Goat Trick Training
Trick Goats can bring much joy. Learn to teach your goat to Shake Hands, Jump through a Hoop, Walk on it's Hind Legs, Weave Polls and or your legs as you walk and much more. Goats enjoy learning to do tricks and to show off what they have learned....for a treat of course.
We are still working on our goat tricks page, more Goat Trick ideas will be added soon here soon. There will be pictures added soon. OUR WEBSITES ARE COPYRIGHTED, ALL WRITTEN AND PHOTOS AND EVERYTHING WITHIN. I know I need more photos, I am so bad about photos! LOL Come back often as I add tricks frequently.
Always remember when training any animals, that each trainer and animal is different. Each person trains a little different even when training the same thing in the same way as another trainer. Each animal you train is an individual. You may be trying to train two goats at the same time, which by the way is a very good idea, not the exact time, they each need one on one training, but training two goats so that they can watch each other learn. Even two goats that are litter mates will learn differently, so you may need to train just a bit different.
When training be sure to... Be patient. Be fair. Be nice. Stop before the goat gets tired or before you get frustrated. Be sure you are showing the goat what you want in small steps so that it can understand what you want it to do. Do more with your goats then just train, in other words, walk your goats, scratch your goats, spend time with your goats. Use small treats while training. Most of all, Have Fun and Be Safe.
What can goats be taught? Oh my goodness, all kinds of things. You can teach a goat to heel like a dog, to back up on command, and to come when called. You can teach a goat to pull a wagon or cart and to carry a pack on an overnight hike as well as teach it good manners while in camp.
You can also teach goats to do tricks, all kinds of tricks. You are only stopped in training a goat by your own imagination. I have seen goats preform in Northern WI at a small circus, and MAN!! the things they did, and you could tell they enjoyed doing it.
Goats can be taught to stand on platforms (think circus ponies), jump thru hoops (covered and open), Walk on their hind legs, pull ropes on pulleys to get treats out of cans, to wear clothes, hats and sunglasses, to bow, to give you a kiss, to spin in a circle, shake their heads yes and no, to play a toy piano and more.....much more. The best part is, most goats learn very quickly, for a treat that is, and will remember the trick for ever (if you practice now and then).
So grab a goat, with or without a trick prop, and start training. Post to the list and let us know how it is going and what technics you think are best. Send pictures via email, or post in the photo section at the Yahoo Groups site. Be Safe and Have Fun. But a warning: Goats are smart enough to make you think they "don't get it" beware, be fair and have fun!!!!
One of the best ways to teach an animal to do tricks is to use a cue stick. A cue stick is a stick that has some sort of tip on it. Like a magic wand. It may be a black wand with a white tip. The idea is for the animal to focus on the tip so that you can direct it though or to an area of desire. You want the animal to touch the tip of the wand. With a goat, you want the goat to touch the tip of the wand with it's nose. This will help in many kinds of training with the goat but in trick training is almost a must. You can use your finger, but using the cue stick will get you moved back away from the animal and the item of interest and improve the look of the trick to onlookers.
Teaching the goat to touch the end of the wand should be easy...goats are so nosy. As they touch the tip of the wand you say "touch" and then say "goooood" when they do touch it, or if you use a clicker, click, and give the goat a treat. Some wands may be able to hold a treat on the end. Every now and again you might want to set a treat on end of the wand and let the goat find it there making the tip more interesting to the goat.
By using your cue stick you are teaching "targeting". As the goat approaches the end of the stick he is "targeting" in on an area. Now you can move the stick to different props and areas to teach a wide range of tricks to your goat. ie. To get a goat to push a door open you can hold the cue stick on the door and say "touch" and then say the cue word for opening the door, like "open the door". As the goat "targets" the cue stick on the door it will push the door open (unless you forgot to unlatch the door). Soon, you will be able to say "open the door" and not use the cue stick for the goat to respond.
How much or how big of a treat should you use when training a goat? What should you use? Well, each and every trainer is different and so is each and every goat. What does your goat like to snack on? When training my goats I like to use either pieces of carrot, small pieces of dog biscuit, or cheerios. The size I like is just a small button size piece. You want just enough so that the goat fills like it is getting something, but not enough to fill the goat up or to take to long to eat it. The treat is a reward, not dinner. Pieces of bread are another treat that is easy to tear into small pieces that goats like really well.
LEARNING TO SHAPE YOUR ANIMALS BEHAVIOR
If you feed your animals, no matter what the species, in the same spot everyday at the same time, most individual animals will be standing there waiting for you. If you give an animal a treat from you hand every day at the same place it will learn to be there at that time.
So, if you give that same treat but with a behavior modification (big talk for asking the animal to do just a small variance each time for the treat) you are shaping the animals behavior. This can be shaped into a task that is necessary like holding the animals foot for trimming, or something that amuses us that we call a trick.
So if you have a, let's use a goat with a pedestal, and you have a few treats in your pocket, you can teach the animal several behaviors that it will quickly learn on cue or command. Start with the word you would use for getting up on the pedestal, Deron and I use "pedestal" (our pedestal is a piece of fat fire wood). Give your command or cue and have the goat on one side of the pedestal and you on the other with a treat in your hand and holding your hand over the pedestal. As the goat goes to eat the treat from you hand, move your hand so that the goat has to put it's front feet on the pedestal. When it does, give the treat and say "good". Let the goat do as it pleases, but keep it in the area. Now repeat. Some goats will jump right up on the pedestal, some won't. If not, let the goat just put it's front feet up for three rounds, one after another.
