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How Pumpkin and Cookie Were Leash Trained

Yes! Goats can be leash trained! Just like dogs, it is best to start them out when they are young. And just like dogs, goats get scared and don’t know what is happening. So, NEVER pull goats by their necks! It is terrifying and dangerous! Be PATIENT and always use POSITIVE reinforcement! Make it a fun experience! See our tips below!

Please Read First! This video was a spontaneous walk, not a training video. We had a halter and a collar. We only had the collar on for decoration just for the video. However, we found that our halter wasn’t working well, because the loop is in the back vs the front. So, we switched our leash to the collar TEMPORARILY and we left the halter on in case we needed to grab them. We did not drag or pull, but allowed them to lead. Nevertheless, we are big believers in training and walking with the Sheep Halter and/or Body Halter, which we used to train our girls with and have used around the property! We do not believe in training with a collar, walking with a collar nor leaving a collar on. Collars can cause harm to the necks, choking, injury (or worse) and they are not good for control!

Cookie Kisses 2Tips on Leash Training Goats:

1) Don’t force them, be patience, be consistent and always praise them with love and scratches! Please remember that even friendly neighbor dogs are predators and may often attack goats, so please do not walk them where you might run into dogs, traffic or other predators. In fact, because of this, we have only taken our girls off the property this one time.

2) We DO NOT use a regular neck collar! Collars can be very scary for goats, choke them and/or cause serious injury! Collars choke necks, possibly causing panic or serious injury! Yes, some people use break-away collars on their goats, but for walking there may be situations when you need to have more control without it breaking away.

3) Many people use a Body Harness (dog harness), which is the least pulling or scary! If your goats are happy to walk with you, this may be the simplest solution! See if you can find one with the hook in the front if possible. Please note that goats are strong! So if you take them off the safety of your property, you may need to have more ability to lead your goat than just a Body Harness. You can lead with Sheep Halter (below) and have a Body Halter (as in this photo) for additional safety. But again, please do not take them where there is traffic or predators.

4) If you have a goat who needs some gentle training or leading to learn how to follow, you could try the Sheep Halter. It allows training or walking without choking. However, please still do not pull or allow the goat to pull! It can still hurt their necks! These are good for vet visits too, because according or our vet, they only take 5 lbs of pressure to hold them for hoof trimming, etc.

5) Start out by introducing them to the idea of the halter/harness when you are around. Put it on the ground, let them sniff it and let them play with it.

6) Once they are accustomed to wearing the halter/harness, walk around with them with the leash. Encourage them to follow you and do not pull at them, but allow them to go wherever they want. This is just to get them used to the feeling of the leash, but to learn it is safe. Do this in a smaller area, like a corral and have brief sessions.

7) Do not leave the halter/harness on them when you are not supervising, because they can get caught on things and hurt themselves. If you want them to wear collars when you are not around, be sure to get the break-away kind in case they get caught on something (a very tragic danger).

8) Once they are used to having it on and wearing it while they are walking with you and the leash, you can begin to start leading them where you want to go. Gently lead them in the direction you want to go for just a few feet, calling their names in a sweet voice and encouraging them to come with you. Then stop and let the leash be loose, praise them and give them scratches! Do this for short walks around the corral for a few weeks or so or until they stop fighting you. It is important never to drag them or scare them. Just gently lead them. Again, do this in a smaller area in brief sessions.

Note: Some people like to keep alfalfa pellets or carrots in their pockets for encouragement. This is certainly helpful in training! However, we did not choose to use food for training, so that our goats aren’t always begging us for treats … and they don’t. They are happy to learn with the reward of love, scratches and patience! They get their pellets as a healthy reward for going inside at night.

9) When they seem comfortable with having the halter/harness on and walking around with you in the smaller area, you can take them out into a larger area, ring or pasture.  If you have two goats, it is best to have two people (one for each goat). Otherwise, the goat not on the leash can be distracting in their larger area.

DISCLAIMER: We are not goat experts, trainers or veterinarians. We are only sharing our own personal experiences and opinions. Please always leash train or walk your goats at your own risk and seek advice from a professional.