There’s a new rising star in the companion pet world: goats! Hurry over dogs. While, yes, they’re usually barnyard animals, that doesn’t mean they’re not cute little lovebugs, either. In fact, in terms of how well they bond with their people, goats are increasingly being compared to dogs.
Baby goat displaying a young girl’s love
It makes sense, too, because of thousands of years of domestication, canines and people have formed an affectionate relationship, and now goats have been handled in the same way more and more. They’ve now spent a decent chunk of time being domesticated by humans, with us taking them evermore into our fold.
And this animal’s affection is not just a gut feeling: goats actually display their affection. Even if they can’t say, “I love you!” ” like humans, they use body language, eye contact, interaction initiation and more to make it clear they feel loved and they love you back.
To humans, goats may be affectionate. Scientists have shown that they express love in a range of different ways, including:
How do goats show affection?
By standing beside you or rubbing against you, calling for a cat.
Table of Material
The goat glares at the camera
Do you know how often your dog looks at you, just straight up? Goats are still doing that! Scientists refer to it as “audience-dependent behaviour of human-directed visual orientation” (a mouthful!), but it literally comes down to two things: goats either look at you to manipulate behaviour, such as having a treat, or just take you in because they love you.
They can even stare in order to show a need for assistance. If there is something they can’t figure out or if they are nervous, they may stare at you and use subtle body signals to ask for assistance.
The very act of asking is a sign of love, as it suggests that the goat trusts you and also feels secure that there is a deep enough two-way relationship to make you want to support them. Teamwork makes the dream work, but among buddies, it is particularly prevalent.
Goats (like dogs) can’t stand up and wrap you in an embrace, but with their eyes, they’re going to hug you. Currently, being stared down by a goat is a sign of warmth and care.
The goat reaches over the fence to get affection from the person who pets it
It’s a pretty sweet fact that goats like to be pets actively. However, they don’t want you to pet them like a dog: goats prefer to have their front chest and underarms rubbed instead of straight petting them down the back.
A goat will not be shy about asking to be a pet once you’re confident you’re a friend. They’ll come right up to you, they’ll stand by you, they’ll even brush against you occasionally, rather like a cat.
The crowd mentality, you can also remember, in a positive way. If you are rewarded with pets by one of your goats who approaches you, you should expect the others to take notice and surround you in the cutest way.
A goat’s way of interacting with you is this act of calling for pets and getting the pets. Just as one of the languages of human love is physical contact, so does that physical relation matter to goats, too!
Science proves human-like goats
It is actually confirmed by research, outside of the overt signs of love of a goat, that goats harbour loving feelings for humans. (source) They noticed further parallels with the mind of a goat and a dog, rather than a cow, through years of study.
Since goats were shown to be more individualistic minded, they leaned naturally into their domestication and learned to establish a bond with individuals.
Goats are able to live solo with humans rather than in a herd, unlike sheep.
It is a sign of love in and of itself: that a goat would willingly prefer to spend time with a human being rather than with other goats or other livestock. (Yet another language of human love: time of quality.)
When it comes to bonding, animals which were originally raised for agricultural work have gradually trodden the path of household pets.
Scientists agree that social existence is a requirement for any species to communicate with a species other than their own. (source) And it makes sense that they really have to want to go from the get-go in order for goats (or any animals) to buddy up with us.
Cues in Body Language
Affection and pleasure are related together intrinsically. If a goat is happy, one way you can tell is if their ears are pricked up. And, it turns out, those ears, when they see their favourite person, always point forward! (The source)
Goats that, when simply hanging out in a field, may have neutral ears perk their ears up when they see their favourite human coming towards them. This is a sign of happiness to see them-excitement that is felt due to deep love.
Cues of Vocals
Crying goat out for attention
For all the bleats and cries of a goat, it can seem, at first, difficult to discern what they say. But they appear to let out a stable bleat of joy when a goat sees their human.
While other calls will differ in pitch up and down, a steady, steady bleat is a good sign and a sign of happiness. (The source)
Similar to how a human’s voice can waver when a group or an individual is nervous around them, so will a goat’s. For clear pitch, listen closely and you’ll be able to pick up on these verbal hints of affection.
A goat that is content with you is a chilled-out, calm, stress-free goat. Signs of violence naturally do not express love, such as head butting, biting, charging, etc.
But a goat who goes along with his human happily and stays calm and eager to listen, says they like their owner and respect him.
This is a quality that also makes them perfect family animals, as they will also be relaxed and even-tempered around kids, given they do not feel threatened.
Affection to Other Goats
It’s not just people who show love to goats, but it can be other goats! In fact, it is always suggested that you get goats in pairs because they are so naturally social, so they do not get lonely. (The source)
Goats show friendliness to one another in a few ways when in small herds of two or more. They’ll always, for one, huddle up and cuddle together. They often find a point to do most everyday things with each other rather than on their own, such as eating meals and even sleeping at night or at naptime.
Happy goat friends are also more nonverbal in talking. It is a good thing if you see two or more goats together, chilling away in silence. That displeasure is more likely to be vocalised by goats who are anxious or dissatisfied with their companionship. Satisfied goats have nothing to scream at.
That being said, goats can still exhibit typical pecking order mentalities that like each other. These laws of coexistence apply, since they are still herd animals, and there should be a hierarchy.
To establish dominance and herd order, goats can head butt or ram each other, but between them it’s not personal. Once the right order is formed, they will settle into being friends who are calm.
They are also fond of other animals, making great companions for horses, ponies, donkeys or mules. They provide the larger animal with companionship and will behave as happy as they are in goat-exclusive circles to be friends with a member of another species.
Goats, curious by nature and domesticated to have an affectionate disposition, are super social animals. This level of companionship and affection makes them stand out among domesticated livestock as something unique. When you learn to “speak” the language of the goat, you can see in so many ways how they express their love and affection.
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