The Steps of Goat Aggression
(10-26-2016, 06:46 AM)Nanno Wrote: I think your auto-correct played havoc with your post, Thomo. It's a little hard to understand. Could you please clarify?

Basically have friendly goat that has now become aggressive towards miniature horse and the people who take care of them.
Ah, it's a miniature horse. How old is the goat? It's not unusual for a young goat to become aggressive with people and/or other animals as they mature. Does the goat have horns? If so, it could be a real danger to the miniature horse. Does the goat have other goat companions or only the pony? If he only has the pony to play with, then it's a sure sign your goat needs another goat companion (one the same size or bigger) that he can play with. A goat needs a playmate he can rear up and butt heads with and that won't run away when he does it. When he treats the pony like it's another goat, the pony doesn't know how to respond and becomes frightened. This reinforces the goat's aggressive behavior. He's also trying to treat people like they are other goats. He can't be allowed to do this.

My first recommendation is that if he has no other goat companions, get him one as soon as possible or find him a home where there are other goats. I don't think you're going to solve this problem without first giving your goat a companion who can be an appropriate recipient (and reciprocator) of normal goat behavior. If your goat does have other goat companions, then you'll need to separate the pony so he's not hurt or harassed. Then you need to get on your goat's case with a spray bottle. If he approaches you aggressively, spray him in the face with water while using a verbal reprimand to let him know he's naughty. Make sure when bringing food or treats that you don't give them until the goat backs submissively away from you. He should not bump into you, block you, or try to steal the food before you give it. Don't pet him or give him food if his hackles are up or if he's giving you the "hairy eyeball" or you will reinforce his bad attitude. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
What exactly does "tipping" mean in this context? My buck is a bit out of control lately, and he's already stabbed me once with a horn. I use the water bottle, water bucket, and even the slap on the nose and most times works but he still stands and stomps at me. I take him to the ground every time he gets pushy. Normally I just sit on him, because he's a ND and only around 40lbs. Should I really be more aggressive than that?
"Tipping" means just that--tipping the goat over onto its side and holding it down. Sounds like that's what you're doing and it's not working. I'm glad he's not bigger! It may not be that you should be more aggressive, but maybe you either need to hold him down longer or try a different method. Try aiming the water spray at his feet and see what happens. I also recommend not going into his pen without something stronger like a garden hose until you get this under control. Some people very successfully use a Hot Shot or other type of cattle prod to keep their bucks at a safe distance when going into the pen. I've used a shock collar on an very aggressive wether with good results. Best of luck!
(12-21-2016, 05:54 PM)ANNAMFM Wrote: What exactly does "tipping" mean in this context? My buck is a bit out of control lately, and he's already stabbed me once with a horn. I use the water bottle, water bucket, and even the slap on the nose and most times works but he still stands and stomps at me. I take him to the ground every time he gets pushy. Normally I just sit on him, because he's a ND and only around 40lbs. Should I really be more aggressive than that?

The aggression route isn't working for you and your goat. Wether it is from his or your personality or incorrect applied corrections is something that we can't evaluate from the distance of this forum.

The problem with correction based training is that you have to correct ONE time so hard and effective that the behaviour you want to repress will NEVER again occur. Few people are able and/or willing to do that to a loved animal.

This is called suppression of behaviour and normally does not take care of the cause of the behaviour only the display of the unwanted behaviour. As long as the animal has no outlet for the emotion that is causing the behaviour or an alternative method to communicate, the behaviour will re-appear in variation when the suppressing correction is applied without the needed force.

An alternate way to train is to use positive reinforcement and teaching the animal what to do. Rewarding wanted behaviour instead of suppressing unwanted behaviour.

If you look at yourself you will notice that you will try to find ways to circumvent anything that forbids you to do something that you love or feel you need to do it.

Your buck is attacking you.

Why? Look at what has led up to this escalation. How does he live, how old is he, keep in mind that it's the middle of rutting season. What are you doing right BEFORE he attacks you? What are you doing AFTER he attacked you when you are not tipping him over? Attacking you has  become reinforcing for him so there is something happening after the attacks on you that fulfill a need he has. Is it the need for attention because he lives alone? For a sparing partner? To be left alone?

Understand that he is acting instinct out of a deep seated need he has to express this way because he has not learned how to express it otherwise. Find the need and teach him an alternative behaviour that is not dangerous and gives him the opportunity to communicate.

Two examples: a toddler who is hungry will cry. Unless he/she has learned to either talk or point to the thing he/she wants to eat, crying is the only way of communication. It also instinct. All other forms to communicate hunger have to be learned.

Your buck is attacking. He is communicating something. What I cannot tell you right now. But you can teach him that instead of attacking - which is instinct - he can communicate with for example taking several steps back from you and touch an object in his stall. If he does this he cannot simoultaneously attack you. No need for aggression on both sides.

If you want to go that route, let me know so that I can write more about how you start to train with positive reinforcement.

