A Detour from the Goat Diaries

I Have a Goat Herd
The goats are here!  They arrived mid-day yesterday.  We were a long way from being done building their “Goat Palace”.  We still had four panels to put up on the roof, the interior fencing to finish and three gates to build.  So the goats went into a stall.  I was originally thinking we would put them into the arena, but the consensus was they might be too hard to catch in such a large space.
They traveled in the back of her covered pick-up truck.  It was a very different arrival from the one I described in the Goat Diaries.  When E and P arrived back in July, they were huddled together against the back of the cab.  The Sister had to climb into the truck to bring them out.  Not today.  When she opened up the back of the pick-up, the goats crowded forward to greet us.

There were five goats in all.  That was a surprise for Marla.  Sister Mary Elizabeth had asked me if I could manage a third yearling.  I thought Marla would enjoy having a training project of her own.  As a thank you for all the help she’s given me building the goat palace, I said yes, by all means bring him along as well.  We have plenty of room for them all in the goat palace.  (I’m not sure about time!  I’m glad I got a jump start on the clicker introductions with E and P.)

The little one Marla will be working with is Sir Galahad.  He’s snowy white with the softest, most luxurious fur and such a very sweet face.  He is leased by a child who loves him, so he will be going back in the spring to be part of the summer 4-H program.  He is very friendly.  That puts us way ahead in the training.  He stayed right by the tail gate, enjoying a head scratch from both of us.  It is so interesting always the differences between individuals.  Initially, E and P froze when I pet them.  They stayed under my hand, but it was a long time before they showed any outward signs of enjoyment.  Galahad was clearly well versed in the pleasures of having your head scratched.  His response was very reinforcing and very cat like.  All the places cats most like to be rubbed and scratched seem to be what goats like best as well.

The two ladies are black goats.  They have blankets on to keep their fur clean so I haven’t seen them “undressed” to see how much brown they have in their coats.  Both ladies came right up to the tailgate.  They were very interested in the hay stretcher pellets I offered them.  Again, there’s a difference.  E and P wouldn’t take anything from me until the pretzels and peanuts arrived.  These ladies weren’t at all fussy about what I was offering them.

Thanzi (I hope I have the spelling right) was introduced first.  She’s a grand champion which means she produces top class cashmere.  I am looking forward to feeling her coat!  She was also described as an alpha in the herd.  She is very bold.  She’s not worried at all by the world at large.  But she does pull like a freight train so she can be difficult to handle.  She weighs about 120 pounds so when she wants to drag you on the end of a lead, she can.

Trixie (her barn name – I don’t yet have the spelling of her formal name) is a spotted goat.  Apparently, spotted goats are not favored by the cashmere producers.  It makes it harder to sort their fiber, but the Sister feels that it is important to maintain the spotted genetics in her herd, so she is very much looking forward to seeing the babies Trixie produces.  She’ll be easy to tell apart from Thanzi because she has a large white spot on her forehead.  I like having goats that are so easy to tell apart.  Trixie is a very different personality from Thanzi.  She’s much more nervous.  While we were talking, she started to shake. The shaking gradually stopped, but she was still clearly feeling very nervous.

And then there were the two boys, E and P, back again.  They were stuck behind the two ladies.  If they had been by themselves, I don’t know if they would have come forward, or not. Thanzi had very strategically placed herself so they would have had to be very brave indeed to push past her.

I got a stall ready for them. I love the versatility of the barn.  Normally, Fengur and Robin use two stalls as pass-throughs, but I could close off one, move the hay bag into the barn aisle and create a space for the goats without imposing at all on the horses.

So we were ready.  Since Galahad and the ladies were up by the tail gate, it was easy to put leads on them.  We opened the tail gate.  Galahad was the first down, lured easily by the offer of hay stretcher pellets.  The ladies jumped down following the same invitation for treats.  We left E and P in the pick up and pointed the goats in the direction of the barn.  They do indeed pull!

We got them safely into their stall, then went back for E and P.  They were more wary.  I held out my hand, and clicked when they looked at me.  They came forward to get a treat, and I was able to attach leads to their collars.  They jumped down, as well, following my hand held out as a target.  They did a fair bit of pulling down the barn aisle, so they will need a refresher course in leading.  In training you never erase old learnings.  They will always know how to pull.  Hopefully, they will also remember how to walk beside me with slack in the lead.

