Inconsistent training

I have always trained my Basenji from day one, both at home and at a dog obedience club.
Why is it, that at home he is great, and at training he acts like he's never had a training session at all?
There are of course many many more distractions at training and he is a hound after all so I' m not particularly surprised.
My questions are, how do I combat this, what training methods should I employ?
I really do love him and I knew what I was getting myself in for getting a Basenji but gee it is frustrating finding a training method that works consistently with this breed..
Any suggestions would be appreciated…

Could it be as simple as that at home you keep him interested and alert and at class he gets bored? Maybe one-to-one training with someone that understands the breed would be a better option (especially, as you say, with distractions….)

@QuizBasenji:

Could it be as simple as that at home you keep him interested and alert and at class he gets bored? Maybe one-to-one training with someone that understands the breed would be a better option (especially, as you say, with distractions….)

I know B's get bored easily, but organised training is only for an hour! Khalani's problem is that he is a social butterfly and wants to visit everyone. What I need to try and do is find a method to keep his attention for that little bit longer. I use treats and clicker training but they do not work for too long and his drive to play and socialise is sooo strong that he just won't concentrate for any longer than 5 minutes.
I accept that he is only 11 months old so his immaturity is playing a big part in his concentration levels. I just hope that once he gets a little older some of his impulsiveness will subside.
What I am trying to avoid is him getting into bad habits now that will transition into his adulthood later.

I have trained with Lela at a club too and the diversion just seems to be overwhelming - outside all their senses go from 1 tot 10. At home Lela and Binti perform better, outside not so good. They are good on recall though, and that what counts for me.
We know a breeder/trainer, and one of her basenji's is a master of practice - when he is alone! When the others are in sight, he won't do anything right.

@kjdonkers:

I have trained with Lela at a club too and the diversion just seems to be overwhelming - outside all their senses go from 1 tot 10. At home Lela and Binti perform better, outside not so good. They are good on recall though, and that what counts for me.
We know a breeder/trainer, and one of her basenji's is a master of practice - when he is alone! When the others are in sight, he won't do anything right.

I am kind a glad I am not the only one, I need to work on my recall though. I have been using one of those extendable leads which gives me about 10 metres. Ever since he was a pup he would do maybe 2 recalls using this type of lead and something would get his attention and off he'd go and no amount of food reward has been effective to date. I guess I will need to keep being consistent and see what happens…lol

Working with distractions is something that you have to ramp up slowly. At home, in the house where you usually train distractions are minimal… you can step up by having short training sessions in various places.

I start by going from working in the house to working in our driveway. Then we take trips to a pet store and once they have been there a couple of times we incorporate some obedience work in the visits...

Also the more we are working with distractions the higher value are the rewards we use. At home we can use any treats we want...but when we are in a place that has distractions we use some thing that the dogs place a higher value on like hot dogs, baby food in a squeeze tube, cheese 🙂

@Moth:

Working with distractions is something that you have to ramp up slowly. At home, in the house where you usually train distractions are minimal… you can step up by having short training sessions in various places.

I start by going from working in the house to working in our driveway. Then we take trips to a pet store and once they have been there a couple of times we incorporate some obedience work in the visits...

Also the more we are working with distractions the higher value are the rewards we use. At home we can use any treats we want...but when we are in a place that has distractions we use some thing that the dogs place a higher value on like hot dogs, baby food in a squeeze tube, cheese 🙂

Thanks Moth. Yours was a very helpful post. I am going to implement it immediately and I will post back my progress in a few weeks. Great advice!

moth has given some excellent advice.

there are 3Ds in training:
Distance
Duration
Distraction

increase the criteria of one at a time. if you can do a 3 minute downstay in your kitchen at home, you can't expect the dog to do a 10 minute down stay with you 20 feet away at a local city park. if you are increasing the Distraction, decrease your criteria for the other 2D's. if you do a 10 minute downstay at home in the backyard 5 feet away from your dog, try a 2 minute downstay with you 3 feet away at a local park. if you're successful, try increasing one of the other 2D's. so, try a 3 minute downstay with you 3 feet away at your local park. etc

make sense?

@agilebasenji:

moth has given some excellent advice.

there are 3Ds in training:
Distance
Duration
Distraction

increase the criteria of one at a time. if you can do a 3 minute downstay in your kitchen at home, you can't expect the dog to do a 10 minute down stay with you 20 feet away at a local city park. if you are increasing the Distraction, decrease your criteria for the other 2D's. if you do a 10 minute downstay at home in the backyard 5 feet away from your dog, try a 2 minute downstay with you 3 feet away at a local park. if you're successful, try increasing one of the other 2D's. so, try a 3 minute downstay with you 3 feet away at your local park. etc

make sense?

Yes it does make sense, thanks.
I took Khalani into town early this morning when there were not many people around. I kept him at a heal as he usually pulls on the lead to investigate everyone and everything. This time he hardly pulled and wasn't too interested in noises or people, which is a big improvement. On 2 occasions people stopped to talk to me to ask me about Khalani, although I allowed him to briefly sniff them, he eventually sat next to me while I was talking, which was great!
When I came home I did a 5 minute obedience training session, concentrating on attention, healing and left turns with a little stay and wait. He did really well and I deliberately kept the session short to maintain his interest. I will do this 3 or 4 times a day and I will walk my 2 dogs separately from now on.
I am very grateful for the advice members have given me. It gave me a chance to reassess what I was doing wrong and start again. For a brief period I was blaming Khalani for not being able to learn things when it was clearly me not teaching him properly. How can you possibly expect a dog to do something you haven't taught him to do.
I am going to heed the advice of those members above that have offered invaluable advice re desensitisation and as I progress I will expose Khalani to more distractions while maintaining control of him.
Thanks everyone, I will keep you posted.

