Goat Diaries Blog by Alexandra Kurland
you all make great progress.

Let me ask you some more questions about Finn.

How does he take the food during the training? Is he slow to take it and slow to chew it, keeping it between his teeth for a few seconds?

What type of food are you using for training? How "full" is he when training? How big are the treats?

Rubbing and scratching can be used as a re-inforcer but keep in mind that touch is not always rewarding but can also be aversive when the individual is not on the mood for physical interaction and/or the scratching doesn't feel comfortable/another body is more itchy. You need to pay much more attention to the animals body signals when rewarding with touch.

Verbal praise is a secondary reinforcer and the animal needs to learn to associate the praise with something good that follows. until then it's only noise.

"Indifference" to food can have several causes:

- animal is satiated
- food has no high value
- animal has stress and can't eat. I read a nice example a while back: when you sit down for dinner and your house catches on fire you won't finish dinner but put out the fire first.
- animal is frustrated with the training criteria - and therefore develops stress
- animal is frightened (again, stress) or really fearful
- physical issues: teeth, health

With goats I would also look at how your hands smell - I have several goats that will not take treats after I got a lot of saliva on my hand from feeding, especially when I train several goats at once and switch between goats.

Not having seen Finn and Phil working together I would still go with "criteria too high/unclear" and Finn is honest enough to not muddle through somehow just to get treats but to communicate "I don't understand this/this doesn't make sense to me right now"

Phil learning: play clicker games with HIM.

Look for small things in your household (marbles, beads or small food treats for humans like raisins, peanuts, chips, etc.) to use as reward.

Find small objects, like toy cars, match boxes, pencils, dice etc.

Take a clicker, the treats, the objects and define a small task that you teach Phil with just using the clicker.


Props: two toy cars, a flat surface of about 25 x 25", a clicker

Task 1:

Learner has to roll one car for 10" forward

Task 2:

Learner has to roll car 1 in a circle around car 2

Task 3:

Learner has to put car 2 on top of car 1

You can also use match boxes or other items that can be stacked.

You both will learn a lot.

Let Phil make up his own tasks and switch roles.
Sabine from Germany
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RE: Goat Diaries Blog by Alexandra Kurland - by Sanhestar - 03-22-2018, 10:54 PM

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