Nigerian Dwarf Goat Bonding and Affection

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Kenny Battistelli, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I hand feed all of my goats at some point, but I especially hand-feed my packgoats. These are the ones I want to bond closely with and who I expect to follow me everywhere. However, I train them to take treats politely and not paw, jump up, or get in my face to get at them. And when I'm not feeding them treats, they are not allowed to beg for them. That said, all this training I do with my boys flies right out the window the second I walk outside with a bag of peanuts and start handing them out to the entire 15-goat herd! My big boys knock everyone else out of the way to be the first and only goats in line. But when I'm just working with the two of them I don't have this problem. Numbers and pecking order make a big difference to behavior and what you can expect in any given feeding situation!

    One of my packgoats is naturally skittish about being touched. He loves treats and is incredibly intelligent but would rather not be petted or scratched. I call him my "autistic" goat because he often acts as though he's somewhere on the autism spectrum. I used treat training very successfully to teach him that it's ok to be petted, touched, scratched, brushed, etc. I've since done more with clicker training and it's gone very well and decreased his learning time. Treats are a great training tool if done correctly. You know your goats love you when they trot over to you when they hear your voice, and not just because they expect to be fed. You also know they're bonded to you if they follow you all around your property without a leash and will follow you away from home on a leash without being dragged.
     
  2. Gooseberry Creek

    Gooseberry Creek Active Member

    105
    Jun 3, 2020
    Florida
    I agree with sitting in the goat pen drinking coffee. The goats and I listen to spotify on my phone lol. Sometimes country, sometimes pop, sometimes old rock.. they like it lol! They get curious and come up to you.
    If you scratch them with your nails up and down alongside/ right next to their spines or take a stiff brush out there..once they figure out it feels good, they will let you brush or scratch them. Then, eventually, pet their heads ears and give hugs.
    All my NDs were skittish at first. Now they are friendly.
    The Lamanachas have been like puppy dogs from the beginning. They love attention.
     
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  3. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  4. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    How is the bonding going?
     
  5. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Tanya I'm not really sure... I thought I was making progress but then some days it feels like they are scared of me. I usually spend 45-60 minutes with them a day...it is pretty cold where I live right now... I also try to read to them out loud so they just hear my voice.
     
  6. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    They will learn to trust you. Just keep going. One day at a time. As everything they are wild by nature. But they are clever and adapt quickly. You will see. As long as they stay healthy and strong.
     
  7. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    I’m worried that I ruined their trust yesterday. It was hoove clipping time and I had to tie them up, which they did not enjoy.
     
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  8. Caileigh Jane Smith

    Caileigh Jane Smith Well-Known Member

    231
    Dec 1, 2019
    Missouri, USA
    They'll get over it if you are consistently calm and kind. Mine sometimes pout when I've done something they don't like, but they come back around.
     
  9. Caileigh Jane Smith

    Caileigh Jane Smith Well-Known Member

    231
    Dec 1, 2019
    Missouri, USA
    This is such a good idea! I should start reading aloud to my new goats. It would improve my mind and maybe theirs, too. :D
     
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  10. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    As long as you don't actually harm them, doing "traumatic" things like hoof trimming can build their trust in ways that coaxing and befriending never can. They learn that even when they are physically restrained and compromised, you don't hurt them and can therefore be trusted. Being both firm (no-nonsense) and gentle at the same time teaches them that you are a strong leader who can be relied on.
     
  11. MadHouse

    MadHouse Well-Known Member

    I second what @Damfino says. When I started out wih dam raised kids, there was one who hated having his feet touched, let alone hooves trimmed. We practiced every single day, first I just touched each foot, then eventually I lifted each foot, slowly increasing how much I did, until I actually started to trim. The next thing was to touch his belly, which he also hated. After the touching I always praised him and “celebrated” that he survived it.
    We did this while he was on a stand, having his grain. One day I forgot to touch his belly, and I realized he was waiting for it. He was looking at me, anticipating the touch and the celebration. That was a “touching” moment, and the first big sign of trust.