Chipley's Not-so-great Adventure
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  • We had some trees removed and others trimmed this week, and our 30 year old gate-post in the chain link fence evidently got broken. We were admiring the tree-work Wednesday afternoon when I noticed Eddie peeing on a bush?in the front yard. He ran back in the gate, which I closed behind him, then soon he was right back out front. That's when I realized the post was not stable and a little nudge caused the gate to open. Donald used some pavers to secure it and it seemed temporarily fine, especially as our dogs are not escapers. I saw Chipley several houses up the street, he came right back when called and zoomed back into the back yard. His first 'escape'!

    Yesterday I cooked a huge turkey while the boys worshiped at the oven door, but Oh No, mom loaded the turkey into the car and drove away! We were about 10 minutes away when Donald realized he had forgotten his camera, so we turned around and came home to get it. Next door neighbors greeted us with "Are you missing a dog?" Seems we had barely driven away when Chipley wiggled out the gate. Fortunately he didn't try to follow us but went next door to visit. They thought he was the sweetest thing ever, and were just going to keep him in their yard till we got home (realizing that somehow he had already gotten out of our yard and if they put him back, he might escape again). Chip trotted right over to us and ran back into the house.

    That broken gate is now tied with sturdy rope so no one will be exiting that way anytime soon! Chip may have been a stray, but I don't believe he will stray far from his new home.

    Sure was glad the camera got forgotten and we came home. But if Chip had to escape with himself, I'm glad it was only to the house next door! Whew.

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  • So glad to hear Chip is safe and didn't run off. As for the forgotten camera, things sometimes happen for a reason. Chip get's extra treats for being a gooood dog! My last 2 Basenjis once got out for 4 hours. When I got home they were both in the driveway to greet me. Same with my first Basenji, got out the gate and waited for me for 6 hours in the driveway according to my landlady that lived next door.

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  • I live in fear that Shaye will escape and just keep on running after one squirrel then another, and would be so far away before coming back occurred to her, she'd have no idea where home was. The times she has escaped, we have been here and gone after her, needing all our skills and assistance from others because she loves to play "catch me if you can." So far, so good, but I don't feel I would ever trust her to "wait in the driveway" if we didn't notice she was out. Gotta say, this is one area where Gemma, my mixed breed basenji is much much safer - she stays near and comes back when called.

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  • @Shaye's:

    The times she has escaped, we have been here and gone after her, needing all our skills and assistance from others because she loves to play "catch me if you can."

    The dilemma always is whether to go after the dog…...which we all instinctively want to do.....or try to lure the dog back to us. If you follow, they are then not "on their own" and may indeed venture ever further. I find the most effective thing to do is lie down on the ground. Most often the dog will come back to see what's wrong with Mom. Of course, this gambit may not work on subsequent occasions, but is a good tactic until the dog catches on. :)

    The escape factor is why I think it is so important to have an off leash trained dog. Then being "free" is not a novelty, and your chances of recovery from an inadvertent "out the door" are much better.

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  • D

    I am not sure if all Bs can be off leash trained. We had an elderly rescue about 13 years old, Pixie, who was a former show dog and we always joked about how she would never leave your side and one could probably take her in the ring without a leash. One day in the front yard without a leash on she just ran off down the street and I had no idea why. I was calling her and ran after her as she crossed the street and headed toward the alley and that is when I saw an animal run down it. She stopped when she could no longer see it. I could not believe I could not catch her. She never had any interest in the plastic bunny at lure coursing events so who knew she still had hunting instincts in her. After this incident she was no longer leash free!

    Jennifer

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  • I'm not saying off leash is foolproof (neither are leashes…..especially with some Basenjis!), but if the dog is familiar with being loose.....in whatever controlled circumstances you can manage......there is no longer that silly "wow, I'm free" response when he or she accidentally gets out the door. My own method for having an off leash dog (e-collar) is not appreciated by some on this forum, but I feel he is safer because he is accustomed to being loose, and it doesn't go to his head. But for all that, I am still careful not to push my (and his) luck.

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  • Working on a great recall in enclosed areas, with long lines, etc can train for an off leash experience. I wouldn't risk my dogs by doing off leash in order to maybe get them back if they accidentally got off leash.

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    Working on a great recall in enclosed areas, with long lines, etc can train for an off leash experience. I wouldn't risk my dogs by doing off leash in order to maybe get them back if they accidentally got off leash.

    The very best is if you can work in a sufficiently large enclosed area that the dog is unaware it is enclosed. They certainly know when you take off the long line! (even fishing line gives them enough feedback to know they are not free) :) All risk is relative, and there is no such thing as a "sure thing" in life. You do the best you can…...within your comfort zone, of course.

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  • I want to comment on what "comfort zone" entails, but why bother?

    I know many working dogs who were trained a 100 percent recall in enclosed areas, moved to safer not enclosed, then hunted/coursing/camping/outings without losing the dog. As with all mammals, if you build up the neural pathways to a response repeatedly, you have as good as chance of compliance in a "A SQUIRREL!!!" situation as you do with a shock collar. Which is why clicker trainers wipe the floor in competition with shock collar and those using any physical corrections, even citronella collars. It isn't that clickers are magic, it is that they build on training quick automatic responses which simply are neurologically "friendly" to training. (And no, I don't use a clicker much other than trick training, but I know many who use it for everything.)

