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Having trouble with goats

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#1 Stinky


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Posted 30 May 2007 - 11:03 AM

I'm new to the board and pleased to have found it.

I have had Maggie the BC for 2 years after rescuing her from a local family. She is now 5 years old. She and I took some basic training clinics for a few sessions at Red Creek farm here in Townville, SC. My wife and I than purchased 4 "dog broken" Tunis sheep that Maggie eagerly and easily was able to control in any situation I chose to put her in. We added a few small goats for a time to make a grand total of 7 animals for Maggie and I to move around. The additional goats were a bit of a challenge for Maggie but she fairly quickly dominated them and had control. We have since given back the goats( they were to aggressive during feeding time for my wife) and have also given away the Tunis sheep as we would like to get hairless sheep in the near future.

phew...now to my actual question....

We have a friend who has 45 Newbian (spelling?) goats and has kindly placed eleven of them with us so that Maggie ( and our great pyrenees Zoie) have something to do and to also fatten her goats a bit on our pasture. These goats have never been herded by anything except a human. They do not act as I have experienced so far and Maggie cannot move them.

Instead of turning away and moving when Maggie comes up on a fetch they circle the wagons, face her and do not back up. She has a reaonably strong low crouching approach when coming onto them however she does stand up when she is a few feet away which looks weak to me. I than escalate her to more aggressive actions including a bit of gnashing teeth and charging but the goats actually are strong enough to charge back at times. They're not willing to move through her to get back to the barn so they have enough respect of her to not run her over.....but....they do not budge from their spot.

Is this just the nature of goats ?

Does Maggie just not have enough "power" to move this group of animals ? Which is fine if true and leads me to the next question which is should I stop trying because Maggies continued failure to move them might damage her confidence when we get our next group of animals ?

Is there something different I should be oing to train the new animals to a herding dog ?

I'll do some reading in the archives as I'm sure somewhere in there is some info that will help me.

Any advice would be welcome. I'm looking forward to this newfound forum.

Be well,

A.K.A. Stinky

#2 BustopherJones


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Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:10 PM

Sheep and Goats are entirely different animals, and respond to stimuli differently. The following link may be of interest:
Sheep vs. Goats
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

#3 stockdogranch


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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:36 PM

As pointed out, dairy goats are way different than sheep to move--more in attitude like cattle, seems to me. I've moved some over the years, but it takes a dog that is used to being challenged and one that has a great grip and tons of heart and will not back down to get the job done. And even then some of the goats just come back for more. I would not continue to work this dog in this situation. Not fair to the dog to keep getting beat up, whether it's physically or psychologically,
"Life's too short to work bad dogs."

#4 Stinky


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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:49 PM

thnx much for those who responded. I did find some great info in other parts of the site and will keep surfing.

be well,


#5 Lenajo


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Posted 30 May 2007 - 02:03 PM

We've had goats for the better part of 30 years, 16 of which I've used dogs to manage them. At one point it was myself and one dog doing the majority of the work on a flock of 300. We have less now, thank goodness :rolleyes: Well less goats...the sheep numbers are up there!

I would suggest split the goats up into smaller groups - that will help. Mix 1 or 2 "bad" goats with your dog broken stock will help too. Since they are dairy goats I would assume the are broke to lead and tie, so if needed you can tether several of them together for training so they can't divide and conquer the dog. You can even lead them a little when they stall out so the dog can "win". It's not perfect herding practice or ideal, but it's ways you can make what you have work.

Brush/briar goats, aka "Spanish" goats is what we had the most of, and when I did select dog training goat stock I liked dairy goat breeds and Angora goats. They make nice training stock because they don't panic even if they get split up. However they do *not* take abuse well, and a few "nips in the rear" without cause gets them mad as wet cats and they won't move at all without force.

If possible I would suggest you see if Carol Ann or Jon could come over and help you dog break the flock, as well as offer some advice.

Have fun! (and just a suggestion, but if post future questions of this nature in the training section you'll get quicker response from more people)

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