We gave the goats more hay, watched them for a few minutes and then went back to our construction project.  We finished the roof!  Hurray!  And just in time, too, because it rained last night, and today we have high wind warnings.  Our roof will get it’s first test.

We made progress on the interior fencing.  We have a couple more gates to build, and some other details to finish, but the end is in sight.  What pleases me the most is how we have been able to use up so much of the left overs from the original barn construction.  It is very satisfying to be able to put to good use all these miscellaneous things that have been so very much in the way.  It gives the goat palace a very “home made” look, but hopefully people will just think that it adds to it’s charm.

At the end of the evening, after all the barn chores were done, I sat with the goats.  I set my chair just inside the door.  The two ladies stayed away.  P watched from a distance as well.  But Galahad came right over and tried to raid my pockets.  He knew I had treats in them, and he was determined to get to them!  While he was busy trying to figure out how to get to my well protected pockets, E stood in front of me and enjoyed a head scratch.  There was zero mugging from him.  I distracted Galahad as best I could by scratching his head.  He finally gave up trying to get to my pockets and enjoyed the attention instead.

I left to pass out the mashes to the horses.  When I looked in on them a few minutes later, the three boys were all in a huddle in one corner of the stall and the ladies were standing apart from one another eating hay.  I checked them again just before lights out.  E and P were curled up together all in a heap.  Galahad was already asleep off by himself, and the ladies were lying down apart from one another.  When I looked in on them just after 5 this morning, they were all in the same spots.

It’s now getting light enough to do barn chores so time to post this and get on with the construction.

The Goats Are Coming Back!

I’m interrupting the Goat Diaries to bring you an exciting message.  The Goats are coming back!  E and P were with me for just twelve days in July.  During that time, they generated enough material to fill a book.  As you know, I’ve turned that into the Goat Diary posts.  The goats brought good learning and lots of laughter.  I’ve missed having them in the barn, so I asked to have them back.

E and P are coming.  They are going to be joined by two pregnant nanny goats so next March I will have the pleasure of intorducing their babies to the world via clicker training.  What fun!

One of my coaches, Marla Foreman has been staying with me this past year.  Her mare, Maggie, is now one of the residents in the barn.  The two of us have been putting in long days building the “goat palace”.  There’s a seventy foot overhang down one side of the barn.  It’s been a fairly useless space.  Originally, I intended to use it for guest horses, but in the summer it gets too hot.  And in the winter, the snow coming off the roof blocks access to it.  We store the lawn mower and the snow blower out there, plus the left overs from the original construction, but beyond that it isn’t used.  So there were two main goals for the building project.  The first was to use up all of the construction left overs, and the other was to create living quarters for the goats.

We’ve turned the lean-to into a glorious space by extending the roof out another nine feet.  It’s been a fun project.  I never imagined that I would be up on scaffolding building rafters, or as we were yesterday, putting on metal roofing panels.

IMG_3871 AK on scaffolding of goat palaceSince it is one of my projects, there are many creative twists to the construction.  If you can put aside “the book” whether its for training or building, to look for alternative solutions, you can be pretty certain that’s what I’ll do.  We have lots of very expensive and very necessary drainage running under what is now the goatery.  I didn’t want to risk damaging the the drainage by digging post holes.  That’s always been the stumbling block to finishing this section of the barn.  How could I extend the roof without digging holes for the supporting posts?  With the goats acting as an incentive, I finally came up with a solution.  This is what I love best about building things. Whether it is a construction project or a training program, the problem solving is the most fun.

Marla and I did a lot of creative problem solving as we figured out how to build a roof. We had the existing lean-to to follow as a guide, but then there were the Kurland creative twists to figure out.  The goats are coming tomorrow, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do.  There are several more puzzles to solve before we’ll be ready to welcome them, and then there will be all the puzzles they present.  It’s going to be a fun winter!

Goat Diaries: Clicker Training Day 2 – Quick Learners!

Please Note: If you are new to the Goat Diaries, these are a series of articles that are best read in order.  The first installment was posted on Oct. 2nd.  I suggest you begin there: https://theclickercenterblog.com/2017/10/02/

Protective Contact
I talk a lot about protective contact. I like to begin with a barrier between the animal learner and the handler.  The more I worked with the goats, the more I appreciated just how important beginning in this way can be.  Now I am sure there are many who will read this with eyes rolling. These are baby goats! Are you so afraid of them that you need a barrier?