On the fourth round, move your hand away from the goat so that it has to step up on the pedestal with all four feet for the treat. The moment it does, treat, and give verbal praise and let it do what it wants. Repeat three times.
On the fourth time, hold the goat in place by touching it or a have larger treat so that it takes longer to eat, or or standing in front of the goat petting it, not long, only about 5 second, now quickly get another treat and say "off" as you hold your hand off to the side of the pedestal so that the goat will have to get all the way off the pedestal to receive the treat. Reward and praise when the fourth foot hits the ground. Repeat three times....but do not treat if the animal gets off before you give the command for it to.
Make a fuss over the goat and let it go about it's business.
All of this should take about 10 -15 minutes. Repeat later in the day.
The following day, if not before, your animal will be happy to "preform for you". It will not at this point know the commands, but it will know the game. Repeat just this for a couple of days. Your goat will learn the commands pretty quickly, they also cue off your body movements and props nearby.
From here you can teach your goat to turn in a circle ("go round") on the pedestal, to "bow" or an number of little "tricks".
Once the animal has learned to learn, it will be easy to teach the next behavior including and not limited to pulling a cart or wagon. Learning to learn is the foundation to all training. You have to start very small and work up to the larger requests, but the larger request come easy after the animal has learned that first little thing such as putting it's front feet up on the pedestal.
Once taught to dismount or "off" the pedestal, the word will work for other items you want them off of.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT IT'S NAME
Maybe this should be the first thing you teach a goat. Most goats learn their name very quickly, it is not a matter of the goat learning and remembering it's name, but you remembering to use the goat's name often when you talk to it and especially when you give it a treat or feeding it.
Goat's that learn a word, such as their name equals food and or petting and or a kind word with come to you each and every time they hear that word, and that word should be their names.
If your goat is not named yet there are a few things to take into consideration. You do not want a name like "Snow", Snow rhymes with "no" and can easily confuse an animal (of any species) A short and "hard" sounding name like "Jake" is better then a soft name like "John". It is easier for the animal to learn the harder sounding name, soft sounding names can blend with the rest of your sentence to them. If you have two or more goats, you do not want their names to rhyme, or to sound too much alike. Chose names that sound very different, especially if you will be working the goats at the same time (like both in harness or on a packing trip or doing a little trick show.
One more thing one names.....don't forget yourself. I knew a person that lost her dogs title by calling it by her other dog's name while in a competition. So if you are working your animals, and they are not responding, take a moment (moments are 1/4 of a second) and think, "did I say the right name?", before correcting the animal.
The "go to trick" is the trick your animal will go back to when it does not understand what you are trying to teach it at the moment. Your goat wants it's treat, so it will try to continue to please you. If it does not understand what you are trying to teach it at the moment, the new behavior, your animal will go back to a trick it does well and see if you will treat if for doing the "go to trick".
Tell the animal, "good", with a quick and quiet voice, but do not give the animal a treat or a smile on your face, replace the animal to where it was and continue teaching the new behavior. When it "gets" the new behavior make a big deal in voice and face (big smile) and give the treat.
WHERE TO GET GOAT PROPS FOR TRICK TRAINING
Finding Goat Trick Props is not as hard as you first may think. Look at Garage Sales, Thrift Shops and your own children's toy boxes. Some items you may want to pick up are... a hula hoop, a toy piano, hats, clothes, big sunglasses, bean bag chairs, a magic wand, a wagon for your goat to pull, large hard cover books, and the list just goes on and on. THINK while you see that stuff, can you use it for Goat Tricks? You will not have to pay much for the items. Another thought is photo props. If you like to take cute photos of your animals pick up seasonal items for next to nothing for photo props. An Eater Basket, a small artificial Christmas tree, a Happy Birthday sign, you get the idea, have fun!!
BASIC LEASH TRAINING ~ TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO WALK ON A LEASH
I will warn you right out of the box:
1. Working with bottle fed babies is so much easier then working with doe fed kids. I have worked with both bottle fed and doe fed kids, and it is harder to get the attention of the Doe Fed kid, for sure.
2. The younger you start the kids the better.
3. Work ONE kid at a time. Get them to bond with you, not the other kids and or goats.
4. Work your kid several times a day. Be patient. Be kind and loving.
5. Buy a small, soft, equine brush and brush you kid before and after you walk them on a leash (or work with them) this translates, motherly grooming to them and like when someone brushes or plays with your hair, it feels good and calming.
6. Be firm, but do not yank or choke your kid as you teach it to follow you and walk with you on it's leash.
If you are working with a bottle fed kid, or goat, the leash will mean little to it. The goat will follow you just because it sees you as the Milk Truck, the Alpha, the mother. Leash Training a Bottle Fed Kid is as easy as clipping the snap to the goat's collar and taking a step, then walking.
If you are working with doe fed kids you want to start working with your kid goats several times a day. Don't feed them and leave the area. Feed them and stay right with them, hold the bowl, or feed it/them out of your hand. Then after a few days, after they calm down and see you as the "food truck", as animals see their mothers, start hooking them on leashes and walking forward for food from your hand. That should get you started.
