Training at Llovely Banks begins immediately a cria is born ... and if we're on hand ... those first 5-10 minutes of the newborn's life are spent desensitizing it.

This process conditions the cria to accept any future handling without stress, so training, toenail trimming and veterinary work become an easy chore. However, whilst applying desentization, I believe it's important to ensure the cria does not become over friendly.

Baby llamas who walk right up when you enter the paddock, give kisses and chew on your clothes are cute, but sometimes this behaviour may lead to problems when the animals reach maturity. Friendly llamas are great, but it's important to know where to draw the line.

We have a simple rule ... regardless of age, a llama must respect your personal space and never enter that space uninvited.

At Llovely Banks, our llamas are friendly, coming up to us in the paddock …but always, they stop a half a metre away, unless invited to come closer. That half metre is our personal space and the over-friendly cria is taught to respect it at an early age. If he walks into that space it's because doing so feels comfortable … therefore we make doing so uncomfortable.

We achieve this by tapping gently on his front leg with a training wand. Immediately, he'll retreat the required half metre. Llamas learn fast and consistency in training, soon teaches him to respect that space.

We introduce our crias to halters at 3-4 weeks so by weaning at 4-8 months, they're fully halter-trained. At 12 months we begin cart; pack and saddle training. But we don't ask too much cart or pack-work of them, at this young age.

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