Goats can be very affectionate and are capable of developing strong bonds with their humans. If you’ve formed a strong bond with your goats, you might find yourself wanting to spend more time with them. One option that you can consider is potty training your goat to enter your house throughout the day.
But first and foremost, goats prefer to be outside because they need ample space to walk around and explore. Most goat experts agree that adequate barn space for goats is 25 square feet per goat, and they’ll also need plenty of additional outdoor space to exercise. However, if you want to spend more time with your goat, especially during colder weather, you can try potty training your goat.
Follow our Step-By-Step Guide to help your goat become house trained so that you can enjoy their company in the house.
Can Goats Be House Trained?
House-trained goats are going to look different from house-trained dogs. While dogs can live entirely indoors with you, goats need a lot more space. So, it’s not best for them to live at home with you as a dog would. However, you can potty train them so that they can enter your house for a short amount of time without making too much of a mess.
Potty training a goat is a fairly straightforward process. However, it can take a long time for goats to get the hang of it. It’s going to require a lot of patience, but it’s possible. Here are some steps that you can take to help your goat learn to be potty trained.
Before You Start
Keep in mind that goats that get spayed or neutered have a better chance of becoming housetrained. This is because goats leave traces of their scent with their urine to attract the opposite sex.
Also, certain types of goats do better as house pets. Small breeds such as the pygmy goat and Nigerian dwarf goat can acclimate well to entering a house. Larger common breeds like the Alpine goat, Saanen, and Nubian goat don’t typically make good house pets and won’t take to house training very easily.
Another thing to keep in mind is that goats can learn to urinate outside, but they don’t have very good control of their poop. Therefore, they won’t learn how to poop outside. So, if you don’t want droppings in the house, you can try putting a diaper on your goat.
If you’re fine with these initial considerations, you’re ready to start potty training your goat.
The 5 Methods for Potty Training a Goat
1. Greet Your Goat As Soon As It Wakes Up
Begin your potty training outside at the goat’s pen. Goats tend to relieve themselves right after they wake up and shortly after they finish eating. Therefore, you want to catch them at these moments.
Start by taking note of your goat’s sleep schedule. Goats typically sleep about 5 hours a night and take multiple naps throughout the day.
Once you get a general sense of your goat’s sleep patterns, start approaching them at times when they’re about to wake up. Once they wake up from their sleep, lead them to a specific area you want to establish as a potty area. Make sure that this area is far from their barn or shelter.
Remember to be gentle and slow with your approach to avoid having your goat run away or think you want to play. You can also fence off an area and keep your goat within these boundaries so they don’t run off to another location until after they relieve themselves.
Since it’s difficult to catch your goat waking up every single time, it’s okay if you miss a couple of nap times. Just try to greet them as many times as you can throughout the day.
2. Take Your Goat Outside Right After It Finishes Drinking
If you’re raising a kid, you can help with potty training through the routine of bottle feeding. Once they finish drinking from a bottle, they’ll have to urinate within the next several minutes. Lead your goat to an appropriate spot to relieve themselves and wait until they go.
3. Reward Your Goats With Treats
Once your goat relieves itself, make sure to reward it. Give a tasty treat to associate the command with a positive reward. You can also say encouraging things like “good boy” to help them connect words or a phrase with a treat. This vocal cue can help goats understand more quickly that going to the bathroom in the designated spot results in a positive experience.
After you reward your goat, immediately direct them into the house. This action helps them to connect that going to the bathroom outside leads to spending time indoors. Establishing a routine will help your goats learn potty training more quickly.
4. Gradually Increase Indoor Times
It’s best to act preemptively and preventatively. Therefore, you don’t want to give your goat a chance to pee in the house.
Start by letting your goat stay indoors for about 15–20 minutes. Make the indoor area a positive experience by allowing your goat to safely explore the space and giving them their favorite treats. You can also play games with them or give them extra pets while they’re inside.
Once your goat can stay indoors for about 15 minutes at a time without urinating, you can start to increase the amount of time to 30 minutes. Once your goat successfully remains in your home without urinating for 30 minutes, increase the increments to 45 minutes and then an hour.
As you teach your goat to pee in certain areas and increase their time indoors, it’ll eventually pick up on the rules you’re trying to establish. Over time, your goats will learn to go outside whenever they have to urinate.
5. The Litter Box Method
One method that can help your goat learn potty training faster is to use the litter box method. You can create a goat-sized litter box by gathering urine-soaked hay in a raised box.
If your goat pees far from the litter box, you can scoop the soaked hay into the litter box. Eventually, the scent can help your goats to start urinating in the same area. Just keep in mind that this method will cause a strong odor. So, it’s important to position the litter box at a distance from your goat’s shelter and regularly clean out the litter box.
The 3 Other Challenges With Potty Training a Goat
Potty training a goat is a challenge in itself. Therefore, before you commit to teaching your goat to become potty trained, there are some other things to consider.
1. Goats Chew Everything
Goats are curious animals, and they like to explore everything. One of the ways they explore is by chewing and tasting things.
Once your goat is inside your house, it’ll find many things to chew on, such as clothing and furniture. Goat owners should never leave their goats in their homes unsupervised. There are too many dangerous items that goats can discover and consume, such as power cords and cleaning supplies.
Related Read: What Do Goats Eat in the Wild and as Pets?
2. Goats Can Damage Floors and Furniture
Even if goats don’t chew something, they can still cause damage with their hooves and horns. Goat hooves are strong and durable, so you can expect to start seeing scratches and dents on your wood flooring and tiles. It’s also common to see scuffs on carpeted floors.
Larger goats may not be aware of their size and strength, so they can accidentally bump into furniture and knock things over.
3. Goat-Proofing Your House
Because of the potential damage your goat can cause and the dangers it can get into, it’s important to goat-proof your home. Since it’s nearly impossible to perfectly goat-proof your whole house, it’s best to allow your goat to access designated areas of the house.
Make sure to remove any power cords and electronics from these areas. Remove any harmful liquids, like cleaning products and insect sprays. These areas should also have a minimal amount of furniture or furniture that you don’t mind getting scuffed.
It’s very possible to potty train your goat, but it comes with some caveats. First, your goat will only learn to urinate outside and won’t be able to control when they poop. Also, you’ll have to goat-proof parts of your home so that your goat has designated safe places to occupy. Keep in mind that goats don’t do the best living indoors for the majority of the day. Therefore, going indoors should be a treat for them to enjoy for some parts of the day.
Overall, it’s a fun and rewarding experience to have your goat in your home with you, and it can further strengthen your bond with your goat. If you think you’re ready to tackle the challenge of potty training a goat, always remember that patience is key. Focus on the successes rather than the mishaps.
Eventually, your goat will learn to be potty trained, so just be consistent with your training. Before you know it, both you and your goat will feel a tremendous and well-deserved sense of accomplishment once you’re able to enjoy spending time indoors together.
- Another interesting goat article: How To Control Goat Odor (5 Tips & Ideas)
Featured Image Credit: Barilo_Picture, Shutterstock