I learned a lot of training tips when I took Caesar through Basic training back when he was 7 months old. I took the class because he was driving me crazy. I have continued with the training in the home casually over the last 5 years.
Cairo is 11 weeks and a bundle of energy and teeth. I was tickeled to catch myself training him with my command "words" to help me gain some peace in the house.
Here are a few tips for those out there with crazy basenji puppys without any training experience. It is a great way to use up their energy and will add confidence when you see the ability of your basenji to learn.
The first thing Cairo did was shake his toys like wild game and want to tug pull them out of my hands. I dont like to promote this type of play in case I have small children in my home.
This behavior is easy to turn into fetch. My little guy narturally brought it back to me but didnt want to release the toy. I would hold the toy locked in his jaws and look him in the eye with a loving word "give" until he let go, and a gentle tone. No tugging on my part, just waiting. WHen the toy is released, lots of "good Cairo" and then I would throw it and he would fetch it again.
This is a great way to get that energy lowered a bit, lots of running.
The give command is great with a puppy becuase they begin to chew on everything and you have to establish what is okay to chew on and what is off limits (furniture etc).
A water bottle is a great way to deter bad puppy habits. I dont acknowledge bad behavior with "no" screaming. This is a natural thing to say, but it is negative attention. I just spray and look surprised when Cairo looks at me, totally silent. He is so cute, because when he starts chewing on the kitchen floor mat and gets a spray he just runs away, on to the next toy. It is a great challenge to learn to not use "no" during training, but if you think about it, it shouldnt be harder than your little kid learning.
I am sure we all use some type of repetative words during potty training and then praise when the deed is done. If your puppy is pooping and peeing all over the house, make the house smaller. Close the doors to other rooms, add a puppy pad and start the "go potty" and praises there, slowly moving it to the door or adding space. Caesar didnt use puppy pads when he was training, but mom was worried about accidents enough that I took him out every 2 hours and after he played a lot and was really excited.
A fun training tool for settling a small crazy puppy down is teaching the SIT command. Show your puppy the treat and hold it in your closed fist. Keep the puppy's attention and hold your hand above his head (hiding the treat in your fist saying SIT) until he plops his butt down trying to keep his focus on that hand. Once he/she goes into the sit position, give the treat (make it small) and say GOOD SIT and praise that kiddo. When you feel confident your basenji gets the drill, do the same thing without a treat! Show the closed fist and say SIT. Now you have a silent command and an oral one. This is a great way to establish the communication with your little guy and is super easy and can be used all the time….for play, for needed control at ackward moment, and even during leash training.
Cairo screamed when I put a harness on him. I didnt use a collar at first because it was too big and didnt want to pull on his neck. He refused to move when in the harness! Mom, the nerve! I dont like it!! Or the sweater (in my defense, it was cold outside). He basically became used to it when he was distracted with play.
Then attach that leash and let him walk you everywhere. Then you begin to coax him to go potty or call his name or use those parent sounds to get him to go the way you are going.
Cairo at first was soooooo crazy awake and asleep every two hours that I was struggling to sleep. I put him in his harness and leash and we went to Petsmart.
Lots of noise, smells, and light. I let him walk through all the isles, wherever he wanted to go. If he would stop and smell an area that i didnt want him in, well a little tug and some verbal coaxing was all that was needed to move to the next exciting thing to see.
I even took puppy pads and when he began to sniff the floor, put him on the puppy pad, with my "go potty" and he did his thing. Unfortunately he only needed 3 hours of sleep to recoup from that venture, but it was fun to be out of the house.
This leash walking is part of socialization. The lights and sounds of Petsmart were a great way for him to become comfortable with his surroundings, carts and people who wanted to meet him.
I would suggest going late in the evening so it isnt too busy. I was a little embarrased potty training him in an isle. But hey, I see the sniffing signs and beat him to an accident!
What else is fun to train? Cairo knows his name and will come when called or he hears his mommy whistle to come in. The repetition is what works, and they are sooooo smart that it doesnt take a lot. I do have to tell my boyfriend to use the same command words I am using during play which is important, IMO.
Having a basenji puppy who sits on command is like meeting a talking baby. People are usually in awe but dont realize how smart they really are at that age.
I know I have been really worn out with Cairo and the training has helped me burn his energy a bit. For those of you with this puppy as your only pet, well this will only slow them down!LOL, having a boyfriend in the home and Caesar really makes life easy. This is where I insert the great basenji proverb , "Basenjis are happier in numbers".
Good Luck and stick to it! Puppy crazy days only last to 7months!! After that the mellowing begins!! Just a bit though! And the teething stops!! LOL, please post your training tips here!!
I would love to hear what other puppy parents are going through!!