They are going to resist. They ARE goats. Just talk to them sweet and be firm but not yanking or choking on the leash. Walk a few feet and pull them along, talk sweet, say "Gooooood". If they start taking steps WITH you, say "GOOD", "Gooooood" and "Gooood". Give them a treat. Pet them. Make a fuss. Then repeat.
Soon the goat will understand what you are asking it to do. It will also understand that it gets rewarded when it performs the task you are asking your goat to do. We call this "learning to learn.".
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "JUMP THROUGH A HOOP"
This is an easy trick to teach and one of those "big deal" tricks for onlookers. You will need a Hula Hoop. Wal-Mart has Hula Hoops in their Toy Dept. for less then $1. At first do not decorate the hoop. Place the hoop in your left hand (goat on your left side) hold a treat in your right hand. The hoop should be about 1" (that's inch) off the ground. Show the goat your treat and tell the goat to "Jump Thru the Hoop". Move your right hand so that the goat has to follow the treat coming all the way thru the hoop before reaching the treat. NOW: You may have to move the hoop, keeping it in front of the goat, if the goat tries to go around the hoop, distract it with the treat and encourage the goat to come forward thru the hoop. The goat will probably only walk rather then to jump thru hoop the first few times. Practice makes perfect. When the goat is all the way thru the hoop, treat and make a huge fuss!! Keep working with the goat with the hoop almost touching the ground, when the goat is jumping thru the hoop, raise it a bit, just a bit. Soon your goat will be jumping the hoop at any height. WARNING: I first taught this to a German Shepherd Dog and an Alaskan Malamute that we had years ago. I learned, never for any animal, to hold the hoop too high. I had a four foot chain link fence in the back yard... you know their yard I got the dogs jumping the hoop higher and higher, my neighbors would come out to watch and were so amazed. The dogs learned more then just jumping the hoop though, it was not long before both of the dogs were...jumping the 4' fence.
To Add Glamor to This Trick: After your goat is Jumping Thru the Hoop well, you can add streamers with ribbon.
Or cover the Hoop for that TA'DA' ending to a trick show.
To teach your goat to come through a covered hoop.... first teach it to come through the hoop for a treat. Then have plenty of newspaper and tape on hand. Add just a strip of newspaper to each side of the hoop. Tape paper to paper, not to your hoop. After your goat comes through the hoop with the newspaper strips on each side add a strip of newspaper to the top and bottom of the hoop, again, tape paper to paper, not to your hoop. After your goat comes through that add a little more paper. Make a big fuss each time the goat comes through the covered hoop. Keep closing the hoop off with more and more newspaper, however leave a hole in the middle about 3" so the goat can target that space. Now when you do this as a show off trick, you tissue or wrapping paper or paper you have written on that says, THE END or TA'DA or the like.
GOATS JUMPING THROUGH A SMALL HOOP
There is so much you can do with a Hoop, or several different hoops. Audiences love the hoop jumping and it is so easy to teach. I am sure you have seen the photos and or videos of goats or other animals jumping through hoops that seem too small for them to even get their bodies through. So impressive. There is a couple of tricks to this animal trick.
First of all, when you hold it up for the audience to see, hold it at an angle, it will appear smaller then it actually is.
Goats love jumping, hands down, they love to jump unto, and through things. So training this trick really does not take any more then the regular or larger sized hoop seen above in detail for training.
One easy way to train this trick is to teach it to a small baby goat, as the goat grows it has no idea that the hoop is getting smaller <grin>. Baby goats will jump a small hoop for a treat, as the goat grows it will continue this trick. Easy, easy training.
For an adult goat you can train this trick several ways. The easiest way is to start with a large hoop and keep trimming your hoop down. You can use black hosing and literally trim your hoop down as you continue to train your goat.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "TELL YOU A SECRET"
This is a fun little easy to teach trick. First of all your goat should be tame and calm. Now, put just a little bit of peanut butter on the side of your face by your ear, show the goat and let the goat lick it off. Do this at your own digression, your goat may use teeth or become pushy and want to check your face too often. LOL BUT!! A well trained goat that is taught this trick on command will be a real crowd pleaser. Put the peanut bitter on your face near your ear, GIVE THE COMMAND to "tell me a secret" then let the goat gently lick the peanut butter off your face. See how easy this goat trick training is?
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "STAND ON A PEDESTAL"
If you start with a pedestal that is approx. 20" in diameter, this is a very easy trick to teach. You can use a tree stump for this too.
With a treat in your hand and your goat on a leash, stand on the far side of the pedestal and hold the treat over the pedestal as you call the goat by name and give a verbal cue. You could use "up" or "pedestal" or "jump up", whatever you choose, use the same words each and every time you ask the goat to do this trick.
As you hold the treat and call the goat by name and the goat begins to lean into or over the pedestal, move the treat slowly away and repeat your cue word. Goats love to get up on things and it will be natural for the goat to get up on the pedestal.
You might want to teach the goat just the front feet first. In other words, give the treat when both front feet are on the pedestal when the goat is first learning. Than way when you continue the trick, moving the treat further away, the goat won't come off the pedestal with the front feet.
