Calling all goat herders!


This week on Car Talk, we heard one of our all-time classic calls, from Richard the Goat Rescuer, in Dogtown, California.

His question was a simple one and, it seems, timeless. So, we decided to pose it here, for discussion. Just in case Richard was still having the same problem, or anyone else faced a similar dilemma with their goats (or other 4-legged friends).

All Richard wanted to do, was to let his goats roam his property, unencumbered. But their idea of a good time was to climb all over parked cars – especially convertibles – especially the Alfa convertible belonging to Richard’s friend Doris. And, Richard was becoming a very lonely guy, ready to turn to shock therapy (for the goats). We thought there might be a low-voltage alternative, like building a pen around the cars.

Any one else have any suggestions? Have your own “Close Encounters of the Goat Kind” story to share? Post them here. We promise not to laugh.


Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers


Possibly one of the funniest things I have ever heard!!


Has Richard tried using something like the “Invisible Fence” for dogs? He may be able to put the electric collars on his goats, and bury a wire in the ground where he and his guests normally park. The goats would then get a shock if they tried to enter the designated car parking. There are several varieties of dog training tools like this, some use an ultrasonic transmitter which creates a no-entry zone. He may be able to slap on top of his car. Then if the goats get close (no matter where he parks) they would receive a shock. Easy enough to put on his guests cars too. Try a google search for “electric dog collars.”


FWIW, animal activists consider the electric collar to be torture for the animal. When we got our dog, the animal shelter wouldn’t leave the dog until they were absolutely certain that we did not have an electric fence and would not install one; they would take the dog back if they found one on our property. It’s also interesting to note that it won’t deter an animal intent on getting somewhere. But it might deter them from returning to the outside of the “enclosure”. Or neighbor has a dog that often runs outside the invisible fence and won’t go back in. He has to be carried into the yard.


If Richard really wants to let his goats roam his property, he has an obligation to fence the property in. Period. His fondness for his goats does not give him the right to allow them to destroy the property of others, and if they do he’s legally obligated to “make them whole”.

If this is the level of respect he shows for others, it’s no wonder he’s lonely.


As a dairy goat farmer in Mississippi, when I got a new Toyota Echo (after decades of old clunkers) I fenced in my car. Goats are genetically programmed to CLIMB and cars are irrestible. Even though my goats had 33 acres, they ran towards any car as if it were filled with grain (we passed the “driveway” on the farm on our daily walks into the woods). When they jumped on my old cars, I could pop the roof back out, but not on an Echo (metal roof is too thin). I used cattle panels (9 guage stiff fencing) and it worked great until one night I left the gate open, Next day, as I let all the girls out of the barn, they spied the open gate and beat me to it. It is not a pretty sight to have 4 goats standing on your Toyota Echo roof.

I always made sure the goats were in their pasture when guests came. I would not consider using a dog shock collar, consider that inhumane as well, and actually goats are so stubborn they might try to run through the shock and there would be injury and suffering. GOATS ARE NOT DOGS. They are not wired to be obedience trained like dogs. I repeat, GOATS ARE NOT DOGS. You have to be smarter than a goat, and it isn’t easy. hah! Build a corral for your car. Or else build a really good corral for your goats…and put an old car in the pasture for them to climb on!


How about you just spray the entire driveway area and all visitor’s cars with a healthy dose of bear urine? (I have no idea what that would do but it is only nearly as outlandish as not wanting to provide any kind of restriction on the goats’ movements).


I have used the electric fence technique successfully with my dog when he could squeeze through my newly installed fence.

However, I THINK I DO have a solution for using the electric approach for your cars so it won’t hurt your car but will still be effective. When my dad was young he had a pack of dogs that used the trash outside his APT. as a pee station. He wet the ground around the trash can. (a hose under you car slowly running will do the trick). He then put his electric PROBE on the ground When the pack came by that night, the dog that used the trash can for a bathroom he got the shock of his life in a very uncomfortable way. Do this a couple of times and I think the goats will become very wary of stepping close to the car. GOOD LUCK. I loved the story.


There is a product called “invisible fence” that is designed to keep animals from leaving or entering any given space.
you set up the electronic field and put collars on the animals then every time they try to enter the parking area they will get an uncomfortable reminder they are not allowed to enter.


