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Cappy's advice page for all animals

Are you having a problem training your owners? Getting along with your pasture-mates? Getting that certain stud's attention? Just send your problems to Cappy at this address and I'll try to answer your questions right here.

Dear Cappy,

I am 21 months old. I'm an Appaloosa male and I still live with Mom & Sis. I am utterly beautiful. But I am not vain. I do wonder sometimes though, if perhaps I might suffer from something I've herd of (get it?) called deranged llama syndrome, or something like that.

You see, I really like my mistress but yesterday I charged her. I weigh 350 lbs and I don't think she does. I didn't actually hurt her but I scared her to death. Now she doesn't want to come out and play! I know you read Ann Landers, and my mistress was hoping you'd give me some advice on what to do with me. She doesn't like my suggestions or Pop's either, and really doesn't want to sell me, but I think she's afraid I'll play rough again. (Why did I do that anyway? Is it testosterone or spring fever? Should I tell her not to worry? I think she's having trouble with trust issues.)

Please help us if you can! Thanks, Cappy!!!!!

Dear Appaloosa,

I'm sooo glad you thought to get in touch with someone. I think you're very intelligent and have a very good reason to be greatly concerned regarding your uncontrollable and unexpected behavior. First, though I know you really feel bad about charging your own mistress, you can't really blame yourself. There is a definite behavior syndrome that male llamas (and sometimes even females) develop when they get near breeding age. Some call it deranged llama syndrome, berserk llama syndrome, or just plain aggressive behavior. And yes, the testosterone development does have something to do with it. Sometimes the cause is a little hard to pinpoint, but it normally has to do with the behavior that your humans gave you when you were young. It is more likely to occur if you were bottle fed, taken away from your mother, maybe raised in a petting zoo, or just handled, cuddled, and kitchy-koo'ed too much. You know how those humans can hardly resist all that hugging and so forth! Personally, I just prefer a treat of grain! But after we accept the humans as one of our herd and get to enjoy all that attention, when we grow up and start feeling a little independent and manly, we try to show our manhood by becoming possessive of the females and therefore aggressive. After all, no one expects a wimpy herd sire! But, sometimes we lose sight of exactly who our peers are due to the overhandling by humans, and thus our aggressive behavior is directed towards our loving humans rather than other male llamas.

And unfortunately, it can happen again. Perhaps your mistress can evaluate your behavior to make a decision as to whether some discipline would be feasible to be sure that you realize what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It is very possible you will feel the desire to play rough again, at the most unexpected time, and someone could possibly be hurt ..... very hurt! You didn't say what your suggestions were, or Pop's either, but the best solution may be to go to your veterinarian very soon and be gelded. Now, don't be alarmed .... it really isn't all that bad. They normally do the process while you're standing up and give you a little pain killer. It's over in about ten minutes and you go home and right out in the pasture again. If this procedure is done very soon, I think your behavior has a good chance of improvement and you can possibly be a very important member of your family's herd as I am. I get to go to all kinds of fun places and shows and I get lots of special attention. My stud friends here just stay home most of the time, pace the fence, and worry about all those silly girls. What's the big deal? I'm in the pasture with the girls all the time. I'd rather spend my time worrying about when my family is going to bring more hay out!

I hope I have helped out somewhat. It's very hard to evaluate when I can't see the exact situation, but it does sound like a serious problem and not one that should be overlooked by you or your mistress. If you need to talk again, or would like to talk with my owner, just drop us another note. We're as near as your keyboard. By the way, you didn't tell me your name. I'm thinking of you and wish you the best!

Lots of Huuummmmms,

Dear Cappy,

Wow! Was I impressed by your speedy response to my mail! My owner thinks your owner must be really cool. So you're from Bend originally? I live in Portland. Truly it is a great place to live! But your farm seems pretty good too.Too bad you're so far away from me!

My owner was so impressed by your letter that she called the vet immediately and had every word of advice confirmed! Now I just have one question. Okay, so they realize that they were dumb and uninformed when I was born. I was just so cute and everything. So much for regrets! They think of me now as a big burden. They will of course have me gelded. It seems there is no other choice. But what good am I really as a gelding? I was hoping to be a big, beautiful, brave, sire. People would pay to have my services. And since I come from packing stock, my owners thought I might even serve as a stellar packer and breeder, not to mention my beautiful wool which would make the best sweaters eventually.

