Help, we need advice re training classes please


  • thank you so much for everyones replies, it is much appreciated, sometimes it can feel like you are the only one in the world with the problems although of course you know that you aren't realy.
    As an update for a while i have started to dread the training class which i was surprised to feel as it's been such a positive experience with Malaika.
    I felt on Saturday that we were being asked to do something Kwame wasn't capable of, it makes sense as Ivoss pointed out that if he's not reliable on lead then he's certainly not going to be off.
    I have seen him get gradualy worse at class and it is no longer a positive experience for either of us.
    To a degree we did trust the trainer as Malaika has done so well and realy enjoys her classes, however yes instinctively i know it's not the right enviroment for Kwame at present.
    The plan is to work on getting Kwame to focus on us and reward him with food whilst approaching another dog or noisy large vehicle that he fancies tackling, trying to drum into him that something pleasant happens during these times.
    I am going to order the control unleashed book to start with and also the other books reccomended by members.
    We are going to stop with the classes for Kwame at present.
    Victoria is aware of the situation


  • I just finished a "manners" class with my yearling boy. Basenjis and distractions are an issue for all of us and this class was absolutely great for helping with that. As already noted, you can use food to develop focus BUT use that for everything that can be a distraction not just another dog or a car. While at home, any time Kwame turns his attention to you, even just for a second, reward with a little treat. Once he learns that simply looking at you will generate a treat, then use a special word (like focus or me or look or here or whatever). Then start adding distractions inside like a chunk of food on the floor (the "leave it" command) or a special toy he likes or have someone roll a ball past (even if he doesn't care for balls, the movement will be a distraction). Any time he looks at the distraction but looks back at you, reward. Once he's showing success inside then apply this outside. When he sees another dog use your focus word to draw his attention back to you and reward. This is more than "leave it" but rather "leave it and look at me to see what I want you to do about it". It won't take long if you treat consistently.


  • @thunderbird8588:

    thank you so much for everyones replies, it is much appreciated, sometimes it can feel like you are the only one in the world with the problems although of course you know that you aren't realy.
    As an update for a while i have started to dread the training class which i was surprised to feel as it's been such a positive experience with Malaika.
    I felt on Saturday that we were being asked to do something Kwame wasn't capable of, it makes sense as Ivoss pointed out that if he's not reliable on lead then he's certainly not going to be off.
    I have seen him get gradualy worse at class and it is no longer a positive experience for either of us.
    To a degree we did trust the trainer as Malaika has done so well and realy enjoys her classes, however yes instinctively i know it's not the right enviroment for Kwame at present.
    The plan is to work on getting Kwame to focus on us and reward him with food whilst approaching another dog or noisy large vehicle that he fancies tackling, trying to drum into him that something pleasant happens during these times.
    I am going to order the control unleashed book to start with and also the other books reccomended by members.
    We are going to stop with the classes for Kwame at present.
    Victoria is aware of the situation

    Like Agile mentioned, if you are on Yahoo groups, I would highly suggest joining the Control Unleashed group and possibly the Functional Rewards (BAT focused - I'm not a member of that one). The books are great but my level of understanding of how to apply the techniques to different dogs and situations increased significantly from reading there. Plus it is a very supportive environment where other people will understand what you're dealing with.


  • OH! and google Overall's Relaxation Protocol. Start that yesterday. Do what you can in one day's worth. Maybe you can only do the first 5 things on Day 1. That's fine. I use a down instead of a sit, but it's really helpful in getting the dog to not feel like he has to be involved in everything going on around him. I use a mat for this and have had lots of fun doing it all sorts of places. People at the conformation shows were mega impressed with I sent Zest! to her mat. (I think those people are easily impressed!)


  • Have joined the online CU Yahoo group


  • Every dog is different and every Basenji is very, very different. I agree with Lisa about Kwame-he needs more time.

    Kristen, I just have a note to say if you are getting a Basenji simply because you want a challenge for training-you are getting the wrong breed. Yes, they are a challenge, but you cannot force them to train. I find it's on their agenda, not yours. You can train a Basenji all you want, but in my experience, if they want to listen to your commands, they will-if they don't want to, they definitely won't and you won't be able to make them. I would never, ever, ever trust one completely to be able to relax enough to know the Basenji will focus on you totally.

