When the weather is howling outside and the alpaca pen is icy, the alternative for training and alpaca facetime is to go in the barn. Working with both the alpacas and the dog is enriching for both species and helps improve their overall interactions. Chipper has come a long way from lunging and barking at the alpacas just a few months ago.
In my continuing effort to have different enrichment activities that can occur in a small pen with sometimes icy footing, I am teaching my alpacas, Gypsy and Canela, as well as the new dog, Chipper, to circle around me.
Dog Agility Training classes are a great way to build your bond with your dog. Plus they are fun and good exercise for both. Chipper loves going to his weekly classes taught by Tracie Fellows of the Homer Dog Trainers.
Our second session of training alpacas with a dog worked on laneways in square formation. A major distraction occurred just as the session was starting--a young bull moose walked right along the alpaca pen fence. The dog was more excited and distracted than the alpacas.
Training alpacas together with a dog requires some special management of the animals to maximize learning. I separage the dog and one alpaca in the barn while I work with the other alpaca, then swithch alpacas, and finally work with the dog. So far, this seems to be the best management plan to let everyone get a turn an learn to do the agility tasks.