A clicker is a little box with a metal spring that makes a clicking sound when you press it. In the olden days, we called them “crickets”. Of course you can train an animal without this gadget, they’ve been doing it for centuries. Using it, though, will help both of you concentrate on the good things that are happening. It will help you remember to reward what you wanted, rather than punishing what you didn’t want. It will help you train better and faster.
WHEN TO CLICK – Click when you get what you want. If you want the llama to take a step, click as he starts to lift his foot, or as he shifts his weight BEFORE he takes the step. The click says “Yes! That’s exactly what I wanted!”
THEN WHAT? – Then pay for it. If the llama isn’t taking treats from you yet, reward him with something else that he wanted. Go away. Take your hand off him. Open the door to the pasture. Turn away from him. Loosen the lead. Let him rest. Let him go faster whatever he wants at that particular moment. Life gets easier when he’ll take treats, though, because you can reward him much faster and more often, and he can plainly see what he’s working toward. If you click, pay for it. You may certainly pay without clicking, but never click without paying. As you ask for more and better behaviour, you’ll be clicking less, but still pay for every click to ensure that the llama keeps working to make the click happen.
TRAINING TIP – We tend to be stingy. Especially in the beginning, The more often you click, the faster the llama will learn and the more eager he’ll be to play the game with you. If you’re not using a clicker, the same thing applies to treats. The more often you pay for him doing something right, the faster he’ll learn. What you’re really doing is giving him more information about what he’s doing right.