Acme Canine has gone to the Chickens

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A month ago, Acme Canine’s owner and founder, Laura Pakis, delved into a new type of training: chickens.  It may seem like a cockeyed leap from canine to poultry, but its all part of a larger approach and philosophy.

 

Chicken Camp: 101 used chickens simply as the training model to show what could result from scientific methods. Chickens were used for several reasons.  One benefit was that most dog trainers have not dealt with chickens to a great extent, so they could not come to camp and fall into a comfort zone.  It also helped that chickens don’t have the puppy dog face or other cute factors.  They are not as forgiving as dogs, either.   “Chickens will freeze or fly away if they don’t like the way you are training them,” stated Laura.  “Unlike dogs, chickens don’t give their trainers second chances as often as our dogs do.”

 

Camp lectures included thorough lessons on chicken behavior and how they acquire, store, and process information.  All of it plays a part in training them. Laura said that Chicken Camp helped reinforced something she already believed…the importance of finding what an animal is good at and then adapting that behavior rather than working against the animal’s nature.  Chickens are good visual discriminators so training them to use their ability to recognize objects is a much better way to train than to have them do something they are not adapted to do such as picking up an object with their feet.  “Each dog has certain abilities we can call upon to improve their behaviors among people,” communicated Laura,  “Dogs, unlike chickens, are pack animals and so when we go about training them it is better to use leadership skills than food to create more trust and develop a better relationship with the dog.”

 

“Chickens are similar to dolphins and whales in that they don’t find praise or petting a reward, so food is needed to achieve results when training them,” Laura noted.  This is why clicker training is a great technique for chickens.   “Clicker training is based on scientific techniques used in controlled laboratory conditions,” Laura commented.  She believes dogs tend to develop better relationships with their owners if trained using every day situations with shaping, praise, motivation, and consequences.

 

“I don’t know why we would want to substitute food for our praise as a reward with dogs,”   Laura questioned, “Dogs thrive on our love and petting.”  By training a dog to control itself while exposed to distraction, the dog becomes more reliable and self-confident under the stresses of real life.  Food-based training does not usually go this far in creating a well-balanced dog.

For more information contact your favorite Columbus dog trainer  at 740-548-1717 or training@acmecanine.com.