Skittish Goat

This is an aggravating problem, whether it is at home or on the trail. A goat that will not let you catch it usually has not been bonded properly as a kid or has some reason to fear you. The fear may only be a figment of the goats imagination, but it causes real problems. To change this behavior it is necessary to understand the reason for the behavior. Is the goat new to you and just moving away because it is not familiar with you, or is it moving away because it is afraid for some reason? Maybe the goat just does not like anyone touching it because it has not been properly bonded to people when it was young.

If the goat is just nervous because it is new, a little grain for a treat and some gentle scratching will take care of the problem. If it is afraid, then try to figure out why. Always treat the goat in a friendly manner and give it treats when you are around. Most goats will start to look forward to seeing you and walk up to see if you have something for them. Pet and make over them as much as you can. If the goat continues to be standoffish, refusing to let you touch it or tries to pull away when you have a hold of it, then use the following method. It will seem like you are making things worse at first, but I can assure you that it will work.

Put the goat in a small area about the size of a corral. It should be large enough, so that the goat thinks it can run and get away from you. If the area is too small, the goat will stop in the corner, and not receive the conditioning necessary. A field will work too, but will require a lot more moving around on your part.

Next, force the goat to run away from you by waving your arms and hollering. The goat will usually run around the perimeter of the corral, allowing you to walk in a circle near the center. You will be able to walk in a small circle, while the goat will have to really move out to stay ahead of you, as it runs around the outside perimeter. If you are in a large field, the goat will move in a large circle around you. Keep the goat running without letting it stop. If it tries to stop, move close hollering and waving your arms to force it to move. The goat will soon get tired and want to stop. Keep it moving until it is breathing hard through its mouth. Since you are not able to force a goat to stand still, you are forcing it to move. It accomplishes the same thing. It teaches the goat that it is subject to your will. Once the goat is tired and wanting to stop, then make the goat change directions, and run the other way. If it turns so it faces away from you, then chase it around and make it change directions again. If it turns so it faces you then abruptly stop chasing it and talk softly and encouragingly to the goat. Walk very slowly toward the goat, talking softly as long as it is facing you. If it turns away, then make it run until it turns to face you again. When it faces you, stop chasing and walk slowly forward again talking softly. If it turns, make it run. Repeat as many times as necessary, until the goat stands for you to walk up and pet it. Pet it a couple of times talking softly to encourage the goat. Then, walk away. By walking away, you are showing the goat that it had nothing to fear from you and all you wanted to do was pet it. Walk to the other side of the pen, then walk back to the goat. If it turns away, make it run and repeat everything again, stopping when it faces you, until you are able to walk up and pet it. Repeat this several times until the goat stands reliably.

A day or two later, repeat the lesson, but only chase the goat until it turns to face you. The goat knows that you will chase it until it stop,s so it is not necessary to run it as much as you did on the first lesson. You will find that the goat will turn to face you after only a couple of laps around the pen. On following days, the goat will respond faster and faster, turning to face you as soon as you holler and raise your arms. It seems weird to holler at a goat to make it face you, but it works very well. You can continue the lessons to make the goat come to you by hollering, until the goat moves a step toward you before you stop and talk softly to it. Next time, make it take two steps toward you before you stop, gradually working the goat to make it come all the way to you before you stop and talk softly to it. Remember to do it in small steps. Don’t try to make the goat learn everything all at once.

This has been adapted from a successful horse training method and has been used by countless people to dramatically change the behavior of an animal. Once the goat has learned it, you will be able to catch it, no matter where it is. Even loose in the woods, the goat will turn to face you, rather than go through the stress of being chased again.

Other problem goat issues: