leash training goats

msjay2u(7)July 28, 2008

My goats are still small. One of them, Ricky is very aggressive. He butts Fred (the smaller one) every frick fracking chance he gets. Lately he has gotten worse when they are eating. He grunts and butts. I was thinking of making them eat from a leash on their evening feeding. I am thinking of tying them to a tree when I am outside so Fred can get his fair share of food. I would also like to tie them up when I am working in the yard since they have gotten into the habit of going towards the street. They look towards the road and it is like an attractant to them....


they were bottle babies and want to stay under me at all times. When they hear mt voice they want to be let out and follow me around the yard or they scream bloody murder if I don't let them out. If I sit in a chair they are fine they walk around eating this and that soon as I get up they are under me. I put a chair next to me and they sit in the chair until I get up. When I walk I have a hard time not tripping because the are crossing in front of me.... you get the picture.

I am afraid if I put them on a leash they will strangle themselves trying to be near me. I have a collar on them with a small bell now and they are used to it. How do I proceed to the next step of a chain?


Also how do I make them learn their names? I use their names with them all the time but they don't know them yet...


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Don't know anything about goats, but was wondering if a large dog harness would fit them? And if you tie the line up overhead, I would think that they would eventually learn to quit pulling against it without hurting themselves.

I know with colts, you can't pull on their head when they are young, so you wrap your lead line around their rump and use it to pull them along to teach them to follow you.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 10:44AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

I have NO goat experience, other than patting a couple in my time, so this may be applicable and may not. Extrapolating from foals and dogs, A) you want to keep learning sessions short and fun, B) punishment based training rarely works in the long run.

See if you can get hold of John Lyons book on foals and training, as I am sure you can adapt his methods to goats - his 3 basic principles are - you shouldn't get hurt, the animal shouldn't get hurt, and everyone stays calm, certainly ending up calm. As well, clicker training for dogs may work, esp. the target method, which has been adapted for horses. There are several books on dog-training, and I think one or more on the horse method.

I would wait to tie up either of them until they have learned about collars, walking on leashes, giving to pressure, etc. - it is all too easy to hurt one without realizing, since most animals' first reaction to any pressure is to lean into it or to fight it. Can you set up a separate feeding area for each of them - if only a rail across a corner which the bully can't get into - or a gate or roll of wire mesh, since a rail may be squeezed under or jumped over? If they are fed separately, the bullying would be less of a problem, since it seems to happen, from what you write, mostly at meal times. Even though it may seem to be giving in, I would feed the more dominant one first - maybe put him in the separate area - since they will set up their own hierarchy, and you can't enforce your own to be different.

That said, and while this might take some time, can you A) separate the 2 for a few seconds and still keep the attention of the one you have with you - i.e.; he isn't fixated on going back to his companion? If so, then take one out, and immediately put it back, repeat, until the carrying on slows down, and the one inside - and out - realizes the separation isn't killing it and that the separation also ends. Then take out for longer, repeat, etc., etc.. Then take out of sight, etc., etc., until they have learned that out of sight isn't GONE, and the other kid and you do come back. It may be that they are still a bit young to be separated, and it may be that they are fixated on one another, the last not being so good, and the first curable with time. Whether or not they also learn about leashes and walking with you at the same time is open to question - but I assume they are still small enough you can pick them up? I would work with one for a few minutes, until the lesson seems to be sinking in, then go away, if only for 2 minutes, and then come back to work with the other, or there won't be ONE clear lesson for them to learn - having my companion go away isn't the end of the world. They will at the same time, be learning the corollary - leaving my companion isn't the end of the world. It sounds as though for this activity, they want to be close to you, so a leash isn't required. It also sounds like a lesson they need to learn for any number of reasons, among them that it is much easier in the long run to work with one goat at a time, without having the other under foot, on your back, into everything, distracting the other one, etc..

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:17PM
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leash training goats is most definitely a long process. so the most important thing is to be committed to it!

since they are used to wearing collars, start by teaching them to lead with those. hold on to the collar and walk with them. keep their heads up with a firm but gentle pull each time they try to put it down. once they are comfortable being lead by the collars, they should have an easier time with a lead. walk them around on the leads a little so they get used to it. take them out on little walks a couple times a day for a few days and let them graze a little. then they should be used to the leashes and know that they aren't punishment.

when you first tie them up, stay close, talking to them and giving them some grain to nibble out of your hands. then slowly walk away. there will probably still be some crying and screaming since they see you as momma, but rest assured, they should eventually realize that just because they can't follow you doesn't mean you're gone forever.

i've done this with dozens and dozens of goats, bottle babies or not, and i've had success all but once!

see how this works and post an update! good luck!!! :)

as for the names, goats aren't like dogs. chances are, even if they learn to come when you call them it wont be because they know their names....it will simply be because they know your voice and know that you are the all mighty giver of love and food :).... but calling them by their names wont hurt!

again, good luck!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 3:45PM
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Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I tried today to hold the aggressive one by the collar and walk him a bit but he nearly got strangled he pulled so hard. LOL he is a REAL STUBBORN GOAT!! so I will try a minute at a time and increase over time.

dibbit, good idea. I will check out my library and see if they have that book.

msmitoagain I have been lloking for a harness small enough to fit them as I would love to have them help me around the yard but so far unsuccessful.

What is a good treat to bribe/reward them with during training?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:28PM
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i train my goats with horse treats. every once in awhile i'll give them tums. they love them and it gives them some extra calcium.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 1:33AM
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You can go to your local co-op or feed store and get goat halters. They are made especially for goats. They will halter lead a lot faster than with a collar because of the pulling as you tap their behind without their choking. Also, you can use heavy-duty dog tie-out stakes placed far enough apart so they do not get tangled up with each other. You MUST keep them safe from the traffic. They will hang themselves in a line above them. My goats are rescues found wandering the highways- one a pygmy, the other a nubian. It is lucky they weren't hit. Also, if you haven't yet, neuter your male. He will only get more aggressive and STINKY! They really do pee on their beards!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:00PM
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I am going to check the feed store to see what they have. both my boys are neutered/ I go to the feed store next weekend and see what I can find. this weekend working on the coop.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:59PM
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I just acquired two tiny black pygmy kids. I am trying to "tame" them. I think they were untouched by human hands before me. I wish I had your problem of them being all over you. They are spooked of everything! Thank goodness they are nannies. They are thin and are eating everything!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 12:48PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

I would second the halter idea. We have rope halter w/lead for the sheep. All in one piece, it adjusts to fit any sized head, stays in place, tightens if they pull so it doesn't come off. They should be under $5 in most places. We have to teach the lambs to lead for showing every year. A collar is useless, will hurt their necks, no real control of the animal.

Our lambs do wear collars, to hold their bells on, never use it for leading or tying up.

Goats can be nasty to each other, that is how they are, keeping their place in the flock. Don't rub their faces, just the sides of the skull or under the jaw. Face rubbing makes them aggresive, wanting to butt things even more.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:44PM
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