Training a Baby Goat to Become a Pack Goat

| 12/22/2016 9:59:00 AM

Tags: raising livestock, animal training, pack goats, Lauren Hall Ruddell, Utah,

Lead Training: Standing

It’s almost never too soon to begin lead-training your future pack goat. At 5 months, this little wether is about one month behind the time I normally begin, but weather and work schedules made it difficult until this beautiful day just before Christmas.

It’s important to approach this task with patience and frequent breaks. What you are looking for here is the end of resistance and the beginning of engagement.  When a behavior is achieved, even a little, a release is given. Take teaching to lead, for instance. When tension on the lead is applied and you get even one step forward, release the tension and praise him. Count to 5 and reapply the lead pressure. The hand closest to the leg you are stepping out on should hold the lead and give a tiny tug with each step forward of the move forward you make with that leg, again, the one closest to him. That way, your little boy can connect the lead tension with a request to go forward, reinforced with a leg movement forward closest to his eye. Remember, they are babies and cannot draw the cause-and-effect conclusions that an adult goat can.

In the exercise you see here, the desired behavior is engaged standing. The little guy resists at first, bracing himself against the lead that is asking him to stay still instead of running off to mom.


You can see in the picture above he is braced and straining, looking away and the lead is taught.

The moment he decided this was an uncomfortable posture and eased up, I eased up on the lead even further and rubbed him. Physical and verbal reinforcement is very important to goats, especially young ones. The more information your reinforcement carries, the quicker he will get the idea of just what you are asking him to do.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!