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Re: Flipping a goat

DKalakay said:
Driggs my big Saanen used to dig in his heels every time he was headed for the pen. He's twice my weight so was impossible to move along so I'd give him a treat to move forward toward the pen. Didn't take long for him to figure out that if he dug in his heels he would basically get a treat. Now he gets a treat ONLY after he gets in the pen which he runs for now. The first few times, when he stalled, I just left him and went to the pen with the treats.
My goats wouldn't lay down, but they would just avoid going into the pen, while chowing down on everything they could get to. So I started just opening the gate and calling to them, "Let's go boys. Who wants a TREAT?" When nobody responded I shut the gate and went into the feed room and made some noise putting a treat (some hay, some alfalfa pellets, etc) into the goat feeder. By this time one or all of them would be clamoring to get into the pen. If only one or two goats responded to my original request and went into the pen before the bribe was offered, then I would dawdle and mess around after giving them their treat before I would let the last guys in. They would get so impatient, hearing their rivals in there eating while they were locked out. I would take my time letting them in just to make them regret their misbehavior. It didn't take long before they all came running and crowding to get into the pen when our walk was over. I don't always give them a treat, tho. Just enough so that they know it's possible (like getting people to put money in slot machines). I don't want the treat to become seen as a payment, rather it should be something special that only the very best goats get. I think they know what the word "treat" means, because when I want one to come to me so I can mess with his pack, I say "treat?", wiggle my fingers like I may have something in my hand, and call his name. Unless he is into a particularly tasty bush or weed, he will almost always perk up and come to me. A dried up orange peel is the best treat I have found.

My approach to goat management is to try to make doing the right thing rewarding, and the wrong thing unpleasant. But I only resort to fear when kindness fails. I don't think you can train a goat to be as obedient as a dog. A dog really want to please you. A goat just wants to please himself. They will do what they want to do, what they think is in their immediate best interests.
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