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I have posted the scoring and judging guidelines we used for our 2009 fair on our group website here:

www.4hpackgoats.org

Once at the site, go to Resources and then Project Documents. Document is "Packgoat Obstacle Score.pdf"

The document is in three parts:

  • Packgoat Obstacle Scoring: Given to the kids to set expectations. I have a flyer form of this as well we use as audience handout.
  • Exhibitor Scorecard: This is used by the judge for recording scores and given to the kids after the event.
  • Judging Guidelines: Our judge is a dog trainer is not a packgoat person or even a goat person, so this was originally intended to help her and provide a list of questions for the Q&A portion (with a note to please not offend the goats by asking about their parts which would imply they might be eaten. :eek: ). We ended up providing this to the kids as well for a study aid.

This guidelines have been tailored to the needs fo our group. I envision them continuing to adjust over the coming years. We have a small number showing at the fair, all coming from a single project group. And most everyone until now has been at a comparable level of skill. But as our group is growing we are getting more new members and inexperienced goats. Ultimately, I would see the rules being tweaked into several versions with variations between novice, intermediate, and advanced classes. Currently we use the same obstacles and rules for all classes. Until now we have also defined classed based upon member age. In 2010 for the first time we will base it upon experience, so we'll probably have to rethink how we do some of the judging and awarding of grand champion.
 

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!! My kids and I are new to goats and 4-H. We had/have two does, one of whom is pretty aggressive with others. The owner was going to shoot them. They are for us to enjoy as they are, but while at fair this year, my daughter and her new friend begged me to buy the friend's goat at auction. Well, I'm on the poor side and said I couldn't afford it. A family member of the friend won the auction and donated the animal back for silent auction and long story-short--we ended up with a boer/alpine/nigerian cross wether. He's about 7 months old and now and we are in love with him. There was only one pack goat at our fair this year and there's so little information that what you have provided is a virtual gold mine. We do 4-H dog agility and it appears much of the same appears for goat obstacles as well. We are trying to keep him socialized (which is a lot of fun and work in itself). Now we are stuck wondering so many things! My daughter (14 years old) would love to do anything and everything she can with him. How do we start? What pitfalls to avoid? We want to do right by him and for this to be a wonderful experience for our daughter. Do you or anyone reading this have any advice at all? How do you know what equipment you need and who is reputable? How do you fit the equipment properly? What age to start training for packing, cart, etc? Yesterday we were working with our dogs in the yard with jumps and weaves. My daughter desperately tried to convince him to go over a jump and he wouldn't hear of it. Then, she turned her back to complain to me and he jumped it from a standstill and looked quite proud of himself! He was rewarded with love, but do we need more to reward him and do goats really try to please? As you can see, we have a LONG way to go! Thanks to anyonefin advance for advice! Patti
 

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Congratulations on becoming a goat owner and welcome to the forums! You asked if you should reward your goat with more than love, and the answer is absolutely YES! Goats like to be petted, but they don't crave affection and human approval like a dog does. Goats are smarter than that--if they're going to work for you then they want some tangible benefit in return. Lots of goats like peanuts (mine especially likes them salted in the shell), sunflower seeds, orange peels, tidbits of grain, carrot sticks, horse treats, crackers, cookies... figure out what your goat likes to eat because every goat has his own preference. Good luck, and have fun!
 

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cryptobrian said:
...

  • Packgoat Obstacle Scoring: Given to the kids to set expectations. I have a flyer form of this as well we use as audience handout.
My kids would have eaten the flyer rather than learn what was expected of them... ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Patti. When it comes to obstacle training (or training in general) it really is all about positive reinforcement, just like agility training with your dogs. In fact, we even use clicker training ... and use a really adventurous dog agility trainer to provide a class to our 4-H group each year.

As Nanno pointed out, the love and affection is great, but treats are even better. Your goat *is* very smart and will quickly learn how to approach and complete obstacles in response to treats. But just like working with dogs, it requires building (shaping) small behaviors and ultimately combining them into the more complex behavior you are looking for ... and it requires lots of repetition, patience, and time.

From my perspective, you can't start training at too early an age. But your focus at this age should probably be on hiking/obstacle basics. You are probably about a year away from putting on a saddle (at which point I would recommend the saddle kit from Northwest Packgoats). So for now, lots of hiking, positive bonding with your daughter, and introduction to the basic obstacles.

Brian
 

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Thanks to all for the advice! I'll probably be back with a million questions as we progress--at least I hope we progress! Winter will really slow us down! One other thing I was wondering, and I know it would only be a guess at this point, but I'm wondering just how big this little guy might get? At the fair, at 6mos of age he weighed 55 lbs.. In one month he's already grown substantially. He is supposedly 1/2 Boer, 1/4 Nubian, 1/4 Alpine. Any guesses out there? Thanks and have a great day!
 

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Brian, thanks so much for posting this wonderful scoring handout! Even if folks don't plan to compete with their goats, it gives some excellent ideas for training strategies. After all, the obstacle course challenges are controlled versions of what we'll encounter on the trail.

I also loved the hand diagram for evaluating rib bumps for proper weight. It tells me our pasture may be a bit rich; our boys would test out on the "plumpish" side of things. Oops. They (and I!) definitely could use more exercise. ;)

So thank you very much. I hope people will look past the subject title and open up your handout because it has a LOT to offer beyond just 4-H. And for 4-H, what an excellent document to build on for your curriculum!

Fantastic! Thanks again for sharing!

Rose-Marie and the Saanen boys
Chehalis, WA
 
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