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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My "alpha" goat is an alpine, 4 years young and horned. I am working on teaching him to lead (I got him from someone who just had him as a pet and I am working on turning him into a packer) anyways, he is very aggressive toward equipment...for example, if I am in the pasture visiting and have a brush in hand and set it down on the ground, he becomes very angry at it and attacks it. He does this to anything and everything except people (he has postured at me a couple of times and he gets a swift kick in the ribs, which seems to help) When I have the collar and lead in hand he trots up and tries to bite it and hook it with his horns. He does not do this when you are just standing with nothing in hand.

I've come to the conclusion that he has an anger problem. When I put the collar and lead on him, he starts tossing his head and hooking the lead around his horns and is very resistant to walk. If I grab the collar and keep his shoulder at my hip he will walk with me but if I try to lead him with the rope he throws a fit. I have tried tying him up and letting him work it out himself but he ends up with the rope tangled around his horns and fighting.

Any suggestions? I have not tried a halter, I'm not sure if it would make a difference.

On a side note, going back to his anger problems, I put him in the yard to eat some fresh tall grass the other day. He went over to a tree and started attacking it; not just rubbing his head on it but full-on ramming it and getting angry and ripped bark off of it. I gave him the christmas tree this past winter to eat and he rutted in it like a bull elk. Is this normal goat behavior or is he excessively naughty?
 

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Hello,

did he live alone at his former home? Is he now living alone?

This sounds to me like a goat that didn't have a chance to learn normal goat behaviour and is searching for outlets with every object that is in reach.
 

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I think Sanhestar probably hit the nail on the head with her "only goat" theory. My goat Cuzco is an only goat, and he also has been known to show some similar behaviors to what you describe--attacking trees, posts, buildings, bushes, and once he got completely infuriated at Phil and I for wearing a certain hat with horns on it! Cuzco has never shown this behavior very often they way you describe your goat (except for attacking bushes when we go for walks--Cuzco does enjoy that on a fairly regular basis). Cuzco was raised with horses for five years, and then when he came to live in our back yard by himself, he had a TON of regular personal attention from Phil and I. If your goat was largely left to himself, that might explain why he's so aggressive toward inanimate objects. He got into a habit of interacting with them because he didn't have goat friends to play with. The fun thing with tree branches, bushes, and leashes is that they sort of interact back, the way they knock into or wrap around the horns.

What I would do is give him toys to play with and see if he doesn't get a bit bored eventually. Give him an old beat up brush to attack, or even mount one on the side of a post or building. Our goat loved to rub his horn (sometimes quite violently) on one of these! Give him a bucket, a nasty old rope, or whatever else he likes to attack. He should learn within a few days that these objects aren't nearly as interesting as he first thought.

Once he's ignoring equipment in the pasture, start working with him. He needs to know that it's fine to be aggressive on his own time, but not on yours. Carry a squirt gun, and if he starts hooking the leash in his horns or attacking a tree while you're with him, give him a verbal warning and a tug on the lead rope. If he doesn't listen, squirt him in the face. Make sure to tell him how good he is and give him treats when he's not being aggressive. Most of us are very good at reprimand, but sometimes it's easy to forget reward, which is just as important!

I would also get him a halter. You'll find it's much easier to correct him when he misbehaves. Tie him securely in a safe place with almost no slack and leave him tied for a good half hour or more at a time until he's standing quietly. You want to be around to supervise, of course, in case he gets into trouble, but he needs to learn to be patient while tied and also not to twist himself in the rope. Tying him short will prevent his twisting until he learns to stand quietly. After that, you can gradually lengthen the rope. He may start twisting again when he discovers he has enough length, but I would just let him do it. He might get pretty tangled up and start to struggle, but unless he's actually hurting himself I would not interfere. Releasing him when he starts to struggle will only teach him to struggle harder to get away. If you do have to release him because he's choking, make sure to tie him right back up, but with a lot less slack.

Make sure your rope has a swivel snap, use cotton instead of nylon to prevent rope burn or cuts, and make sure it's thick enough he can't chew right through it. Then let him tangle his horns up and struggle. You'll find that if you don't rescue him, he'll almost certainly figure out how to untwist himself. We went through this same thing when we were teaching Cuzco how to live on a tether. He would tangle himself all up in it, but when we left him alone he always figured out how to untangle without help. Eventually the novelty wore off and he stopped getting tangled in the first place. I have a feeling your new goat needs some of this same treatment. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That is awesome advise. When I picked him up he was in with some little does but I know he had not had alot of "goat time" because he it took him at least a week to figure out how to jump onto the spools in the pasture and he had no balance when trying to walk on the narrow board I have running between two spools. He now is as sure footed as can be but I just don't think he got to be much of a goat before I brought him home. The squirt bottle is very effective with him, ill keep that in mind with leading.

Here is a pic of the brat.. He is a bit chubby here with his winter coat
 

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