There are times with certain individuals where the answer would be: “Yes, absolutely I’m afraid of this animal – and so should you be.  Whether it’s a tiny terrier, or a giant horse, this individual has demonstrated that he will defend himself.   While we’re working out our relationship, I’ll keep myself safe by working behind a barrier.

aries protective contact.png

In this case it’s the human who is on the inside of the round pen panels. The horse is free to leave.  What he’s chosen is to stay and interact.  What he can’t do is charge his person which was the behavior he was showing earlier.

Safety can also work the other way.  It’s the animal who is afraid of us. The barrier means the handler can’t get any closer. The animal can choose when he feels comfortable enough to approach, and he can also retreat any time he needs to. That freedom of choice builds confidence. The barrier may feel restricting to the handler. We want to be in with our animals, actively doing things with them, but in the long run beginning with a barrier can help build the truly connected relationship we are looking for.

Barriers aren’t just about safety. They also limit options which means that your learner isn’t practicing behaviors you don’t want. If I don’t want mugging behavior to become woven into the matrix of these early lessons, the barrier can help. I can just step back out of range so my horse can’t reach my pockets, or my dog (or goat) can’t jump up on me.

When these unwanted behaviors aren’t present, it’s so much easier to find and reinforce behavior that works well for both of us. I’m not punishing the behaviors I don’t like. I am simply arranging the training environment so it’s easier for my animal learners to offer behaviors I like.

With the goats I didn’t have a set up that let me begin with protective contact. So instead I borrowed again from the horses and used the treat delivery to help create some spatial separation.

8 am 2nd session

At 8 am I  gave the goats hay in their stall. P left to come to me, so I had him follow the target into the outside pen. E wanted to come, but I managed to close the door before he could join us. P was very eager. I was holding a cup of grain and peanuts in my hand. I wanted to keep their treats separate from the horses’ so the cup seemed the best option.

The first session or two of clicker training can seem so easy, especially with a nervous learner. He’s just beginning to figure out that treats are involved, but he’s still a little worried about approaching too close so mugging behavior is manageable. But give him time to think, and this is what he may come up with: Why bother with the target. Why not just go straight for the treats?

This was clearly what P had concluded. He kept jumping up on me. I could deflect him easily, but hmm. This was decidedly not what I wanted. If my set up had allowed, I would have gone to protective contact to keep him from practicing this behavior. Instead I borrowed another technique from the horses. I followed the mantra: “Click for behavior. Feed where the perfect horse (or goat) would be.” The perfect goat would most definitely not be jumping up to get his treat. When I clicked, I fed him so he had to take a step or two back.

Goat diaries Day 2 P jumping up.png

This is obviously NOT behavior I want.

Goat diaries Day 2 P being fed so he backs up.png

To help create some space between us, I fed him so he had to take a step or two back to get to his treat. Note: I am NOT pushing him back.  I simply imagine that there is a bucket sitting where I want to deliver the treat.  He moves with me and shifts out of my way just as he would if there actually were a bucket I needed to get to.  If you don’t yet have the feel of this kind of treat delivery, begin with an actual bucket.  When you can smoothly deliver treats to the bucket and your animal moves out of your way to let you get to it, you’re ready to shift to imaginary buckets.  Teaching your animal learner that he may have to move his feet to get to his treat opens up many more possibilities for shaping behavior.  The food delivery becomes a much more active part of the training.

You never know what you have taught. You only know what you have presented.

That is something I say often in clinics. As I deflected the jumping, I was thinking about that.  I was looking for something I wanted to reinforce. I didn’t want him practicing this behavior, and I most certainly did not want to chain it into something else that I did want. P was too fast a learner for that. I could see him figuring out the following sequence: jump up, then look at the target and voila – this human feeds you peanuts! Not good.

When I did click, I fed P so he had to back up away from the cup of treats. Definitely it was going to be interesting to see what he did in the next session. What learning was taking place in that clever head?

When I stopped with him, I dropped some treats on the ground. It was a bit of a struggle to get him to find them. He was orienting to my fingers, not moving to the treats. I finally just stood up, and that’s when he started eating the dropped treats.  That bought me the time I needed to slip back into the stall so I could work with E.

Little E was a perfect gentleman, especially compared with P. He followed the target pretty well, and backed up gently for his treat. It was overall a very pleasant session. On the previous day when I worked them together, I was seeing a lot of head butting between them.  Frustration and resource guarding was creating a problem.

