Chicken Camps by Terry Ryan

“On-the-job experience is often the first means of education for animal trainers:  “Learning and training simultaneously has the potential to weaken the effectiveness of both.  There are better ways.”
- Marian Breland-Bailey

These workshops are taught by Terry Ryan and her staff in Sequim, Washington.

Using chickens as a training model, each course will focus on different principles of classical and operant conditioning. The new curriculum includes the direct application of the course work to dog training.


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 chances as often as our dogs do.

Read what Don Hanson, former president of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, has to say about chicken training.

Read about the process!


Keller and Marian Brelan determined that "...the behavior of any species cannot be adequately understood predicted, or controlled without knowledge of its instinctive patterns, evolutionary history, and ecological niche." Read this breakthrough paper!


Legacy has been hosting dog training camps since the 1980’s.  In the old days the camps had 120 participants, many from overseas.  Terry decided that a convenient on-site training model should be provided for people flying in and unable to bring their dogs.  For several years Legacy campers trained rats in Skinner boxes.  In the early 90’s Ingrid Kang Shallenberger (Sea Life Park) and Terry Ryan, began using bantam chickens as training models at Legacy camps.  The students rotated several times a day among various instructors and topics.  The “other” species section was a popular rotation enjoyed for many years by Legacy campers.  In 1994 Terry asked Marian Breland-Bailey and Bob Bailey to share their years of animal training experience with Legacy campers.  For several years Marian and Bob taught the chicken unit at Legacy Camps.  Terry has included chickens in her current instructor’s courses “Coaching People to Train Their Dogs” and conducts one-day “Poultry in Motion” chicken training workshops. 


Legacy has a resident flock of chickens. Each student will have one or two chickens to handle and train using a clicker and food pellets.  Students will work in pairs, taking turns training their own chickens and coaching their partner.


Legacy obtains CEU approval from The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT). Proof of attendance is provided to CPDT.  If you belong to another professional organization, Legacy can provide you with the documentation needed for CEU approval.  This process needs to be done in advance of the workshops.


If you are a Karen Pryor CTP and/or KP Faculty Member, you will receive a $60 discount for each Legacy Chicken Camp you complete. Please contact for your $60 discount code. The discount program runs from 1/1/2014 - 12/31/2014. Discounts cannot be combined with any other special offers or promotions unless noted otherwise.


CPDT members are eligible for a 10% Tuition Discount. Please contact for discount code information before you register for Chicken Camp. The discount program runs from 1/1/2014 - 12/31/2014. Discounts cannot be combined with any other special offers or promotions.






Exercises include observing and recording behavior on a simple ethogram.The student's understanding of the concepts of applied behavior analysis will be developed. We’ll practice mechanical skills with special attention to timing and eye-hand coordination.  Lessons  include systematic desensitization, capturing a behavior, shaping a behavior and the use of targets.  Students will work on a discrimination task. The pros and cons of extinction as a learning tool will be discussed. Effective coaching techniques to aid your training parter will be addressed. No experience required.

September 13-16, 2014

Four Days    $600.00




We will train several behaviors and assemble them into a chain. This will be a combination of targeting, obstacle and moving behaviors. We will discuss rapidly changing criteria and cues as reinforcers within the chain.

Prerequisite: Completion of Poultry in Motion, or Targeting and Discrimination

September 17-21, 2014 

Five Days $695.00



Typical Day At Camp

Students will work in pairs, taking turns training their own chickens and coaching their partner. Activities start at 9:00 AM and end at 4:00 PM each day, except the last day which ends at 3:30. Lunch is provided on site and includes non-meat selections. A ten-minute break will take place approximately every hour. Morning and afternoon snacks will be provided. Water, soft drinks, tea and coffee are available all day.
These topics will be covered in approximately the following order. 

Mechanical Skills – drills for eye-hand coordination, timing and observation skills
Ethology-consideratiom of the ethology, physical attributes, and stress issue of the animals
Umwelt –  how individuals acquire, process and store information differently
Selection, identification and effective marking (use of bridge) of training criteria                                
Reinforcement:  rate/schedule/value/delivery/quantity, 80% rule, Premack principle
Capturing and Shaping behaviors – in general and specifically to target training
Criteria Selection and Identification – what do you really want? 
Goal Setting
Task Analysis – breaking it down, instructional formatting, training plans
How to Be a Good Coach –including TAG teaching exercises
Data Collection, keeping records, making a TAGulator
Lateral thinking techniques


Chickens are not happy when predators are nearby, therefore dogs are not permitted at these workshops.

Cancellation/Refund Policy - Important Please Read

When your register for one of our chicken camps you will be asked to read and agree to our Cancellation/Refund policy. The general terms of the cancellation policy are stated below. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us BEFORE you register for one of our chicken camps.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

If you choose to cancel your registration for one our chicken camps, please notify us in writing (e-mail, fax, letter.) Cancellations received no later than 45 days before the first day of the chicken camp will receive a refund of 50% of the paid registration fee less a $75 processing charge. Cancellations received no later than 30 days before the first day of the chicken camp will receive a refund of 25% of the paid registration fee less a $75 processing charge. NO refunds will be issued for cancellations received less than 30 days before the first day of the chicken camp. This policy is without exception. 


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 * PO Box 3909 Sequim, WA 98382 * Phone/Fax 360-683-1522 * Tollfree 888-683-1522 * Directions

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