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When to open the gate and start trekking?

1200 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  ashkelon
Hello to the group. I am a newbie in the group and to packgoats. A little background first. I received three 7 month old doelings 2 months ago. They are all Nubian/Boer crosses. I currently have them in a 1 1/2 acre paddock with barn. I work with them everyday feeding, walking, playing etc. They follow me everywhere in the paddock. All I have to do is show myself and they all start running to me for affection and attention.

I have placed plastic chain collars on them and they seem use to them already. I put a 6 foot lead on two of them individually and have "walked" them a little around the paddock. The third goat is still very shy. She lets me pet her and does take food and treats from my hand. But she is not as friendly as the other two.

My questions are these: What "signals" or "signs" do you look for before you open the gate and take off trekking in unsecured land"? And would you use a lead on any of them at first or just take off walking and hoping they all follow?

These are very basic issues for most of you, I am sure. But to me they are troubling. The wrong decision here and I may be chasing goats all over the countryside! :cry:

Hope to hear from you

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I'd say it will also depend on where you live. Can you savely open the gate and let the goats run loose without fearing that they will be run over by a car, end up in neighbor's garden, get chased by dogs, etc.

If you live rather "outside" I would take the two tame goats, put a lead on both of them and start walking. Goat no. 3 will most likely follow her companions. If you can, put a collar and a short lead (so you have something to grab and constrain her if necessary) on her as well but let her follow free.

Do you have them trained to come when called already? If so, pack some treats for emergencies.

You can also ask a friend or family member to accompany you and the goats and to bring up the rear in an easy, non threatening manner.

As soon as you see that they follow you without stopping and looking at everything new you can first let one goat (no. 2) follow free - but keep the lead on the goat, wrap it around its neck f.e. so that you can easily grab it - and when this works well, do the same with goat no. 3.

Don't start chasing them when they won't follow. Keep calm and relaxed, let them, if need be, browse for a few minutes, then walk up to them, grab the leads and start walking again. Keep them on the lead longer than before, then give them another chance to understand what you mean.

It also often helps when you communicate with body language and walking speed that you "want to go someplace" and are not just idling along (in that case the goats will idle as well and start eating).

Be patient, it will take you some time and turns before they get the new routine. Keep the first walks short.
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Thanks for the reply! I live in rural Missouri. There are thousands of acres of National Forrest land all around me. So cars are not a major problem. Although there is the occasional passerby. They do come when I call them. And ,I think, they are learning their names as I call their name every time I feed them a treat.
I tried your suggestion just now with good results, I think. They pulled on the lead for a bit but quickly surrendered to my encouragement. Most of the trek there was little tension on the lead from them. The shy goat just followed along with the other two. We walked about 1/4 mile, crossed two water ditches with small amounts of water in them, across a gravel road and through the woods. From time to time I gave them all treats as a reward for some accomplishment along the way. I ended the trek at the barn with just one goat on a lead. I rewarded them further with some grain and left them to eat. Now they are standing at the fence bleating for me to come back. So I guess I didn't traumatize them too much.. :D What's next??? :cool:
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What's next?

Build up their confidence and trust in you and their stamina.
It seems my "treks" with the girls have opened a whole new world for them. They know now that there is a world outside their paddock. Consequently, one has found her way through the fence! She doesn't run off but just stands outside the fence and bleats to the other two. I had to add more electric strands to the fence to keep her in. I am running 5 strands of wire, bottom 2 and top one are barbed wire. With the two in the middle as electric. Seems to be doing the trick! I have a lot of wildlife passing through the area and without the top and bottom strands being nonelectric, I would be getting hits all the time.

Thanks for all the reply's ! I am having a ball with my new wards.. Now if I can keep up with them at 58 years old.. :(
I'm 53. I'm very active and have several horses, but I like to hike where the horses would do so much damage. A lot of it is fragile wetlands and woodland where the horses wouldn't get through anyway.

I've gotten where the arthritis in my neck and lower back cuts me off at about 40 lbs in the pack, and even that is oppressive after a few miles. Cabra is play-carrying the empty, stuffed packs and doesn't mind it a bit.

I'm hoping with his help I'll be able to actually enjoy day trips and overnights in the woods again, rather than gritting my teeth and wishing I wasn't missing so much.

Cabra seems very accommodating and good to me, hope your girls will be to you, as well.
Sounds like you are having a lot of fun. Good for you.

My goats are now 3 + years old and are veterans of many hikes, campouts, and pack trips. They have learned to go wherever I go, without any trouble. If I want to go up that hill, they come right along. Across that creek, no problem. But that took a bit of time and effort to get them to do it so reliably. Taking them out a lot has made them bond strongly with me and they just naturally want to stay with me, wherever I go. One thing I've found quite useful is to teach them to come along when I whistle. That way they can be browsing and wandering around, I can sit for a while reading or napping, and when I get up to go, I whistle and start walking. They hear that and along they come. At first they ignored it, tho. I tried all kinds of things (bribes, treats, threats, leashing them, etc). But what really worked was to whistle a couple of times and then just disappear nearby behind a tree. They heard me, ignored me, and I disappeared. At first they just kept on eating and messing around, but when they didn't see me for a couple of minutes they realized that I was gone, and they were on their own. It really scared them that I would abandon them to the coyotes and mountain lions. They came running and bleating, and were very relieved when they saw that I was still nearby. A couple of those lessons and they learned to not ignore me. Now I think they enjoy coming when I whistle, because it means we are going on to a new place.

A good dog whistle is a help, if you can't whistle loud enough.
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I'm training mine to a cow elk call.
That made me laugh, remembering calling my old greyhounds with a predator call. That rabbit squeal always brought them on the run, even though they knew it was me.

Lots of people admired my "pretty wood whistle", I didn't tell them the "distinctive" sound it made was murdered bunny. :oops:
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