Chicken – a model animal
Encouraged by the example of Bob and Marian Bailey, who pioneered behavioral methods of training, we use chickens as the model animal during our courses.
That choice is not a mere marketing trick! Improving your training skills on chickens is justified by mutiple factors.
The most important are:
- A chicken can not be trained by force. Birds cannot be manipulated!
Often our perception of training is plainly wrong. We believe that chickens are not smart because they cannot be forced to do something. This training shows the true uniquness of chickens and potential of positive reinforcement methods.
- The results of training appear really fast.
What would take a couple of days for other animals is mastered by chickens within a few minutes. Because of this, even ‘raw’ (untrained) chicken can be trained a lot in 3 days. Simultaneously, a participant in the course is able to observe more in a given period of time.
- Simplicity of a chicken
A chicken who feels safe and has no flock to interact with will focus only on exploration, so any change in behavior will be clean and noticeable.
- A chicken is fast
Chickens are faster than most animals; therefore, they require a quick reaction and a great sense of observation. Both of those trainable traits are a must for any trainer. Once we practiced on one of the most demanding animals such as chickens, other species will be much simpler to train.
- Trainer’s mistakes are reflected in the chicken behavior
Horses or dogs will eventually learn what we expect of them, regardless of the trainer’s mistakes (though that process will be slower and far from perfect). Similar mistakes will cause chicken not to learn or the process of training will be so slow that trainer’s mistakes will become instantly apparent. Chickens’ training allows us to observe mistakes that otherwise would pass unnoticed.
- Emotional relationship is not a key factor in training (from a chicken point of view)
Even though participants in the course bond with chickens trained by them, those birds in fact do not care about any relation. An emotional relationship is very often a setback in effective training, because trainer is not able to maintain neutral point of view. Soon, the trained animal will notice it and start to exploit it.