    Some B's train better than others, it depends on their ability to focus. I have one line that is not good at all about focusing. And I wouldn't trust them one inch to be able to hold any sort of training. They simply are a more unfocused line. They would do great on their own and be able to survive, of that I have no doubt.


  • I agree with Arlene about Basenjis having an agenda and training. It's very difficult to get other people yo understand just what they are like. For instance our two understand fully what heel means, we have been working on it with Malaika for two years. If they both choose to do so they can do text book loose lead walking, if however they choose not to, usualy when we have both out together, the walk can be a nightmare.
    I have purchased some gentle leaders this week to give these a go, will update when we have done.
    Re each Basenji being different, Malaika realy enjoys her classes and yodels often in enjoyment, she is a pleasure (mostly ) to train. wearas the story is very different with Kwame.


  • I had a couple who came to see, and eventually took home, a seven month old. They didn't seem to believe me on how a basenji can a) have an agenda, and b) totally ignore what you want and do what they want. They learned very quickly that B's are not the same as other dogs and will do just about anything they please-sometimes just to p–- you off! However, after two years, he is settling down somewhat and while he is getting better, they still do not trust him alone. You can love them to death, but don't get too attached to your furniture, clothes, items around the house, etc. In one split second they can go from well behaved, 'I would never do that', butter wouldn't melt in their mouth sweetness to devil dog, hell on wheels (paws) and spawn of satan.


  • The thing with Basenjis is that although once taught they know perfectly well what you want…..or what you don't want......they just aren't interested in doing it unless either there is something in it for them that is more attractive than the "reward" they get for disobeying, or the consequences of not complying are absolutely certain to happen and are displeasing enough that they wish to avoid them. Basenjis are definitely "sorry" when caught doing wrong, but they are sorry they got caught, not sorry that they did it! One of their most endearing traits when caught doing wrong is to try to distract you by being extraordinarily cute, perhaps by yodelling or putting their paw over their face or some such action guaranteed to make you smile instead of being mad at them.


  • You have received a lot of great advice, and I'm sure have a ton you want to work on, so I won't try to add anything since I think the best points I could make have been made.

    Instead, just know that you aren't alone in your feelings with Kwame. Dexter is also 13 months this February, and the experience has been a roller coaster of sorts. His threshold for attention is extremely low and very distracted by the 8 or 9 other dogs in our class. We have aspirations to train him for therapy work, so I definitely know the feeling of discouragement by the behavior.

    We started CU (and are also on the Yahoo Group) a month ago. The Puppy Book then came out this month and has given us even more information and strategies to work on. I would definitely say that Leslie's material is a great starting place for Kwame. It may feel so far off right now, but a few tweaks and I think you'll see great progress. It certainly also has to do with the age of our dogs right now.

    Have faith!!


  • @thunderbird8588:

    Have joined the online CU Yahoo group

    Awesome. The volume of info can be overwhelming but it's good stuff.


  • @jdido09:

    You have received a lot of great advice, and I'm sure have a ton you want to work on, so I won't try to add anything since I think the best points I could make have been made.

    Instead, just know that you aren't alone in your feelings with Kwame. Dexter is also 13 months this February, and the experience has been a roller coaster of sorts. His threshold for attention is extremely low and very distracted by the 8 or 9 other dogs in our class. We have aspirations to train him for therapy work, so I definitely know the feeling of discouragement by the behavior.

    We started CU (and are also on the Yahoo Group) a month ago. The Puppy Book then came out this month and has given us even more information and strategies to work on. I would definitely say that Leslie's material is a great starting place for Kwame. It may feel so far off right now, but a few tweaks and I think you'll see great progress. It certainly also has to do with the age of our dogs right now.

    Have faith!!

