lighten up so I can turn the alpacas out with the horses…maybe next month?