Before P jumped over the dutch door and showed me that they could be separated, my plan had been to teach them to stand on platforms. With each goat on his own platform, I would be able to bring some order to our training.  Now that I could separate them, I could put that strategy on the back burner.

Goat diaries day 2 E getting his treat.png

E moves back to get his treat.  He was a perfect gentleman in this session.

Coming Next:  Day 2 – These Goats Are Smart!

Please Note: If you are new to the Goat Diaries, these are a series of articles that are best read in order.  The first installment was posted on Oct. 2nd.  I suggest you begin there: https://theclickercenterblog.com/2017/10/02/

 

 

 

Goat Diaries: Day 1 Continued – Lessons From Panda

Please Note: If you are new to the Goat Diaries, these are a series of articles that are best read in order.  The first installment was posted on Oct. 2nd.  I suggest you begin there: https://theclickercenterblog.com/2017/10/02/

p5_TrainerAlexandraKurlandPandaWithLittleBoys AtPostOfficeDelmarNYNeilSoderstrom.jpgThese goats were not the first dog-sized herbivore I have worked with. Panda, the miniature horse I trained to be a guide for the blind, has that honor. I was quickly discovering that the principles and lessons I had used in her training were going to apply very much to these goats. They may be very different species, but their training needs were similar. The rules I set myself for Panda very much applied to the goats.

One of the primary rules was a core training principle:

You can’t ask for and expect to get something on a consistent basis unless you have gone through a teaching process to teach it to your horse.

That meant I couldn’t ask Panda for anything that I had not taught her. If I wanted her to stand still while I talked to my neighbors, I had to first teach her what I wanted her TO DO. I couldn’t expect her to just know how to be patient. And she had to learn to be very patient because people were bubbling with curiosity when they saw me walking a miniature horse around my suburban neighborhood.

Panda at curb in neighborhood.png

Panda at 10 months out for a walk around the neighborhood – fall 2001.  I am reinforcing her for stopping at the curb after crossing the street.

I also had to be consistent. I kept in mind a phrase I had learned from John Lyons many years ago: “The horse doesn’t know when it doesn’t count, so it always has to count.” Panda’s blind owner would never be able to see a curb crossing, or a root sticking up through a sidewalk. If I wanted Panda to be consistent in her guide work, I needed to be 100% consistent in her training.

These two training rules served me well when I took them to the goats.

Panda napping goats nappingSession 7: 4 pm
I took the chair back in and set it in the middle of the stall. Both goats were eager for food, so eager in fact they were practically in my lap. I decided to work on “grown-ups” to get a feel for how that would work with them.  Grown-ups is short for a lesson I refer to as “the grown-ups are talking, please don’t interrupt.”  Grown-ups means the goat (or horse) stands beside me in his own space. Ideally he is looking straight ahead so his nose is well away from my treat pockets.

Sitting as I was in a chair, I was thinking about Panda. One of the early behaviors I worked on with her was this one of having her position herself beside my chair.  In fact, my second book, “The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures” was written while I was teaching Panda to stand next to me while I worked on the computer.  It was the start of teaching her a base position out of which so much of her guide work evolved.

Panda guiding - great walk.JPG

Panda as a working guide

Panda is tiny. At nine months of age when her training started, she weighed about 120 pounds. I could easily have pushed her into any position I wanted, but that would have broken one of the rules I had set for her training. It’s worth repeating that my primary rule was I could not ask her for anything that I had not first introduced to her through a teaching process. If I hadn’t taught her how to stand next to my chair, I couldn’t ask her to do so and expect her to be successful.

Connected to this rule, I could not physically move her around. It was always up to Panda to move her own body in response to my request. If she was standing with her hind end swung too far out away from my chair, I could not push her back into position.

With small animals that’s so easy to do. We can push, pull, and drag them around. We can even pick them up and carry them.  Who needs training when you can do that!

With ponies that is so often why they get such awful reputations for being stubborn and for “misbehaving”.  They may not get picked up like a baby goat, but they certainly get pushed and shoved around.  They aren’t really being taught what is wanted.  While they are still too small to put up much of a fuss, they are just pushed around. It’s easy. It’s quick. It gets the job done, but it leaves behind negative fallout.

With Panda if I wanted her to move her hip over, I could put my hand on her hind end. I could indicate a direction I’d like her to move, but I had to stop at that point of contact and wait. Another wonderful phrase for the point of contact is point of attention. I would wait there for Panda to notice my hand and then make a response.

