Does anyone else do trick training?

Discussion in 'Pack Goat Training' started by Clairepaws, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. Clairepaws

    Clairepaws Member

    Feb 2, 2016
    I have been doing trick training with my girls for a few years now but I've never met anyone else who has. Wondering if any of you do and what your experiences are with it? :D
  2. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    All my goats start learning tricks from the time they are about 2 months old. The girls learn a few tricks and the boys learn a whole slew of them. They love it! They're very intelligent. The "fun" tricks--"Shake hands," "Spin", "Repent!" "Dance" are the easiest. The hardest trick to train is "lie down", but once they get it they're usually pretty good. The one I have to be most consistent with is "Whoa". This is the equivalent to "Stay" for a dog. They don't want to stay--they want to come close for cookies! It helps to carry a dressage whip for teaching "Whoa." When the goat tries to come closer I smack the whip on the ground to make him go back to where he was.

    Judge Joe Pilotte saw me and one of my milk does practicing tricks in the aisle before our class at an ADGA show. He asked us come back into the ring after our class and do a performance. He's a really fun judge. At a different show where I was teaching a special class on working wethers, he saw my goat cart and had me hitch up so my goat could pull him into the ring like royalty. I can't remember, but I think that goat may have even shook hands with the judge after pulling him into the ring. I know he made a bow. :)

  3. wintergreen

    wintergreen New Member

    Apr 4, 2013
    I taught some of mine to spin around, jump up on something, get off of something, dance, and bow.
    I taught one to lay down. I did this when she was still small enough to pick up and lay her down in my lap.
    Damfino, how do you teach yours to lie down?
  4. Clairepaws

    Clairepaws Member

    Feb 2, 2016
    My goats love it too and they are so eager to learn. I've found that they respond really well to clicker training.
    So far they know...
    Up (jump up on the milk stand or anything else I need them on)
    Down (jump down/off)
    Touch (target practice)
    Stand (up on hind legs)
    Peek-a-boo (put head behind my legs then peek out at me when i say the command)
    Over (jumping over a bar jump)
    Weave (weave through agility poles)

    We're working on Stay and Hoof. They REALLY don't like Stay. :lol:
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  5. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I start teaching the "lie down" command when they are babies and still small enough to "manhandle" (for lack of a better term). I say "lie down" and I fold their knees under them then push their butt down until they are all the way down. Then I hold them there with one hand while I give them a treat. I don't give the treat if they are still propped up on their knees--their chest has to be on the ground. Once they know what I want, I switch from manually bending their knees to pushing down on their withers with one hand to get the kneel. If they are inattentive (in other words, walking around me in circles trying to get a cookie without obeying the command) I will pinch the skin on their withers to get their focus back and let them know I mean business. I release as soon as they go down. Soon I can stop pushing their butts down and just give a push on the withers and the whole goat goes down. The push eventually gives way to a gentle tap on the withers and they'll go down.

    Teaching them to stay down is harder because they like to pop right up the minute I take my hand off them. They eventually learn that they don't get any treats for jumping up, but they will get another treat if they stay down. I start by just taking my hand off (if they jump up I make them lay back down before giving another treat). Then I stand up and expect them to stay down. Eventually I start walking away or walking around them in circles while they must stay down. Teaching "Whoa" has really helped with this actually. I was having trouble getting them to stay down until I taught them "Whoa" while they were standing up. I've got two of my boys staying put at the "Whoa" command while I feed treats to other goats about 15 feet away. Once they would do this standing up they started doing it laying down as well.
  6. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I've never done clicker training but I'm trying to learn. I'm training myself more than the goats I think! It's easy to accidentally click at inappropriate times or to forget to click when I should.

    Besides learning their individual names and to "come," these are some of the tricks we do:
    - Shake hands - by far the easiest, it's the first trick every goat learns
    - Dance - walking on hind legs without putting feet on me
    - Spin - mine learn to spin both directions, and I'll often make them spin several circles one way, then several circles the other way and do some figure-eights before they get their cookie
    - Jump - this can be over an obstacle or through a hoop
    - "Repent!" - Go down on both knees
    - "Make a Bow" - Go down on one knee with the head curled back and down (this is a new one we're still learning)
    - Grovel - crawling on the knees
    - Lie down
    - Whoa - this is the same as "stay" for a dog
    - "Pedestal" - means jump on top of whatever object I point to and stay there
    - "Load up" - means hop up in my truck bed (we're going for a ride!)
    - Weave - we do dog agility weave poles too! :)
    - Nod "yes" - planning to teach them to shake "no" soon
    - Give me a kiss and/or take a cookie from my lips

    I don't think I realized how many tricks my goats have learned (or are learning) until I wrote them all down!

