Harold the Rooster

AMKuska

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Yesterday I brought out a stick with a large orange ball on the end, hoping to teach the chickens to peck the ball on command. By having them able to target the ball, I can teach them many Rally-O commands much easier. This includes heeling, returning to heel, and facing me.

Harold was not interested in this stick. In fact, he was acting really funny. He looked like he was about to attack something low to the ground, but his feathers were smooth. He was walking like a drunk with his hocks flat on the ground.

I wasn't sure if he had suddenly grown into his full rooster hormones and was going to attack, but Brighty started pecking the target like it was her own personal vending machine. Since I wanted to reward her, I just kept one eyeball on him.

Turns out, he had come up with a New Brilliant Idea on what sit was. Sit means to get really low to the ground! Your hocks should touch the floor! But you see, you don't have to wait for a lure, you can just walk around like a weirdo!

I had the camera running and hope I caught some of it, but he drifted to one side so I'm not sure if I did. If I did, I will definitely share it.

I did end with asking him for sit a few times on verbal command, and he did, in fact, sit. He's a good boy, our Harold.
 

AMKuska

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For the past few days I have been working on teaching Harold how to peck a target. Pecking a target will help him learn to heel, as I can use it as a lure. Brighty already understands what I want very well. Poor Harold does not. I have shown him many times how to peck the target, but he doesn't do it.

Today Harold had enough! Brighty is getting all the treats. It's not fair! It's not right. He starts to puff and stomp around like a tantruming 3 year old. It stayed at puffing for a bit, and then he put out a wing and pushed the girls out of the way. He stood between the girls and me. My treats! My person! Mine!

The girls are not impressed. I am not impressed. Harold wants treats.

Eventually he stopped puffing and pushing the girls around, and worked at figuring out what I wanted. He didn't get there, but he will.
 

AMKuska

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@baymule apparently what he's doing is a thing called a "Wing dance." It can be used as he did before (stay away from my human!) but it can also mean "I'm happy to see you" or just general excitement/happiness.

I hurt my knee so I couldn't go out to him today, but I did give him new treats. Glad I didn't use them for training. They were wildly unimpressed.
 

AMKuska

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I have been too busy to go out and train Harold lately. He has taken it personally. When I go out to feed and water him, he brings me the choicest of treats to try and woo me back. Today he brought me a gigantic slug. :sick

My neighbor told me that a raccoon tried to get into Harold's coop today, so I decided to go out there to train as well as look over the coop for any exploitable spots. He was over the moon! Mom is back!!

He wasn't interested in training though, just snuggles.
HaroldandI.JPG

And better not train the girls mom!! Just me!!!
Haroldtarget.JPG

He did eventually peck the target a few times. After being picked up no less than 3 times, dancing flirtatiously, and making sure all the hens know the cuddles are all his. :tongue
 

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I have been too busy to go out and train Harold lately. He has taken it personally. When I go out to feed and water him, he brings me the choicest of treats to try and woo me back. Today he brought me a gigantic slug. :sick

My neighbor told me that a raccoon tried to get into Harold's coop today, so I decided to go out there to train as well as look over the coop for any exploitable spots. He was over the moon! Mom is back!!

He wasn't interested in training though, just snuggles.
View attachment 58905
And better not train the girls mom!! Just me!!!
View attachment 58906
He did eventually peck the target a few times. After being picked up no less than 3 times, dancing flirtatiously, and making sure all the hens know the cuddles are all his. :tongue
He's so cute and that is a super cute pic! What got you interested in training roosters?
 

AMKuska

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He's so cute and that is a super cute pic! What got you interested in training roosters?
I run a dog blog that features training articles and videos. I get a lot of people asking me to show basic obedience in a dog that has never seen it before. Dogs who know how to sit will sit when you start to lure them right away, while many untrained dogs will walk backwards or jump up at first.

I have 4 dogs, so training a new dog is out, so...chickens! We got 7 sebright chickens, 4 of which died. (The feed store told me they were sickly, so knew it was coming.) Luck would have it that the 3 surviving were two hens and a rooster.

Harold ended up learning how to scratch the target the quickest, so I ended up focusing on him. The girls are just as good at everything though, and in some cases better!
 
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flowerbug

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i'm being such a fanboy with this thread, it's usually the one i read first. because it's light and often funny and well worth it as i often am learning stuff too.

if you ever post this as a series to your own channel or blog i think it would fly rather quickly. :)
 

AMKuska

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i'm being such a fanboy with this thread, it's usually the one i read first. because it's light and often funny and well worth it as i often am learning stuff too.

if you ever post this as a series to your own channel or blog i think it would fly rather quickly. :)
We'll see! I'll share as it goes live. I did the intro post for him on my channel:
But I don't think the blog post goes up until much later. I write them as I think them up and have weekly blog posts scheduled well into 2024 :p

Once I've gotten some of the actual training videos up, I'm going to list his stats on how long it took him to learn and people can play "Is my dog smarter than a chicken?!" as they progress.
 
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