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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to this forum I feel I have a chance at ending up with respectful packgoats!

The 3 alpine kids I bought Monday were bottle fed. I used a bottle to keep them with me on our first hikes. They were getting pushy and jumping on me. I'd turn so they'd fall off, but didn't seem to deter the behavior.

Today we went for a walk rather than a hike without a bottle but with grain. A knee to the offenders quickly convinced them not to jump on me. It is amazing how quickly they figured it out. One even started to jump up on me and changed his mind mid jump! :cool:

I also started work on teaching them to stay off the gate/fence and stay "BACK" when I enter their pen today.

My next challenge is to find training advice about their position on our walks/hikes. Should I let them pass me on the trail? And how best to teach them I'm the leader!

I started giving them a little knee today for crowding into me.

If I need to teach them not to pass me on our walks I think I'll need to start with taking them out one at a time.

A photo from our walk today, a new pack order. The youngest moved to the front and maybe the typical order I have been seeing will change as he matures?
[attachment=0:xxpz7l83]DSC02365 Walk 8-5-10 PSC8-500x400.jpg[/attachment:xxpz7l83]
 

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IceDog said:
If I need to teach them not to pass me on our walks I think I'll need to start with taking them out one at a time.
that's not a good idea. One goat alone - especially that young - would be too distressed by being away from its companions to learn. Take them out all at once. You can teach them to stay behind you just as well.

On how to do this you can find lots of advice by using the search in this forum.
 

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I'd just use a cane and wave it from side to side to keep them behind me on the trail. If they are crowding me, I will hold it behind me and wave it a bit.
 

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IceDog said:
Thanks for the ideas! Another thing I need..... a cane! :)

I hadn't noticed the search function, that will come in handy!
If you use a white cane you can tell people it is your seeing eye dog. Then you can take them in the grocery store and Disneyland. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good point, on our 1st two more difficult, bushwhacking hikes they stayed behind me. On our 3rd easy walk around the pasture they would run ahead, eat, wait for me, and then run ahead again.

Seeing eye goat? I like it! :D

Thanks everyone!
 

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I've often thought about wearing some dark glasses, getting a harness for Cuzco and an orange "service animal" vest and watching the people gape as we walk around town. I'm not sure how to potty train him though. And I know he wouldn't sit politely at a restaurant once the french fries came out of the kitchen! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was able to take the kids out on a hike again today. I spent a good part of the time cutting down burdock so the kids got a lot of browsing time. Today my 9 yo granddaughter came with us and took this great photo. She wants to name the kids, Tic, Tac & Toe, this would be Tac.
[attachment=1:iqr0on1i]DSC02372 Tac 8-6-10 PSC8-750x600.jpg[/attachment:iqr0on1i]

Tic, my apparently water loving goat, attempted to wade across the 3' to 4' wide ditch twice before he finally jumped it. He's jumped it many times before so I thought this odd. Is he going to take my packs into the water?
[attachment=0:iqr0on1i]DSC02438 Tic in water 8-6-10 PSC8-750x600.jpg[/attachment:iqr0on1i]
 

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Those are beautiful kids you have. And these are really special times you are having with them. They will grow up fast. My 3 goat boys are done with their childhood, and are now 4 year old packgoats. It's been a real adventure to say the least.

Staying behind you on the trail is important at times, and at other times it isn't. But they don't like it. I think they like having somebody (either a human or another goat) behind them because they feel safer that way. If something is coming up from behind to get them, it will get somebody else first. It's just a natural instinct they have, and they will never really lose it. But being if front of you can be a pain because they are always wanting to stop and browse. You have to work your way around them and then they want to bash past you to get ahead again. On a narrow trail this can be a big hassle, especially if you have other people with you who are just trying to enjoy the hike and find the goats always bumping into them or stopping in the way to be annoying. Other times, if you are walking thru open country everybody can spread out and it's not a problem at all. The one advantage of having them in front of you is that you can see them all the time and if one has a problem (pack falling off, etc), you can see it and fix it.

I have made my goats learn to stay behind me when I insist, but a lot of the time I just let them do their thing. If I am on a narrow trail or working my way thru treacherous terrain, I keep them behind. The 2 tools you need for this are a good walking stick and a squirt bottle full of water. When they learn that "stay back" means stay back, and failure to do so will result in a poke in the ribs or bump on the nose from the stick, or a squirt of water in the face, then you can enforce the rule when you need to. Even when we are hiking free-form, I may not want them crowding me as they pass, so they have learned that when my stick is horizontal they had better go way around it. The squirt bottle is also useful for teaching them to stay out of your camp kitchen. I find that if I wave the stick or use the bottle and also make a particular sound it works better. They learned to associate the sound with stopping whatever they are doing. My sound goes like, CH CH CH! That means get away from my bag of chips, or don't go around me, or stop eating that tree, etc. When they have learned the "stop it" sound, then you don't need the squirt bottle any more. The fewer things you have to carry with you the better. But you should always have the stick. Even if you don't need to poke a goat with it, you may have to whack a threatening dog with it.

