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So I have two goats, one of which is substantially more socialized that the other.

Halters for them arrived on the brown truck a little over a week ago.

After substantial dragging, and collapsing to the ground, my "good" goat finally has started following me. He'll still stop randomly and require some coaxing, but it's nothing like the disaster it was at first. I was feeling pretty hopeless about all of this a few weeks ago, so seeing this sort of progress is very rewarding.


The other poor little goat still really doesn't even like to be touched. I pet him while he's eating, and he's warming up to that. A friend was able to be walked by him following the other goat, so I'm hoping he's only a few weeks behind.

Do all goats generally place eating fresh weeds above their interactions with humans, or will this come with training?

Yesterday, I got the feeling they were just really hungry for something fresh, rather than hay.

Ka (the good goat) followed me right into a trail that's cut through the woods at my place. No lead tension, just walked behind me. Bob, his brother from another mother, stayed behind, and when we were out of sight, started letting us know he wanted us to come back.

How do I get them to come to me when I call them?

And and and, Is it normal for them to want to rub their heads on my leg? I'm still unsure what will encourage butting, and what can just be considered head scratching.
 

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Don't think I've totally lost my mind, but your less socialized goats remind me a lot of "normally socialized" llamas.

Llamas are sort of weird animals for most people, Here's this huge, plushy, hunk of fur with killer eyelashes over sleepy eyes. And if you baby or over handle it when it's little, it's dangerous when it grows up. So you want handled, but parent-raised, llama-bonded llamas. And llamas don't hover around licking their crias, so petting (which is licking with your hand), is intrusive for them, rather than pleasant.

So most llamas that have been "raised right" don't really crave touching from people. But they will work with you, and they will bond with you as herd leader, and in time they become good, solid, dependable friends. And llamas, like goats, will literally "lie down on the job" if they don't want to go where and when you do.

Marty McGee Bennett has a program called Camallyid dynamics that I've used for llamas, camels and "dangerous" horses for many years. It has worked for me to turn around nasty, scared, spitting llamas, and horses who were dangerous to the point they were slaughterhouse candidates. It is based on working with your animal's natural flight response. In effect you use the lead rope to keep your animal "balanced" evenly on all four feet, reducing it's urge to flee. You also teach it to lead from outside it's flight / fight bubble, so the animal is more able to think of following than panicking.

This is the url for her website http://www.camelidynamics.com/

Honestly, I know I'm explaining so it sounds like some fluffy new agey thing, but really there are some demos on her site where you see how you loop the rope on the animal by using a long pole, balance the animal's feet by doing kind of a soft "see saw" thing with the rope, and start working on leading from a distance, and then decrease the animal's fight / flight zone in a small or round pen.

If a person is in my area, I'd be happy to help them. I've got a goat I'm planning to try it with. He's a 6 month boer-cross wether who's been following Cabra. So far I've caught and balanced him and done a little leading. I expect it's going to work.

The thing is, I don't expect he'll ever be as personable, or interesting, or bonded, or friendly as Cabra. Maybe I'm wrong. The llama's sure have an attitude change, and it doesn't take that long. I'm curious to find out.
 

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Hello

you're still on the very beginning of training. It will take more time AND more disciplin from you and your goats until some of the quirks will begin to fade:

- eating on trail: if they really get only hay in their pasture, it's understandable that they crave (!) for fresh food. Can you adjust their daily diet? BUT - goats will always stray aside for a while when you start walking/hiking to nip her, nip there for tasty tidbits. With disciplin and experience this behaviour will become less intent but never vanish completely. If you don't want them to eat, keep them on the lead.

- bonding: will take still more time. One of our oldest goats took three years, others, that, although handled at birth intensively, took up to 18-24 months (sometimes genetics will mess everything up).

- coming when called: train this in the pasture with treats and a constant signal (call, whistle, etc.) and gradually build up the distance they have to walk to get the treat

- head rubbing: it may not encourage butting but it's till a sign of "no respect" resp. viewing you at the same rank level and not as superior. So discourage it and transform the behaviour. YOU introduce body contact, not them. They can ask - politely (learn to read them for signs that they would have "comfort time" with you) - but you allow it - or not.
 
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