Wether you decide to change the way you train or not. Be aware that a behaviour gets set deeper and  deeper into the brain the more often it is "practised" and therefore harder to re-learn. Meaning, the more he attacks you, attacking will become his "default" behaviour. Changing your setup in ways that remove his need to attack will give you both a brake to change your relationship.
Sabine from Germany
[Image: zoVgi.gif]

Thanks for the article. I'm about 3 years with goats. I have Nubians. I bought my little Billy goat at 2weeks old and bottle fed him. I named him Rudy. Well Rudy began putting his head on me at about 6 months. Just holding it there. I thought this was affection in goat language. Well he then began little pushes. I kind of thought he was challenging me then but everyone told me he was just being affectionate. Then the standing up and bull dozing his way out of the gate. Well now he's out of control at 2 year and 200 lbs. He's terrible. I bought a hot shot and it worked for a few days. Nothing faces him now. I swear I'm going in there with my tazer. He is even butting the horses. He was schooled by the Shetland pony, but the bigger horses are scared of him too. Is a mild tazer to harsh? I'm not going to get hurt,
Hello and welcome to our forum. Sorry your post didn't show up at first... we have an anti-spam system that requires a person's first post to be approved. I deleted the multiple copies. Wink

RUDE RUDY! I'm sorry he's giving you such grief. I have one that also learned to boss horses and kids and be a general pest and sadly he's never completely gotten over it. We can control our mean wether with a squirt gun and on his really bad days we use a shock collar. Our guy is manageable and always well-behaved when he's wearing a halter or working, but we've never been able to completely "cure" him when he's loose in the pasture. Ours is not as bad as yours sounds though. However, your goat is also only two years old and ours was aggressive much longer before we started working with him. Someone on another thread here suggested hugging your goat every time he acts aggressive toward you. I'm not sure if it will work for your guy, but it apparently worked for theirs. Some people with aggressive goats have had success spraying them with a water hose when the goat comes at them aggressively.

It's not good that your goat is attacking your horses. Does he have horns? I've heard of really aggressive goats stabbing horses in the belly. I also know that at some point one or more of your horses will probably attack back and then your goat may be seriously injured or killed (and he'd deserve it, but still). Do you have any other goats besides Rudy? I think one reason our goat became aggressive was because he had no other goat companions to play, fight, and butt heads with. He tried to do this with horses and they don't play the same way so it caused friction and aggression between them. And once a goat learns that he can boss horses, it's really really hard to teach him not to get a thrill from bossing everyone all the time. I think bossing horses really goes to their heads. My best suggestion would be to get him a goat companion of comparable size and weight so they can fight and play the way goats are supposed to do and get him away from the horses.
Thanks for the article really helped me sort out my cheeky goat. We've got two male goats (Dennis & Menace) and they live up to their names in every way since they were kids. Anyway last 6 months Dennis was getting his headbutt on with me so much so I couldn't really go into the field unless they were the other side. After reading your article I tried a few things 1. hose pipe, that worked pretty fine, although he kept on testing. 2. foghorn, no effect. 3. Bug zapper (winner), I gave him one zap on the nose & now all I have to do is tap the fence to show the spark & noise or just show it to him & he backs off. Nothing worse than being out smarted by a goat! I'm the boss now Smile
Man o man the simple things I've ignored. Glad I read this!
One thing I would add to the "Steps of Goat Aggression" article is fixation on gloves. Cuzco liked to bite gloves and he would often blub at them. I've read of other people having the same issues with bucks or dominant wethers who would suddenly act "buckish" around gloves. Our two current bucks have the glove fixation, and Finn fixated on gloves until he was wethered. After that he stopped getting horny about the gloves and now only shows mild interest which I discourage.

Tools are another fixation that people with bucks sometimes notice. I've never seen females do this, but Cuzco and now Finn seem to fixate on shovels, rakes, or other garden type tools when I carry them. I used to have to shut Cuzco out of any pen where I was mucking out because he would follow me with his hackles raised if I was carrying a tool. He knew better than to head-butt me, but he would block, growl, and try to clack his horn on the wooden handle. He was a complete nuisance about it and I found it was easier to lock him out of the area than to deal with the behavior. Finn has recently started to take interest in my tools and I'm going to do my best to avoid letting it escalate. Finn is not allowed to mess with me while I'm working and so far he's been very good about keeping his distance. I don't let him sniff, eye, or rub any part of himself on my rake while I'm holding it. If I put it down nearby and he starts to mess with it, I shoo him off. I try not to leave my rake lying around where Finn can play with it because I'm pretty sure that once he starts making a habit of rubbing his horns on it, he's going to start escalating the behavior when I'm there (just like Cuzco did). In this case, it's not a matter of innocent curiosity that can be cured by allowing the goat to investigate until he gets bored. This is a very intentional behavior that I don't want to ignore because I'm quite sure it's going to escalate if I allow it to continue. I don't need to punish Finn for messing with my rake when I'm not holding it because he won't understand that. Instead, I just need to be careful not to leave it laying around where he can get to it before I can. I wish I knew why some goats do this!

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