The main sticking point between a happy goat and a very unhappy goat seems to be the butt strap on the saddle. Therefore, it seems to work best to start by attaching all parts of the saddle except the butt strap. To start with, I put the saddle on the ground near the goat so it can sniff it and check it out.
Then I usually tie the goat up to a tree, and set the saddle on its back, but while still holding the saddle to keep it from falling off the goat. If the saddle falls off the goat, especially over the back end, this seems to freak the goat out and make it dislike the saddle. If the goat spooks, I take the saddle off the goat. Repeat until goat is totally cool with the saddle sitting on it.
Let the goat walk around with the saddle on for a bit until it seems comfortable. Then, once it is totally calm, attach the butt strap. Prepare for some dancing around and have some grain on hand for bribery if necessary. Also, some goats kick pretty impressively when they first get a butt strap on! The next big thing is to just let the goat walk around with the saddle on for a while.
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Take it on a hike or two that has obstacles or dense brush so that the goat learns that it must take into account the saddle when trying to crawl under trees or balance on a blow down. I had a goat who was new to saddles on its first hike out actually fall off a fallen tree some height above the ground because it was not yet proficient at balancing with the pack.
It lived, but it was very bruised up and I had to dig it out of the brush it fell into.
Finally, put the panniers on the goat and let it wander around the yard while you do something else. Walk up to the goat and mess with the panniers periodically so that the goat learns that when you approach you probably want in the panniers. The reason you want them to understand you want in the panniers and not necessarily to mess with them personally is because there will come a day when you really need something out of the panniers, your lunch, your rain coat, your emergency beacon. If for some reason you have upset the goat, say for example dragging it on a leash for several miles before you let it off leash , if the goat thinks you are coming to mess with it personally it is more likely to not let you approach than if it thinks you just want in the panniers, and thus could be lightening its load!
Some goats will never be so vindictive. Two of the ones I live with are! You do not want to start every hiking trip lifting that lazy pound goat into your truck. Make the lazy goat get in itself! Getting a goat to load is actually pretty easy. Goats naturally feel safer and happier the higher they are off the ground. So jumping into your truck bed or the back of your car is actually a really inviting idea to them.
The only real trick is getting them to realize you want them to do it. I will use a truck with a goat box in the bed as an example, but this basically works for everything you could conceivably shove a goat in. Go get the goat, put on its lead and collar and grab a bucket of grain. Walk the goat up and put the bucket of grain in the goat box where the goat can see it. Then line the goat up how it needs to go to get in the box.
A very hungry goat may jump right on in. One is to put the front legs of the goat up, one at a time, onto the tail gate to help the goat realize that yes, it can actually get up there to the grain. This application of both a carrot and a stick should be sufficient motivation to get the goat in the truck. Continue playing around with these methods till you get the goat in the goat box.
Once the goat is in the box, give it lots of grain. Teaching the goat to load, then immediately turn around and wait, makes it easy to get the collar and lead back off the goat once the goat is loaded. Repeat loading and unloading the goat about 3 times, then call it quits for the day and come back several more times later in the week and repeat the training to reinforce the loading behavior.
You now have a goat that will always know how to load. Goat is to Water as Cat is to Water. It really is exactly like that. A rare cat will willingly swim.nn.threadsol.com/19609-what-is.php
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An even rarer goat will. A goat can be taught to cross, and even swim, in water. However, you need to start teaching a goat to tolerate water at about a month of age if at all possible. For babies, weather depending, start by putting them in water. Repeat, repeat! Eventually the kid will tolerate it. When the weather gets warm enough, take the kid to a river or pond, or another local water body representative of the sort of water crossings the goat will be asked to cross later in its career. I personally like rivers because they represent not only the most common things my goats cross, but the rivers around here are pretty treacherous, so goats trained on rivers learn to be cautious!
Pick something with a steady, but not super strong current, and a solid, visible bottom for the first day out. Once they are okay with standing in the water with it up to their belly, I lead them further out, and start holding on by their collar. Eventually the water becomes deep enough to cover their head.
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I use the collar to help hold them up, and face them into the current. Being held up and into the current gives them a natural lift, and after a few panicked seconds they will start paddling naturally. Now you have a goat that has figured out how to swim! On the second day of river training, I take it to sections of the river with holes, fast current, and other obstacles and carefully guide it through each obstacle.
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Goats are far from stupid. They will remember each obstacle they encounter. The value of buying goats that have grown up in the woods is they already have seen these things — and sometimes the goat can turn out to be even smarter than the human when it comes to not killing oneself through stupidity. The final test is to go to a quiet trail with a significant river crossing and bring all your trust and faith in your horned minion. Take the goat by itself. Take it off the leash, and then walk into the river.
The first time you will likely make it to the other side, and the goat may not come. It will bleat at you from the opposite shore and pace. Go somewhere where the goat cannot see you, but you can see it, for instance, behind a tree. The goat will then generally realize it has been left and it will cross!
Wait until the goat reaches the opposite shore, and then pop out from behind the tree so the goat knows it has caught up with you. This can be dangerous.
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Bridges should be common sense, but there are a few special cases that goats seem to have issues with. These are primarily true suspension bridges and log bridges. True suspension bridges bounce. They swing. They have gaps between the steps for an unwary hoof. They have minimal railings or side supports to keep a suddenly unstable caprine upright and out of the river. To teach a goat to cross a suspension bridge, first you have to find one of these beasties, which in some parts of the country is not too different from finding a unicorn.
Therefore, most goats will probably meet this obstacle during an actual packing trip. After a lot of highly embarrassing trial and error it seems like a good method to use for getting goats across extremely bouncy suspension bridges is to use your body weight to stabilize the bridge.