I think agilebasenji has it nailed. One thing I have learned, working with both horses and dogs, is that if they don't thoroughly understand what is required with no distractions, forget teaching it to them when they have other things on their mind! I think this is the problem with group classes, particularly with dogs that have trouble focusing, or that get bored easily. Most Basenjis would rather ignore you at the best of times, unless there is something particularly attractive that they think is worth working for, and it's hard to find something salient enough to hold their attention when there is a lot going on. If you can habituate the behaviour you want without distractions, you have a lot better chance of getting it when you start adding them.

@eeeefarm:

I think agilebasenji has it nailed. One thing I have learned, working with both horses and dogs, is that if they don't thoroughly understand what is required with no distractions, forget teaching it to them when they have other things on their mind! I think this is the problem with group classes, particularly with dogs that have trouble focusing, or that get bored easily. Most Basenjis would rather ignore you at the best of times, unless there is something particularly attractive that they think is worth working for, and it's hard to find something salient enough to hold their attention when there is a lot going on. If you can habituate the behaviour you want without distractions, you have a lot better chance of getting it when you start adding them.

Agilebaseji offered some great advice! I have been following it for the last couple of days and Khalani has been responding very well. As I posted above I have been taking Khalani in to my home town early in the morning and practicing his heels etc and he has been improving, not quite as much pulling, it' s quite funny actually, he kinda speeds up and slows down but generally stays by my side. It looks like he is fighting his urge to pull and then remembers he isn't t supposed to pull….lol
When I get back home I spent 5 to 10 minutes doing attention training and left and right heeling around three trees in a local park. (He had a lot of trouble weaving around dogs at training). I am trying not to overload him so I keep it short and sweet.
Walking my two dogs separately is also helping a lot. My Minpin is very good on lead but my B was always trying to pull us around and was always at the full lead length.....not anymore...lol
The way this training is going he will be the most obedient Basenji in history!!!
I am also saving up for a Wicked Coursing machine (lil monster) http://www.wickedcoursing.com/LM.html to help tire out my beautiful boy and so he can have a good time. I just love seeing him happy…..and exhausted....hahaha!

oh wow! i haven't seen those little coursing machines - very cool.

I hope your basenjis turn out better obedience trained than mine <gg>. Actually, i know what to do, just obedience stuff bores me and I have a full set of agility equipment in my backyard, so our training time is used up with agility or freestyle stuff (so I do need to do some more heel work stuff). And I haven't done the skateboard in a while. And i do have a nice downstay - mostly because of mat work. if you google "Overall relaxation protocol" you'll find some really nice steps for getting a nice downstay on a mat. And then you can easily do a send to the mat. And then once you've reinforced the heck out of the mat, you can work on heeling past the mat. 😉 Z was actually pretty good about that in our freestyle class.

actually, if you're clicker training, i really like this book. (i should re-read it, it's been a while)

http://www.amazon.com/Clicker-Training-Obedience-Shaping-Performance-Positively/dp/0962401781/ref=la_B001KCBRZ4_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371524167&sr=1-1</gg>

Only time will tell if my training techniques will work, it is looking good though! I did clicker clicker training but I kept forgetting to take it with me so now I just replace the click with a "yes" to reinforce the good behaviour.
Khalani is still young, only 11 months old and I would rather teach him the correct behaviour now rather than trying to correct a bad habit later.
I will get into agility when he is a little older, his bones are still too immature for that yet. I would also like to get Khalani into becoming a "therapy" dog as he has a beautiful nature, He can't be assessed for that until he is at least 18 months old.
You must tell me more about the "skateboard", does he ride it? Have you ever videoed your agility, I'd love to see that.

@Kosuzu:

I will get into agility when he is a little older, his bones are still too immature for that yet. I would also like to get Khalani into becoming a "therapy" dog as he has a beautiful nature, He can't be assessed for that until he is at least 18 months old.
You must tell me more about the "skateboard", does he ride it? Have you ever videoed your agility, I'd love to see that.

There are a few youtube videos of Zest! doing agility. Just seach "Zest Agility" and the r/w little basenji is mine. Those are all from her Novice days. She's now in Excellent. We've had quite a few set backs, but she has achieved her excellent agility titles in AKC. You can see my other 2 here:
https://www.basenji.org/BasenjiU/Activities/Agility/AOb/stacles.html

All but the dogs on the table are mine. Zest is also the star of the Agility Manuevers videos.

Hopefully, you'll be able to find a local agility class. There are lots of foundation work you can do with puppies before you start doing jumps and weaves.

The other two (Digital the brindlewonderkid and Jet the trying) are retired, but have certainly done a lot.

Therapy work is so rewarding! You'll love it. Z and I are off to the Alzheimer's facility tomorrow. Both my boys also really loved it.

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