Now I’ve seen everything – do these goats just follow you down the trail?
Yes, these goats do and will do so without a leash on. They have been bonded from a young age to follow humans that they recognize as their herd mates.
Hey, my neighbor/son/grandma has goats. Will they follow like that?
Only if the goat recognizes you as a herd mate and is strongly bonded to YOU will the goat follow you without a leash on. This means you either bottle fed it or some how won it over! Following while wearing a leash only happens if you started the goat very young learning to walk on a leash – goats are free spirits and later in life don’t take kindly to being told what to do!
Ah look honey! It’s a goat! That’s so cute…it’s like a dog with horns right?
No, not really. Goats are much more independent than most dogs, making them harder to train to be loyal. They also are prey animals, meaning they can get scared and they need time to adjust to loud/disorienting situations that wouldn’t faze a dog. Like screaming kids running at them.
Can my child pet your goat?
Goats are prey animals. Loud noises/screaming/running can intimidate goats that are not used to children. Goats with horns that perceive themselves as being attacked by loud/screaming children could headbutt. For this reason, no kids pet my goats. Pack goats are not petting zoo goats which are around small kids all the time. They are animals living in an environment where not acting with fight or flight towards a perceived threat will actually get them eaten!
Does your goat headbutt or like attack people? I once got attacked by some goats at a petting zoo!
Don’t confuse working goats with the undisciplined monsters you met at that petting zoo when you were six. Goats are not predators. They are prey. Don’t approach them and they’ll happily stay away from you. The one exception to this is food – if you are openly carrying a handful of goat chow, (as you probably were at the petting zoo), a hungry, undisciplined goat will mug you for it. Most pack goats are too tired or too busy trying to keep up to have time to mug you. And more importantly, what are you doing with a bag of goat chow this far in the back country anyway?