Attending and Hosting a Gentle Spirit Behavior & Training Clinic

Cathy teaching at Purson Manor, England alpacas Cathy Teaching at Los Olivos, CA alpacas

Attending a Gentle Spirit Behavior and Training Clinic

The Basics One Day Clinic

2 and 3 Day Clinics

I do my best in each and every venue to encourage and assist each participant in building skills and personal confidence in themselves -- that we can all think, make sound choices and interact with our animals in a skilled way. To get there, we just need the information, understanding, practice and. belief in ourselves. Change can happen but only if we are aware that there are, indeed, other possibilities.

Reading materials provide a great deal of information. Practically applying that information can be confusing. Attending a Gentle Spirit Behavior and Training clinic will focus information and bring together the skills for herd management and problem solving difficult behavioral issues. Is changing difficult behavior really that difficult? Through an understanding and recognition of behavior, most difficulties become amazingly clear and simple to resolve.

My clinics offer:

  • Discovery of a vast range of llama and alpaca behavioral cues.

  • Clear understanding of skull anatomy and the why of halters.

  • Positioning -- how the positioning of all things are part of the whole… our animals, ourselves and the things around us.

Tools for problem solving – There is no trademark method or technique. No one size fits all. What do the puzzle pieces tell us?

Self confidence for both the animal and participant.

An ability to put into practice what you actually already know – much is a matter of common sense combined with an understanding of positioning and behavior.

Not much need for equipment beyond a catch pen, halter, lead, catch rope and maybe an ace bandage. Use what you have efficiently.

Ability to do what I do through:

      1. Understanding behavior

      2. Understanding positioning

      3. Defining the issue as presented through behavior and positioning

      4. Constructing a resolution


Group sharing is a very powerful component of my clinics. Observing is great but actually doing it yourself is better. Each participant has the opportunity to work with an animal exhibiting a difficult behavioral issue. We all become supportively involved in working through to resolution – learning from each other without judgment regardless of previous experience in camelid behavior and training. The result is profound.

Something Else To Consider!

I am usually able to arrange an additional day or two in an area either before or after a scheduled clinic for those who would like to take advantage of private training at their farm and/or arrange for a special youth training day.

Training a llama with Cathy Spalding

Host a Gentle Spirit Clinic

Hosting a clinic is a great opportunity to meet new people, see friends and to promote your farm and animals. It is truly advertising at its’ best. There is no fee for attendance by the host, their family and up to two farm assistants and, your llamas and/or alpacas receive training at the same time – a wonderful combination of business, education and fun.

Or you may want to arrange for a Presentation, Private Training or a Youth Day.

Send me an email to request hosting information or see my Contact Cathy page for my phone number and mailing address.

Email -

One Day Clinics

The Basics Clinic

The day includes fundamental basics of behavior, positioning and anatomy of the head as it relates to handling and care.

Understand Behavioral Cues

The first hours are dedicated to viewing, recognizing and understanding a great many possible alpaca and llama behavioral communications.

There are dozens of possible behavioral cues that can indicate something may or may not be going well. These behavioral cues can mean different things at different times and/or in varied combinations. Realizing our alpacas and llamas are constantly communicating with us as well as with one another and gaining a basic understanding of what they might be "saying" is fundamental to our successful interaction with them.

Positioning and Skull Structures

Following basic behavior, we discover the profound implications of Positioning and how the skull structures of the alpaca and llama can play a significant role in handling. (for more information see my articles "Positioning" and "Heads and Halters").

Students Request Topics

Additional topics are often focused on the interest of the group. They can include, catching, halters and haltering, legs and picking up feet, farm layout, leading, leading issues/approaches, a confidence course using obstacles, starting babies, learning to tie, wearing a pack or trailer loading. The day includes actual "hands on" experience by participants with alpacas and/or llamas.


Two and Three
Day Clinics

A two or three day clinic begins with The Basics Clinic.

The second and/or third day provides the excellent opportunity for a more refined focus in both awareness and skill. Most of the day is spent working with alpacas and/or llamas.

Difficult Animals

While I always encourage any participant having difficulty with their alpaca or llama to bring them to the clinic, I rarely work with their animal myself.

Hands On Learning

My assumption is that each participant attends the clinic not because they want to know if I can do what I say I might, but rather, because they hope to be able to gain the knowledge and ability to do it, too. As such, we support participant volunteers doing the actual work with the alpaca or llama in a safe environment through group problem solving of the presenting issues and solid encouragement.

Travel to Participant Farms

A variation in the group work on the 2nd and/or 3rd day is the possibility of traveling to 2 or 3 participant farms nearby the clinic. This has been of tremendous success for participants in bringing "home" the understanding and skills presented in the clinic. While it is not mandatory, it is most useful for participants to have previously attended a "ground floor" clinic.