for people who love the littlest dairy goats
6/10/11 – Day 4 – “Nip It In The Bud”
I was rained out in this morning, however, the sun decided to come out and break away from the rain clouds towards the afternoon so I was able to get Fairy out for some cart training. And of course, right when we started she began rubbing her head on the poles again. This brought my memory back to last year when she did that all summer. And I decided to do what Barney Fife is so famous for --- “Nip it in the Bud”; fix the problem before it gets worse. So, I stood behind the cart, I held the reins out tight and held on the to back the training cart to steer it in a way that she couldn’t rub her head all over the poles again.
Now, I will most often recommend that you slowly rid the goat of a bad habit – focus on positive training first. However, when a goat does something totally distracting during training and can endanger the sessions (i.e. getting reins wrapped around poles), it needs to be stopped. I recommend stopping this behavior right away, as I am doing with Fairy. Otherwise, you’ll have a six year old goat who still can’t behave any better in public than when she was three (yes, goats are like children).
So, I used this method of pulling her head out of the way and steered the cart to get her mind on the task, which got her in “working mode” again. One of the hardest things to train a goat to do is to be in working mode and Fairy is the only one who can do that. It is when they are so focused on pulling, that the rest of the world doesn’t matter. They are trying to please you. This comes from positive reinforcement of proper working attitudes and can take months to teach. But when your goat is in the zone, things just fall into to place.
One of the other mistakes I made and am going to teach you is this: if you are training multiple goats and each harness is a different size, make sure you put the right harness on the right goat. When I started a few days ago with training, I couldn’t figure out how Fairy went from being a notch two on her harness last summer, look thinner this year, yet be a one. Well, turns out I got my color coding messed up and put Beauty’s harness on her. Beauty’s harness is adjusted smaller, because she has a real dairy like figure. Lesson learned --- pay attention. The goat will act better when it isn’t wearing a tight harness.
Here’s to better day tomorrow!