When you goat has learned to get on the pedestal well, use pedestal that is a bit smaller. When that size is learned well, use a smaller pedestal.
You can now teach your goat to do other tricks while on the pedestal. Just remember to have the goat do tricks it already has learned on the ground. Do not try to teach a new trick to a goat while on the pedestal.
TRAIN YOUR GOAT TO "WALK ON IT'S HIND LEGS"
This is an easy trick to teach a goat....but you want to think about this trick long and hard before teaching it. Most goat owners are always training their goats to stay on all four feet on the ground. I you have a large buck, you may not want to train this behavior.
This trick should not be taught to an aged or too young of a goat. The bones need to be well formed and not too old. Never teach a pregnant goat a trick such as this one. A milking doe should also not learn this trick.
Goats like to get up on their back feet, but usually want to butt something while up thee.
To train your goat to walk on it's hind legs, with your cue words chosen, such as "Walk" or "Dance" or whatever words you chose, you can either:
1. Take hold of the goats front feet and lift it in the air as you hold a treat it can see you have just above it's head. Have the goat take a couple of steps before treating.
2. Hold the treat over the goats head, giving the cue words, and coax the goat to come up off the ground. You will need to continue to step back from the goat as it may want to use you for a balance as it comes up off the ground.
3. As soon as your goat's front feet come off the ground (at all) give verbal praise and give the goat a treat and a pat. Each time you need to wait for the goat to get a little higher off the ground (front feet that is) then the last time before you reward with verbal praise and treats.
4. Once the goat starts standing up, straight up or as high as you would like for it to be, wait when cued for the goat to reach that height before rewarding. In other words, don't let the goat cheat you into a treat (and they do and will try to). Have to goat finish or preform the trick well before rewarding.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO DANCE ON IT'S BACK LEGS
First your goat needs to know the above trick, "How to Walk on it's Hind Legs"
more to come
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "WEAVE IN AND OUT" OF YOUR WALKING LEGS
For this trick you are going to have to have a small goat and long legs. It is a fun and easy trick to teach that will go very well when you carry treats. Your goat needs to know it's name.
Take a treat in your left hand and call the goat toward you as you show it the treat, now hold the treat between your legs as you take a large step and stop with your feet as far apart as needed for the goat to be able to walk under you.
Call the goat's name and give much verbal praise and encouragement as is needed to keep the goat moving forward and under your body.
As the goat comes through your legs, give it a treat, grab another treat (best if you wear a treat bag at your waist) and take a large step repeating the same only using the other hand to bring the goat through your legs in the other side.
Continue, but go as slow as it takes for the goat to catch on. As the goat catches on, have it come through one, two or three steps before giving the goat the treat. When the goat fully understands, take about 5 steps and end the game there giving the goat a treat for it's efforts.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "SHAKE HANDS"
There are about five different ways to teach this to your goat. The way I like to teach it is easy and fast. Have your goat standing facing you.
Put a collar on your goat. Not tight, but as you would put on a dog. Place your hand around your goat's collar. With your opposite hand reach for the goat's foot that is on the opposite side of the goat from the side of the collar you are holding. Now say "Shake Hands" as you gently pull the goat off balance just a bit.
The goat's foot will come off the ground and at that point you take hold of that foot, praise the goat and give it a treat as well as verbal praise.
Do this three times in a row at different times throughout the day. The second day, repeat the above once. Now ask the goat to "Shake Hands" and wait for the goat's foot to come up, if it does not continue to use the collar as a guidance. You will find that early in the goat's training, just reaching for the collar as you ask it to "Shake Hands" will cue the goat to raise it's foot toward you. Give lots of verbal praise and a treat at this point.
From teaching your goat to "Shake Hands" you can teach it many other tricks such as "High Five", "Wave", "Patty Cake", "Play Piano" and other hands on tricks.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "PLAY PIANO"
First you need a child size toy piano. The larger the toy piano the better but it must be a stable while it is standing. You can also use a key board but will need something to set it on and usually an electric outlet for it to play. To can usually find toy pianos and/or key boards at Garage Sales, Thrift Stores and by asking people who's kids have grown up if they have one. Your goat must know how to stand still to learn this trick. You may want to use the "mark" to get the goat to stand in front of the toy piano.
Make sure the piano is on a flat level surface and is stable, meaning no wobbly legs. Stand the goat in front of the piano facing the keys as you stand on the back side of the piano facing the goat. The piano will be between you and the goat. Tell the goat to "Play Piano". As you tell the goat to play the piano, pick up one of it's front legs and let it's hooves gently strike/hit the keys then set the leg down gently. Treat the goat as soon as sound is made. Make a fuss over the goat....smartest thing you have ever seen. Repeat. Always use the same leg when you lift the leg to hit the keys. Do this trick three times then stop for the day. Work on this trick daily. Watch so that the goat does not try to stand on the piano/keyboard with both front feet. After about three days, reach slower for the goats front leg, you may be surprised to see the goat will play the piano on it's own at this point. What you need to do to get the goat to "play piano" is to not treat the goat as quickly, then they will usually hit the keys again, to get your full attention. As time goes on while training this trick let the goat hit more and more keys before it gets the treat reward. Now go get someone to take your picture.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "READ A BOOK"
This is a fun and fast trick. Just be careful that the goat does not eat any pages as you play this game. You will need an old hard cover book. Garage Sales are great places to get Goat Trick Props. Now you need small pieces of treats, think a cheerio or 1/2 of a cheerio. Place several cheerios in the book pages and announce that your goat will read as you hold the book in front of the goat with the pages away from your audience and it will look like your goat is reading a book. Practice this trick a time or two before you show others. Cute, Fun and Fast trick.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO "GO ROUND"
This is a cute little easy to train trick. The goat, on command (and usually with hand signals) will circle around your legs and come back to where it was standing.
