Can Goats REALLY Be House Trained (A Guide)

Goats are kept for a variety of reasons, and some people like to keep them around as pets! But there’s still one major roadblock that many people wonder about when they want to keep goats; Can they be potty-trained?

Goats are intelligent and can be trained to pee and poop in specific areas. Owners can encourage this behavior by using consistent command words and creating a specified bathroom area. There are many complications that come with trying to keep goats indoors, but they can be house-trained.

These animals are smart, funny, and pretty cute. It’s understandable why some people want to keep them as indoor pets, but there are several hurdles that are difficult to overcome. For now, we’ll focus on how to potty-train your goats with this guide. There are a few tips and tricks included as well!

House Training Goats

It’s a good idea for goats to be potty trained, even if they won’t be living in your home. If they have a specific place to use the bathroom, it will be easier to keep the rest of the barn clean. You’ll also be able to create an environment where it’s harder for diseases and parasites to emerge. Over time, you may even end up saving money on straw, bedding, and cleaning supplies.

Overall, house training just makes everything easier. You may need to put in a few weeks of hard work, but goats are fast learners and will usually be able to pick up new habits pretty quickly. So let’s get started on the process of potty training goats.

1. Watch Your Goats’ Habits

The first thing you need to do when you want to start potty training is to observe your goats’ behavior. Most goats have a consistent area where they use the bathroom. There may be more than one in their barn or grazing pasture, but goats will usually return to the same area.

Try to mark the areas so that you remember where they all are. You need to work within the existing bounds of your goats’ natural habits. This will make it easier to transition them to potty training.

2. Thoroughly Clean Barn

Once you’ve identified the problem areas that your goats return to, it’s time to start with a clean slate. Remove your goats from the barn and thoroughly clean the area. Start by throwing out the existing straw and bedding, but keep a bit of the smelly straw to use later. Then you should scrub the floors, paying special attention to the main urine areas.

Use a mixture of soap and water to dilute the urine smells. After the area has been scrubbed clean, add a layer of fresh straw to the ground and prepare to set up litter boxes for your goats.

3. Create A Goat Litter Box

When you think of litter boxes, you might think of the small, gravel-filled boxes that indoor cats use. Although goat litter boxes are different, they rely on the same principles. Litter boxes exist to train animals to urinate in a specific area, reduce bad odors, and generally create a cleaner environment.

To build a goat litter box, start by building or buying a short wooden frame. This is similar to a raised garden bed or feeding trough. Make sure the walls are short enough that goats can easily step in and out, but tall enough to hold a few inches of litter material. It also needs to be large enough for them to comfortably stand and turn around. Depending on the size of your goats, this might range from a 4×4 to a 6×6 box.

You may want to create more than one box if you have a large barn, or have multiple areas that your goats return to. Next, place the boxes near the usual area where your goats pee. They will associate this area with using the bathroom, so it’s easier to introduce the idea of the box if it’s in a familiar place.

Finally, fill the box with clean straw. You can also use wood chips or other absorbent materials. Mix in a bit of the urine-soaked straw from before as well. The smell will let them know that this is an area that is safe to regularly urinate in.

4. Use Consistent Punishments And Rewards

Next up is the main training. This will probably be the portion that requires the most work and patience. Your goats will already have existing habits and behaviors that won’t change overnight. But they can learn quickly under the right circumstances, so be prepared to work with them.

To start with, you can pick up your goats or lead them to the litter boxes. Let them explore and sniff it. They may begin to use it on their own, but if they have accidents or pee outside of the box, cover the urine with wood ash. This will absorb the smell and moisture, and goats don’t usually like having it around. It can encourage them to use the box instead of the floor.

If you spot your goat using the litter box, make sure to reward that behavior. Positive words, treats, and head scratches are great ways to promote positive changes. If a goat willfully pees or poops outside of the box, you can try scolding them as well. Don’t make them afraid of you, but let your goats read your negative body language and tone. This can create an association and help them to make changes.

Be sure you use a mix of positive and negative reinforcement, but never use fear to rule your goats!

5. Use Command Words

Goats have a good learning ability and can be trained to follow a number of commands. They can come when they’re called, recognize their names, jump, sit, and perform a variety of other tricks. You can use this skill to your advantage when you’re encouraging house training.

Create a couple of simple command words that your goats will be able to recognize. Some popular choices are “Go pee” or “Go poo.” Keep it short and sweet so your goats can understand! It’s also good to use these words at specific times of the day, such as the morning or evening. They also might respond to it if it comes before feeding time or a trip in the car.

Be consistent in your words and actions, and reward correct behavior.

Tips For House Training

Potty training goats isn’t an exact science. Some goats are more responsive to training than others and some just don’t like to be told what to do! Below are a couple of tips that can help you as you work on developing good habits among your animals.

Start Them Young

Baby goats can’t always control when they pee or poop, so they need a bit more patience. However, it’s easier to start training when your goats are young. They’ll get used to the idea of performing certain behaviors and actions, and will be able to get started early. If you have older goats that are already potty-trained, your little goats can learn from watching them.

Keep the floor clean and help them associate the straw-filled box with using the bathroom. After a couple of weeks, you should see some improvements.

Adapt To The Seasons

Goat litter boxes are handy items, but they can get confusing during winter. Generally, goat owners put more straw in their goats’ barn during winter because they enjoy the added warmth. If there’s straw everywhere, your goats may get confused about where they should go to the bathroom.

Try to scoop urine-soaked straw into the box to help them recognize the proper area. You’ll also want to replace the material more often during the winter to prevent strong odors and disease.

Compost Used Litter Material

It’s never very fun to empty out the litter box of any animal, but you can actually find some use for used goat litter! If you have a compost system or worm bin, you might want to add the urine-soaked straw to that formula.

Goat pellets are great materials for composting, and the used straw is perfect for worm bins. Worms will love it and it’s a great way to reduce your waste. Be sure that you don’t add more than 4 inches of straw to your worm bin at a time though! Using more than that can trap heat and kill your worms.

It’s Not A Perfect Solution

Finally, be aware that potty-training goats isn’t a perfect solution to all your problems. As much as you may love your goats and want to keep them inside, house training does not a pet make. They will still have accidents, drop pellets when you least expect it, damage flooring with their hooves, and get into trouble. Goats can be great pets, but not great indoor pets.

Some goats will also be resistant to potty training, particularly males who are in the habit of spraying urine. They may complicate the process for other goats, so you need to adapt this guide to your herd and their specific needs.

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