I wouldn't try to enforce any kind of order in who walks where, or how they line up on the trial. They will work this out themselves.

The whistle is a great idea. A toot on the whistle means come here, or come with me. Sometimes they are busy eating and aren't paying attention to you and you are ready to move on. Toot the whistle and start walking and they will learn to come with you. They really hate being left behind. Giving them a little treat when they come to you is useful too. My boys think an piece of orange peel is the most wonderful treat. And they can see me waving it at them from a distance. It's very useful for getting a goat to come to me so I can get something out of his pack, or put his pack on, etc.

The main things with training goats (or dogs or kids) are consistency and simplicity. Don't let them learn that they can ignore your commands. If it's ok for them to walk in front of you, then let them. But don't make a half hearted attempt to keep them back, and then let them get away with ignoring it. And keep the commands and expected responses simple. A lot of babbling and complaining won't get thru to them.

The most useful verbal commands I've found are CH CH CH (stop it), "goats in", which means hop in the trailer, "let's go", and "HO!" which means stop and let me mess with your pack.

Good luck, and have fun!
 

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Hello,

lovely goats.

Please make the collars tighter. As they are right now they are a trap for them to get caught and strangled. Either by themselves, catching a hind leg in the collar or getting caught on a branch or while fighting with each other, with a horn caught in the collar.

I don't put collars on kids until they are 6-7 months old. They are into so much mischieve up until that age that I don't want to add one more cause of danger. When I keep collars on goats I tighten the collar to fit high on the neck with only enough room to put 2 fingers into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks JRoss!

Great ideas and things to work on!

So far I've been able to take the kids out 5 of the 6 days I've had them. We'll go out on aburdock eradication hike again today. Hopefully the last time we'll have to go after the burdock this year!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
sanhestar said:
Hello,

lovely goats.

Please make the collars tighter.
Thanks Sabine!

I have tightened the kids' collars. I had put the one I put on tight but their breeder had put them on the other kids quite loose. So thinking I was wrong I loosened mine up. :?

Now they're all tightened up. :)
 

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Just another colar tip. I don't keep colars on them when they are alone in the pen/barn. Just something to get caught. Even the dog breakaway colars...have you ever tried to break them?? It is really hard. So, if you want something on them in the pen so it is easier to grab them...use plastic chain with breakaway link. It comes in several sizes so good for kids and larger goats. I even made the breakaway link a bit easier to break (cus' I'm peranoid I guess) by cutting the link a bit and testing it several times as to break strength.

Note!! Get really bright colors! I got black once and it was impossible to find in the pen when they broke them off. Even the red I have now is hard to find in the grass field with 6" of grass. You wouldn't think so but you almost have to be on top of it to see it. Oh and it is amazing how often they do loose them....mine are all dehorned now...wonder if they bite at eachothers colar to make them fall off just because they like to see mommy wander around the field looking for them? :shock:
 

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Too many goats have died because of collar accidents. It's just too easy to get a leg or a horn slipped down between the collar and the neck. GO for the breakaway chain. And like Rachel says, you'll be surprised how often it does get broken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the suggestions on breakaway chain collars. I'll get some ordered.

After being away for several days, I've resumed our daily hikes.

I'm exposing the kids to hiking with dogs! Yesterday I brought along my pom.... hoping she'd be less threatening! Still they stayed right with me and eyed her suspiciously for most of the hike.

Today we hiked with one of my older sheepdogs. They're getting more comfortable with having a dog along on our hikes!
 

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Well, I think you are doing the most important thing, and that's taking them out for hikes. They are so full of energy and curiosity right now, and it may get a little frustrating trying to teach them things. But be patient and consistent and they will eventually start learning their lessons. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun.
 

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this may be a silly question. We just love out baby goats. They are about eight months old now and we are still working on the decision whether to enter the gypsy lifestyle in an rv with goats. The stuff you have to do is pretty trivial if you like goats. I am wondering if any seasoned packers with goats can tell me; Do your goats seem to really be enjoying their life. Out goats are much loved pets. I told you it was a silly question.
Kippy is a real love bear and loves to be scratched and will follow anywhere. Baby is a little more skittish but coming along nicely. I would like to think that they like their jobs. Any comments from long term goat tenders. We are already called "crazy old goat ladies." (not in a bad way)
 

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Hello,

I have some goats that will go the other way when I enter the pasture with a saddle. And much more that will crowd around the gate and "call": Me, me, take me!

They enjoy their live as brush clearers but also having a task to perform = carrying loads. They develop a sense of "pride" in having done something well.
 
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