With a treat in your hand, coax the goat to go around your body and treat it when it comes back to where it was standing. If you start the goat from your side or from in front of you, that is where the goat should end the trick so that it has gone around in a full circle around you. Give the treat and verbal praise when the goat is back to the spot where you want it to end.
You need to choose a command such as "Goat's name, Go Round" or "Ring Around Me" or "Take A Walk" something like this. I your goat's name is Mary or Merry, "Go Round" is really a cute command.
Repeat training the goat with your treat in your hand, giving the command as your go and soon the goat will learn to Go Round on your verbal and or hand signal quickly.
You can also teach this in a circle next to you rather then around your body.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO "GO ROUND AND ROUND"
You can then teach your goat to go around more then once by telling it to "Go Round and Round" by continuing the hand signal to the goat and not giving the treat and verbal praise til the goat goes around you twice.
To add pizazz to this trick turn yourself around as the goat moves around you.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO "BOW"
The Bow is a trick that you would teach after the goat already knows a few tricks. It is not hard to teach if the goat trusts you and has learned to learn. The goat's feet/legs are what gets it away from trouble, so like many other animals when you start 'messing with' it's feet, if not prior trained, it is going to balk.
You know, this is another trick that can be taught many ways. Here's a couple of ideas.
First and foremost, your goat needs to trust you and you need to be able to handle it's feet.....or you need to be lucky <grin>. So if you have not handled your goat's legs and or feet much, start there. If your goat let's you handle it's feet and legs you will be able to teach this trick in a few short sections.
Teaching a kid or young goat this trick, a kid that has been handled much is so easy you could almost not call this trick training.
Deron only show Micah how to "Bow" a few times before Micah knew what to do when Deron got down and gently touched the back of one of Micah's knee as he told him to "Booooow". (always draw out your cue word when first teaching animals).
Deron started Micah by getting down beside him and moving his little legs into position as Deron had his hand in on the ground with treats in it on the ground where Micah had to bend down to get it. Deron repeated this a few times each training section.
more to come
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "RING A BELL"
This is one of those tricks you need to be careful with. You do not want to use a bell that is permanently set and used to call in your family, out where your goat can ring it at will. I know some farms still have dinner bells.
What you might want is a bell that you take out to the goat training area and carry with you to any events your goat might have a little trick show at. Maybe on you will hold or maybe one that can be mounted to one of your other trick props
Ideas for bells might be a couple of sleigh bells on a leather holder. A cow bell hung from a 10" rope. You might even use a string of horses sleigh bells, teach the goat the ring them and to jump through them.
This will be an easy trick to not only teach your goat, but any animals watching, it will have the "Pavlov Dog" effect.....bell = treat.
The first step is to teach the goat that when the bell rings, it gets a small treat. Bell rings = treat for goat. So ring it once or twice yourself in your goat trick training area and treat the goat.
You will need to decide if you will teach the goat to ring the bell with it's hoof or head. If you are training for the goat to ring it with it's head, take the bell and hold it in your hand with a treat for the goat right by the bell. Have a cue for your goat such as "Ring the Bell" or "Make some noise" or "Play some music". When the goat touches the bell with it's head (even if you have to make it ring with your hand), make a fuss, treat the goat. Remember, bell rings = treats for the goat. Repeat this a few times for about three sections. If you see a light bulb go off, your goat understands ring bell = treat, start holding the bell or mounting the bell for the goat to ring. Always give the verbal cue and point to or hold the bell close for the goat to ring it.
If you are teaching your goat to ring the bell with it's hoof. Teach the goat to "Shake Hands" first. If your goat "shakes hands", you are well on the way to teach this easy trick.
Have your goat ready, your treats in your pocket, your bell ready to ring and say to the goat "Shake hands, ring the bell" or whatever your cue words are and will be for these two separate tricks. As you give the cue and your goats foot comes up to shake, stick the bell in the path of the foot so that the bell rings (you might need to help it ring a bit with you own hand, but make it ring) praise the goat with verbal praise and the treat. Do this about three times per training section for the next couple of days.
Now, see if the goat won't ring the bell on it's own when you give the command "ring the bell" with the bell still in the path of the "shaking hands" foot. If the goat has caught on, continue this for a few sections with the bell still in the foots path.
After a few training section start moving the bell away from the path of the food so that the goat has to start reaching for the bell to ring it. As the bell catches on, move the bell to where ever you are going to hold it for the trick, in small increments away from the path of the "shaking hand" foot path.
more to come
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "SIT"
I would teach the goat to sit like so many have taught their horses to sit. Teach the goat to back up. Then place a bean bag chair or something like a cushion behind the goat so that when it backs up it kinda "lands" on the bean bag. First of course get the goat used to the bean bag chair, let it see and play on the prop. You will again, as always, need a cue word "sit" is probably the best.
