In a herd, certain alpacas will take the dominant lead while others may remain submissive. This seems to be the case with the females and the males. On the other hand, my experience is that when I get an alpaca alone… each one may exhibit entirely different personalities.
Many alpaca owners are drawn to the variety of behaviors that their alpacas display. A newbie may be surprised to learn that individual alpacas can be trained like horses, or dogs, or other pets if you take the time with them.
- You can teach them to stand still while you put on a halter and lead. And teach them to lift their foot for toenail trimming.
- They will walk along side you on a lead once you teach them the basic skill. This is necessary if you wish to show them before a judge.
- With just a few lessons, you can teach them to jump into a van, horse trailer or modified auto.
- They can learn their name and come when you call them …especially when rewarded with a treat.
- At pellet feeding time… all I have to say is “TREATS” and point to the various catch pens. The ones that are fed in the assorted enclosures, stop, look at me, look at where I’m pointing and then run into the catch pens usually before I repeat “TREATS the third time.
- Some enjoy having their neck scratched – or side of their face. Some enjoy giving you kisses.
- If you get too friendly with one… he/she may become a bit of a pest and not respect your personal space or authority. (The ones that we bottle fed for a few weeks or more became so friendly that they would bite at my hat, untie my shoe laces, remove my gloves from my pocket and sometimes lunge at me if I didn’t get the food bowls down fast enough.) This is a behavior that needs to be addressed. It may be necessary to discipline the alpaca to prevent the unwanted behavior from persisting.
To get your respect back – try disciplining with a light tap on the nose with something soft like a Frisbee. If you do this at the first sign of unwanted behavior, usually it only takes 2 – 3 times before they get the picture and stop.
These are just a few of my experiences with their intelligence. What are your experiences of “unique alpaca personality?” I invite you to give me your comments.