Pet Performance classes at shows should be enjoyable for both the alpaca and the handler. The tasks usually reflect basic handling needs eg loading on and off a trailer, haltering, walking up and doiwn ramps, opening and going through gates, moving around obstacles and crossing over different textured surfaces.
Handling skills are usually assessed by looking at the levels of communication and control shown while negotiating a course or obstacles. Performance classes reflect the bond between the handler and the alpaca and how well they work together.
Although Performance Classes are a fun event at shows, the training that goes into creating a good bond between the handler and the alpaca makes owning and handling alpacas so much more enjoyable.
The training undertaken for the Performance Class varies but usually involves breaking down the individual tasks into small events. As one skill is mastered another one can be added. Exposing an alpaca to lots of different situations and challenges and showing them that they will not get hurt is an important part of trust building. It is important that the challenges you give an alpaca are realistic, sensible and not accident promoting.
At Te Kowhai Alpacas, the animals chosen for the Performance Class are led all around the property, in and out of buildings, down the roiadside, and over as many naturally occurring things on the property as possible. We always have two animals training at the same time to give each other confidence. These intelligent animals are fascinating to watch as they explore the strange things that you have in your living environment that they don't have in theirs.