As you back your goat up to the (I am going to from here call it a chair) you need to take work in increments. First back the goat up to the chair so that the goat's legs touch the chair, give the command "sit", but when the goat is against the chair, stop and verbally praise the goat (if it does not move away from the chair) and treat the goat. Only with this trick, when you get the goat touching the chair (with the back legs) give your verbal praise and let it see the treat, but work in, if you understand, slowly, like in slow motion. that way the goat feels the chair against it's legs as it gets the treat.
Each time you have the goat back up to the chair, get a bit closer to the actual "sit", be ready and as soon as the goat sits, give the treat.
Remember, you will also need a "get up" command. The goat needs to learn that it stays put in the sit until you release it. You could use the "come" command or "stand" but it is not a good idea to use "ok". OK can mean so many things and it is also a word we human's throw around without thinking about it. If an animals learns to obey on a common word, the human can get confused and think that the animal is disobeying.
As the goat learns to sit on the chair, take beans out so that the chair is lower and lower. You could also do this with a hay stack. Stack some hay in a corner and work from there. Soon, your goat will be sitting on command. Just remember, this trick will take time. Don't hurry this trick.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO "BRING YOU (or Fetch) A HANDKERCHIEF"
This is a cute trick and one that is not too hard to teach the goat. You will need an old handkerchief or piece of fabric that you do not mind getting dirty and might get a hole or two.
If you have a goat that is "mouthy", that is puts it's mouth on things and might even pick them up, this trick will be easier for you to teach that goat then to a goat that does not put it's mouth on things.
Start by holding the fabric with a few little pieces of treat in it for the goat to eat out of it. Do this a few times a day over a few days. Get the goat used to seeing the fabric as a treat holder.
After about three days of feeding the treats out of the bandanna, at least twice a day, try holding just the bandanna and give the cue "fetch it up" or whatever cue you want to use for your cue. If the goat puts the bandanna in it's mouth, even for a second, tell it "goooood" and give the goat a treat. Repeat.
Soon, you will be able to drop the bandanna in front of the goat, or point to it and tell the goat your cue words "fetch it up" and the goat will pick it up and bring it to you (for the treat it will receive of course).
Once the goat is "fetching up" you can start using cues for different items. When you have taught the Bandanna Trick and the goat is doing it well, start adding the word, Bandanna or Handkerchief in the cue.
Train other items using the same teaching technics as training the Bandanna Trick, but give the item a name, such as a 12" piece of rope, or a small bowl, or the like. Train one at a time and at a separate training times then the other so that the goat learns the cues without confusion.
Soon you will be able to set three items in front of your goat and dazzle your friends and family by telling the goat which item for it to hand you.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "UNTIE A ROPE"
This is a very impressive trick for spectators. It is easy for goats to learn and a really crowd pleaser if you teach the goat to untie your hands from behind your back.
Goats are mouthy, curious creatures....and for this trick, PERFECT!
You need a short piece of rope to start this trick. A piece of cotton or nylon rope about 1/4" - 1/2" thick and about 12' long. Tie a knot in each end and a couple in the middle.
It might take a couple of days to teach the goat that you want it to take the rope in it's mouth, but when it does, it will be hard to keep the rope from the goat.
You can try this a couple of ways.
One: Dip the rope into something sweet. Dampen it and dip it into sweet feed. Let the goat eat the Sweet Feed off the rope and make a big fuss when it does.
Two: Hold the rope in your hand with the treat and when the goat mouths the rope, praise the goat. If the goat picks up the rope really praise the goat.
If you continue to do this a couple of days the goat will learn to look for the rope when you arrive. Praise the goat for this and give a treat. Soon the goat will take the rope in it's mouth right away, this is when you start doing other things with the rope. First hold it in your hand in a fist so that the rope hangs out long ways, have the goat pull the rope through your hand. Reward with a treat and much verbal praise when it does. As you do this start adding the words "Get the rope." or "Untie the rope." or "Rescue me!"
Have a friend come out to train with you at this point. Have your helper hold the rope behind their back with their hands together (as they would be tied up by a "bad guy". Let the goat see you hand the rope to the helper, but hold the goat back from the rope for a moment. Then tell the goat your cue words and send it to the rope. YOU, not the helper, treats the goat after it pulls the rope through the helpers hand. Give much verbal praise and repeat two or three times in one section. It is best to do two to four sections per day.
Now, take the rope and loosely tie the helpers hands (tie with one cross over and let the ends hang down). Tell the goat your cue words. You might be surprised how fast your goat will get the rope for you. Treat your goat and make a fuss...have the helper also give verbal praise to the goat.
TEACHING ANY PET TO OPEN A GIFT
You can teach your pet, any pet, to open a gift in a few easy steps....
Start with a small box. A mouse will need a smaller box then a GP and a GP will need a smaller box then a dog. Use a box that does not have a lid about the same size as your pets food bowl.
Set a treat in the box next to their food dish when feeding. When they take the treat out of the box, say "gooooood" and remove the box. Repeat twice a day for a few days.
In a few days, after the animal has caught on to retrieving the treat from the box, wrap the box, but not the top, with colorful paper. Repeat the idea of leaving this with a treat in it for your pet....most will not even notice the box has changed, or if it did notice it did not care.
