The Goat Spot Forum banner
1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5 year old alpine wether that I've had since he was three weeks old. With me, he is awesome, but he alway seems to want to push things with other people. Especially kids. He lives down with the bucks, since I don't feel safe with him and children unattended. If my daughter has a squirt bottle, he's fine. And when he does do something, there doesn't seem to be vicious (sp?) intent behind it. For example, once he got after my daughter and got his horn caught in her shirt. He simply stood there until someone noticed and came to his rescue. My daughter thought it was fun. :roll: He treats children like I see him treat goat kids. It seems to be mostly putting them in their place. I tolerate it because he's my baby and my only packer. And he's always supervised around children. If you show that you're boss, he's great. From what I have heard, this seems to be kind of an alpine trait. What do you all think? Is there some training tips I could try, or should I just look for a replacement?

Kathryne
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
595 Posts
If all he's doing is just being bratty and not dangerous, you can either give everyone a squirt gun or even better, a coffee can of water to pour on his head when he acts snotty. This is more fun in the summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
SilverSage said:
If you show that you're boss, he's great. From what I have heard, this seems to be kind of an alpine trait. What do you all think? Is there some training tips I could try, or should I just look for a replacement?

Kathryne
I think its a "Goat" trait..... well, maybe Alpines are a little more ornery but hey they sure pack great!

I've had several goats who did the same thing. I always get onto them when I'm around and make sure the child has a squirt gun. Usually they get better about it and finally quit. It sounds like he's just being a little pushy and not actually aggressively going after them so I wouldn't get rid of him. Packers are too hard to come by! He just needs a little direction in life to help him understand what is acceptable behavior. If you get onto him and he doesn't listen, then by all means use the squirt gun, bucket of water or water hose. Make sure to use a gruff voice when administering the "training" so he learns that the gruff tone in your voice means bad things are about to happen. If everything else fails, buy a small can of pepper spray (not mace) and let her give him a shot of it on the nose. That has always cured mine from bothering innocent victims. :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I have a two year-old hornless Alpine who's also not to be trusted with strangers or small folk. He's not mean or aggressive. He doesn't bite or butt. But he does rear-up on his hind legs, stomp down and toss his head sideways into people. Sometimes, he'll run by me and bonk me in the hip with his head or shoulder. Or he'll cut me off when I'm walking and stand, ears back and tail wagging wildly. It drives me nuts! He does it mostly when I'm hauling the garden cart to the manure pile. If he doesn't stop after two warnings, I tip and sit on him but I'm getting tired of wrestling a leggy 150+lb goat. He *can* be so darn sweet but when it comes the cart or visitors he is a huge pain in the arss. I've taken to carrying and giving guests a big super-duper long range squirt bottle. He seems to grudgingly respect it. I attribute his naughty behavior to being a teenager. Maybe he perceives the cart to be a threat? In any case, I'm hoping he grows out of it soon because I'm tired of the bruises!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
Hi Ann,
Unfortunately the behavior you describe IS aggression. He is directly challenging you by rearing and cutting you off.
The next piece of bad news is that he will probably get worse not better as he gets older. You are correct when you assume that it is because he is a teenager. He is testing his boundaries and getting away with quite a bit of mischief. This only emboldens him to do it more often and in an escalating fashion.

Here's the usual order of aggression.
1) Doesn't stand to allow you to trim feet or administer medication.
2) Starts by being pushy about getting fed or trying to get out of the gate. May push or poke you lightly with his horns.
3) Begins getting more excited and aggressively dominating other goats when you are in the pen.
4) When fighting with the other goats he passes by you and postures on the way by to see what your reaction is. (Posturing for those who may read this later is an aggressive stance where the goat holds its head high and tips it slightly toward you. It may have its body arched and hackles raised)
5) If you ignore the posturing it will become more and more common when you are in the pen.
6) The goat will also move closer and closer while posturing to gage your response to his challenge. Thats basically what it is, a challenge to your standing in the herd.
7) If the posturing goes unheeded the next step is to start cutting you off when you walk by turning sideways in front of you and intentionally blocking your path to make you walk around it.
8) Next is rearing up and stomping down in your direction.
9) This eventually leads to contact. Usually in an attempt to try and push you out of your space. It may be a "run by", where the goat hits you while running past. That tells me it is still wary of you and is testing his limits while doing it in a manner it feels it could make a get away if needed. Or it may be a direct approach of putting its head down and physically shoving you out of the way.
10) Last is direct head butts, serious horning and biting.