    By far the most important is the "Whoa" command. My younger goats have so far only been taught tricks, but soon they will be old enough to pull carts and carry packsaddles. I need them to stand still for saddling and harnessing. It also applies to standing still for hoof trimming, haltering, brushing, clipping, etc. I want them to be experts at ground tying when we're on the trail. I recently trimmed all my goats' hooves without a stanchion and without tying them to anything. If they know "whoa" it helps a lot in keeping them cooperative!

    Soon the boys will learn "Walk," "Trot," "Gee," and "Haw" as I teach them to drive. Really looking forward to this!
  7. wintergreen

    wintergreen New Member

    Apr 4, 2013
    Thank you for the explanation! How to you teach them 'whoa'? That would be really useful for my goats to learn.
  8. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I first introduce "whoa" when trimming hooves. I always outfit my goat in a halter and leash, and I tie them up short for the first couple of trims. Having them physically restrained reinforces my command without me having to constantly correct them. If the goat moves while I'm trimming a hoof I say "Whoa" firmly and press them against the fence with my body until they are forced to stand still. Once they quit fighting I reward verbally. I never let the hoof down until the goat is standing still and not resisting. I then let the hoof down and reward with a treat. I don't have to trim hooves very often so I also reinforce the "whoa" command when grooming and during leash training.

    Recently I have stepped things up to making my young wethers "whoa" without being tied and without me standing right with them. I always use a halter with either a catch strap or a leash attached because head control is essential for correcting them when they move. We always practice in an enclosed area where the other goats can't bother us. I say "whoa" and give a couple of downward tugs on the catch strap to get their attention. Eventually the two downward tugs will be my non-verbal "woah" command. I've found that goats learn best when there is a non-verbal element to any command. They aren't tuned to our voices like dogs, so I use a lot of hand signals and physical communication.

    Once I've given the command, I hold my hand up to their face palm outward and tell them "whoa" again. If they move even a small step I verbally correct them (I make an obnoxious "aa-aa-aa" sound) and I physically move them back to where they were and start over. I continually increase the amount of distance and time they must stand still. Once I'm moving more than 8 feet away, it's time to bring out the dressage whip. That way I can correct the goat immediately by slapping the whip on the ground if he ignores my verbal reproach. Sometimes they overreact to the whip and bolt in the opposite direction. That's ok. Bring them back and start over. Reassure them and tap the whip more gently next time. If your goat is completely unfazed by the whip he may need to have his front legs smacked when he approaches you to learn to respect it. There's never an excuse to beat him, but he needs to know that that there are consequences for disrespecting the whip and for disobeying your direct command. Usually once a goat has been slapped across the knees a few times he steps back immediately when you tap the ground. Eventually he will step back when you correct him verbally and you can put the whip away.

    I don't recommend teaching the "woah" command until your goat is very accustomed to being led and tied by a halter (I usually start halter training at around six months). They also need to be mature enough to have developed a decent attention span.

    Right now my goats are doing well to stand when I walk away, even with my back to them, but I'm having a harder time teaching them to stand while I walk around them in a circle. They want to keep their faces to me at all times. I haven't figured out the best way to teach them that it's ok for me to walk behind them, but I have a feeling it's just going to come down to consistent correction and regular practice.
  9. lilaalil

    lilaalil Active Member

    Sep 5, 2014
    That is all so cool, Damfino! I wish I had the time and patience for this stuff! I can't even take the time to train my goats not to jump on the gate when I am trying to open it. Maybe at a different phase in my life I will.

    But I am going to keep a buckling next spring to whether and cart-train for my daughter. She's 2 now, so by the time he is full-grown and ready to pull her around, she'll be close to 5... a good time to ride around the property in a goat-cart, I think :)
  10. JumpingGoat

    JumpingGoat Member

    Mar 10, 2016
    I started teaching one of my girls to shake yesterday. How do most people teach it? I noticed thismorninh she started porring the ground when she whanted treats
  11. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Member

    Aug 21, 2009
    When my boys were young they had a bad habit of going into other camps and eating ashes. This is actually like pepto bismol for them. Since it was an instinctive behavior I thought it would be good to teach them to steal beer while they were in the other camps.

    Well try explaining to some angry campers a few times that you aren't stealing their beer, you are merely training your goats to, and it may put a damper on your trick training aspirations.