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    Which is why clicker trainers wipe the floor in competition with shock collar and those using any physical corrections, even citronella collars. It isn't that clickers are magic, it is that they build on training quick automatic responses which simply are neurologically "friendly" to training. (And no, I don't use a clicker much other than trick training, but I know many who use it for everything.)

    Of course you are building automatic responses whichever method you use. An interesting statistic I gleaned from "Accelerated Learning" by Pam Reid is that dogs conditioned to a recall by means of a really nasty shock retained the training far longer than with any other method. Her comment was that after the training you could basically throw the collar away and never use it again. Investigation revealed that the response was continually reinforced by the relief the dog felt at evading the shock by responding to the recall, which supplied positive reinforcement every time the dog heard the cue. Timing is crucial to using this method, as is conditioning the dog to NOT associate the collar with the shock.

    I have personally not used the collar in this way, but the fact is that positive punishment correctly applied is indeed extremely effective. The problem lies in the fact that most don't have the timing to do it accurately, and also that most of us don't want to cause severe pain to our animals, even when it is of very brief duration. Modern e collars can be used with less physical discomfort than an ordinary collar and leash, but give you the advantage of control at a distance. The cautionary is that they are not a good tool unless you spend the time to learn how to use them correctly, and I don't think they should be sold independently of a course in their use. I also think they are not appropriate for some breeds of dog as a stand alone training tool, but are valuable with dogs such as Basenjis to remind them that there are consequences to ignoring a command that they understand, and I have no qualms about using the collar in this way. My dog is fully aware that HE controls any discomfort he may experience.

    BTW, as I have mentioned before, I agree that clicker training is an extremely effective way to teach new behaviours, and I use it myself all the time. However, I haven't noted any particular trend of clicker trainers predominating in the obedience ring, although they appear to have more of a following in agility. Not sure why this is, but it could be because of the "culture" of the different disciplines. :)

    Would love to hear your comment on "comfort zone". I used the term without particularly thinking about alternate interpretations. I know what mine is, and would like to know whether yours varies much from what I intended…..lots of meaning gets lost in translation. Especially on the internet.

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  • My previous Bs had a lot of off leash activity so getting out I guess they didn't get that "I"M FREE FINALLY!" feeling. The funny thing is they'd get out when I was going in and out of the side garage door doing yard work. They would go next door, water their lawn :p and then come right back and be scratching at the door to get in. I've been doing weekly off leash hiking with Buddy on the weekends and he's been pretty good about staying with me and coming back. It took a couple of years before I started letting him off. He's more work then my previous 3 who had off leash since they were pups.

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  • I am so happy that Chipley is fine. As for not being able to catch Chipley, I wonder if Usain Bolt would even be able to. Now THAT would be an interesting race to watch. :D

    Kipawa is only ever allowed off leash in places that are fenced parks or on the dikes in our area, as there are no streets or cars there. I just know it would kill me if something happened…

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  • My neighbor called me a while ago to tell me our dog was in his back yard ! I went out & found the gate was left open, I closed the gate , went back inside to get his leash & hung up the phone, all panicked. I turn around and the dog is standing behind me. Somehow he snuck around me and went back in the house while I was out looking for him. He gave me this look like "what?"

    Nothing more panicking than having a basenji on the loose (cars).

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  • Barkless, that is so funny! I can just see that "what?" look.

    Chip is not a runner, in fact none of mine are, I was very surprised that he slipped out as I can leave the front door open and he just comes out to greet me and goes back in the house

    All's well that ends well. I hope every escaped basenji comes home safely like Chip did.

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  • We chose our house, on a quiet rural cul de sac with an 8' Basenji proof fence, with the B's in mind. On the few occasions they've gotten loose, my reflex action is to grab their Cookie Jar. The neighbours think I'm nuts when they see me running down the road clanging dog biscuits in a huge glass bin, but it works like a charm. I even used it to lead a shy puppy mill foster boy home after he bolted out the door…he wouldn't let me put a leash on him, but he was happy to follow the jingling jar!

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  • Our Neighbor had a Min Pin that was running loose & I saw them drive up to it in a car, opened the car door, saying "car ride" & the dog jumped. in.

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  • @Barklessdog:

    Our Neighbor had a Min Pin that was running loose & I saw them drive up to it in a car, opened the car door, saying "car ride" & the dog jumped. in.

    That's how my girlfriend catches her Jack Russell. :)

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  • Certainly there is no physically catching most dogs & chasing them is out of the question.

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  • @MacPack:

    Next door neighbors greeted us with "Are you missing a dog?" Seems we had barely driven away when Chipley wiggled out the gate.

    Do you really, regularly leave your dog alone in the yard when you leave the house???

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  • My dogs all have yard access 24/7 with a dog door and fenced yard. They go out to sun, do 'business' but spend most of the time in the house, lounging on the couch or bed. We have had this arrangement since mid 70's and only escapes (when we were gone) have been meter-reader related. The meters were moved to the side of the house so they didn't have to open the gate!

    Before we made a little fenced "porch" we had regular escapes, when they shoved us aside to run out. Quickly caught, often using the car 'hop in, go for ride' routine. We built that around '83, when we had 5 and my husband declared he was never chasing another basenji!

    We live in a very quiet neighborhood, no through-traffic, and it's on an island, so they can't go too far even if they were to leave the neighborhood!

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  • J
    Arizona Basenjis

    Guppy never escapes. Even when his sister does. I will come home to one dog out and Guppy on the couch.

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