I have finally made it to Day Four of the July Goat Diaries. It’s only the start of Day Four but already the goats have had 14 training sessions, and I’ve learned a lot. One of the main things I’ve learned is that goats are like horses, except that they’re not. On Day Four I continued to build on their platform training by adding in multiple platforms.
I’ve decided to wait though to post this part of the Goat Diaries until after the Thanksgiving Holidays. That may give me time to get some pictures of the current Goat Palace training. I can describe what I am doing, but without pictures you are missing out on how utterly charming these goats are.
Last night I went in intending only to check hay and water, but Elyan and Pellias were looking so eager. I couldn’t resist letting them each have another session out in the storage area. They were super. They had the game down. Go to the platform, wait for the click, go to the food bowl, and then head back to the platform. I do like this kind of training, especially at the end of the day. All I have to do is sit in a chair and toss treats into a food bucket. I’d spent the afternoon emptying one of the composter bays. It’s hard work and I was tired, but I could handle this.
I worked with Pellias first. He was so solid. Yesterday he was still learning to go to the food bowl to get his treats. Last night he had that down. I love the focus of these goats. It was after dark. He was by himself, in a new area. There were night sounds to listen to, but he never lost his focus on the game. It was go to the platform, click, go to the food bowl, then back to the platform.
I’ve been thinking a lot about horse training, but in this game they moved much more like dogs. They have the quickness and flexibility of dogs. Pellias would get his treats and lightning fast he’d back up to get onto the platform. It’s going to be fun to look at the teaching strategies dog trainers have developed. I am working with an animal that is the size of a dog, has the agility of a dog, and loves treats like a dog, so it makes sense to take advantage of what canine clicker trainers have been learning.
Elyan also got a turn. I was especially impressed by him. I was holding a large bowl containing cut up squash. I wanted to use up what was left from the morning sessions, but I didn’t want to mix it in with my horse treats. The horses are telling me they don’t really like squash, but the goats are happy to eat it.
Elyan ignored the bowl! When I clicked, he dashed to the food bucket to get the squash. He ignored the bowl on my lap. He could have been a terrible pest trying to get to the squash that was so openly available in the bowl, but he didn’t try even once. The time I spent in July focusing on good food manners was time well spent. I now have an individual who can focus on the game. He delights in the treats, but his attention is on the activity, not the food. That’s the shift that I worked on in July. Now we can really have fun!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!