First day, foundation work– also anyone do bridge and target training?

Sounds like you are making giant strides. They absorb it like a sponge when they're young. Learning is the easy part, with a Basenji. Getting compliance when they begin to mature and question why they should do what you ask is the hard part, IMO. 😉

Oh, she is definitely questioning every request. That's why I'm not in formal training mode, and not really requesting anything yet, unless the desired behavior presents itself. One of my favorite working dog guys calls this foundation work "agreeing with everything", my bridge and target friend Kayce Cover calls it "naming" behavior. You just sort of socialize them to the world and all the situations where eventually they will be asked to work. All the behaviors I mentioned are natural behaviors, I'm just setting up situations, naming and rewarding behaviors I want to shape, for now. When I test her recognition of different signal/behavior combos, you can actually see her doing the math on what's in it for her, vs. When she doesn't recognize the word or just isn't paying attention.

My goal for now is just to happily explore the environment, help her have positive, confidence-building experiences, and to put down a foundation of communication tools.

She really is a whole lot like training a hawk. A tiny hunting machine who is ultimately largely uninterested in anyone's opinion ;0). My job is to get them to see me as their most useful asset and want to stick around. I see Scout learning and responding in exactly the same ways, only I have to work ten times as hard with her because Scout's much smarter than the average raptor ;0)

ETA: sorry, I will nerd out about this stuff for days. I've been out of practice for a while and am so excited to be working with her!

Hi!

Do keep on posting your progress with your pup; I find it very interesting to read!

Do you think this type of training would work on an older dog?

I like your approach to training. I do wonder if you know about Charles Eisenmann? He "educated" the dogs that starred in "The Littlest Hobo". I have his books. Someone dedicated enough to follow his methods would create a wonderful companion! (I was fortunate enough to see Chuck and London at a demonstration, back in the day. No question in my mind that the dog knew what was being said, and could further follow a conversation and reason out how to respond.)

http://tomhawthorn.blogspot.ca/2010/12/chuck-eisenmann-trainer-of-littlest.html

_Eisenmann had a simple philosophy to explain his success with his animals.

"A dog thinks just as a human does, and if you treat him as a stupid animal eventually he will act that way,” Eisenmann said. “That’s why I act positive around my dogs and treat them as friends.”_

Hey, thanks! I had not heard of this fella, but now am dying to get my paws on a copy of that LP!!!

@mixie:

Hey, thanks! I had not heard of this fella, but now am dying to get my paws on a copy of that LP!!!

The books are better. Eisenmann was unique and his dogs were unbelievable. Reporters turned from doubters into true believers.

To quote a reporter at one press conference: " I devised a scheme to expose any trickery by Mr. Eisenmann. To do this both his voice and person had to be separated from London. Amused by the obvious motive, Chuck agreed to the scheme and left the room. From the hallway he called to London. "You do what our visitor asks you to." "London, I whispered, "Go touch the picture on the wall." He paused for a moment then with another "It’s okay," from Chuck, casually walked across the room, stood up on his hand legs and placed both his fore-paws on the picture. At that moment, the "intellectual learning" theory for dog training won another convert."

Another example: "Eisenmann asked London what was used to open the door. The dog moved over and reached up and twisted the knob with his teeth. ‘No, what do we open it with if it is locked?’ he asked. The dog walked around the kitchen, found the keys on the sink, picked them up, and gave them to Mr. Eisenmann."

Sorry for the slight thread hijack, but Chuck is almost like a god to me, in terms of dog training.

!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not a hijack!!!! I guess I know what my next "happy whatever to me" gift will be =). Thanks a million!

Well, we finally hit our first training stand-off! It certainly had to happen at some point, I guess I should be grateful that it took this long ;0). I'm going to write out what I'm doing and ask for ideas in one of the other "rooms", but briefly she's decided she's not going to pee first thing in the morning, she wants to hold it so she can mark when we're out and about. I can't always work her out first thing in the morning, so now we're in a standoff with her bladder.

Other than this, though she's been really great. Every day we do some sort of parkour-play walk, a run with the bike, scentwork exercises, etc. She has a massive working vocabulary though her compliance is… pretty much exactly what you'd expect, based entirely on how motivated she happens to be to comply at the given moment ;0). She's a trip. My standing joke around the house is "I could have had an ACTUAL pet raccoon". We've been playing around with a little trick training, too. "Stick 'em up!" and "Bang!" are my two favorites =). If I need to focus on working her mind we'll practice something like "lay down", "down with chin on the ground", "on your side", "belly up", and "roll over", which I call "da", "da su pera", "bang", "upside-down dog!" and "rollo" and practice going back and forth between gradients of one behavior. Sometimes we'll play with putting her paws in different positions, including right/left relative directional stuff, or practice moving her body up/down/on/around/under some object.

I haven't had a chance to hunt her in a safe way. I haven't been able to get access to anywhere to enter her to rabbits. I'd love, LOVE to do some urban ratting with her, but there are a lot of poison boxes around, so no bueno on that count!

@mixie:

Well, we finally hit our first training stand-off! It certainly had to happen at some point, I guess I should be grateful that it took this long ;0). I'm going to write out what I'm doing and ask for ideas in one of the other "rooms", but briefly she's decided she's not going to pee first thing in the morning, she wants to hold it so she can mark when we're out and about. I can't always work her out first thing in the morning, so now we're in a standoff with her bladder.

This is one I have no problems with. Pee comes before breakfast. Right before. No pee, no breakfast! I do something similar at night, for the "last round". Pee = chew. No pee, no chew. I even have a song I sing. "Pee for chew and chew for pee, woo, woo, woo, wee, wee, wee!" I just sing, push him out the door to the backyard, and the pee happens! 😉

Yup, nothing fun happens until everybody's peed. Today she saw the old man go out on HER walk hour and was DISPLEASED. I agreed with her that it sure would be fun to go for a romp!
I'm glad we're not the only dweebs who sing to our dogs. We've taken to improvising a life soundtrack to the tune of "Springtime for Hitler" that usually starts "____-time for Basenjis, ______". The past couple days it's been "Pottytime for basenjis, come on, go pee!" 😃

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