As you can see, you are already a long way down the list. The behavior is relatively easy to correct in the beginning stages but now that he has been allowed to progress it will be much tougher. Tipping the goat only works if you hold it down for an extended period of time. You MUST break its will to dominate you. If you hold it down for a minute you may have won the day but if you hold him down for 10 minutes (sometimes more) you are winning the war. As his aggression escalates, so must your methods to deal with it. I just read a story this month in Countryside magazine about a poor woman who was afraid to go out in her yard because of a goat she had raised from a kid. Its behavior escalated to the point that it would go after her when she went outside and she eventually had to get rid of it. The point is that you need to nip this in the bud immediately and aggressively.

Suggestions.
1) When you flip him look at your watch and hold him down for a full 10 minutes. He will most likely give up quickly but don't be fooled. He knows you usually let him up when he's quiet and when you hold him longer he will eventually explode in frustration and try to force his way up. If you hold him through that and beyond you have accomplished the desired effect. Then when you let him up, immediately move forward in an aggressive manner to make him give you space. If he stands and gives you any attitude give him a sold knee to the ribs to make him move. (Just like a dominate goat would)
2) Do not let any thing in the list above go unchallenged by you. If he even postures in your direction when he is playing, deal with it right then, right there. Even if its only a stern word and a movement in his direction to make him move away.
3) Stay with the water soakers for guests and if he deserves a squirt make it a heavy soaking and miserable for him. (I like Carolyn Eddy's use of a full bucket of water over the head)
4) If he turns and blocks your path give him a solid "head butt" to the ribs with your knee to make him move. You should never walk around the goat when it blocks your path. No dominate goat would ever walk around a subordinate one. It tips its head in warning as it approaches and the subordinate goat either moves or get a solid head butt to the ribs to make it move. Thats goat communication 101.
5) If needed, step it up and use pepper spray or an electric shock collar.
6) Last but not least, don't give the goat multiple warnings when it is acting agressive. Deal with it immediately the first time, every time. Warnings only teach the goat it can get away with anything for a few times before you get mad enough to deal with it.

Keep in mind that just because the goat submits to "you", it may still challenge others so be ready to help enforce your rule with visitors. I'm sure under the surface you have a great goat. Unfortunately he's stepped over the line and its up to you to make him step back.

NOTE:
I have no doubt that someone will read this in the future and view the suggestions above as too harsh. To that person I would ask what future does an aggressive goat have? Haul it to the sale and tell yourself its going to be adopted by a wonderful family and have a great life? The honest reality is most will become worthless scrub goats with gnarly twisted feet and a load of parasites because no one can handle it to worm or trim its feet. Eventually ending up killed by stray dogs or on someones barbecue. Not a pretty picture. I'd much rather make things a little uncomfortable for the goat now so it can have a long, happy, productive life later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
So what if you are up by number 1-3. I have 6 yearling Alpines. I use a squirt bottle when entering the pen in hopes of teaching them to stay back. They also crowd me a bit when I feed them hay. I have to enter the pen to get the hay in the feeder. Is a squirt bottle enough? They seem to be getting it but I don't want it to get any worse. I used to tie them up when feeding grain but I am not doing that now so it is a new thing. I also think they are all used to getting pushed around by eachother and I don't want them to think I'm one of them...but the boss of them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
Hasligrove said:
So what if you are up by number 1-3. I have 6 yearling Alpines. I use a squirt bottle when entering the pen in hopes of teaching them to stay back. They also crowd me a bit when I feed them hay. I have to enter the pen to get the hay in the feeder. Is a squirt bottle enough? They seem to be getting it but I don't want it to get any worse. I used to tie them up when feeding grain but I am not doing that now so it is a new thing. I also think they are all used to getting pushed around by each other and I don't want them to think I'm one of them...but the boss of them.
It could simply be that they haven't learned their manners yet and are rude simply because they don't know any better. If they seem to respect the squirt gun and are starting to respond to you telling them to get back then you are probably fine and I would continue on with what you are doing. I wouldn't worry too much until I felt they were purposely shoving me out of the way. If the squirt gun isn't enough, go in with the water hose and make them all stand back until you are completely done putting the hay in the feeder. I posted some photos of my 2 year olds standing back while I poured the grain in the feeders. They aren't allowed to stick their head in the feeder until I back away. viewtopic.php?f=32&t=110
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
595 Posts
I'd like to comment that there's a difference between training an animal to do a task such as stepping back while feeding and performing an attitude adjustment due to unwelcome agression.

