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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have mostly trained my Nubian doe to pull a cart. The only issue is this: when I am by myself trying to get her to go while I sit on the cart, she backs up, basically pulling her harness over her head and then falls over like she is dead (she is extraordinarily over dramatic, not joking at all). I don't have the money to buy a Hoegger Supply harness, so basically it is made out of a really big belt and a dog harness. It doesn't choke her, and it only goes around the chest and heartgirth. She can't stand the part that goes around her legs that I made.

When someone is walking her or standing off the cart she acts fine, but when I myself am alone and try, she freaks out. She KNOWS what to do, but its like she just is too much of a dramaqueen to do it. How could I solve this problem?
 

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Hello Aslea. This is long, so I'll break it up into a couple of posts. I had the same problem getting my goat, Cuzco to walk forward on his own at first. He would pull forward as long as someone led him, but he would stand still or back up without someone at his head. First off, you do need to get a proper harness. I know they are expensive, but Christmas is coming and maybe you could drop some hints. The harness should never come over the goat's head even if she backs up. It needs britchin and holdback straps so that when the goat backs up, the cart backs up with her. With an improper harness, she will learn very quickly to back up just to escape work!

You also need to make sure she's big enough and strong enough to do the job comfortably. If she appears to be struggling at all to pull you in the cart, then she's not strong enough. I made the mistake of training my goat to pull a cart when he was less than two years old. He was quite large even then and I got away with it, but until they are three years old, they really shouldn't be pulling people. Making your goat do work that she's not yet ready for can teach her to hate it.
 

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When your goat and harness are ready for work, that's when you are ready to train. Be patient, get someone to help you, and bring a lot of her favorite treats. Give yourself plenty of time. To start, your goat needs to learn a specific signal to begin moving. Tell her to "Walk!" using her name so she understands you're talking to her, and then tap her on the rump with your whip. Don't strike her, but tap her smartly so she feels it. The tap should come immediately after the voice command. As you give the command, have your helper lead her forward and give her a treat as she goes.

Have her walk a short ways, then pull on the reins and say "Woah!" Vary the lengths of your walk-woah cycles, and repeat them until your goat learns to start walking before your helper does. At this point she is probably also walking before you tap her with the whip. That's great! It means she's learned a voice command. From now on, you can only use your voice and a much lighter whip tap (more like a tickle), and only use the firm tap when she doesn't move off smartly from your voice. The purpose of starting out with a harder tap is to teach her to respect the whip and to have a reason to listen to your voice and move forward.

When she's walking from your voice, your helper can remove the leash and walk next to her. Your helper should also feed treats less often and begin to slowly drift away to the side or drop back so your goat isn't just following the cookies. This part will take a lot of time and patience. Break it up over several days or weeks, and expect some days to make loads of progress and other days to feel like you're back at square one. Try not to get frustrated. Goats are smart. While you are training her, she is also trying to train you!

I wrote an article a few years ago about proper harness adjustment and balance in the shafts here. It might be helpful. Take your time and have fun with the process. It's important to keep in mind that if you're not having fun, neither is your goat and it's probably a good time to go back to something easy that she already knows and quit for the day. Always end every lesson on a good note, even if it's an easy one. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
She cannot wear a harness that goes over her back end because she won't walk. At all. I mean not one step. It just makes her get mad and fall over. She's 6 or so years old, not any older though. I have her fully trained on the ground so she knows all the signals and everything. I bought a new harness but like I said I couldn't get one that goes over the back legs, but it fits good. Since I posted this I've had some help and she works good now. She doesn't stop anymore, and will even trot for long distances when I let her. I never work her for more than 30 minutes anyways. I still have issues turning away from the way home, and leaving the yard by myself to the place I train her (which is far bigger and more open than my property) but I am working on it. I have two friends who go out with me everytime they are here and they help tremendously. Funny thing is is that when someone is there with me she won't back up. But when I'm alone with her she will when we aren't going her way.
 

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Sounds like she's coming along well! Most goats will definitely be more reluctant to move without a person in front of them, so that part of training definitely takes a lot of time and patience!

The harness should not go "over the back legs" as you put it. It should be up higher on the buttocks, and she should not even feel it when she's in draft (pulling forward). It's possible you've got it too tight, which could certainly make her back up. She should only feel the britchin when she stops or backs. One thing that could make her object to the britchin is if she has a full udder, and this would be a very good reason! But I'm guessing she's probably dry, so this should not be an issue.

It is worth taking the time to get her used to britchin straps so that you can drive safely. Just lead her with the harness on and the britchin in place for a while until she gets used to it. The only time she should even feel the britchin at all is when she's stopping or backing up while hitched, and she will need to get used to that feel. You can train her by stopping her and backing her with an empty cart until she no longer notices the push from behind. You also want to make sure your britchin strap is wide enough or it will hurt her. It should be about the same width as your breast collar (about 3" wide).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I used a part of the harness that I do not currently use to make one, and two other straps I also do not use the make it stay up. She worked good, though of course she still refused to go away from home when we got back around the building. I always make sure she is empty of milk before I work her. Normally I tack her up after I have finished milking her while she is eating. I know how that would feel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds like she's coming along well! Most goats will definitely be more reluctant to move without a person in front of them, so that part of training definitely takes a lot of time and patience!

The harness should not go "over the back legs" as you put it. It should be up higher on the buttocks, and she should not even feel it when she's in draft (pulling forward). It's possible you've got it too tight, which could certainly make her back up. She should only feel the britchin when she stops or backs. One thing that could make her object to the britchin is if she has a full udder, and this would be a very good reason! But I'm guessing she's probably dry, so this should not be an issue.

It is worth taking the time to get her used to britchin straps so that you can drive safely. Just lead her with the harness on and the britchin in place for a while until she gets used to it. The only time she should even feel the britchin at all is when she's stopping or backing up while hitched, and she will need to get used to that feel. You can train her by stopping her and backing her with an empty cart until she no longer notices the push from behind. You also want to make sure your britchin strap is wide enough or it will hurt her. It should be about the same width as your breast collar (about 3" wide).
Just wanted to update again! For the last 4 days I've gone out on my own, and every time she refuses I immediately get out and guide her the right way. She has gotten a lot better, still refusing at the same spot, but we almost made it past this morning. I wanted to show you a pic I took this morning while we were headed home.
Bicycle Infrastructure Vehicle Asphalt Road surface

Hope you like!
 

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I have been teaching my goat to pull a cart which is awesome:) I have never had her have a hard time leaving the house. But when I was teaching her with another person helping each time she would stop when not asked I would give her the command to go a push on the cart all while the person leads. So now it has been two days without a person leading if she stops I just give her the cue and roll the cart forward a little. Funny thing is I didn't wean her off the person leading. Every day when heading home I would put my little sister in the cart unclip the goat and let my sister drive her home. Like always she would go faster going home so shed pass me every time till she didn't care. Hope your goat gets better
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've been working with her on and off for the past few weeks since I got a horse now. I only worked with her because I was bored constantly. In the last few days my boyfriend would ride in a golfcart pulling her companion (her 9 month old doeling) and she'd go right out of the yard. She'd a good puller. But since it's winter she has been having a hard time keeping weight, so along with the horse, I just have quit carting.

I may go back to it later on, maybe out on some of the Turtle Park trails. But for now we are halted.
 
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