Practical Skills Workshops (Chickens)

The practical skills workshops are focused on understanding and applying the principles of positive reinforcement. 

Students will learn about and sharpen their skills in using a marker signal, timing of reinforcement, delivery of reinforcement, shaping, prompting, using targets, LRS, setting criteria, measuring behaviour, cues, writing training plans, recording data, coaching, schedules of reinforcement, respondent conditioning and ethics. We focus on relating them back to the people and animals you work with and discuss examples throughout. 

During the workshop you will work with hens, however it is worth noting this is not a workshop on chickens. The focus is on understanding and applying the basic principles of behaviour analysis, the science of behaviour change.

The workshops are each 3 days longs and the series currently consists of 3 different workshops, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. You must attend them in order and every one must start at level 1. 

I signed up for the Practical Training Skills Workshops for Dog Trainers and Behaviourists after seeing Chirag speak at the First National Dog Bite Prevention Conference and being impressed by his talk. This was to be my first step in a new direction hoping to find a new career working with dogs, and as such I was very nervous. My fears were soon allayed by Chirag’s friendly and approachable manner, his enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject, his clear and entertaining explanation of learning theory, its roots and application.  
We had a lot of hands-on practical work with the chickens, with their welfare being paramount, and they taught us a lot about clicker training and about ourselves while they learned to perform the tasks we set them. Each weekend was very intense, with a lot to take in, and a lot of fun, laughter and support. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the three levels of ‘chicken camp’, learned a lot, made some life-long friends and came away with a new appreciation of chickens, despite having kept my own and worked with them for many years. This is the best set of courses I have taken for learning practical skills."
Lorriane Smith (successfully completed level 1,2&3)


Level 1*

Level 1: 28th-30th March 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 (1 - Places remaining)

This workshop covers setting-up environments for learning, coaching, targets, luring, shaping, understanding the 3-term contingency, reinforcement (strategies for increasing behaviours), extinction & LRS (basic strategies for decreasing behaviour). 

"The course is well thought out in the way that it develops skills, and links theory and practical application together. I particularly liked that I got the opportunity to not only strengthen and tidy up my clicker training but also how well I can observe and coach others, which is an important aspect of training with people and their animals. I would recommend the course to people working with any species, as what we learned with the chickens crosses over to training in general." 

Jo Welch (successfully completed level 1)

Level 2*

Level 2: 6th-8th May 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 (4 - Places remaining)

This workshop covers adding cues, understanding the 4-term contingency, training plans, setting / managing criteria, and continues to build on the skills we started practicing in level 1. 

Level 3*

Level 3: 3rd-5th June 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 (4 - Places remaining)

This workshop covers measuring behaviour, recording data, instructing, assessing and analysing problem behaviours (including aggressive behaviour). We also build on and develop skills from workshops level 1 and 2. 

*Course content is subject to changes. 


  • Does this course really involve training chickens?

Yes, hens are the animals that the students will work with to develop and sharpen their skills in the practical application of behaviour science. The skills are transferable to any species you work with birds, mammals, reptiles, fish…

  • I don't like birds near me can I still do this course?

This course involves over 50% of the time working in close contact and handling the hens, so it is highly recommended that you feel comfortable around them. You can practice by visiting a farm and observing hens then approximating steps so you can be comfortable and handle them before attending this course. 

  • Do chickens bite? Scratch? Flap? Fly around?

They peck it may feel like a light pinch, if it’s on your skin. They do have nails that can scratch and they do flap to help with balance or move somewhere fast. They don’t really fly. We teach the course with Hens that are used to working with people and we work with the hens in a way that gives them the choice to participate so we maximise the chances that we are working with calmer, willing participants. 

  • I have never been close to even touchinga chicken, do I need to have had experience with birds? What about if I get to the course and I find I don't like them?

We do not offer refunds once you are booked on the course and the cancellation date has passed. We will work with you to help you feel as compatible as possible with the hens but we do highly recommend that you do this prior to attending the course to maximise the benefits of attending the course for yourself and the other students. 

  • Do I have to know how to use a clicker?

No, we do use clickers during the course but no prior experience of using or understanding them is required. 

  • Do I have to be already working as a trainer?

No, but an interest in behaviour and training is recommend. 

  • What do previous students have to say?

"Seriously animal trainer friends this is THE BEST course I have ever done, even if you can't afford to do all 3 just do level 1, you'll gain so much not just about clicker training but delivery of reinforcement, planning, efficiency of training, how to be adaptable, importance of consistency and accuracy all through practical work with CHICKENS! Doesn't matter if you have never trained birds (believe me chickens are nothing like training parrots or eagles anyways!), whether you're a dog walker, zoo keeper, pet sitter or are just interested in developing your practical abilities and comprehension of training principles this can't be missed! Plus, and you won't find a better tutor than Chirag."