    Thank you and good luck with Dexter


  • @eeeefarm:

    The thing with Basenjis is that although once taught they know perfectly well what you want…..or what you don't want......they just aren't interested in doing it unless either there is something in it for them that is more attractive than the "reward" they get for disobeying, or the consequences of not complying are absolutely certain to happen and are displeasing enough that they wish to avoid them. Basenjis are definitely "sorry" when caught doing wrong, but they are sorry they got caught, not sorry that they did it! One of their most endearing traits when caught doing wrong is to try to distract you by being extraordinarily cute, perhaps by yodelling or putting their paw over their face or some such action guaranteed to make you smile instead of being mad at them.

    so very true, i love the bit saying they're sorry they were caught and not sorry for the action , again so very true


  • bit of an update on Kwame.
    To start with i can't tell you enough what a relief it was on saturday not to have to got to training 😉
    I am continuing to work with Kwame at home, working on focusing on us as well as his general obedience. Things are much more relaxed at the moment.
    We have also discovered something which has transformed lead walking for us, it's so dramatic that i can hardly dare hope it continues.
    The discovery is a gentle leader halter and both dogs don't pull at all when wearing it. The info says it can calm dogs and this doeas seem to be the case, we can walk near other dogs without Kwame lunging now and it has stopped both of them lunging at tractors etc.
    I know it isn't a miracle cure and that it shouldn't replace training but we have been working on walking on a loose lead for two years with Malaika and whilst at times she walks beautifuly, if she chooses not to then walking has become a nightmare.
    Now when we return from a walk instead of feeling stressed out, we are relaxed.


  • I'm glad to hear the gently leader is working for you. Do be careful, as if the dog opts to pull anyway, and particularly if he lunges into it, this type of restraint can damage their necks. It's modeled on horse halters…...but horses have far more robust necks than most dogs!


  • thanks for the warning eeeefarm. At present there is absolutely no pulling at all. I did feel that when we were checking the dogs and they had collars on that that may well be damaging.


  • @thunderbird8588:

    thanks for the warning eeeefarm. At present there is absolutely no pulling at all. I did feel that when we were checking the dogs and they had collars on that that may well be damaging.

    Absolutely! You can damage the neck with pretty much any collar. Surprisingly, the really nasty looking prong collar appears to be less likely to do physical harm than most. I think the biggest danger with the halter type restraints is if the dog lunges suddenly and hits the end of the leash hard. Not a good idea to use a long leash with these. Bottom line, if they don't pull the collar won't hurt them.


  • There are also some very good harnesses for loose lead walking without the issues of neck injury. My 14 year old uses the Wags, Wiggles, and Whiskers Freedom Harness because he has a bulging disc. When clipped in the front it acts as a no pull harness. Clipped in the rear it reduces pulling but doesn't really discourage a determined puller. It has been wonderful Nicky as it has eliminated the stress on his neck. Also, the company will repair chewed harnesses. Nicky has not damaged his but we have had many people with dogs who have.

    http://www.wiggleswagswhiskers.com/newsite/freedom-no-pull-harness.htm

    An issue I had with the Gentle Leader was that though my dogs did not pull with it on, it was because they clearly found it aversive and shut down.


  • @eeeefarm:

    Absolutely! You can damage the neck with pretty much any collar. Surprisingly, the really nasty looking prong collar appears to be less likely to do physical harm than most. I think the biggest danger with the halter type restraints is if the dog lunges suddenly and hits the end of the leash hard. Not a good idea to use a long leash with these. Bottom line, if they don't pull the collar won't hurt them.

    I would say that the gentle leader is totaly unsuited to use with a long lead or retractable lead.
    If we use the retractables we go back to collars.


  • @lvoss:

    There are also some very good harnesses for loose lead walking without the issues of neck injury. My 14 year old uses the Wags, Wiggles, and Whiskers Freedom Harness because he has a bulging disc. When clipped in the front it acts as a no pull harness. Clipped in the rear it reduces pulling but doesn't really discourage a determined puller. It has been wonderful Nicky as it has eliminated the stress on his neck. Also, the company will repair chewed harnesses. Nicky has not damaged his but we have had many people with dogs who have.

    http://www.wiggleswagswhiskers.com/newsite/freedom-no-pull-harness.htm

    An issue I had with the Gentle Leader was that though my dogs did not pull with it on, it was because they clearly found it aversive and shut down.

    thanks for the link, i like the look of the harness . If clipped to the front do you find it realy works to stop pulling ?
    Our two aren't keen on the gentle leader and try to scrape it off from time to time. I however don't feel it is causing them too much stress and it certainly doesn't hurt them. I am hoping they get more used to it as time goes on. The results have been dramatic and a lot safer, ie no lunging at traffic or in Kwame's case other dogs. Will keep an eye on them though and will bear in mind what you have said, thanks.

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