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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hopefully getting a 3 1/2 month old Saanen kid next weekend, he is super sweet and calm and has been handled a lot, leads, loads in a pickup, etc. My plan is to sleep outside on the ground with him here and there to help get him bonded with me (does that sound nuts?) He'll be on 5 acres with a couple of old goats for now. I also plan on getting an adult wether to begin training to pack and taking the youngster along on with us on all the hikes.

I'm thinking about going to look at one wether who's people friendly (for example, you can walk up to him, pet him, etc.) but other than that hasn't been handled much (may have to teach him to lead, tie, etc.) who's basically been a pet and kept with 4 pygmy goats for the last 3 years. The owner said he hasn't been aggressive other than occasionally getting cocky and rearing up. Should I even bother? Is rearing up the sign of a super dominant = aggressive goat? Or is it something that can be easily stopped with training? Do you think it's too much for one person to work with a kid AND an untrained wether? I'm also concerned about my dog (63 pounds) - he's pretty afraid of goats, but I guess I do have a fear of a large horned wether trying to kill my dog (do you think it's likely a goat would go after a dog? I know it's usually the other way around...)

Of course I'd prefer to buy a wether who's already been packing and exposed to dogs, but they are not easy to come by... Is it better to just get the kid for now and work with him until a more trained wether comes along? He'll have the company of the two old goats in the pasture, but what about walks-hikes-travel-camping? Will it be too hard on him to take him out with just me and my dog? He's got a nice in brother (who's even taller), and I'd love to get them both, but I had it in mind to only have two goats, and I wanted one of those to be older so I could begin packing with him sooner.

Sorry for the detailed or maybe silly questions, but I'll be new to packing and haven't had goats since I was a kid, so I really appreciate any advice I can get. I'll be doing this alone too, without help, and working too so my time with the goats will be limited to evenings and weekends (and some weekdays and weeks here and there).

Thanks in advance!
 

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Hi

Welcome to the wonderful world of packgoats ! I am new at it too but have had goats starting about 50 yrs ago, and learning as I go with pack goats. Others here will chip in, but while you are waiting read ALL of the posts in this section, some great info here.

To me training starts with socializing, and tying and leading. You can do it with 2 almost as easy as with one. Put collars on them and let them get used to them. Then tie them for short then increasingly longer times, its a good time to give them treats or a small amount of grain so they associate tying with pleasant times. Then gradually begin leading, the little guy will be easy, the older one will learn but will be slower . He will be your lead goat just by rank. Are both horned?

Spend lots of time with both of them , you will be their new best friend. If you can do training sessions away from the other goats so the ones being trained wont be distracted, or interfered with.

Enjoy !
 

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My first Packgoat experience was with 2 babies we bottle feed and 2 adults about 3 or 4 years old that were not handled very much. I have to say that that was too much for a beginner. I felt like I spent all my time with the adult goats that the babies didn't get enough time. Starting with adults can be hard unless they have been trained and handled well. Did the adult rear up on another goat or person? I would think twice if it was to a person. It's hard enough working with a new adult but to add a dominace issue on top of that would be very hard for a beginner.

Goats and dogs can live with one another but need to be introduced slowly. Yes a horned goat could hurt or kill a dog. I know a story where a goat gored a coyote and killed it. Usually it's the goat getting hurt by the dog but it can go either way. Even my dehorned goats don't tolerate my golden retriever much. She was a puppy playing in the goat pen and they would chase her and bite at her. She doesn't even go in the goat pen now even if I left the gate wide open and I was walking away inside. Which is fine with me. We do fine on the trail together because she doesnt bother the goats. It might be completely different with an adult dog and young goats. The goats might be afraid of the dog.
 

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I forgot to mention earlier, there are two excellent books available on packing goats: Practical Goatpacking by Carolyn Eddy, and The Pack Goat by John Mioczynski.

With them and all of the threads here you are pretty well started, along with asking questions here.

I agree with Rachel, if the 4 yr old is human aggressive leave him be, unless you know how to make him submissive, otherwise concentrate on the little guy.Chances are he is just used to doing things his own way, being tied and led will be life changing experiences for him. He could be a handful for you over the first couple of weeks. Working often with them is money in the bank as far as the overal training process is concerned, short periods with treats during and at the end will bring them to look forward to training time, keeping the sessions short, 15-20 ins apiece will keep them alert to you and looking forward to time with you.

You'll get some great advice here. Ask lots of questions.
 

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Make sure it is aggression and not playing. A goat that hasn't been handled much may not understand the boundaries. If it is a big healty wether then I think it would be worth a little effort to work with it and teach it some basic manners. It is up to you to decide what you want. If you don't need to start packing right away then take Rachels advice and just get the kid and avoid the head ache. If you are raring to go hit the trail like most folks then you might want to consider taking the bigger wether as well and working through the issues with it. If you persevere you'll have a solid foundation of goat behavior under your belt. All depends on how big of a chunk you are willing to bite off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone! :) Yes I guess I am eager to get started packing as soon as possible, that's why I want an adult wether too. His rearing up IS towards people I am told, but the owner said the goat is trying to play. Guess I'll just go look at him (who knows if his conformation is even suitable, and on top of that if he'll clear CAE-CL bloodtests, so I guess it never hurts to go look), try to collar and lead and tie him and see what his temperament is like. And yes he is horned, so is the kid (my preference).

I used to walk my goats and dog when I was a kid, they were fine together until the doe had kids, then she cornered and trapped the dog and wailed her again and again until I ran to the rescue! It was just her instinct to protect he kids. My dog and the goats would NEVER be together unattented, so guess I can work that out somehow... slowly.

Thanks for the book suggestions too, I read John's book (great book, loved it) and I'll read Carolyn's book too.

I appreciate this forum and all the information and advice it has to offer.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Looked at that wether but said no. He was super dominant, hardly let you touch his head without trying to hook you with his horns and then standing up on his hind legs challenging you. Whether it was play or aggression, this guy was huge and it was too intimidating for me at this stage. But glad I looked, and glad I said no! :)
 

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One thing I've learned is that every goat is so different that it's hard to generalize about what to do in situations like yours. Maybe the Saanen baby will actually enjoy being with just you and your dog with no other goats on training walks, as long as he has those other older goats to live with. One of my goats was fine going solo for training walks. You could start with getting the baby home, and see how that goes while you look for another grown whether candidate. Good call on passing up that one. Sounds like a nightmare.
Maybe you can find a grown Saanen whether. The baby might be most confortable with a goat that looks like his family, and same for the grown goat.

I have never had one of my goats attack my dogs (3) or anybody else's dogs. They are all whethers, and haven't ever acted aggressively towards a dog besides lowering their heads in warning if a dog runs and barks at them. I worried about that because of how donkeys or mules can really attack dogs unprovoked, but it has not been a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes that goat seemed like a nightmare to me too! I think the kid will be fine for now with me and the dog and the other pasture goats. The right wether will come along, and we'll go from there. Yes I remember when I had horses, certain ones would chase my dogs down (never provoked by the dogs) and try to stomp them with their front hooves. yikes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey Ali, just noticed that you are in Sebastopol (that's where I went to look at that goat today and that's where the Saanen is coming from :). Do you have pack goats? Just wondering... I don't know any goat people here at all. I have a place for them in Pt. Richmond for now, but looking for a place closer to me on the SF side. Not easy! I want to move out of SF, but work is keeping me there for now. It'll cost me more than others to keep the goats because I'll have to board them and commute to visit and train them. But I have no other choice for now. It'll be good for me to be a goat mom again :)

Cheri (Saltlick, an old nickname from a long time ago... simply because I love salt:)
 
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