Now. Take a piece of newspaper, or tissue paper and wrap it around just the edges of the top of the box. Give a treat in this box, same as before, to the pet. Then next day make the opening a bit smaller, ie, rewrap the top of the box but extend the edges closer to the middle of the box. Give this to your pet as before. Then next day, make the middle smaller and so on. Finally, close the top with paper and watch the animal "open their gift.".
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO "WALK ON A BARREL"
You will need a Barrel for the goat to walk on. If you have a small goat a 30 gallon barrel may work great. For a dairy or meat breed you will need a steel 55 gallon barrel. Plastic will not have the stability that a steel barrel will offer.
Your goat will need to be trained at a few other tricks before teaching this trick. If your goat knows how to step up on the pedestal this will be helpful for learning this trick. Keep in mind this is a very advanced trick. Your goat will have to walk backwards on the barrel for the barrel to move forward.
You need to work in a flat area and if you can get another human helper for the training of this trick, all the better.
Your goat should start this trick on lead. You will walk the goat up to the barrel and you and your helper should both put one foot in front of the barrel so that is does not move when the goat is first introduced to it and when mounting the barrel.
If you hold a treat on the far side of the barrel and encourage the goat, with the leash, to put just it's front feet on the barrel, give the treat and verbal praise. Have the goat back off the barrel and start again. This trick is going to take time to teach. Working with your goat slowly will be the safest way for this trick to go well. If the barrel rolls at this point it could scare the goat and it will take much to get going here again.
Once the goat is putting it's front feet up on the barrel and is comfortable with the barrel itself, then move your treat further out away from the goat so that it puts it's back feet on the barrel. Encourage the goat with a slight tug on the leash. Be sure to have your foot in front of the barrel, so that it does not roll forward, and have your helper have their foot behind the barrel so it does not roll backwards as the goat steps up onto the barrel.
Praise the goat for the smallest amount of progress on this trick.
Once the goat is on the barrel, treat the goat. See if you can get the goat to "settle" on the barrel with you and your helper holding the barrel with your feet so that the barrel will not roll or move with the goat on it. Have your goat mount and stay on the still barrel a few times before teaching the goat to roll the barrel.
Here is where your coordination as well as your helpers coordination will come into play. This should happen a lot easier then me trying to explain it in writing. With your goat on the barrel with all fours facing forward, not toward the end of the barrel, you have the leash in your hand, and your foot in front of the barrel...here we go. Barely move your foot as you tell the goat to "Roll out the Barrel" or "Roll the Barrel" or something like that. Whatever you choose always use the same cue words. At the same time tap the goats front foot so that it lifts a foot off the barrel and the barrel moves just a bit. Use your voice to reassure and praise the goat. And LOL at the same time, give a treat...and do it all again. Repeat this until you are moving the goat with several little steps.
As this training progresses you will not need the helper any longer. You will stand further away from the barrel and goat and you will not have to use the leash for encouraging. Again, this trick will take a while to teach, please be patience and understanding for the goat. Each time the goat takes more steps, you can do less to help it (over time I am saying).
Soon you will be able to take the lead off the goat's collar and the goat will just right up on the barrel at your command and walk the barrel forward. Don't ask the goat to go too far at first or ever really. Make a huge deal out of your goat with verbal praise and with this trick always give the goat a treat after it preforms it. Like I said, this is a big deal trick for an animal.
When you preform this trick you will have the goat roll the barrel parallel with the audience, not at them or away from them. You will also want to stand on the far side of the barrel with the goat between the you and the spectators.
You might even later teach the goat to turn around on the barrel and go back the other way to where the barrel sat when they started the trick.
ABOUT THE BARREL:
The barrel needs to be the right size for the goat and stable/heavy weight.
Your barrel will have to be in good repair, with no dents, and stay the way. So you will need a good place to store it upright. Painting the barrel in bright colors with stripes (thick and or thin) will fancy your trick, add pizazz.
Remember, that this barrel is going to be heavy and bulky when transporting to trick shows. You will need to be very careful when transporting the barrel so that it does not get damaged in transport.
TEACHING YOU GOAT TO "WEAR ITEMS AND COSTUMES"
This is a fun little thing to do. Why dress your goats? It's cute. First you need the items the goat will be wearing. How about starting with a hat and sunglasses. A small straw hat that you have added a strap of elastic to will be easy to set on the goat and will stay on if the goat moves off quickly. You can find "goat sized" straw hats for less then $1 in craft dept or craft stores.
This works best on a goat that has been handled all over and will let you trim it's hooves easily. Take you hat and sunglasses as well as food treats out to the goat....bring your camera, better yet bring someone with a camera. Put the hat on first. Treat the goat and make a fuss over how cute it looks. Walk the goat around a little bit and distract the goat from the hat.....here's where I have trouble, my OTHER Goats want to see and taste the hat. LOL Now add the sunglasses just for a moment, take them off. Now for another moment put the sunglasses back on the goat and treat the goat. See if you can get the goat to take a couple of steps wearing the hat and sunglasses. Make a fuss over the goat, treat and take the sunglasses off. Then take the hat off and come back tomorrow for another dress up section. From here on it is really just desensitizing your goats to the "feel" of the items it is wearing.
