Chapter 22 - Lifting Back Feet
Whoa, that sounds a little more scary than lifting the front feet! That's what the whip is for, though, so you can get the llama completely comfortable about you touching his back legs without any danger of you getting kicked. If he kicks the whip, no big deal. It bends, and it stays on his tickle spot until you reward him for standing quietly by removing it.
When he's relaxed about the whip, you can start using your hands. Stand as close to his hip as you can. Yes, I know, you want to stay as far away from that potential kick as you can, but he'd need some distance to really hurt you. The closer you are, the safer you are. Besides, you're working slowly enough that he's not going to kick you, right?
To lift his left hind leg, I'm most comfortable standing right up against his left hip, facing the rear, and lifting with my right hand. He'd probably prefer it if you didn't put your left hand on his back. Again, note how the back leg bends. Keep the leg in line at all times, not out to the side.
You'll be lifting the leg just above the hock. When you've worked your way down to it, hold it and lift straight up and back a bit. Quick now, reward him by putting it back down!
Lift, hold for a second, reward. Lift, hold for a longer time, reward. Lift, hold, reward.
I use the same voice cue for the back feet as I do for the front: "Gimme Your Foot!" His back feet are touchier than his front, so I want to be sure he knows I'm coming. With my left hand on or just behind his withers, I run my right hand down his back and over his hip, then give the voice cue. THEN I grasp his leg just above the hock.