If you are dealing with an otherwise cooperative animal who is learning a new task, pinning and flipping him is like beating your child when he doesn't understand what you ask him. At best you are just going to confuse him, at worst you will set up a whole lot of fear issues you don't need. :?

On the other hand dealing with an agression issue is not going to be helped by softer training methods. All the goat sees is that you are a pushover, sometimes literally! A goat in this mode needs more drastic intervention such as flipping, pepper spray, etc.

But please be sure which you are dealing with before you decide which action to take.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
sweetgoatmama said:
I'd like to comment that there's a difference between training an animal to do a task such as stepping back while feeding and performing an attitude adjustment due to unwelcome agression.

If you are dealing with an otherwise cooperative animal who is learning a new task, pinning and flipping him is like beating your child when he doesn't understand what you ask him. At best you are just going to confuse him, at worst you will set up a whole lot of fear issues you don't need. :?

On the other hand dealing with an agression issue is not going to be helped by softer training methods. All the goat sees is that you are a pushover, sometimes literally! A goat in this mode needs more drastic intervention such as flipping, pepper spray, etc.

But please be sure which you are dealing with before you decide which action to take.
Well said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
I have a 2 year olf nigerian dwarf wether that was disbudded but not long enough and his horns have grown in. We have been making all kinds of excuses for his aweful behavior because we weren't really sure what to do with him. He uses those horns on the whole family to get attention not to mention what he does to the other goats. Thanks for the great advice
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
deenak said:
I have a 2 year old nigerian dwarf wether that was disbudded but not long enough and his horns have grown in. We have been making all kinds of excuses for his awful behavior because we weren't really sure what to do with him. He uses those horns on the whole family to get attention not to mention what he does to the other goats. Thanks for the great advice
Two years old seems to be a common denominator in aggressive goats. I liken it to the teenage years of human kids who often feel the need to rebel against authority.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
595 Posts
Bucks with an attitude at my house don't last long. I expect them to be as sweet as the wethers, otherwise they don't get to reproduce. Nothing like 250 pounds of raging hormones who LOOOOVES you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Any goat who uses its horns on children is a serious threat and the situation needs to be dealt with quickly and with some skill.

This is why I am always telling people that what is "cute" when they are a couple of months old is NOT cute when they are 200 + pound goats! I hope everyone on the forum reads these posts and the answers given. Rex is an expert with goats, as is Carolyn Eddy, they both know their stuff.

My 12 year old daughter has a permenent scar on her chest and belly from a yearling goat with horns who tried to snag her goat, Gully with a quick, backward jab. Had he not pulled the blow he could have easily eviscerated her. When he swung his head at Gully, Gully (who was between Sierra and the other goat thus blocking her view of the other goat)moved back, exposing Sierra's tender belly to the tip of this goat's horn.

This little moment could have seriously injured or killed my child. I know I always get flak for saying this, but I don't think small children, especially non goat savvy small children, should be around horned goats without super close supervision and sometimes that is not enough with young silly boys or aggressive and ill mannered goats. Sierra knows goats, has been raised with them and she was nearly impailed that day. She was 9 years old and only about 44 pounds, so the size of a 4 or 5 year old. She's been around horses and goats since she was 18 months old.

