Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #14183

      How do we START training multiple animals? The very first sessions. If there’s no way to get one-on-one. Or do we always have to find a solution to separate them first?

      What do you do if one animal meets the criteria and the other(s) don’t? My first thought is to reinforce that one, but I just have to go to my horses to see that would not be so good, no calm group if one gets what the other wants…


        Hi Katarina,

        Fantastic questions! You start with a start of session signal and added to this is your observation of which animal doesnt let the other ones come in. This individual you reinforce for the others to come. Slowly you work your way to start of session signal means everybody comes to the same place if thats your criteria. From there you can start working separations, stations etc.

        Start by coming closer to them and reinforce for attention to you 🙂

        You can also decide to focus on one animal at a time till you have all animals on a place you want them to be on one specific signal.

        If the animal in this case the horse reaches criteria and you are like hmm.. maybe the rest didn’t come because this one chased them first… then criteria is not met. You ask a group to come not an individual. 🙂 Does that make sense?


          So, we are a few weeks in but i’m finding the same challenge with my two pgymy goats in particular and is one thing i’m looking work on specifically.

          They are a male/female brother sister and are very food oriented. They get along well – too well – so they cannot be separated at all as that will lead to stress calling even if they are in sight of each other.

          They will both come to me on sight but likely an expectation/demand related to feeding. i’ve got small raised platforms for them as stations but so far having food makes things very difficult as it is all they focus on and they’ll both end up jumping up at me. The male is very amenable to scratches, the female less so. The food i have been using is the goat mix which they get some of in the morning and the evening. Apart from creating some excitement it’s a bit messy for delivery.

          I have tried some different things including having a helper person and having the food with one of us, away from us and we bridge and then get food for reward but as soon as they know where the food is they’re in climbing mode.

          So i’m not asking for help as such as i’d like to be able to work a way forward out on my own at this time. A couple of thoughts though would be good. Some other ideas on what might be good as reinforcers would be good. Would it be an idea to tether one to keep some distance and be able to work with the other. I don’t have ‘exhibits’ like in a zoo as it effectively my back yard they are in but would confining them to some kind of pen with stations in help them as it would prevent them climbing on us and focusing on where the food is?



            The thoughts that I have in mind.

            Separation: This has to be equally trained. Taking one away doesnt mean the other individual accepts and vice versa. Slow process and small approximations in a controlled setting will help you. For example:
            One trainer has goat 1 and the other goat 2. You get out of the exhibit and directly go back into the exhibit. When you go out the goat that stays is reinforced heavily for staying and accepting. The other goat is reinforced heavily for leaving. You go back right away. You can build this up in time. But importantly you always reinforce both animals for accepting the situation. A common trainers problem is pushing this to hard and therefore it get’s worse.

            The other challenge:
            What you want to focus on is the behaviour you reinforce. They jump on you, ignore, ask a target and reinforce again. This will help to refocus. The food problem, is another one to crack. You need to teach them patience. When you wait you get more when you don’t there is nothing. Eye focus is what you need here. Catch them doing it right is something I say often. This means that they can do the right thing in a split second. You have to recognise quickly and reinforce accordingly.

            What will help is the following:
            – dont train with a bucket.
            – keep your hands out of your pocket if you dont intend to reinforce.
            – have reinforcement at different places instead of your pockets so you can walk there to reinforce. Use different positioning which makes it variable for you and the goat and predictable patterns aren’t there.
            – use the same food source as they get in their “free” time.

            Another thing it to think about what you want from the goats and do the goats understand this? Do you go too fast?

            If you work in a team setting do all trainers understand the same criteria you ask? Do they respond the same way when situations become more challenging? Those are the first questions I try to answer to become more clear to the individuals.

            From here I like to start to plan the program. Let me know if that helps?

            Send me a video if you can so I can help in more detail.

          Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
          • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.