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Question

This question is about a tame goat, which is not mine and over which I have no long-term control. The goat wears no sort of halter, but is completely bare. This goat somehow managed to get into a double-door system intended to contain it. I wanted to gently nudge that goat back to where it belongs:

Sketch of situation (top view)

With that goat being as stubborn as, well, a goat, this turned out to be quite a hassle. Luring the goat with food did not work (though it instantly ate it as soon as it could reach it without moving). I eventually succeeded by moving it sideways, but it was still tedious. I thus wonder whether there is a better way. I want to avoid hurting or enraging the goat or myself.

Background

In my son’s favourite zoo, there is a goat-petting area with such a double-door system. Often due to some careless visitors one or more goats get in between the doors. As there often is no staff around and I have nothing better to do, I want to solve this issue myself.

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  • Meta SE question on where to place this question. If you consider this question off-topic, consider whether you would still do so with the last paragraph removed or some made-up story involving somebody’s pet goat and whether you would prefer me jumping through these hoops.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Sep 16 '18 at 17:50
  • 6
    What an excellent image!!
    – Henders
    Sep 16 '18 at 19:52
  • @Henders I feel it misses a handdrawn red circle. As it stands, I have no idea which goat this is about.
    – JAD
    Sep 17 '18 at 6:40
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If the goat isn't used to you, there's no guaranteed way to move it, but you could try sneaky ways:

  • Open the gate! The goat will not want to walk into a corner of the fencing. By opening the gate you risk more goats following, but you show this one the way it should go.
  • Lure it with food (I know you tried that, just listing it for completeness). Since the goats are regularly fed by visitors, your chances are low but not non-existent.
  • Walk side by side. This is very effective with most animals that are used to being led by a halter. You simply walk up closely to the goat from an angle behind, gently (!) pull it by the neck or beard and keep on walking to your destination. Avoid pulling by the horns.
  • Tap its body. You often see this technique when donkeys are used to pull a cart and the driver taps its behind with a stick. Since there are small children around you that love adopting bad habits, forget the stick. Just slightly slap its behind with your bare hand.
  • Block the path forward. That's most effective if the goat is moving, probably does nothing at all if it's standing still and might cause aggressiveness in extreme cases. You simply square your shoulders, spread your arms a little and block the path or move slowly towards the goat. Most animals recognize that as a dominant gesture and retreat (the alpha male might get aggressive). Leave one arms length of space between you and the animal.

Things you should avoid:

  • Don't push from behind. Humans make this mistake over and over again and goats, donkeys and sheep just shift their balance without moving a single hoof forward.
  • Don't pull them by the horns. The horns are their weapons and aren't used for friendly social interactions. Would you follow someone voluntarily who grabs your weapon and pulls you?
  • Don't cause them any pain. Kind of obvious...
  • Don't ignore signs of aggressiveness. If the goat turns to face you directly and lowers its head (pointing its weapons towards you), stop immediately. If the goat takes a few steps back with a lowered head (taking a run-up to head-butt you), leave and close the gate immediately! Warn other visitors and inform the staff. (Again, this is just listed for completeness)
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As a goat owner, and someone who has owned horses and donkeys, the best way (if food does not motivate) is to get behind the animal and wave your arms up and down (like in a "stop" manner if you were on a road and needed someone to stop) while verbally (loudly) commanding the goat to move toward the open gate. Keep your eyes trained on them. This has worked for years for me. Not that the animal understands "move" but they know you are upset and commanding them.

Also what food were you using for enticement? If goat feed doesn't work, then try some super green leafy alfalfa. You might give some to the goats on the other side first so the goat you want to move gets "jealous."

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