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Goats are somewhat notorious for having minds of their own. While these four-legged animals make great pets, dairy producers and show animals, they can be difficult to train. However, with the right combination of techniques, you have the ability to transform even the most stubborn goat into a calm, well-trained animal. Though the same basic techniques can be used for many different aspects of goat training, the most important skill a domestic goat needs to learn is that of walking calmly on a lead.
Attach a collar with a lead to the goat. Introduce the collar in small steps to a goat that has never worn one before. Begin by letting it sniff the collar, then placing the collar over its neck and eventually progressing to securing the collar around its neck. Reward the goat once the collar is on with petting and treats like apples and handfuls of grain.
Walk forward, pulling gently on the lead. If the goat follows, stop after a few steps and give it a treat or scratch it as a reward. Continue walking a few steps, stopping to reward the goat if it follows, gradually increasing the number of steps you take with the goat before rewarding it.
Recognize the difference between stubborn behavior and startlement. If the goat appears spooked during the lesson, stop and allow the goat to calm down before continuing. However, if the goat consistently lags behind or digs its hooves into the ground and won’t move, this is a sign of stubborn behavior.
Square your shoulders, face forward and pull on the lead of a stubborn goat that won’t follow you. Apply just enough tension to create discomfort for the goat. Once it takes a step forward, release the tension but keep moving forward. Repeat the process as necessary if the goat continues to balk. Give it a treat as soon as it takes consecutive steps to follow you.
Conduct your walking lesson alongside a fence if you are training a goat that continuously jumps away from you or pulls on the lead. Reward appropriate walking with a treat. As soon as the goat displays improper behavior, quickly tie the lead closely to the fence and step away until the goat calms down. Then untie the lead and continue the lesson, tying the goat to the fence each time it misbehaves. Tying the goat to the fence whenever it acts up teaches it that jumping or pulling away from you will not earn its freedom, but following you calmly will earn it treats.
For the best results, begin training your goat to walk on a lead at a very young age. The more you handle the goat in its youth, the less stubborn it will be when you begin training it. Be consistent when training a stubborn goat. Never let an instance of bad behavior slide; every stubborn action should be met with correction from you. However, the more liberal you are with your praise, especially when you first begin training, the faster your goat will learn and drop its stubborn behaviors.
Never use physical punishment techniques to train a stubborn goat. Hitting the goat only instills a sense of fear of you into the goat and will not erase stubborn behavior. Stick to reward-based training and use gentle corrective techniques when the goat misbehaves. Rather than losing your temper with the goat, end on a positive note by rewarding the goat for an instance of good behavior and then call it quits for the day.
- Dummies.com; How to Train a Goat to Walk on a Lead; Cheryl K. Smith
- X Silence Australian Miniature Goat Stud: How to Train Your Goat
- “The Goat Handbook”; Ulrich Jaudas and Seyedmehdi Mobini, DVM; 2006
- Andy Reynolds/Lifesize/Getty Images