for people who love the littlest dairy goats
6/8/11 - Who's on First?
Wow, what a morning! Got up bright early this morning before the summer heat hit and started training again. I must admit, it was harder getting started than I thought. I started with Fairy first. Why? Because she is the leader and the best of the four. In my four goat team last year, she was the one making everyone behave. She is like the play maker in basketball, the quarterback in football, etc. In order to have a successful team, you must have a successful leader. Before beginning, make sure you check over all of the harnesses pieces to ensure a safe first time. I went over all of the parts and made sure the harness fit her just right. Nothing scars a goat like a bad first time. .
"What to expect your first time": While this was not Fairy's first time, it was the first for the year. And I just want to say, starting your first time ever or for the year is all the same --- there is a lot of patience to be had. When you begin, don't expect perfection; don't expect anything close! Just expect to have a good time with your goat. This is a long journey, one that takes time and patience. Fairy did good, except for the fact the I used the new poles from last year, so she had to rub her head all over them :). But we did okay. I led her around with her training cart and she seemed to remember a lot of it. It is going to take a lot training before I am driving again, but we are making progress. She was excited to see the harnesses, so I think this will be good.
Another thing to note: Make sure you have a reward ready. Before you begin training, find out what your goat likes. For Fairy it was treats and just having them there helps a lot. But sometimes it can also just be petting and sweet talk (like Beauty enjoys). When I started harnessing Fairy this morning, I'd give her a tiny treat after each step to make it positive, and then continued to reward her this way throughout the training. This reinforces the positive part of what is happening and makes it less scary for your goat.
We only worked for 5 minutes and that is a great starting point. Never try to work your goat longer than 5 minutes in the beginning. This is something totally new and they need to be worked up to it --- even the pros. I just took Fairy up the driveway once, stopping multiple times to teach the stop and go commands. Make sure before you begin you have decided on what words to use. I chose “Forward” and “Whoa” back when I began six years ago, and so I stay consistent every year with the same words to make things familiar. Remember, goats are creatures of habit --- what happens one time is what they always expect. Make training fun and non-stressful for the best out of your goat!
Hope training is good for you!