Teaching an old dog new tricks

Gel isn’t exactly an old dog, but while milking last night, I figured I’d try to teach him a new trick.

When it’s time to milk, we bring (Gel does most of the work) the goats into the hitching area, tie them up and give them a bit of grain in their feed boxes.  I bring one in to the milk parlor at a time, milk her, then either tie her back out in the hitching area or bring her back into the fenced area.  It’s better if they go back into the fenced area as they tend to get bored being tied out and fuss and make a lot of noise.

The milking parlor and hitching area is about 30 feet from the gate going into the fenced area.  We should turn the gate around so it opens in the opposite direction as right now it sort of blocks the line to the gate into the hitching area.  Beyond the hitching area is the poultry pasture with another gate that is often opened which the goats like to go into to get chicken grain.

Pictures would be good, huh?

Anyway, when I finished milking the first goat, Champagne, I knew she’d go right up into the fenced area (where she knew there was grain that we just fed to the young goats) so I asked Wally to open the gate to the fenced area.  I sent Champagne and she went right in.  Then I positioned Gel at the gate to keep the goats in.  He likes this job almost as much as he likes keeping stock off feed tubs.

Once they finished eating the grain that we put in there, the goats tried him.  Occasionally I had to say his name to get him up to stop a goat that was trying to sneak around him, but in retrospect I think Gel had everything in hand and knew that goat wasn’t going to go any further than where it was at the time.  He’s always had a good amount of presence on stock and when he’s in holding mode, he’s all presence.

When it came time to send out the second goat, I got his attention and flanked him around to pick up the goat I just released and put her up.

The cool thing was that after a while, I saw that Fern was backing Gel up at the gate.  Good girl.  Where was Kessie during all this?  In the fenced in area with the goats … go figure.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing if Gel remembers his new trick this morning.

Until later …