a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

Taking the goats for a walk

Quixotic_Goat came over on Friday afternoon. It was such a nice day that we just had to go for a goat-walk. We didn't go very far - just down to the end of the road and back. We took Scout, of course, and I had originally wanted to take Goblin for the other candidate. Because of his extreme extrovertedness, we ended up taking Berry instead. It was a very positive experience for both goats and people, and I need to make sure this is a regular thing for at least the goats.

Both goats have halters and leashes (as opposed to heavier horse-type lines). Scout had a retractable leash, while Berry was on a solid-state, shorter leash to keep him under a bit more control. Scout was enjoying to much wanderlust, so we ended up having to untangle him from Berry more than I would have preferred.

I took a pocketful of treats for specific intervals on the walk. Treats were counted out for the following milestones: halters on, end of the driveway (past all of the other goats and into the Great Unknown!), end of the road (then we took some grazing time), ready to go home again (get their attention), end of the driveway (stop pulling and pay attention to me), halters off.

It was Berry's first time going for a walk, and he was none too sure that this was a good idea. Having Scout along made a world of difference, I'm sure. Scout trotted here and there and stopped to nibble on things. Scout's attitude was contagious, and Berry settled into the idea about halfway down the road.

On the way back to the house, we let Scout go off-lead completely and switched the retractable leash to Berry. This was Scout's first time being set free for walking with us! He did quite possibly the best I could have expected. He led in front of us by about 20 feet, but paused when we paused, and did understand when we called him to stick with us. The best showing that he understood what was going on was when he stayed on the road with us all the way back to the driveway rather than cut through the woods to his pasture as we passed it. He went right past the girls' pasture and back to "his" gate, though at that point he took a hard left and started eating leaves rather than go back inside the field. He came back to me when I called, at which point I gave him his last treat as I hauled him inside the gate and took his halter off of him.

We did not have any challenges on this walk from either dogs or cars, so we will definitely need more practice for both.

Also, because of the season, Scout's green-nibbles were nearly all of mountain laurel, which is poisonous to goats. I had to keep telling him to "leave it" and stomp at him to stop him from eating those bushes. I'll be a lot more comfortable when everything else leafs out.
Tags: angoras, goats

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