There are many training approaches employed by people for camels, just as there are for other animals. There are some very hard approaches and some very soft ones. And there are some in between.
At the Sacred Camel Gardens we try incorporate the best elements of the best and most intelligent approaches that have been developed (and are in development). We treat each camel as an individual, a ‘person’, with needs both in common and different from other camels. Our ideal is that no camel is ‘trained’ absent the steady cultivation of a relationship of trust, respect and understanding. This is a relationship-first approach. To develop this relationship we simply spend time – hours, days, weeks, months – “being together doing nothing”, just sharing company, being in the field. This is what we do. It’s who we are.
We have no need to have our camels perform, to be in nativity scenes, to race, give rides, or to do anything that isn’t done willingly. So to do anything at all there must first be a friendship, trust, and fondness for each other.
Once the relationship is in place, brought together with the ingredients of respect, sensitivity, love and care, then training becomes interesting, happy, and a means of articulating and giving shape to the conversation of friendship. Things are learned quickly and remembered a lifetime because there is a willingness and openness.
This approach allows for the development of the full range of interactions a human could want and need from a camel; pulling loads, plowing, packing, riding, dressage and so on, with the added bonus that the camels wants to do these things because he, or she, wants to be involved with the person they love, respect, and care about.
The test in all this is that they do these things without ropes, crops, halters, willingly. This is not to say that some “tools” would not be used in certain situations, but their use or not doesn’t effect the happy relationship and mutually desirable outcomes. Deepening the relationship is the ‘goal’, not the perfect completion of any activity.
We refer to our developing approach as the, “Field of Prior Unity”, drawing deeply from the camels (or horses or other animals), from the approaches developed by others whom we admire and respect, and from the spiritual wisdom and instruction of Adi Da Samraj, and his Vision of Fear-No-More.