Heather Ahearn

  • I have done some animal training but have been a practical learner and don't really know much theory, will that mean I won't be able to do the course? 

You can definitely attend the course, because this course covers theory and gives you lots of opportunity to put it into practice. 

  • Will I have homework?

There may be some work to plan during the evenings on the courses, however this will be minimal and optional. 

  • Will I have to clean out the chickens? Do they smell?

We care for the hens during the workshop, so you can focus on the training side. However we will ask you to assist in basic animal care during the working day. Anything you need to know will be explained and taught to you. These tasks will involve keeping a supply of fresh water for your hens topped up etc… 

  • How will working with chickens help me with my dog or other training?

Hens are fast animals that have evolved to change their behaviour with the changing environment very fast. Hens will push you to be a better animal trainer because you will have to develop excellent training skills to effectively change behaviour and all of the skills you develop will be able to be applied to animals (including humans) to understand, manage and change their behaviour. 

  • I live within driving distance, over an hour, would you recommend I find somewhere local to stay or do you think I would be ok to drive there and back each day? 

“NO! FIND SOMEWHERE TO STAY! - ITS MEGA TIRING!!!!!” is the reply to this question from a former student who has successfully completed all 3 levels of this course.

  • What food will be provided?

We provide snacks and drinks for morning and afternoon breaks as well as lunch. We do try to cater for individual requirements, however you are welcome to bring your own food if you prefer. 

  • Are there lecturers or is it all practical training?

You will have a combination of both lectures and practicals. Over 60% of the time is spent in practicals. 

  • Will I be working on my own?

You will be working with another student. 

  • Do I have to stand up and talk in front of the whole group?

You may be asked to share your training with the group or have the group watching while you are training.

  • How many students will there be on the course?

We take a maximum of 16 students. 

  • If I come with a friend/ colleague will I be able to work with them? 

Yes, however we highly recommend not doing so because you are here to learn as much as possible and working with another student may give you new information and learning opportunities. 

  • Can I bring my dog?

“MAYBE RECOMMEND THEY DON'T AS IT PUTS SO MUCH EXTRA PRESSURE ON THE STUDENT.” Is a reply to the question for a previous student who completed all 3 workshops successfully. You can bring your dog if you can safely house them meeting their needs. You will not be allowed to bring your dog(s) in the class rooms. You are expected to attend all sessions of the course and participate during class time to complete this course successfully.  

  • Will there be any dog training?

Dog and other animal examples are used during the courses. However you will not work with a dog during the course. 

  • Do I need to bring my own clicker?

No, we provide them. 

  • Will I be standing up all day?

There will be long amounts of time spent standing during the day as there are lots of practical sessions in which you are expected to fully participate to successfully complete the course. 

  • Is there parking near-by?

Yes, we have onsite parking.

  • What time does the course start/finish/ breaks?

The course starts at 9am and finishes 5pm. You will get a 30 minute morning and afternoon beak as well as a 1 hour lunch break.

  • How much money should I bring as spending money, are any dinners included?

This is up to you. We do not charge for or sell extras once you are on the course. You are expected to pay your own dinners.

  • If I pay for all 3 levels now to get the discount do I have to do the 3 courses straight away or can I break them up? 

We do offer a great discount if you commit to and pay for all 3 levels up-front. However upfront payment for all 3 courses is required. You can book each workshop individually, 

  • Can my family come and watch?

We do not allow non-students to attend the courses. However you are allowed to video practicals so will be able to share with family and friends what you got up to.

  • Am I allowed to film?

We invite students to film their own practical sessions, for personal use only to analyse what you did well and what you can change . Any wires or cameras must be placed safely in the training area not causing a safety hazard or interrupting other students training. We ask you only post short clips publicly. 

  • Can I bring my own hens?

Unfortunately due to disease control, we don’t allow students to bring their own hens. 

  • Why did you design this course?

This course is based on workshops I attended taught by Bob Bailey. I found them to be the most useful hands on courses that guide and help me with my work training many different species of animals today. I wanted to share my own version of this opportunity with people unable to take Bobs courses and due to the number of requests this series of workshops were formed. If you have the opportunity to take Bob Baileys workshops I highly recommend you do.  

"Hands down the best course I've been on. The practical and theory are perfectly balanced. It pushed me and exposed the areas of weakness in my training such as delivery, timing and rate of reinforcement. I've applied all that I learnt with my much slower and more forgiving guide dogs in training to great success. I highly recommend these courses to anyone who wants to develop their practical skills. Thank you Chirag:)"
Rob Ellis (successfully completed levels 1,2&3)



Level 1: 28th-30th March 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 3 Places remaining

Level 1: 1st-3rd April 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 Full

Level 2: 6th-8th May 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 4 Places remaining

Level 3: 3rd-5th June 2016, Banbury, Oxon, UK. £373.96 4 Places remaining

Book levels 1 to 3 together and save over £100.00