When an adolescent goat with or without horns is hiking or being handled by non-goat folks the risks are higher just like with horses or any other livestock or dogs. When a young goat (those 2 year olds are indeed often the culprit) isn't trained properly from the start these dangerous situations occur more often and it is the handler's fault for putting naive people in harm's way. The problem started long before they turned two, it doesn't just crop up out of nowhere.

I know many savvy goat folks take non-goat folks and their children hiking with their horned and non-horned packers and have done so for years without incident. BUT, I \ imagine they pay close attention to the people and goats involved and likely solve problems before they occur, sometimes without knowing it. I've seen many folks do this with their dogs, horses and goats, it is almost reflexive after a while and the novice goat owner doesn't have those reflexis until a few things have happened to make them take notice. A goat horning a child in the rectum would certainly make me take notice! The dorsal aorta is in that area, folks, if it is punctured, the child will bleed out in just a few minutes. That is serious.

Some goats are more aggressive than others, know your goats and make adjustments in hiking order, or chore lists or training, but don't put someone who is ignorant of goat ways or someone who is young, old, or slow in movement around the one likely to try to dominate them. AND, if you must, then please train both the person and the goat so that nobody gets hurt.

Please put those inexperienced folks in front of you with your goats behind you, or behind someone else who knows them and can handle any bad behavior as it crops up. Teach your goats not to wag heads, push past, bump into you or use horns on the trail and at home, NEVER let this behavior go unchallenged.

Pepper spray will work, but please make sure the goat gets it and not the child, it can cause a serious allergic reaction and should never be used without adult supervision, the direction of the wind matters a LOT! A shock collar with the parent holding the shock button might be safer for the child. The child has to be perceived as the one taking care of the situation or the goat may continue trying to take on the child when an adult is not close enough to do something about it. Goats are smart.

Also, in case this helps, there was a nasty mare at the stables when I first got my horse. My dad called her "Liver Lips" and she was a dedicated sneak attack biter. She would act very friendly and sweet and wait for the person to drop their guard and then bite them, sometimes quite seriously. My father always carried a breath mint spray (Binaca blast, or some such thing) in his pocket, when Liver Lips tried to bite him he had it in his hand and sprayed it up her nose. This was NOT what she had planned and for a while she tried to sneak up and bite him but he was always ready (he was a natural with animals and would purposely wait, relaxed, with his back to her) and soon she learned not to take him on or that awful stuff would be sprayed up her nose. It might work on a sensitive goat if the child or person can spray it up their nose.

A little bit of lemon juice or vinegar in a squirt bottle will also deter a nasty goat if it is literally sprayed at their eyes. It stings and burns but doesn't cause permenant damage, just a teaspoon will do.

I recall John M. describing how he blew cigar smoke up one goat's nose, that goat never took him on again. Taking a goat by surprise and doing something out of the ordinary usually brings respect.

Another thing that might shock a goat and would be painless (unless soaked in lemon juice water) would be a rag ball, soaking wet, thrown hard at the goat. If you are a good aim, you can hit them from a distance and make them think twice. Anything that can "touch" them from a distance while the "no" word is spoken makes a goat respect you, even if it is just a dirt clod lobbed gently. It reminds them that you can touch them from any distance so don't mess with you. If you have to replace the dirt clod with a small stone, this will cause no permanent harm if you aim for the ribs or hip. Pine cones and small sticks work well too. I use them all.

I had to have Sierra take on a mature (4 or 5 years old at the time) packer who was rearing up and threatening to hit her when she was about 7 or 8 years old. This goat always took on the smallest child on a hike, and pretty much thought all children where fair game. I tried putting him down, kneeing him in the ribs, heck, I was so angry once I punched him in the nose several times, but he always tried to go for Sierra the next chance he had. He has no horns.

So, I gave her cottonwood "clubs" (as big around as my forearm, I'm a very small boned woman, a length of sturdy rubber hose would sting like crazy and work very well) and told her as soon as he started to posture (bugged eyes, ears back, neck up, you know the drill folks..) to whack him across the nose as hard as she could as many times as she could until he physically backed up and then keep backing him up (with body posture not blows) until he was moved back a good way, every single time.

