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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I just got my goats a week ago and everything is going pretty dang good. I got two alpine wethers. Crockett is the older 3 year old and Boone is the younger 1 year old. Crockett was really nervous at first because he was not handled by humans very much but in the past couple days he has really started bonding to me. I have been taking them for walks around the property and two days ago practiced loading in and out of the truck. The past couple nights I have driven them off the property and walked a couple dirt roads with them. They are doing pretty well.

Crockett is a little nervous and after a quarter mile he started breathing heavy and had his tongue out for short periods throughout both hikes off the property. Does anyone know why this might happen? Is it normal for them to breath with their mouth open after hiking a short distance or could it be his nerves causing this?
Today I noticed that Crockett doesn't like to be touched on his belly. He swings his head and kicks his feet out in disapproval. Has anyone had a goat that didn't like you to feel his belly? I just ordered panniers and saddles so I'm not sure how he will react to the saddle yet but I don't think he is going to like it much. When he first got here he didn't even let me walk over to him (unless I had grain) so I am hoping that he will get more comfortable with his belly over time. Any tips on how to get him more comfortable?

Thanks everyone.
 

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Hello,

welcome to goatpacking.

The panting can be caused by lack of training. Goats have small lungs compared to horses and also they can't sweat so any excess heat has to be panted off like in dogs.

He could also have worms (intestinal as well as lung worms).

Shy goats can have issues with being touched and you need to work on desensibilitation. Keep in mind that for a shy goat your touch often means predator touching, not herdmate.

Where exactly did you touch him when he reacted the way you described?
 

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I would start with scratching where you know he likes it.
Then I would move the scratching to breifly where it is outside
his comfort zone. But Always end with scratching where
he like it best.

As for a cinch. I would be tempted to have him wear a belt(maybe a flat bungie)in that area. For days. Kinda like a collar around the
girth. Let him do the working it out for himself with out you there. And then when you remove it in a few days. Scratch that area. Now I am new to pack goats.
And you might want to see what others say about this method first.
To make sure that it would not be a wrong approach to the problem.
 

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You just need to do some desensitizing exercises like Sanhestar said. Tie the goat up short to something solid so it can't jump around too much. I like to use a lead rope and gently let it flop over their back and flip up under their belly. Do this over and over until the goat stands still. Then move to running the rope under the goat and gently sawing it back and forth from the chest to the rear flank area. The goat will most likely kick and buck in the beginning but if you keep doing it the goat will eventually figure out nothing bad is happening and stand still. This may take 20-30 minutes the first time to accomplish. Repeat once or twice a day until the goat doesn't react to it anymore. You can do the same thing when handling the feet. I try to find things my goats don't like and then target them with the desensitizing exercises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I got the saddles today. I saddled up Boone first since I knew he would take to it easier. He freaked out at first but then settled down after a couple minutes and soon he acted as if he didn't even know it was there. Crockett was another story. He was freaked out the whole time it was on (about 30 min). He eventually settled down enough to just stand still and eat some grain but he never got comfortable with it. I am going to keep putting it on him everyday until he gets used to it. He is definitely more standoffish with me today since I put the saddle on him. I am just hoping that he won't hold it against me and throws all the bonding we have done out the window.
 

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Hello,

I think you're going too fast with Crockett and take a great risk ruining him for packing with not waiting and getting him used to being simply handled and touched and walk along for weeks until he settles down and stops fearing you and the situations you confront him with.

Slow down! I've had/have shy goats and it can take years (!) for them to settle down to become reliable packers.
 

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One of the things we do with newborns is to wrap them in a towel and touch them all over. THis gets rid of the innate reluctance to be touched by programming the goat to think that touching is part of the deal with humans. And then of course, they decide they like it. You don't say if your goats were dam raised but they very well may associate touching with predators not comfort, if they were not handled during the imprint phase.
Go a little slow with this at this point. You don't want to scare them and make them resistant to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the help guys. Both goats are doing really well now. Crockett is finally comfortable wearing the saddle. He just won't wear the butt strap and I don't really see a problem with that. I just got done with a 3 mile hike with them. Both goats were off the lead and just follow behind and both goats had their saddles on. They both got pretty tired and panted and coughed a lot but I think they are just out of shape. This week I will introduce the panniers and also start getting them comfortable with a high line.
 

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If you go down steep hills, or run on your hikes you'll need the butt strap.
But you'll find that out quick enough. The load will shift forward and if they didn't have horns they could slip out of it. The result is a tangled mess around their head at the best.

I might tell you it is the voice of experience, but I might embarrass myself since the saddle I got has a perfectly good butt strap.

Does anyone else jog with their goats on the trail? I thought it might be a good skill if one of the goats was successfully trained to steal beer from the camp next door.
 

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Un SSIRION TO THE BUTT STRAP MAKE SURE YOUR LOADS ARE SECURE SO THAT THEY CAN'T SHIFT OR BOUND FORWARD ONTO THE SHOULDER WHEN GOING DOWNHILL. thERE IS A NERVE ON THE SHOULDER THAT CAN BE PERMANENTLY DAMAGED IF HIT BY A HEAVY OBJECT.
 
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