Aggression- What to do?
My wether has been getting quite aggressive towards me lately, he's fine with other goats. Posturing, blocking my path, raising his hackles, etc. This started about three months ago. Each time it has happened, I get right on top of it. I've tried squirt guns, dumping buckets of water over his head, flipping him, a good knee to the ribs -hard-... none of it seems to be working. When I get after him he tries to headbutt me, getting more aggressive. By the end of it he gives up, but the next day he starts all over with it... This came out of no where, he was great before, really respectful and sweet. The few times I've had him out on the trail he's been great, follows along well, isn't aggressive at all. When he's not being aggressive, he's incredibly sweet. He isn't as bad when I get him out for walks, but I can't do that every single day. He's a yearling, so I hope he may outgrow it, but it doesn't look like it's a phase. If I didn't need him as a companion for my buck, he'd be out of here by now. If I have any bucklings I like born next spring, and he hasn't straightened up, he's going to have to go. Is there anything I haven't tried? Anyone have any stories of goats that were a huge PITA and worked out? I really want to make this work if I can, he's my baby, but it's so frustrating.
Don't feel like the lone ranger, this has happened quite frequently with wethers. Goats have a pecking order and sometimes when a young wether has not been put in his place by other goats higher in the pecking order they may decide that you need to be behind them in this pecking order. The secret is not violence towards them but calm, quick, decisive action at the exact time the dominant behavior is exerted. Tossing will work very well, if done correctly and done immediately, the first time this behavior is shown. My guess is that you tried numerous other things before you eventually "Tossed" him and, like most others who have tried tossing, you let him up way to soon. Get him on the ground immediately, all four legs straight up, horns in the dirt (if he has horns) and talking calmly to him hold him in this position for a minimum of 20 minutes and 30 would be even better. Do this "EVERY" time he shows "ANY" human this behavior. Normally just one or two times is all that is required if it is done the first time this behavior is shone and the procedure is done the right way, 20 to 30 minutes minimum, legs straight up, absolutely no screaming, yelling or hitting ever.
He will not grow out of this, it will only get worse if not addressed correctly, but it is "Totally" fixable, don't throw him away over this. It sounds like other than this repairable, dominant behavior, you have a good relationship with him. Fix him, it'll be worth it !
When he first started acting out, that's what I did. I'd get him down for 10-15 minutes until he started throwing a fit again for a second time, then go longer until he gave up for real. I'd still do that now, but he's as big as me and I'm not incredibly strong or anything. I tried that about a week ago again, and there was no way I could get him down, he's so big. I'll keep at it, I know he'll be great if we can get past this!
Get some help. Don't take him out unless you have your help close to you. Don't let him continue this behavior without being corrected.
From the side, reach between his legs and grab both legs on the other side just above the du-claws, jerk them hard upwards and toward you while pushing his body away from you with your head. Flip him upside down and quickly let go of his hind leg and grab the other front leg. While kneeling by his shoulders hold both his front legs at the half way point being careful of his flailing rear hooves. Leave him down for 30 minutes, trading off with your help when you get tired. Time the 30 minutes. Remain calm at all times. As most others have done, your first attempts at tossing were not long enough, so now you may need to go to extremes. My first attempt at tossing (many years ago) ended up the same way, with me tossing "Louis" over a dozen times because I was letting him up WAAAY to soon. "Louis" eventually turned out to be one of the best Packgoats I ever had. It was never Louis's fault, he was just behaving naturally. It was always my fault for not completing the lesson.
One thing to keep in mind when you are holding him down. Do not stop at the 1/2 hour mark if he is struggling or complaining. Keep him down until he is relaxed and given in. If he is relaxed and then starts to struggle just before you let him up, keep him down until he gives in again. The whole idea behind that is teaching him that YOU are going to tell him when he can get up, not HIM.
Emma, I also had a hard time flipping my big goat, Cuzco, when he started acting aggressive toward people. Maybe I was doing it wrong, or maybe our goat was too old when we started, but it never seemed to leave a permanent impression on him. Once I'd flipped him a couple of times, he knew the trick and he wouldn't let me reach under him any more. I also had problems with him falling asleep after 5-10 minutes so I feel that the lesson was kind of lost on him. Furthermore, at least for our goat, it didn't seem to translate to other people, and I can't exactly tell my friends, family, and their kids how to flip my goat!

So I gave up on the flipping thing and bought a shock collar. It wasn't cheap (about $150 for a good one), but it was worth every penny, and I see it as an investment. I figure this shock collar will be good for training many an "attitude goat" in the future. Judicious use of the zapper combined with treats and petting for good behavior have made our goat much nicer to be around. I don't often have to use it now unless we're hiking with other people (especially kids), and the squirt gun is usually sufficient these days because he's learned that when we tell him to get back, we mean business. He's still grouchy and he'll never be cuddly, but at least he's manageable now and no longer a menace.
I find a hard slap on the end of the nose works very well. Thats a goats most tender spot. A shock collar is also another, but spendy option.
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