Training Oakley-Lots of Pics

So Oakley is going to be six months old the end of this month and some things seem to be a little harder than I remember them being. Soda cans are the biggest issue in my house, the minute someone takes one out of the fridge he is zoned into it and HAS TO lick the top of it, I have tried all sorts of commands to keep him off the coffee table but he cant resist the urge! I can forsee this being a big problem when I have people over, not to mention I am worried he could cut his tongue on the can.
Second, I have noticed in the last three weeks that his nipping has come back and is out of control! I really do think it is the increase in testosterone levels because his exercise regimen has increased in duration. When I get home his new way to greet me is with mouthing me out of excitement. Also, I could just be petting him and all the sudden his urge to chew me kicks in. No command will work (I've tried release, no) and I have resorted to pushing him away from my arms because it hurts but as I knew it would it only further invites him…that aside, I am sure you all know it is common to automatically react by moving away. I am trying to wait until at least 8 months to neuter him to give him time to grow more. He is a slow grower ( I have heard the african lines tend to grow a little slower) but everyday gets a little harder but I know that neutering wont fix the issues but the intent he has should lessen...I hope!

I could use some advice/techniques on commands that work, ways to help him with relearning "soft mouth"

It doesn't take long to get from point A to point B….clearly!!

Found all these pictures that I never posted when Oakley was just a tiny pup!


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Cara is, fail none, the mouthiest dog I have ever had. I had a Rottie, Mukat, who didn't at all apply pressure but just wanted a body part in her mouth. She never got over that desire and she lived to the ancient age of 13 (most rotties gone between 8 to 10). That said, because she never applied pressure, we never resorted to any harsh response because she only did it to my husband and me and we didn't really mind that much.

Then came Cara… holy hannah. Anyway, I called Debbi (BRAT) and told her if I died, we had a problem because few homes would understand that her mouthiness isn't aggressive. I could stop the behavior, but I just called a friend who also won't mind and will take her, lol. In all situations, someone gets trained and Cara has trained me to love love love her mouthiness. She will hold my arm/hand/thumb in her mouth, massage it with her tongue as she goes to sleep.

But IF I decided to be a better owner and stop the behavior, the only real response is to be a tree, not move, not respond other than NO TEETH and slowly extinguish the behavior. Some recommend things like spray but most dogs... basenjis in particular... learn to find another body part. You can't bathe in stuff. Some dogs you can stop using a spray bottle. I suspect that would rev Cara up, not stop her. I have used NO/ignore when Cara applies pressure, so she has learned a very soft mouth when mouthing me. That said, of course that means if I were a better mom I'd teach her no teeth period but... did I mention I rather enjoy it? It makes her so happy.

If ignore doesn't work, walk off immediately.

As for the cans, you have to set him up constantly and the moment he starts for one, give a loud firm NO CAN and remove him from it. Eventually he will get it, but it may take a while. With all training, if you consistently prevent a payoff every time, they do get it.

Because of my dog breeds (Chows and Rotties), the leave it command is the most important one I teach after come. If you work on this with many things, you should be able to transfer it to cans.
http://www.clickerlessons.com/leaveit.htm

As for hormones, lol, the major hormones come in between 5 to 7 mos so I am sure that is some of it. But his health waiting I feel is more important than trying to cut off the hormones by neutering, so am glad you are waiting. A lot though is simple maturing. Consider this the terrible 2s time. He's trying boundaries again. Dear spirits, that mischievous look right before sleep says it all! LOL they are cute so we don't kill them.

@DebraDownSouth:

She will hold my arm/hand/thumb in her mouth, massage it with her tongue as she goes to sleep.

Blaze does this, too (other than the going to sleep part). Mostly, he does it when he's greeting us…he'll put his mouth over our arm and do the tongue massage thing, never applying pressure. Neither of our other Basenjis ever did this.

Being not quite four months old, though, he is still mouthy and thinks it's fun to play nip...and those little baby teeth are like sharp little razors! We're trying to break him of that, but as you said, it's a long process.

Hello Chealsie508,

First off, very lovely pics. I am no basenji expert, but have come to the realization that Bs can at times be a bit disobedient as far as listening to commands go. Me and my B are currently in obedience class and she is towards the bottom of the class (during class…but much better at home)! I would try and redirect Oakley when he wants to nip with giving him an appropriate toy for that activity...be consistent. Hormones could be a factor and I agree he is in his terrible 2s and testing you and your limits, perhaps trying to be the dominant pack leader. He may just be playing and doesn't realize he is hurting you...pull away and say OWWW real loud every time.

With licking the tops of soda cans, I am a little lost there since I have not witnessed such behavior or at least not with such focus...I know it sounds easy but also try and redirect the activity with something else Oakley may like...when he goes for the can tell him to sit, praise him "good sit" and treat, then walk away. Hope you find this helpful.

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