Camel Training: How To Approach Camels Respectfully

camel training how to approach a camel

How To Approach a Camel in a Respectful Way, video tutorial

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Did you know that there’s a way to approach camels without seeming like a threat to them?

Not only does this way show the camel that you’re not an imposter, but also you’re asking to come into their personal space.

Asking to come into a camel’s space is important, because it shows the camel respect and when you show camels respect, they show it back 10 fold. 

The way to approach a camel is all in your intentions. 

If you’re walking fast, like you’re in a hurry the camel will sense this and become agitated. 

Camel’s have an excellent ability to judge fear and act accordingly. Camels often judge their fear before making a decision about what to do next so If you’re personally feeling fearful, more often than not, so too will the camel, but what we’ve noticed is that camel’s can determine the type of fear a person is feeling. Like they can sense any uncertainly you might have about them. The camel will either ‘call your bluff’ and act on your fear through biting, regurgitating on you or kicking or some camels will accept the fact that you need peel back some of your onion layers of fear and they simply accept you for where you are at. 

All this really depends on how the camel is raised, handled and trained. 

The way to correctly approach a camel, as the nice loving human being you are, is similar to how you’d introduce yourself to a dog.

Simply put up the back of your hand towards the camel’s nose to allow the camel to sniff you.

Camels have an excellent, and sensitive, sense of smell and this is how they determine things from this from that. 

Ever heard the saying “they can smell the fear…?” it’s true for camels too.

After allowing the camel to sniff the back of your hand they might come in for more sniffs around your face, which can seem intimidating having such a big jaw near your head! 

Both confident and nervous camels do this, the only way to truly know this is to know the camel. 

And a warning here, if you know for a fact that a camel gets hand fed treats, we recommend playing on the cautious side, because they can get very possessive about their ‘treats’. A quick hand sniff should suffice your introduction to a camel that gets fed treats.

So you’ve got your hand & maybe a head sniff too, then what…? 

There is another way to desensitise the camel so you can begin to handle them, put a halter/headstall on etc without the camel feeling ‘suprised’ by your actions.  

Reach up to the camels head from the side, not the front, and touch, not scratch, behind their ear, you’ll noticed one of two things, the ear will twitch or it won’t. If it twitches you know that that camel feels comfortable around you and that it’s ready to be with you. If it doesn’t twitch it can mean one of two things, one, he is already desensitised or two he is not feeling comfortable with you yet.

The way to know the difference between the above two is looking at the camel’s eye. Shall I say ‘glancing’ at the camels eye as eye contact can be intimidating for some camels (especially young, un-handled/untrained camels). 

If the eye is wide and bulging, it’s likely they are feeling scared, if the eye looks calm and soft, it’s likely they are feeling comfortable with you. 

Always remember to maintain a safe distance away from camels front legs. A good rule to remember is use the length of their legs to determine your distance from them (as that’s how far they can kick), yes camels can kick with their front & back legs.

And finally if you want to be really sure, and we only recommend this for handled and trained camels and their handlers, run your hand gently down their front leg, while you’re standing to the side, and touch the sensitive part between the start of the leg bone and their body. Again this might twitch or not, which by now you know there are two meaning to this… If they don’t twitch it could mean they are already comfortable with you – remember look at the eye – if they do twitch then they are ready to be with you. 

Russell Osborne & Tara Lea Australian Camels

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