Who Goes To Chicken Camp, And Why?

It might be interesting to know what kinds of people consider it worth their while to attend Chicken Camp, and what they expect it to do for them, so I will talk about some of the people who are here, and how they expect to benefit from it.

To the best of my knowledge everyone attending this series of Chicken Camps is either an animal trainer, or expects to be training animals some time in the near future. Some are experienced people who are here to increase and solidify knowledge and improve skills they already have and have been using for some time. Others are experienced with other methods of training and are here to learn a new approach to training. Still others are new to animal training, have little or no experience, and are here to get started learning how to train animals without force or conflict using methods that are supported by scientific data.

The majority of the people here are dog trainers. Some are professionals, some are hobbyists, some are wannabe professionals, or former professionals seeking to find a better way to train dogs. There are people here who train dogs for

  • competitive sports such as obedience, rally, agility, and freestyle.
  • service dogs for disabled persons.
  • basic pet good manners.
  • problem-solving for issues such as aggression, fearfulness, excessive barking, etc.
  • the military (there is a group here from the Norwegian military who work with explosive-detection dogs).
  • the police (there is a group here from the Dutch Police, including a man named Simon Prins who directs training efforts for military and police in various countries, and about whom I will probably have more to say).

There are also people whose goal is to train birds.

  • Swedish graduate students seeking more effective and efficient ways to train birds used in their research projects.
  • a Belgian performer who does adults’ and children’s comedy shows and wants to train his own animals for his shows because trainers he has hired have fallen short of expectations.
  • a Spaniard who works with falcons owned by the President of the UAE.
  • a woman who will train birds that will participate in avian research at Stanford.

And some who are interested in horse training

  • to overcome behavior problems such as fear of loading into trailors, spookiness, biting, kicking, etc.
  • for basic ground manners and pleasure riding.
  • for competition such as dressage, jumping, etc.

There have also been two veterinarians here so far, one from Finland, and one from Norway.

A number of people who work with exotic animals, zoo animals, and marine mammals have been through the camps. In fact, this type of training has revolutionized zoo animal care and maintenance, greatly reducing the use of forced restraint, which is dangerous to people and causes severe stress to the animals, and tranquilizers for routine medical and other maintenance procedures. It is also useful for efficiently moving the animals from one location to another without the use of restraint or drugs.

So, that is a general picture of the types of people who attend Chicken Camps, and gives some idea of the different applications for this type of training.

Tomorrow I will try to sum up the first two weeks as best I can.

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