Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Halter Lessons...

Two of Dream's triplets will also be leaving at the end of this month so they are top priority on my halter training list.

"SLEEPING BEAUTY" is an old pro at this game...

As is her brother, "SANDMAN", who quickly realized that I had cookies (animal crackers) and would, willingly, follow me anywhere! ;-)

DO be careful when doing halter work with ram lambs, to not get their fragile horns caught in the rope! I've had ram lambs "pop a horn" when struggling against a halter rope. If the lamb struggles and the rope is around a horn ~ Let The Lead GO!!! You can always catch the guy and start over. It's not worth losing a horn over!

Tammy asked me, in the comments, how long I work with a lamb for a halter lesson. That depends on what is meant by "work" (shades of Bill Clinton, here). I like to keep things VERY informal. The first few times, I may just sit with the babies and have halters laying on the ground or in my lap. Let them get used to them and see they're not threatening. Once the very presence of the halter is not threatening, I'll slip one onto one of the friendliest lamb's head. At that point, I give cookies, pet and let them go!

When I first catch a really timid lamb, like "SUNSHINE", I just hold her and stroke her and talk softly to her until she begins to relax a little. Then, I gently slip the halter on and let her go. I let the lamb run around with the halter on for awhile.

During that time, I go halter another lamb and repeat the process, or if it's already a tame lamb, we practice leading.

My main goal with a lamb like Sunshine, the first couple of days, is just to get her used to being petted.

I stay low (preferably sitting on the ground) while the lamb struggles so as not to appear too frightening.

ALWAYS end the lesson on a positive note: With the lamb relaxed and calm!

A successful lesson may end with the lamb not necessarily leading, but just relaxed enough to tolerate the halter and my presence!

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Nancy, Of course I know nothing about haltering a lamb. I imagine the reason for the simplicity of the rope around their muzzle is the ease of getting it on/off. But I just had this vision of the kind of halters used on dogs--one that would wrap around their chest/tummy.I'm sure there is a perfectly good reason why people don't use that kind of halter on lambs, but I couldn't resist to ask.
    Diane/Bloomington,IN

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  2. I think you're right about the ease of slipping a halter over the muzzle as opposed to having to work legs into it as well. Plus, a harness would not be practical when the lamb/sheep grows more fleece.

    Good question though!

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  3. Terry7:56 PM

    Hi Nancy,

    You are working hard at this, Nancy! Sunshine certainly looks pretty with the purple halter. I suppose we are going to have to halter-train Godiva all over again. I feel badly I haven't been there for so long. Are you working this Saturday or Sunday?

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  4. Hi Terry,

    Unfortunately, I work all weekend...
    :-(

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  5. I wasn't looking forward to halter training my lambs, but you make is seem so sensible.

    How old are your lambs you are halter trainingand do you use a smaller pen to do the training in?

    Thanks for the pictures and words of wisdom in halter training. I can do that!! *grin*

    ReplyDelete

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