Goat training!

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Britt Mitchell, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Britt Mitchell

    Britt Mitchell New Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Squamish bc canada
    I’ve recently rescued a year old Nubian billy. We’ve done basic training with him (not to try and escape whenever I enter pen, He knows his name when called, not to cross over my path when walking, etc.) but one thing I can seem to figure out how to train him is, when there are treats involved, to not “snap” at my hand when I bring the treats down to him. It’s as if he thinks if he doesn’t inhale it all on one bite he won’t get any.

    I’ll bring a handful of treats down to his face and he almost smacks his face into my hand, taking my finger into his mouth. He doesn’t necessarily bite my fingers, but sometimes his a little more aggressive with the act and my fingers get a quick nibble.

    There are constantly kids around and the last thing I want is a kid bawling their eyes out because he bit someone.

    I haven’t tried to many things at the moment, just if he snaps walk away and ignore him, but if anyone has any ideas on the matter I’d love to hear it!

  2. NigerianNewbie

    NigerianNewbie Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2018
    Central NC
    Are the treats being offered on a flattened palm, cupped hand or by being held between the fingers? I teach the grandchildren to offer treats on a flattened palm just to keep their fingertips away from teeth as much as possible.
  3. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    With dogs sometime trainers recommend to step towards the animal and push your hand forward so that you kind of shoving the treat at him and moving your whole body forward. He should automatically step back when you do this. Not sure if it will work on a goat!
  4. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I think this is an excellent situation for clicker training! Have you ever tried clicker training with a dog or other animal? I use my tongue to make a clicking noise instead of using a hand-held clicker because I like to keep my hands free. Keep your treats in a pouch or pocket where your goat can't get to them unless you pull one out for him. He'll mob you at first, but make sure he can't access the treats and then wait until he backs off in frustration. At that point, click your tongue and offer a treat on your flat hand. Feed him away from your body. I like what clicker trainer Alexandra Kurland said: "Feed where the perfect horse would be."

    Repeat the exercise over and over, clicking and rewarding each time your goat steps back and waits for you to bring the treat to him. Teaching him to wait is the key here. Once he's good at stepping back and waiting for his treat, start teaching him to be gentle when he takes it. If he bites, snaps, rushes, etc. close your hand and do not give the treat until he settles. When he's polite, click, open your hand, and feed. If he's learned the first lesson well, this one should be pretty easy for him because he's already figured out the principle of waiting. Don't hesitate to wear leather gloves until you're confident he's learned how to take treats politely!

    This is very similar to when I taught my horse Jet to give kisses instead of biting people. He loved to nip anyone who pet him, fed him, etc. It was more playful than mean, but to the person on the receiving end that didn't make much difference because it still hurt! He needed to redirect his energy so I taught him to gently "bump" people on the cheek with his muzzle instead of biting. I basically did exactly what is described above. I had treats in my pocket and I held one up near my face. If Jet was rough, abrupt, too close to my space, or so much as opened his teeth, I said "NO!" and took away the treat. I might thump his muzzle as well, depending on how aggressive he'd just been. The thought that he might get thumped made him a little hesitant when taking the treat, and when he was hesitant he was gentle so I would open my fist and give him the treat. It only took him a few days to give gentle "kisses" instead of biting, shouldering, or whacking people with his head. It still kind of alarmed some folks if Jet walked up and gently nuzzled their cheek, but at least I had no worry that he was going to be dangerous. He never took up nipping or other aggressive behavior for the rest of his life, but he never forgot how to "kiss."
  5. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California