Wednesday, September 23, 2015

This Cat Is a Bad Chicken Trainer

This cat's NO is not strong enough to overcome this chicken's food drive. Tough chicken, soft cat.

Who wants to bet this chicken has punked this cat many times before?

Who wants to bet he will in the future too?

Is the weak, repeated, clawless "paw correction" more "humane" than one good swipe with claws out? Will it change the chicken's behavior?  Will the swipes continue forever?

Now, can you get a chicken to dance left or right with a little feed and a clicker?  Absolutely! Wonderful thing. But in that instance there is no reason, other than food, for the chicken to dance. This is not self-rewarding behavior, so the food has to be provided and timed as an externally, and as a meaningful consequence. That works!

But what if the bad behavior -- like stealing food -- is self-rewarding?  Will ignoring it stop it? Will hectoring stop it? Probably not.

That does not mean that the penalty has to be terribly harsh. Pressure comes in many form, including body language. Watch the chicken, below, exert nothing more than positional pressure to get the cat to shift and abandon his food. Does the cat swat back? Yes, but the chicken's positional pressure and food drive was apparently stronger than the cat's claw pressure or food drive, and so the chicken wins in the end.

Who is teaching who in this instance?

1 comment:

PipedreamFarm said...

Our chickens run off our three semi-feral barn cats to get to the cat food. If you've ever seen chickens when there is blood you'd know why they are to be feared.