Q. Do goats and dogs get along?
A. To answer your question regarding pygmy goats and dogs. Dogs are the major killers of goats. In the country farmers have a terrible time protecting their herds from neighbors’ dogs or from roving bands of wild dogs. Often, they’d get a guard donkey or a guard llama to watch over the herd. Donkeys and Llamas will fight against dogs whereas goats will run and most likely be caught and killed. Farmers also need to guard against Mountain Lions and Coyotes. But it’s the dogs they sustain most of their losses from. There’s also Livestock Guard dog breeds that are good for protecting a herd.
But in the city, it’s a different story.
The place I got my pygmy from had lots of family dogs so she’s not afraid of dogs but she does shy from strange dogs and I’m sure if I wasn’t around, she would probably run. A firm hand on the leash and a reassuring voice helps her to feel safe.
Of course, our backyard is protected from dogs, and their enclosure even more so. So I don’t have a worry about dogs bothering the goats. If aggressive dogs got into the backyard AND the enclosure, well … more than the goats would have been wiped out. Chickens, ducks, rabbit….
You have chickens, right? If you can protect your chickens, then I think you would be able to protect a goat pretty well.
Dogs on the trail are a different story. I worried and am still worrying about that. It’s something I’m experimenting with right now. So far, it’s been good. They have been really good and hardly pay attention to any dogs we pass. The dogs do strain at their leash and stuff, but their owners have been really good about controlling their pet.
There were a few times when a dog wasn’t on a leash and came running up to the goats. I immediately grabbed a hold of the goat’s harness and held them firmly and spoke to them. I believe as long as the goat doesn’t run, the dog won’t hurt it. It’s the “chase instinct” that puts goats in trouble.
And owners of dogs will listen if you ask them to back their dog off — well, so far anyway. If they have a troublesome dog, they can easily get in trouble.
Street traffic is something I’m working on. Fairlight doesn’t seem to care too much about cars, although she hates loud ones. Blackberry is more frightened of them. She’ll panic and try to back out of her harness. What I do is just hold them firmly and don’t let them run. If they run, they’ll be forever scared. So I’m slowly getting them used to that. With goats, whenever they are frightened, you can’t let them leave whatever is frightening them ‘else they’ll go on being scared and never get over it.