How To Train a Camel

Training camels is unlike any feat you will undertake, but do not be mislead, just because camels are a large animal it does not mean you need great strength to train them.

 

The training method that we are about to teach you has been accomplished by the young, old male, female, all different backgrounds from people with no large animal experience at all to people who regularly deal with large animals.

 

In this training video we will cover the first 3 steps To Train a Camel.

 

These camel training methods have been tried and tested on all breeds of camels from a variety of background – young, mature, wild, domesticated, male & female.

 

If you follow these steps this will be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.

 

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Let’s put a few things clear first: camels are not how the media portrays. They re not spitting, biting, kicking and cantankerous creatures. Sure, they can do these things as a defence mechanism, but they are very timid by nature and can be frightened easily if they are unfamiliar with a new environment and or people. The camel isn’t a flight animal, instead they will often freeze in fear, hence where their reputation of ‘stubbornness’ comes in.

 

Firstly, you need to establish a connection with the camel. 

 

Camels are very timid by nature, even though their size indicates otherwise. It can be tricky to tell if a camel is in fear or not, as their signs can be very subtle. 

 

The camel has a very curious personality and will be intrigued by new & non-threading things or people. This alone puts you in a position to be able to WIN the camels trust. This can be done simply by being in the presence of the camel, not asking anything of them or doing anything with them. It’s important always play on the cautious side, always have indirect eye contact on the camel, especially if your back is turned. 

 

Camels thrive off connection, this is evident in their natural herd environments where they create strong bonds with their herd members. In this training method – Camel Connection Trust Based Camel Training® – our sole aim is to build a strong bond and trusting relationship with the camel.

 

Once you’ve won the initial trust of the camel and built a bond you can begin the next step.

 

If you skip the first step you’re doing your new relationship with this camel a disservice and the camel will be more fearful and less co-operative. Remember the goal is to build a trusting relationship, don’t give the camel any reason to fear you. Your job as a cameleer or camel handler is to reduce the fear not increase it. 

 

Now it’s time to ask your camel to do something under instruction!

 

The best place to start with instructions is asking the camel to sit. This can also be called “hoosh” or “kush”. The command we use is “hoosh”. 

 

We start with sitting because it’s something the camel is very familiar with, as they sit and stand all day in their natural environments, but the trick here is to get the camel to familiarise the word “hoosh” with the action of sitting. 

 

Some camels will figure this out quickly, others will take longer. Generally speaking, the younger the camel, the longer time they’ll take to figure it out. Give the camel lots of patience and ‘thinking time’ as they are very intelligent creatures. 

 

How do you get a camel to sit?

 

There are many methods out there with different camel trainers and they all work, but some require high level of force, which is unnecessary and unachievable for many people. We use two methods in particular, but we only start with one. 

 

Our first go to method for sitting a camel is when we use their sensitively, intelligence and gentleness to help them understand the word association, “hoosh” with their action of sitting. Once the first ‘sit’ is got it gets easier and easier – that’s how smart camels are! We only use our 2nd method if, for sometime, the camel has become un-responsive, but we always end up circling back to the first method to give the camel a chance to sit under less pressure. 

 

The idea of camel training is pressure – release.

 

If You ask something and you got it, release any pressure, and that pressure includes your presence, as without your presence the camel can have its’ ‘thinking time’ and they are BIG thinkers!

 

The final part of this initial training is asking them to respectfully walk with you on a lead.

 

This can only be done successfully if you’ve built a strong bond and trusting relationship with your camel – this doesn’t take long to achieve, in fact in our courses we have camels (wild and domesticated) sitting, standing & leading on command without fail within 3 days. 

 

These are the important foundational steps to achieve your camel training goals. Like anything worth building on, first you have to have the foundations in place and from that anything else can be built on top. 

 

The next phases to camel training, depending on your goals, is to introduce the saddle to the camel, maybe some packs and or a rider. 

 

It surprises many that this phase is more simple than the foundational training, because the camel has grown to trust you and you have build a bond with the camel. Once the camel knows that you are not to be feared, anything is possible!

 

If you’d like to take your camel training skills further and learn the Camel Connection Trust Based Camel Training method check out our Virtual Camel Training school or our in-person camel visit the links at base of page

 

Happy Camel Connecting! 

Russell Osborne & Tara Lea Australian Camels

Camel Training Cameleers Tara Lea & Russell Osborne

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