Why Dog Trainers Should Train Chickens . . .
Trainer’s are not “bonded” to their chickens. Chickens do not have big brown eyes. Trainers do not have bad (or good!) chicken training habits because they’ve never trained a chicken before, thus avoiding the baggage often taken to dog training workshops. You will not be showing your chickens at the next performance event, nor will you be taking them home, so there is no pressure on what will happen in the future. You probably do not have a library full of chicken training books and DVD's to influence you, much less televisions shows on chicken training.
Training a chicken is a stretch and a boost to your mechanical skills. The average chicken is faster than the average dog, giving you a chance to improve your coordination and timing. Chickens will freeze or fly away if they don’t like the way you are training them. Unlike dogs, you will know immediately if you are taking advantage of a chicken or pushing too hard too fast. Chickens don’t give their trainers a second chance as often as our dogs do. Improve your mechanical skill and understanding of training basics by clicker training a chicken!
Terry Ryan's introduction to clicker training occurred in the late 70's at a Karen Pryor course. Her early association with Karen Pryor was inspirational. In 1979, Terry completed her first "real" clicker project, a hearing dog. In the mid 1980's Terry hosted and taught Legacy's International Behavior and Training Camps. Students trained rats and dogs. The transition from rats to chickens occurred in 1993 when Ingrid Kang Shallenberger (formerly of Sea Life Park in Hawaii) and Terry started to team teaching the first few "chicken training" camps. In the late 1990's Legacy invited Marian Breland-Bailey and Bob Bailey to come out of retirement to teach the chicken unit at Legacy's camps. The Baileys brought a great deal of experience and expertise to the courses and soon began teaching chicken-only operant conditioning courses in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 2006 Bob Bailey began teaching his courses at Legacy's training center in Sequim, Washington. Terry has been using chickens as models for training in her various courses ever since. Some of Legacy's local continuing education courses have a prerequisite of a short course on chicken training!
Terry's Poultry In Motion class focuses on mechanical skill and learning science. Each student is issued one or two chickens and the hands-on chicken portion of the course consists of 10 minute training sessions that total approximately two contact hours. The remainder of the time consists of planning and learning about the exercises that will be taught to the chickens. Included are Systematic desensitization, shaping, discrimination, criteria setting, and extinction, overshadowing, Premack Principle, and much more.
Presentation by: Terry Ryan, CPDT-KA
Copyright © 2009, Tawzer Dog LLC
Terry Ryan, CPDT-KA, President of Legacy Canine Behavior & Training, has been a dog training class instructor since 1968. Through Legacy, Terry teaches pet dog classes, writes books, presents national and international seminars and workshops, hosts interns and consults. She was the Coordinator of the People-Pet Partnership, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University from 1981 until 1994. Terry was a competitor and American Kennel Club judge. She’s on the American Humane Society’s advisory board for humane dog training. Terry and her husband, Bill, live in Sequim with their English Cocker Spaniel, Brody.
This video qualifies for 4 trainer CEUs