Camel Training: Gentle Training For Gentle Giants

camel training

The reason anything is feared is, because 9 times out of 10, it’s misunderstood and therefore something to be feared.

Why doesn’t everyone own a dog? Because not everyone understands dogs, but those of us that have a dog know they are one of the greatest companions you’ll ever have.

Most people can’t understand why we live and breath camels. The look on their faces shows signs of disbelieve that anyone can ‘love’ such a cantankerous or ‘temperamental’ animal.

You might be able to relate?

So why do camels have such a bad wrap on their reputation?

Camels will only ever display their spiting, biting, growling and the like when they are scared.

In this episode we talk about how the more gentle you are with a camel the better they will respond and faster the results will be.

Tune in now…..

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Transcription:

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think “camel?” “Big”, “large” even “intimidating” maybe? 

We love the story of when a mob (or clan) of Australian aboriginals saw a camel for the first time – (once the government ‘employed’ the camels and their handlers to help ‘open up the outback’). 

The aboriginals thought they were seeing a spirit, and a very bad one of that fact. This animal like ‘thing’ was like a horse, but it had some sort of growth on its back – ‘maybe another head’ they thought ‘this has got to be bad news!’. 

It had a kangaroo like head, but it’s feet were like nothing else. 

The aborigines were scared and for all good reasons too! Although this story has been told over and over and the stories vary depending on who you speak with, the message was clear – the camel was a creature to be feared. 

In Bedouin tribes they are brought up to ‘fear the camel’ as they are a powerful creature.

Maybe even Aunt Maggie went to Egypt once and reported how cantankerous these vile creatures where, even though she continued on her safari with them – go figure. 

In Australia, nowadays, camels are officially classed as a pest by the government. It’s no wonder the poor camel has a bad wrap! We spoke about this topic in Episode number 15.

The reason anything is feared is, because 9 times out of 10, it’s misunderstood and therefore something to be feared. 

Why doesn’t everyone own a dog? Because not everyone understands dogs, but those of us that have a dog know they are one of the greatest companions you’ll ever have. 

Most people can’t understand why we live and breath camels. The look on their faces shows signs of disbelieve that anyone can ‘love’ such a cantankerous or ‘temperamental’  animal. 

You might be able to relate? 

What’s the first question we get from those that don’t know camelids “Oh, don’t they spit on you all the time?” People will ask this while standing directly in front of one of our camels… We’re sure you can relate!

So why do camels have such a bad wrap on their reputation? 

Camels will only ever display their spiting, biting, growling and the like when they are scared. 

Side note here: that camels actually don’t ‘spit’ with their saliva, they involuntary vomit when they are scared, nervous or unsure about a situation (each camel varies). You probably know or heard of someone who starts to feel sick and they involuntary vomit when they feel nervous? Well, a camel is no different. 

After many years working with a veriety of different camels, from dromedary ( one hump) to Bactrian (two hump), from camels straight out of the wild to hand raised camels, they all have one thing in common. They are all on hang on a fine line of nervousness….

They have this natural instinct in not being able to regulate their fear like a human would. 

When fear arrives so to can all the external ways of showing it (like vomiting, biting, sitting down with know intentions to get up – ever!). 

Camel’s are one of the most sensitive creatures that I’ve (Tara) ever met. I became a horse trainer after leaving school – I created my own take natural horsemanship – horses also have a ton of fear, but they will see it and run for the hills, camels are different in the respect that it’s often hard to pin point that they are in fear (as they seem very aloof), but it will always get to a point where they feel like a their fear has frozen them and they will ‘fight’ – kicking, vomiting, sitting down, you get the point…

We’ll let you in on a secret, the more gentle you are with a camel the better they will respond and faster the results will be. 

Now, this isn’t something we found off Google (because you won’t find it, expect on our website), this is our tried, tested and proven method that works! Even if a camel is steamily aggressive, they are only doing it in defence. So our job, with the owner/handler (as a rule we don’t train camels, we train their owner/handler, the reason is obvious), is to breakdown all the fears, all the barriers and have a good heart to heart with the camel. 