I think the best solution would be for him to get a shock collars like the ones used to keep dogs in peoples yards. He could designate the restricted area to be only the driveway and parking area. The goats would have free reign everywhere else. if they go close to the driveway the collar will start beeping. If they get too close the collar will give them a light shock to divert them. Usually during the initial training period flags are put up to give the animals a visual marker as well. Well after posting this I see that many came up with the same idea.


Funny you should ask- my husband’s brother was almost electrocuted (is it compelete, only if you die? ) as child when he tried to hop a a fence. The frog in his hand was fried, and a state trooper had to kick him off the fence to free him. He’s alive, and didn’t lose any fingers until the next summer when taking a ride on lawn mower “driven” by my husband. It wasn’t a rider.



Just get heads (not their actual ones) of Tom and Jerry and post them like people do owls to keep pigeons away.


To stop cats from clawing your furniture you give them a scratching post…maybe to stop goats from climbing on your car you could give them something to climb…make it taller than your car and look like a mountain and it might be irresistable to them.


It just occured to me sheep love Click and Clack, perhaps goats do too. Just play them on a repeating loop in another car-free area of the grounds. Perhaps just their snorts.


I was listening to an old podcast and Richard sounds just like a guy called Adam who phoned in - April 25 2009 around the 30 minute mark?..anyone agree?


Oh come on! Listen to Nan the Goat Lady. 1) Goats are programmed to CLIMB. 20) Goats are NOT dogs. They may enjoy a scratching, but they aren’t interested in pleasing you. They are nearly impossible to train, other than to get them to come to the sound of the feed bucket. I sincerely doubt electric collars would stop them. They require the highest voltage of any livestock to keep in with an electric fence. The same shock is incredibly painful to a dog, who will never try that fence again. (Goats will.) For their safety (coyotes, passing vehicles, target practice) and the sake of your vehicles, pasture them in high voltage electric fencing. Easy to move, electric net fencing is good to fence in your cars, and 3 out of 4 goats will respect it. In the long run, electricity is the only thing that works - take the word of someone who has learned the hard way!


Thank you. The combination of knowledge and common sense goes a long way.


I wonder if those animal activists have ever tried on those collars to see what they feel like. We had an electric fence for our dogs when I was a teenager, and the first thing we did was see what the shock felt like. I would not call it torture.

Goats are more stubborn than dogs, so it probably won’t work, but if a person with a low tolerance for pain can take the shock of an electric fence and come back for more, I don’t see how it could be called “torture.” As for the electric shock collars, I would put one on myself and give it a try before I put one on my dog.


Get a sharply voiced recording of that Australian goat herding variety of dog.
… or a loud border collie, Rottweiler, etc…
Place wireless speakers behind,on top,or under the cars.
Use either:
1)the electric shock sensor and collar with the shocking leads disconnected or rubber taped thinly over them so that the goats feel only a slight buzz; add a resistor, weaker batteries or lower the amperage of the collar. The base unit can set off the speakers the same way that it sets off a light or a transmission. Some speakers have USB ports… good for wireless transmission possibly useable for data of the recording also from an added thumb drive - use a small hub to use both.
2) An infrared (not really expensive - Radio Shack,Target,Walmart) proximity sensor. Most infrared sensors are going to have an output socket for a sound device like a buzzer and/or a light. Plug in a palm pilot with a relay application(controlling an external device)/hand held recorder/player - it should have an output socket for earplugs.

I heard one fellow interviewed, having a delayed stroke the night after his son insisted that he try the shock collar before putting it on his dog. It seems to have messed up his heart’s nerves. I believe that his problem occurred when he entered REM sleep. He woke up. He couldn’t move. He said he couldn’t alert his wife in bed beside him. He had only been breathing in a kind of frozen-still - hyperventilating manner for the hour before his wife woke up.
Electricity is not the same for all of us. Perhaps a goat is resilient. Perhaps another goat is not.


Richard’s idea of electrifying the car sounds like it might work. Although I wouldn’t do it to my own car, what I might do is try it with a junker to see if it will work. Hopefully, the goats won’t know the difference when you put your own car back in it’s spot.