When she shifted her weight even the tiniest bit, I would take my hand away as I clicked. The click was always followed by a treat. Pushing her over would have been faster in the moment. Waiting took more focus, but the results were well worth the wait.

Panda has been working as a guide for over fourteen years.  Following these rules in the foundation of her work helped build this long-term durability in her work.

Panda walk 1.1.17  cross delaware.png

Winter 2017

I was following the same rules with the goats. They were so much smaller than Panda. E probably weighed only about thirty or forty pounds. I could easily have picked him up, moved him around any way I wanted. That would get him from point A to point B. It would be easy – this time. But the more I followed that path, the less he would want to have anything to do with me. He might approach me because I had peanuts, but the minute my pockets were empty, he’d be off. That wasn’t enough. That wasn’t the relationship I wanted to build.

P was the first one to come over to visit. He came around the right side of my chair and got lots of clicks and treats for staying by my side. E was still eating hay which made it easier to focus just on P.  When E joined us, it was harder to separate out who was getting clicked for what. We were very much where you would expect to be at this stage – eager chaos with some order beginning to appear.

I kept this session short. Better to do a little and then leave to think about what to do next next than to stay and let their eagerness turn into unwanted behaviors.

(Note: each of these sessions were only about five or six minutes total.)

Session 8: 8 pm
For their final session for the day I went in without treats and set my chair down near their hay pile. They were comfortable enough with me to continue eating. I reached out and stroked their backs. They didn’t run away but they stopped eating. Curious.

I haven’t worked with goats enough to know what – if any – stroking, scratching, rubbing they enjoy. Are they like llamas who really don’t want the contact? Or are they more like horses who enjoy a good social grooming? I scratched the base of E’s ears. He stopped eating, but he stayed.

His body was tight. He showed no outward signs of enjoyment. His lips weren’t wiggling the way a horse’s would. His eyes weren’t getting dreamy. But he was staying. I scratched some more around his ears and the back of his neck. P crowded in so I switched to him. As soon as my hand left him, E went back to eating.  As I scratched P, he also froze.   When I stopped scratching, he put his head down and began eating hay. Scratch – the eating stopped. Interesting.

I sat with them for about half and hour and then left them for the night.

Goat Diaries Day 2 Cuddle Time

Evening “cuddle” time.

Coming Next: Day 2: Quick Learners

Please Note: If you are new to the Goat Diaries, these are a series of articles that are best read in order.  The first installment was posted on Oct. 2nd.  I suggest you begin there: https://theclickercenterblog.com/2017/10/02/

And to learn more about clicker training visit my web site: theclickercenter.com

Goat Diaries – Day 1 Continued: Cups of Tea

Please Note: if you are new to the Goat Diaries, these are a series of articles that are best read in order.  The first installment was posted on Oct. 2nd.  I suggest you begin there: https://theclickercenterblog.com/2017/10/02/

Collecting Data

tea cupI frequently tell people that it’s time to put their horse away and go have a cup of tea.  Yes, we want to spend time with our animals, but in these initial forays into clicker training less is often better.

When I’m coaching horse owners, I have them count out twenty treats.  When they begin their sessions, that’s all they have in their pockets. That forces them to step away from their horses to refill their pockets.  They can go right back to their horses after they have replenished their twenty treats, but that brief break in the training gives them time to think and adjust.  I was doing a lot of adjusting as I introduced myself and clicker training to these goats.

In all I did eight sessions on this first day.  That may sound like a lot, but they were each just a few minutes long, and they were spread out throughout the day.

Session 5: 1 pm

I tried working from the outside of the stall. The goats were interested in the target, but it was too hard to deliver the treat, so I kept this session short.  My stalls are perfect for starting horses with the clicker.  I designed them with that in mind.  I wasn’t thinking about goats.

Targeting over the stall wall was worth the experiment if only to show me that wasn’t going to work.  I would have preferred separating them and working them one at a time, but I thought that might really stress them.  The compromise was a less than ideal set up.

So many of the people who have their horses at home are in the same boat. They have a paddock with a run-in shed that’s shared by three horses. Chaos! At least the goats were little so we could all three tolerate a bit of chaos.

