Tonawanda News — Today is the Day of Judgment. As you read this, as long as it is still Sunday morning, I am getting ready to be a judge at this year’s Northtown Subaru Dog Days of Kenmore.
And by getting ready, I mean having a casual breakfast at Amy’s Place downtown. At the event we will be celebrating dogs and their people and I will be kindly critiquing the dog-owner look-alike, coolest trick and best dog costume contests. Hope to see you in a few short hours. Remember the event is free!
You can sign up during the event to enter the contests, but beware: there will no fighting like cats and dogs. Although it is a dog-eat-dog world out there, the way to become top dog is to show off a few new tricks, no matter the age of your dog. And even if you don’t place keep in mind that all dogs have their days, so if you keep working like a dog you could be the winner next time.
I was recently asked by a columnist at Farm Show Magazine what my biggest tip for training chickens is. I told her that I try to use no coercion. I am defining coercion as a use of force, even a small amount. When I ask them to step up on my hand, I never push on their keel to make them move their legs. Everything they do, they are doing on their own accord.
The reason why my chickens are going to do something is because — hopefully — I have trained them to know that something good is going to come out of it, once they finish the behavior. I don’t want my chickens to be fearful of me or new situations.
I believe that this can and should be applied to all animals. When training a behavior like “coolest trick,” I would be happier seeing many small tidbits fed out during the behavior rather than the canine being tugged around on the leash to be positioned to get ready for the trick.