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Herding Wands

Herding Wands
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Wands are an essential tool in herding or sorting one or more alpacas from the herd. They act as an extension of your arm and allow you to take advantage of the alpacas' natural behavior to communicate your desires. Alpacas can be shy and are wary about being grabbed around the neck and restrained. Therefore, having humans hands and arms close within neck reach can make them uneasy and skittish. Wands allow you to work with them from a distance and to calmly communicate your wishes about where you want them to go. With practice, you can successfully manage a very large group of alpacas within a large area all by yourself. Through continued use of the wand to herd and move alpacas from place to place and to sort out individuals, the alpacas will come to learn that the wands, and later, your arms have meaning and are not necessarily threats to their safety. They will eventually learn to stop when the wand is directly in front of them and to walk forward when it is behind them. You can even communicate directional instructions by light touches along the alpaca. They can also be used during training sessions to help the alpacas become accustomed to having their legs and feet touched.

As to the type of wand, almost anything long and rigid will work. We have used everything from old rake handles to 4 foot fiberglass wands that are specifically designed for the use with alpacas. Whatever type you choose, you will want something that is light weight and not overly thick, rigid and about 4 feet long. Additionally, white or light colored wands tend to work better as they are easier for the alpacas to see. And for even better visibility, some wands have tassels at their ends. The wand featured in this picture is a TTeam Wand available from www.camelidynamics.com

 

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