Monday, March 8, 2010

Cart Training Your Goat

Training your goat to pull a cart is fun and useful. Pulling a cart is not hard, driving a cart requires two people who both love working with goats, the same amount...Training to pull a cart, first introduce the harness to your goat, put it on him and walk him around. Practice stopping and starting with voice commands, give lots of praise and treats when he responds with the correct behaviour and keep lots of patience when he doesn't understand or feel like doing it right now. Introduce the cart by letting him sniff of it, pull the cart on one side of you and lead the goat on your other side, this will get him accustom to the sound the cart makes moving and he'll get used to it being close. When the cart rolling beside him doesn't bother him, you can hook the cart to your goat. Just for cautions sake, have a second person there to help unhook in case the goat gets frightened. One person to hold and calm the goat and the other to unhook the cart. If your goat has accepted the training so far, you probably won't have any trouble but always a good idea to be safe. When the goat is pulling the empty cart comfortably, you can begin adding weight in the cart. Use common sense about what you put in, things that rattle go slowly and praise lavishly with treats. When your goat is full grown and in condition they can pull about 1 and a half times their weight. If you have a young goat, keep the load light, up to 3/4 of their body weight. The main things to remember, take the training slowly, repeat each step several times before moving on to the next step, keep it fun and give lots of praise and rewards. You will be rewarded with a goat who is useful and enjoys working. Zack helps me move haybales, bags of feed, fire wood and give kids rides all for peanuts.

Now what I mean by driving being different from pulling. Driving is done when one person is riding in the cart or is behind the goat, giving commands and the goat is responding correctly. Normally the goat is being led when he is just pulling and if he is not pulling my weight he can pull more of whatever chore we are doing. But, it is lots of fun riding in the cart being pulled by your goat. So to train, it really takes two people to get started. After your goat is wearing the harness without problems you will need someone up by his head cueing his response to your verbal command for "giddy up" and "whoa" turning. First tell your goat what you want him to do and if he doesn't do it have the other person cue him with a lead rope and reward the response. Then do it again, tell him what you want wait a second if no response the other person cues and rewards. Keep the lessons short and frequent, daily would be best. When your goat is comfortable with the commands, gradually have your helper get futher and further away until they are not needed. Practice starting stopping and turning, then add the cart. You will need the helper back when you introduce the cart for safety, for the first couple of times.

Now my personal experience with Zack and driving. He will follow along with me without a lead, so kids can hold the reins but I have to be there to guide him. Zack doesn't respond to my family as well as he does for me and I can't lead and give the drive commands at the same time. Also, my family does not have as much fun leading Zack as I do in the cart. I think you see where I am going with this...However, I have a lot of fun working with Zack so I enjoy just leading him while he pulls for me.

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