First meeting with trainer

This afternoon, Kipawa and Darrel and I went to meet our trainer. You know how you can get a vibe from someone right away? Well, I did, and am happy to say it felt like a good vibe.

Amber was impressed with Kipawa's temperament. She took notes and asked us questions about Kipawa. During this, she threw a ball to see what Kipawa would do. He went to get it and brought it back to her… yay! She also walked him in the room and then did some 'sit/stay' and 'okay' to release him, using hand signals with each command. Then I went through it with Kipawa. He did really well, while I was working on remembering the hand signals! We are to practice this at least twice a day for 20 minutes until Saturday, when we start our first of six classes. It should be lots of fun.

Just remembering the hand commands now, I am a bit confused with the 'come' command - hand to chest (sideways) and 'sit' command - hand towards shoulder (from down to up). They seem so similar to me. The 'release' hand command does make sense to me. Comments?

Cues for behaviors can be whatever is most comfortable for you. I use my index finger pointing upwards for sit. My husband dislikes having to bend down to do a down cue so he taught the dogs to down for a foot tap. The important thing about the cue is that you are consistent. Dogs are very good at reading body language and often will pick up on subtle things we do as part of cue so that when we inadvertenty change that subtle thing they stop doing what we ask because it now looks different to them.

Also, keep the training sessions short and sweet. 20 minutes in a single session only working 2 behaviors may be too long. Basenjis tend to get bored with too much repetition.

I would also choose hand signals that work for you. You shouldn't have to think about them for too long.. Otherwise it's really annoying.. 😉 My hand signals all look alike, but Tillo knows the difference perfectly.

And 2 x 20 min is quite long.. I would practise a couple of minutes during your walk. He won't have to concentrate for too long and there is more distraction outside, so he learns that he doesn't only have to listen inside. You can do this a couple of times and then a couple of minutes at home too.

At least.. That's my idea about it 😉 It's good to here Kipawa does so well! He's a smart little guy!!

Thanks Ivoss and Janneke for the excellent advice. I will try to stick with the signals she is teaching, but if they feel odd to me I will work with something that seems more natural for me.

And I will do the training, as you suggested, for a shorter time frame, both outside and inside. As usual, great advice from both of you.

I worked on Kipawa's training yesterday at the dog park, where there were many distractions. His recall is excellent there, but that may be because he just needs to feel his mom is close by? Then when he gets to me I make him sit, then he gets a treat. In the house it is a little different. Recall is about 60% right now, but sit is very good - about 80%.

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