Teaching Goats Dog Tricks

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Kenny Battistelli, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    Has anyone taught their goats tricks? I'm curious about methods that work. I'd like to try to teach my goat their names, to walk on a leash, and to do other dog tricks. I have two goats together do they have to be separated to be trained.
     
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  2. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I've trained many of my goats to shake hands, spin, go down on their knees and "repent", and dance on their hind legs. A couple of mine also fetch, lay down on command, jump through hoops, etc. I think all of my goats know their names, but my packgoats know them best and come when called. They also must of course walk on leashes with good manners. Clicker training works very well with goats. They are incredibly smart and well-motivated by food. They are not like dogs who are motivated to learn just for the sake of pleasing you. They are more interested in pleasing themselves so treats work very well. I separate mine to train them, but I know it's possible to work with them together once they've learned to do things individually. I haven't really worked on this, but goats in circuses learn to do tricks independently and wait patiently while another goat gets rewarded. (Mine like to hog all the treats and haven't learned to wait patiently for their turn so we don't train together much.)
     

  3. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    Both Destiny and Gizmo know when harnesses come out they are being taken for a walk. They know what up, down, no, yes, wait and pee mean. We are going to start taking them to yhe park to walk them there. Destiny was trained first then Gizmo. And they both know their names and nick names. Destiny is katesbes and Gizmo is Gazebo. And if they are disruptive the command to show our displeasure is stop. Loud means they are in trouble.
    Destiny also knows cuddle. That is her treat for being good. But only from Chevani. If I say it she pees on my foot.
    Gizmo knows scratch if he is good. On his belly. And only I can do it. Any one else tries it and he bites them.
     
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  4. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Damfino WOW! I can't wait to start training. The main thing I want to teach is leash walking, so I can walk with them casually. Do you have any tips for leash training? I don't want them to stop to eat constantly or pulling on the leash, or me having to pull them on the leash.
     
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  5. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Tanya Thank you so much for answering all the questions I have so far posted. I have never really had goats before and this is my goat's third home. I want to have a good relationship with them and give them a good life but I have no idea what I'm doing... Just trying to keep them alive for now. And I can't wait to start training! Is there an order you think I should train them in? Like their name, then to leash walk, than to lay down or something? And do you use a clicker?
     
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  6. MadCatX

    MadCatX Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    GA
    I have Clyde leash trained he is an intact buck. He knows his name, stop, etc. He will stand up on command and like @Damfino said they are highly motivated by treats to learn but like she also pointed out, its mostly for them to get treats.
    Takes time though like a dog, but it is pretty rewarding to see what they can do.
    @Damfino how is the gang?
     
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  7. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    What size are your goats, or if they're still young, what size do you expect them to be? I have full-sized goats and my wethers top 200 lbs. and have horns. I also take them out regularly in public so it is vitally important for them to have good manners on a leash. Because my goats are so large and strong, I favor halter training. It's easy to choke a goat with a collar and it's also easy for a goat with a collar to pull me right over if he gets a mind to chase after a flower bed! A halter gives me the leverage and control I need to keep my goats by my side with minimal pulling, and it makes it easy to control the horns, which is especially important if a bunch of children decide to run up and pet my goat. My goats have never hit anyone and are very careful with their horns, but kids are the exact wrong height and a goat only has to turn his head to look at something and bash a child in the face by accident. I use halters to minimize these kinds of accidents in public.

    On the other hand, if your goats are very small (Nigerian Dwarfs, Pygmies) it can be hard to find a halter that fits properly, and you may not need the extra control for a smaller, less powerful animal. I buy my halters here:
    https://www.soprisunlimited.com/halters

    I start leash training by tying my goats to a fence while I brush, trim feet, etc. I might also leave them there for a while if I'm working outside where I can keep an eye on them. They soon learn to give to pressure and then it's easier to start leading them.

    For training them to lead it's best to start heading toward someplace they want to go and teaching them to stay back by you instead of pulling ahead. I tug on the leash if they start to pull and when they come back to my leg I reward with a treat and a pat. If I have to take them somewhere they're reluctant to go, I pull on the leash in a series of strong tugs (not one long pull) until they move their feet. Then I reward with a treat for even a little forward movement. It doesn't take long for goats to figure out they get rewarded for staying by your side.

    However, be careful never to reward them if they are mobbing you for treats! They'll figure out where your cookie pocket is and they'll start trying to get into it and will probably also start jumping on you at some point. Firmly say "NO!" and push their feet down or redirect their head. Never let them have a treat under those circumstances. Once they move away from you and start walking nicely they can have a reward. Be consistent and it won't take long for good habits to form. You can reward less and less frequently as the skill increases. Soon you'll be able to walk both your goats at once with a leash in each hand.

    I can't even describe the proud feeling I get when I take a leash loosely in each hand and stroll through a park with a huge, majestic horned goat on either side. People stop and stare, some crash their bicycles, dogs go nuts, and my goats just float above it all like they are too royal to be bothered by such trifles.

    Leash training is a good life skill for any goat to have. We sometimes take goats for granted because they're small enough we can physically drag them in a pinch, but it's much more pleasant for you and the goat if he comes along willingly (especially if he gets to be as big as mine are!).
     
  8. friesian49

    friesian49 Well-Known Member

    232
    Jul 2, 2018
    PA
    Mine know a couple commands, I've found it's just a matter of repetition for the girls and some kind of reward, usually food. The latest is an unspoken command, where after our walk, they go in the gate by themselves and turn around, waiting to get their apple or banana treat! Nothing will stop them now, so I just bring up the rear and enjoy them being good!
     