I never tell my children to beat an animal, this is not how they were raised, but this goat was going to be tacos soon if this behavior wasn't stopped and clearly he needed her to take him on alone. I just gave her a set of "horns" to use. I literally had over a dozen cottonwood sticks in my arms, when one of hers broke I'd hand her another. She hit him high on the nose, below the eyes, not where the cartilage is and not in the eyes nor ears, she has a terrific aim and never missed)She would then occasionaly, when he got too close, turn on him, bug her eyes out, lift herself up and snort at him and then make him back away and down the trail, just because she decided he should. She was to move him from left to right, right to left and back, back and back again. I had her cointinue doing this the entire hike and then again back at the trailhead so that he knew she as QUEEN.

By the end of that hike he had stopped trying to take her on, she is 12 now and he has never taken on another child all this time and has become a model citizen, able to enjoy parades, public functions and 4-H shows.

He has gotten a lot more years, good years, so in the end, even though his nose likely hurt as much as his pride that day, he's been a happy and well behaved goat ever since. BUT, Sierra knows goats, and was already fast, strong, coordinated and capable of understanding what to do and when to do it without causing him any real harm even though she was only about 40 pounds when this happened. A timid child would not have been able to do this and a child without good timing when it comes to training would not be effective. This is why an adult should hold the shock button on the collar, a child's reflexis and timing might not be fast enough for the behavior to be associated with the shock. If the adult drops the goat, the child should be on top, eyes bugged and snorting to let the goat know they are boss too.

Rex, I know you suggested ten minutes, but honestly, I've held some down for 20 minutes or more before they were really contrite and not just playing possum. That is a LONG timet to wait for that explosion, but it sometimes keeps coming for that long.

I know what I had Sierra do that day was pretty radical and not too pretty, but the safety of other children and that goat's life depended on her success and I knew she was the child to do the deed. I was also there the entire time and ready to intervene should anything start to go wrong.

I expect flack over this, I've taken it before, but that is ok, we all have different opinions. However, this goat is still alive and he would have been dead that week had Sierra not taken him on and won. She saved his life. I also get flak over the horns, but again, that is my opinion and I always recommend small children be around hornless goats when newbies are buying, it is just safer. Not safe, mind, all animals can harm and/or kill, even smaller goats and dogs can do great harm, headgear or not.

Charlie Goggin
Lightfoot Packgoats
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
595 Posts
Holding an animal down is not a timed event. It needs to be down till it gives up. We held one down for 30 minutes at the rendy and up until the last 5 minutes when I would slap on him he would go ballistic. Take your hand and pat him pretty hard, if he blows again he's not ready to return to the land of the living. When he just lies there and doesn't move then slowly get up and stand over him.Don't make any noise, and just let him lie till he gets himself up. That's where the real training is happening, is when he is rethinking his position vis a vis you and him. Then after he gets up just leave him alone for awhile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I am glad to have found this thread. We got a new-to-us goat in May. He is a 3 y.o. huge alpine x. no horns) I believe he was fixed about 6 months before we got him. Hand raised by the lady we got him from. He came to us as he was fine w/people but kept trying to mount even her mare. (hence the fixing). Husband said 'taco meat' and we are his last hope. I believe he is now feeling 'settled' in to the routine and our family as this is recent behavior.

He has begun displaying the 'blocking' behavior mentioned. Also he will block, then run away, turn and run right back up to you screetch to a stop next to you. He does wag his tail and arc his neck. This behavior is only in the early evening when my other goats would routinely 'go crazy' fooling around with each other, running, jumping and bonking heads. Now the only other goat just looks at him like he is a teenage hooligan.

To me it seems he is testing the boundaries, but also playing. I carry a cane out of necessity, so tipping this big guy might be beyond what I can do. Water I can do, lemon I can do.

I want to train him and hope someone has a step-by-step I can learn from. My plan 1st. back lesson. 2nd wait lesson. 3rd how to be led lesson. 4th simple commands, up, back, wait in sequence..5th pull a light load, etc.

A busy goat might be a more respectful goat too. Sorry if this has gotten a bit long. Any replies appreciated! Beth in Utah
 
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top