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February 22, 2005  Should I Geld?

 
 

Alpaca Training

We have been reading your information on aggressive males with great interest. We have a male who is 2 1/2 years old who is exhibiting aggressive behavior (and as we have read, it is our fault!). As we are small, unfortunately he has been living alone next to other alpacas since weaning.

His behavior generally turns for the worst when the other alpacas start romping around. If we are in the pen with him, he will rear up and scream repeatedly. Speaking firmly only has the effect of getting him more aggressive.

One idea is to put another male in with him that we will be able to borrow from another farm. Deep inside, we feel his behavior is not repairable and if corrected will always be lurking below the surface (ie. We will not be able to trust him).

Will gelding him help? Will putting another male with him help? Are there any successful avenues available to us? Thanks for all of the great information you provide.


Alpaca Training

I am sorry to read you are having trouble.  Before I go any further GELD him now!  While gelding won't solve the problem it will certainly make the issue less complicated.  Be prepared to wait a full year for any changes to fully be known.  I like the idea of a buddy preferably a big no nonsense gelding that will hold his own against this young too big for his britches male.

I have couple of other suggestions and they may mean adding some panels or fencing to your place.  I know they don't sound fun.  These measures won't last forever but are designed to help him give up bad habits.  As long as he gets to engage in the bad behaviors then they will just become more hardened.

* Put him away in a stall when you are mucking or otherwise in the area so that he can interact with you in an unstructured way

* Put him away when people come to visit put him away (this is perhaps the most important measure to take in my opinion)

* If he isn't halter trained do it now.  If he is hard to halter put a well fitted safe and comfortable halter (more about this on my website and in my book) and leave it on so you can catch him easily.  If he is aggressive on the lead lead him with two lines and two people so that you can keep each other safe.  This leading position is described in detail in my book.   Work with him over obstacles, take him for long walks, anything that helps him understand that you are in charge of all interactions.  If he fusses don't give up.  I don't want these outings and classes to be all fun and games.

*  If he comes into your space bop him really hard on the nose with a stiff frisbee like you were defining a force field...in other words...no follow through.  It is the alpaca running into the frisbee not you punishing him.  And say very forcefully to STAY BACK.  Do not relate to him at any other time than on the halter and be very business like about that.

BE SURE keep the public away from him.  That is the very most dangerous thing for him to do is visit with people over the fence that send conflicting messages about how an alpaca should behave around people.

More specific information about dealing with aggression is available on my audio CD aggression in camelids and in my book, both available on my website.  There are also several article on my website you might find helpful.

Good luck.

Marty

 

 

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