In this respect they were more like dogs than horses. Size does make a difference.  People are much more casual getting dogs started with clicker training than I am with horses.  Just imagine trying to work with goats that weighed in at a thousand pounds each! It’s challenging enough at times with horses, but remember goats have horns, and they can jump and wiggle in ways a horse simply can’t.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Just because I could manage two goats at once didn’t make it ideal.

I wanted to step away from the goats and think some more about how best to work with them. These short sessions let me test the waters. I was giving things a try, seeing what worked and what didn’t, and then I was stepping away to think about how to do it better.  Goat or horse, this would be the pattern.  Always it is the animals who show you what they need to work on and what you need to change to make things better for each individual.

Session 6: 3 pm:

In my previous sessions I had sat in a chair and let the goats come to me.  This gave them a sense of safety.  As long as I was sitting in the chair, it was clear I wasn’t going to try to corner them in the stall and grab them.  But now that they were eagerly coming up to me to get peanuts, it was time to make a change.  I wanted to be able to move around more, so this time I went in without the chair.  My plan was to see if they would begin to follow the target.

When I went in, they were both eating hay out of the bucket. I was struggling to remember their names  – Sir Elyan and Sir Peleus, so I simply referred to them as E (the little one with the long hair) and P.

E and P are easy to tell apart. P is the larger goat with short guard hairs (on the left).  E is much smaller, and he has long hair (on the right). I was quickly discovering that they were as different in their personalities as they were in their physical appearance.

goats in stall Day 1

“P” is on the left.  “E” on the right.

As soon as I stepped through the door, P left the hay and began to follow the target. He stayed in the game. E joined us when he realized P was getting treats. P seemed to be making connections fast. It was clear he was beginning to understand the game. Little E was too busy butting in (literally) to get his brother’s treats to notice what was going on.

I began testing the waters a bit more in this session. They were definitely eager for treats. If they had been horses, I most certainly would have wanted some kind of barrier between us. That much eagerness in a thousand pound body can quickly become overwhelming.

I didn’t want to punish them for being eager, but I did need them to understand that while treats might come from my pockets, I was not an open salad bar.  You have to wait for your “dinner plate” to be brought to you.  With horses I would begin delivering the treat so the horse had to take a step or two back to get to it.  The best set up for teaching this is to have the horse in a stall with a stall guard across the door.

Robin targeting in stall

A great set up for introducing a horse to clicker training.

The horse reaches forward to touch a target, and then the treat is delivered so he has to take a step back. It’s such an easy way to introduce a horse to the idea of backing out of your space. The mantra is feed where the perfect horse would be. In this case the perfect horse takes a step back to get his treat.

Robin backing for food delivery

Backing to get the treat

Backing is one of six foundation lessons that I teach in the initial set up of clicker training.  These foundation behaviors become the ones a horse will offer if he’s feeling unsure. If something frightens him, much better that he backs up out of your space than that he runs over the top of you.

I was pretty sure there would be times when I’d want the perfect goat to be moving out of my space. I certainly didn’t want them crowding into me, so after I clicked, I extended my arm well out away from my body.  This kept them from crowding into me for their treats.

Day 1 targeting 3 pm panel 1

E and P were wary of movement. When I shifted towards them, they backed right up. I didn’t want them backing because they were afraid, but at least I knew that feeding them out away from me was going to be easy to get. Data collected.

I also checked out what P’s response was to my holding him by his collar. The answer: head shaking and resistance.

I asked E the same question.  When he felt me take his collar, he dragged forward against the pressure.  I kept a soft but steady feel.  When he softened in response, click, I released his collar and gave him a treat.

Goat diaries Day 1 targeting 3 pm collar panel 1a.pngI knew from the way the goats had sled-dogged their way into the barn the day they arrived that leading was a high priority, but it was also going to need a lot of work. This just confirmed it. The goats were used to being grabbed, but they didn’t know how to release to pressure.  The data I collected told me this was a lesson that would have to wait.

Before we could work directly on leading, I needed to teach them the underlying skills that would make this a fair and successful lesson. Approaching the leading directly would result in a train wreck. A better way is to come at a training goal indirectly and with lots of small steps.

Big step stool, little step stools.png

Good training breaks new tasks down into many small steps.

Coming Next: The Goat Diaries: Clicker Training Begins – Day 1 – Session #7: Lessons From Panda

Please Note: if you are new to the Goat Diaries, these are a series of articles that are best read in order.  The first installment was posted on Oct. 2nd.  I suggest you begin there: https://theclickercenterblog.com/2017/10/02/