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  9. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    The gang is good, thanks! We're in the middle of rut right now which is always pretty entertaining. Right now my girls seem to mostly prefer to be boys and it's making it difficult for the real boys to do their job. It's funny but it means I'm not sure anyone is actually getting bred! My bucks are kind of small and my big bossy girls seem more interested in frightening and bullying the boys than mating with them. Instead the girls are happily mating with each other and don't seem the least interested in entertaining the boys' advances. Twice I've separated an in-heat doe with a buck and she wouldn't have anything to do with him but was happy to stand flagging all day for the girls in her own pen! I've got one doe, Skeeter, who has decided she's the male and she keeps blubbing, swatting, snorting, mounting, and even humping away at every doe who comes into heat. The girls seem to prefer Skeeter to the real bucks so things have been rather interesting lately.

    Our theme song this year is definitely Lola, only I call it Rutting: "Girls will be boys and boys will be girls. It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world because we're rutting! Rut-rut-rut-rut-rutting!"

    Sorry for the off-topic but hopefully it's at least amusing. ;)
     
  10. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    I use a whistle. The way you do a Colly dog. Voice command and hand signals worked for me. Halter training started from a young age.
    Both my goats are small so I use a medium dog halter
     
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  11. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Damfino I have Nigerian Dwarfs. Should I get a halter? Would it mess up their training if I take them on a not official walk in the woods to munch a bit and then later take them on an official walk where I don't want them to stop? I don't know if that makes sense. How long did it for your goats to get good at walking on a leash to the point where you can walk casually with them?
     
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  12. Ana

    Ana Active Member

    135
    Jan 29, 2020
    Gallatin TN
    This sounds awesome I might try these as well!
     
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  13. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I think you should wait on halters and see if you actually need them. Any goat can learn to cooperate well in a collar--it's just that the process is easier with small goats so the need for a halter is much less.

    There's no such thing as "official" and "unofficial" walks to a goat. Everything you do with them is a form of training--even if you're only training them to ignore you in certain circumstances! The main thing is that if you tug on the leash, the goat should stop eating and come with you. This just takes practice. You could even walk them into the woods on their leashes and then let them loose to browse so they don't get confused about when it's ok and not ok to eat. If they are bonded to you they won't run off--especially if they also know you have treats! My packgoats seldom walk with leashes when we're on the trail. Since they are bonded to me they become distressed if they ever lose sight of me in a strange place so I don't need to worry about them running away or even wandering off by mistake. The tendency for goats to bond with humans is fairly innate and usually very easy to develop--especially if the goat is already friendly.
     
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  14. This is so awesome. I was thinking about training the other day. There is a couple online that RV all over and they have a goat that goes everywhere with them. She said they trained her to pee on command and I think a few other commands. It's really cool to keep up with! But...I think it would be cool to train tricks. Mine are highly motivated by treats. They all know their names as well. That was the first thing I trained them to.
     
  15. Kenny Battistelli

    Kenny Battistelli Member

    16
    Nov 29, 2020
    Pennyslvania
    @Damfino Ok. I'm a little weary on letting my goats free because I don't know if they trust me or not yet. I was asking this question in another thread: What are the signs that goats trust/ love you?
     
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  16. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I think you mean "leery". ;)

    I totally understand. You don't want to let your goats off a leash if you have any doubts that they'd stay with you. The last thing you want is for your goats to see a strange dog and then bolt off into the woods, leaving you behind. A well-bonded goats looks to its owner for protection and if he trusts you he'll almost certainly run to you if he sees a strange dog or other "spookum". My goats tend to bolt straight in my direction and hide behind me when they're frightened, but until they know and trust you they may run away instead so it's important to be smart about when it's safe to let them off the leash.
     
  17. MadCatX

    MadCatX Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2018
    GA
    I would let Clyde Roam with his leash, he didnt seem to care and I was fairly close. Well one day we walked up on one of hills and was foraging..all the sudden he bolts towards me runs behind my legs looks up and hit the metetetetet..big scary deer lol.
     
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  18. 21goaties

    21goaties Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2018
    Southern GA
    After I saw this thread I thought I'd try to teach our goat Anne to shake hands. She learned it in less than 30 minutes! Anything for a carrot :)
     
  19. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  20. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Goats are so smart, aren't they? I was at a dairy goat show one time and I thought my class was about to be called so I went ringside with my little 4-month-old doeling Pepi. The class ahead of mine was bigger than I realized and the judge was slow so I realized I had a little time to burn. I also had treats in my pocket so I started teaching Pepi to shake hands. She was a quick study and within 15 minutes she had it down. Some fellow competitor walked by, saw my goat shaking hands, and said rather derisively, "I'd love to do that too if I had enough time to burn!"

    I guess he must've thought I'd spent hours or something. It's amazing to me how people who have had goats for years and sometimes even decades have no idea how intelligent they are and how easy it is to teach them tricks. A judge at that same show noticed me playing with our milk doe, Petunia (Pepi's mama actually) next to the ring before our class. He was bowled over and he asked me to stay in the ring after Petunia's class and show off our entire performance. Petunia knew quite a few tricks, and she was fantastic at walking on her hind legs, which looked pretty impressive on a girl with a big udder!

    I think all goats can learn tricks, but some are better at it than others. Petunia was very quick at picking up new things, and all of her offspring are the same way. That line seems particularly clever. Or maybe they're just particularly eager for food!