A dressed goat is really cute while doing a little trick show. Just remember, with most tricks that outfit may become a problem for movement or get hung up on some props so be sure that you have the right costume for the right tricks.
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO "WALK A TIGHT OR HIGH WIRE"
Yes, I have seen the video of the goat that walks the High Wire or Tight Rope with the monkey on it's back. Deron already drew up some plans for a tight wire, but not near as high as the one on the video of the tight rope walking goats we have seen!!
To start training for this we set up a 4' 2" x 4" up a few inches off the ground on a sturdy stand with the 4" side up. We taught the goats to walk on it well.
I like the Balance Beam to be lower so that we are able to spot the animal if the animal would loose balance, it will also be able to jump off of and not get hurt from the Beam too.
We taught our boys the lower board and they ran it and even tried to jump from one end to the other, they learned it very quick.....so for Mother's Day 2009 Deron built the Balance Beam in this photo. The problem we are having with this one too is not the goat's balancing, but it is hard to slow them down on it. LOL The devils.
We will continue to use this Balance Beam as the boys grow.
It looks like it could be the same goat in both photos...I am working with Noah and Deron is working with Micah, both black, faces very different.
Teaching Your Goat Manners
As you are training your goat to do tricks it is learning to learn good behavior, this is also the time to throw in manners as they go.
There is nothing wrong with training your goats with treats. Just teach them not to jump on you or to be pushy to get them. Teach your goat you will give the treat when you decide to give the treat. Do not let your goat get pushy and then reward that pushiness with a treat from you. That is rewarding bad behavior and your goat will not know the difference between that and pleasing you to receive a treat.
For some reason in the USA today we have excepted bad manners in children and even in animals. We have been told it "is not their fault" and somehow most people think that means we are just to except that bad behavior.....NO! Not me.
Your Working Goat that will be out on the trail or in public and or in parades or shows, should behave well.
Goats will behave the way they are taught to behave (and many, even with no training, act better then most USA children). Training begins as soon as the goat comes home. You goat should learn to respect humans and their property. Usually, if you bring up or raise your own goat and work with it as it grows, the goat will have learned manners when you did not even relies you taught it. All those "get back"'s when you close the gate and the "get off that"'s when they jump on things, as well as "oh that is my toe!!"'s are all teaching your animals as you move around them to feed and care for them.
People make the mistake of thinking a misbehavior is cute in a young animal, but when the animal is older and in fact bigger, that misbehavior is no longer ok. This is unfair training to the animal. If your baby goat, kid, jumps on you, correct it each and every time. You will not want a 150 - 200 pound goat jumping up on you don't let it learn that jumping on you pleases you (you think it is cute as a baby and you act accordingly and the animal reads those cues).
Teaching Your Goat the Word "No"
Your goat needs to know, notice that says needs to know, the word NO. How do you teach your goat no? When you goat is doing something you do not want it to do, or if it is on something it should not be on, or if it is stealing food, say "No" and mean no. Back up your words with moving the animal away from what it is doing. You might need to have a spray bottle or a squirt gun filled with water....yes, goats, like dogs, do not like to be sprayed in the face and will learn quickly to move away with a squirt.
No means no and it means no each and every time the same behavior is displayed. In other words, every time the goat misbehaves it needs to be corrected. It is not ok for a goat once, twice, three times and not on the fourth...or worse, no follow through by you to correct the bad behavior, each and every time.
Teaching Your Goat To "Back up"
Your goat must also know the word BACK. Back means to back up away from where ever it is. Mostly "back" means to back up off people. Most of the time if you train your goat "back" by taking a step forward as you give the command, the goat will be forced gently to back up. It is a really good idea, once the goat learns to back up with you standing in front of it, to teach the goat to back up with you standing in different positions. To start, move to the side of your goat to teach this. Work up to having the goat back up from where it is standing when you give the command from a distance, and or behind it. This is especially appreciated training if you decide to wagon or cart train your goats.
TRAINING YOUR GOAT TO "GO HOME"
Some training is more for safety then really a trick. I am including this here because it might one day save you and your animals time in a storm, away from a predator, or just keep you clean and keep you from being out chasing goats for hours. You might even make that party on time if you teach this little behavior.
"Go Home" is something easy and fast I have taught my baby goats. I started this "Go Home" with my ratties. When on my shoulder and I am putting them away I set my hand in their cages and say "go home". Down my arm they go and off to their cages.
When our dogs follow us up the drive way and think they will come with us (on foot, on horse back or in the vehicle) we tell them to "go home". Those sad faces have learned what that means.
I have been letting them out of their pen (our place is fenced but not cross fenced yet) to graze several times a day. When I go out to put them up, I call and they come running (I back that good behavior, coming when called, up with a treat). I start walking back into their pens I tell them "Go Home". I follow them in and back up their eagerness to please with a handful of grain in two (metal/sounds loud) bowls. I close the gate on the way out, with no one following (still eating) and they are safe and all went well.
CHECK BACK OFTEN. I DO ADD NEW TRICKS TO TEACH YOUR GOATS FREQUENTLY. YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY OUR AGILITY PAGES HERE AS WELL AS THE OBSTACLE COURSE INFORMATION AND TRAINING