Guide to Halter Training - Stage 6: Heavy Petting
Next up we get hands on to get them familiar with either judges (show team) or kids (pets) molesting them. By now I have shifted them into the slightly bigger pen for their lead practice. I keep four alpacas in the pen at a time so it doesn't become too open a space and give them room to pick up speed and freak. I am still basically just walking around in circles with them but it is a bigger circle. However we want them to be friendly pets or comfortable in the show ring so they have to be able to tolerate a bit of handling (especially the boys whose turn in the spotlight includes a check on the genitalia). Therefore, at the end of each session on the lead they get to have a bit of heavy petting, initially just on the neck and shoulder but building up to more of the "show" experience with some genital fondling... Some of them actually seem to like this (not so much the genital fondling but definitely the patting)...some tolerate it with theirs ears back and some may have a bit of a wobble, or even a kick but not today. The softly softly approach is going well. I am not too confident just yet, as from memory I think it is the next stage when they walk around a bigger space that things go to pot.