So, What does training a gentle giant like a camel look like? 

It looks like two best friends that have just had a misunderstand. 

They want to try understand what has happened between themselves, because of the love they have for one another. So, obviously when we run our camel clinics or people take our online courses the goal is to get the owner/handler to love the camel like a good friend. This is not a hard thing to do, but we do get people who just want to handle and train the camel, but by the end of their time with us… They are in love and they ‘get it’.

So, Love is first (the easy part). 

Then there is connection. 

Love and connection are two different things as connection comes with different personality traits. 

The idea of connection is building trust between two beings – the camel and the human. 

We’ve worked with camels a long time and there is no camel we’ve skipped this step with – no matter how experienced with humans the camel is. 

This is the make or break point because without trust with a camel what’s left? 

Fear and only fear. 

Camels crave connections. 

You only have to observe their herd behaviour to understand that they truly value connection, a strong bond and trust within their herd. The goal when training & handling a camel is to be a trusted, connected and well bonded herd member with leader mentality. 

That’s another thing that you’ll always see in herds of camels, is leaders. A mentor, someone the camel can look up to and it’s usually the older camels. As a camel owner and handler your goal is to become this as soon as a halter is put on and or near by giving instructions. Sure, they’ll test the relationship – just like they do with their elders, but mostly it’s just bluff which leads us into the next point. 

When a camel bites, spits (vomits), kicks etc. We hate to disappoint, but it’s mostly bluff and they’ll usually almost never go through with it, unless you really don’t get the point or that a camel has a knowing that humans cannot be trusted – we met a bull (intact male camel) like this once, it was really sad, but he just couldn’t get passed his ‘past issues’ and fair enough for him too! 

Camel’s are incredibly patient creatures, and like elephants they never forget.

Before a camel bites, vomits, kicks etc. there are always warning signs and it’s often in their eyes and it take time, invested skill and a sense of intuition to pick up on warning signs before they ‘level up’ to more physical demonstrations – hence the importance of connection, what we call Camel Connection.

 After a solid Camel Connection has been formed and trust has been built upon only then do we ask the camels to things. 

We used the word ‘ask’ for good reason as if now we implemented force we’d be back at square one in an instant – a camel filled with fear. 

In our 3 day clinics a big chunk of that time is forming a connection and building trust, almost 2 days of it, but you know on the 2nd ½ of day two and day 3 they are putty in our hands – like [Really] big puppy dogs! 

In 3 days, using our Camel Connection Trust Based Camel Training™, we’ll have a camel sitting on command and walking on lead out in the bush, 100% looking to their new handler for comfort and trust. 

The process always seems like a miracle to us, even though we’ve seen it time and time again.

Camel’s are incredible animals and we believe that everyone should have the chance to experience their magic – even just once in their lifetime!

So you can see the advantage of this kind of training & handling method – it’s working with the camels natural instincts and abilities to be able to have a large animal manageable and as a great, long term companion animal – don’t tell our dogs that!

We run regular camel training courses (3 days) and camel training camps (5 + days) at our farm in Victoria, all around Australia and internationally too. If you wanna find out more about experiencing some Camel Connection You can get more info on us and our training and other services at CamelConnection.com

Camel School Camel Training

Virtual Camel School is coming up!

Don’t miss your chance to learn our Camel Connection Trust Based Camel Training method from the comfort from where ever you are in the world.

You’ll be joining us and other camel loving people in this dynamic foundational camel training course designed for camel owners & those that want to own camels in the future.

No matter if you’ve been in the camel game for a while or you’re only just starting out, you’re going to love our virtual camel school with pre-recorded training videos for you to watch and LIVE weekly training videos with us to cement your learning and have your questions answered. 

Guaranteed you’ll learn something new! Head over to CameleerAcadmey.com now to learn how you can join

Russell Osborne & Tara Lea Australian Camels

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