So now, Pop thinks if I have to be gelded I am worth little more than a glorified lawn mower! But you said you were gelded, right, Cappy? Maybe I could be trained/tamed/and all that stuff and grow up to give advice like you do? That would be cool. But there's still the problem of Pop who'd rather shoot me (!) Certainly you can help convince him otherwise. Perhaps there is still a little hope of getting me back in control without gelding me? I doubt it too, but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask at this point.

So Cappy...so sorry I forgot to sign my name last time! My owner said I was pretty desperate and wrote the letter rather hopelessly and hastily. I guess those things happen and names are forgotten. But I would like to keep writing . I would like to update you on my present condition, and whether I'm still berserk after a few months of heavy working out with a nose chain and such. Thanks, Cappy, for your awesome and austere advice, and lots of hums to you too!!!!!!!!!!!

Llyle (the 21 month old appy)

Hi Llyle,

Good to hear from you again! I'm glad you're not too "down in the dumps" and still weighing all the possibilites to this situation. My owner and I have been thinking about you alot, and perhaps it wouldn't be good to jump to conclusions too fast. Not actually seeing your behavior, it's hard to be a good judge of the situation - but it would be wise to be aware and use extreme caution. Actually we have seen two different intact males get a little out of control when they were just about your age. One guy would start some low orgling noises when girl llamas were around and he would just kinda suddenly push against the person holding his lead. He only did this a couple of times and really got scolded. There was no doubt that he was in trouble - and he hasn't tried it again either. The other guy I know came up and knocked his owner down from the rear when she was bending over. He got scolded also. But in both cases these guys were just getting really interested in girls and just didn't use appropriate behavior. They didn't actually charge anyone and they haven't done it since. They are aggressive with the girls, but now are mature enough to control themselves around their owners and guests. This could possibly be your problem also - you're just about that age. I don't know about working out with a nose chain - that sounds kinda scary. I haven't heard of using that for llama training. Most llama training does not accomplish very much when physical discipline is used. We are very intelligent and know what is expected of us when it is communicated properly. Most llama training is successfull with good communication and trust. Usually, just harsh words work or a jerk on the lead. I've seen my owners raise their hand up higher than a llama's head in order to show they were not happy with an approach or a suggestion of spitting. We normally understand and back down. Perhaps they will give you a second chance. But you were right, Llyle. There probably is going to be a problem with trust, and rightfully so. They will be keeping a careful eye on you and using extreme caution. You'll have to show them a better side if you'd like to become a herd sire.

I doubt if Pop is really thinking of shooting you! He's just a little disappointed too. But if you do happen to get gelded, you can have an enjoyable life going places and participating in shows. And you could still be a wonderful, top performance packer! Maybe even better gelded!! You could be very well trained like I am. I am actually able to pay more attention to instructions from my owner since I don't have those silly girls on my mind all the time. You know, someone from another state called last week and wanted to buy me! Can you imagine that? My owner said I wasn't for sale though. But I must be valuable if a stranger called and wanted me.

Be sure to keep in touch now. Good luck - try your best!


Dear Cappy,

Hi, I've got a real problem. You just won't believe what my people have tried to do to me. They decided I should be weaned. Can you imagine that - I'm only eight and a half months old. They separated me and my mom during the day for about a week. But, I fixed them. One night when mom was in the next field, I just jumped the fence and stayed overnight with her. Oh, it felt so good to sleep next to mom again! But my people persisted and now I can just visit mom across the fence. My mom is so pretty ..... you can see her at my farm Mount Lehman Llamas

And now, up here in Canada, they want to take me for walks so they put a halter on me and expect me to follow them around. They took me and my friend Amarga for a long walk down the road yesterday. I guess it wasn't too bad except when that car came by. That was scary! Then they wanted us to get into the trailer. That was scary too, but we didn't go anywhere - just in and out. I have a feeling they want to take us somewhere in the trailer and then go for a walk. What do you think of all this? I'm not sure I want to go on walks - are they really fun? I sure am glad I've got you to talk to now that my mom isn't here to tell me what to do!


Dear Bev,

Hang in there, sweetie. I can understand your feelings...some of the girls here are going through the same thing right now. I try to stay especially close during these hard times and we always lay close at night. Your mom won't forget you - it's just time to start to get out there on your own. Just try to relax and trust your people - they really will take good care of you!

Walks are really interesting and going places in the trailer is usually very exciting - especially to shows to try to win those ribbons! If you practice getting in and out of the trailer a couple of times, it will be a breeze to do. Your owners will be so proud of you - it doesn't take much to impress these humans, you know. And I find that I get alot of extra treats when I show off big time. Try it (yum, yum).


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