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I am dam raising two 3-wk old bucklings that I want to train to pack along with their mother Truffles. I read that if you are dam raising you should be spending a lot of time with them letting them climb and mouth you to help them bond with you. Is this true? Or am I inadvertently training them things that I will have to un-train later? At what age do you divide between the kids just playing and them challenging your dominance?

Is training goats like training dogs in the sense that you don't move on to the next lesson until you have the first one down backwards and forwards? For example my goat Truffles will already follow me on walks off lead but occasionally will run ahead. Should I keep on lead until I've taught that she should always walk behind me? Or is ok to let do what she can and work with her on what she doesn't do that she should? How soon should I assert the walk behind rule with the babies? How do I enforce it?

I recently started putting a pack on the doe. When we stop for grazing on our walks she will come over and rub against me. How do I teach her that she isn't allowed to do that?

Thank you for any input you have.
 

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Hello,

you will find that goats learn very fast - every thing, the good and the bad. I would keep the training short and interesting. A goat wanting to walk in front of you is one of the most common things you have to re-train. But to keep her on a lead rope until she has managed that wouldn't be my approach. I would train her to walk behind me off lead. A whirling rope or walking stick helps, to make your boundaries clear.

Kids: I look at how much the dam and other goats, especially the buck, tolerate from the kids at what age. When they are very young they have a free pass for almost everything and as they mature the older goats will react to unruly behaviour.

To let the goats climb on you: I only encourage it while I sit and only as long as they are gentle. If they get nasty, the get a shove and I stand up, ending the playtime. I almost never encourage climbing while I stand (only with the really, really shy ones whom I want to overcome their fear of humans and therefore allow much more body contact involving behaviour).

Rubbing: depends on what she makes of it. It's a bit of a balance act between a goat that can turn dominant because you allow the rubbing or a goat that shows its affection but doesn't overstep the boundaries. As long as she stays friendly, not tries to horn you, butt you or get otherwise nasty, still gives way to you when you ask it, see if you can allow her this sign of affection.
 
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