tips for new basenji puppy owners

  • Hello,

    I'm looking at how I should raise my new puppy. I'd like to hear tips. I'm also reading and seeing shows like cesar millan's. I'd also like to hear what you think of cear millan. I just want to raise a good basenji.

    Garcia, Allan

  • Cesar Millan is the worse thing to happen to dog training in a long time. But don't take my word for it. Here are experts willing to publicly express his wrongness:

  • There are so many good positive trainers. I always give mary's links for basics:

    Some here have you tube video trainers that are superb. I am drawing a blank so hopefully they'll chime in.

  • thankyou, ill read these

  • but i'm wondering what you say about his dogs that he has raised. for example, 'junior'. He seems like a well raised dog. Plus I agree with what he says'' you need to tread a dog as a dog''. just want to hear more of what you think. I scare myself thinking i'm to harsh with my puppy.

  • There are many shades of gray in dog training. It's been said that the only thing two trainers can agree on is that the third one is doing it wrong! 🙂 Personally I have never attended a clinic (either dogs or horses) where I didn't learn something valuable, even if it's just what NOT to do. And different dog personalities often need different approaches. Read, observe, learn. Don't go to extremes. Your dog will let you know when you're on the right track.

  • You can find much better trainers to follow ..... I don't agree with his training methods

  • But i'm wondering if there are some things that you think cesar is doing right. I'm reading to figure this out, but i'm more likely to follow basenji owners who were able to raise their pup right. Just want a little guidance

  • If that question is directed at me, I don't think that he does anything right, as each thing that you do with your pup, leads to the next thing, so not like you can just pick out one thing.... in my opinion. If you want to follow an example, try the books/internet information by Patricia McConnell (

  • The most important thing in training, IMO, is that you AND the dog understand what is being rewarded and what is not. Often poor results happen because of timing errors, which is why a marker word or clicker is so valuable. I don't watch Caesar Millan's shows, so I can't comment directly on what he does. If he gets good results and the dogs don't fear him, it can't be all bad, but that doesn't mean he should be your role model. Find someone who achieves good results and uses methods you are comfortable with. There are a lot of trainers out there to choose from! And sometimes the dog doesn't appear to have read the same book that you did, i.e. you do everything "right", but don't get the expected results. That is when it's good to be able to think outside the box. 🙂

  • I have watched him. And I have read sickening reports about things that don't make the film edit. The reason I gave you the links is because if you want expert opinions, you were able to read them without having to wonder if the person you spoke to is a nut job or idiot.

    You gave one example of what I dislike about him. "Treat a dog like a dog" ... expressions that novice people think sound right, but don't know enough to ask the right questions. Exactly HOW do you treat a dog like a dog? That depends one hundred percent on your perception of what a dog is. Think about that one for a bit, because it is critical.

    For me, a dog is a companion animal. My relationship is to train in such a way that we form a bond. That doesn't mean I allow the dog to do what it wants. That means I try to help the dog want to do what I want it to do... such as potty outside, not destroy my belongings, not bite or be aggressive to humans, and at least ignore other dogs in public (walking/shows whatever) when innate dog aggression is present. Dogs have personalities/traits/genetic wiring. You can mold them to a very good extent. But there are limits. I have spent my life with Rottweilers and Chows... so trust me the margin for error with a dog that can do serious damage is much narrower than a basenji. And guess what? The training methods are the same. You build trust, a relationship and you work from there. At the end of the day, I want my dogs to do what I want because they trust me and I have managed to teach them what is expected. Not fear. Not dominated.

    So... treat a dog like a dog? Not much different than saying treat a child like a child. It will depend on what you value. If your value is utter control and how you get there justifies that, that will be a very different path that I'd take.

    If you follow nothing but Mary's lessons, you can have an extremely well trained dog who will not fear you and will be reliable. If you read McConnell you can get there too, and with more understanding about why.

    As for the only thing 2 trainers agree on is that the 3rd is wrong, is true in most in case and profession. But when the overwhelming community of veterinary behaviorists, positive trainers and people who believe manhandling your dog and making it fear you is not okay and that a trainer is the embodiment of those bad training ideas, then you need to decide if some stupid actor praising Millan is as credible as the experts.

    I also want to address Shirley's "And sometimes the dog doesn't appear to have read the same book that you did, i.e. you do everything "right", but don't get the expected results." Not really. 🙂 I will soon be 60, and I have no trouble admitting that when I THOUGHT I was doing everything "right" but don't get the results I expected, it isn't that the dog didn't read the same book. It's that I was doing something wrong. I am so very lucky to have had so many people help me, address timing issues, address my consistency and other things that may be interfering. The other reason things may fail is you didn't break it down into small enough steps and get each step secure before adding. Or, you may have a dog who is fearful/unstable. You can manage many of those dogs, but don't expect perfect behavior. When you have a few loose screws, expectations need to be adjusted. So I don't agree that every single dog owner of a stable dog cannot get results following just Mary's instructions. I do agree that you may have to do things more to fit your dog... but if you hit a bump, write her and she'll help.

    And read and watch McConnell's books and videos. Appreciate the joyful responses to her from the dogs.

    Then watch Cesar kicking dogs, tell me who you want to learn from and tell me why you think I would even attempt to come up with a positive thing he does:

  • Interesting video. I have to agree, I wouldn't be allowing Caesar anywhere near my dog! Debra, I will allow that most times people don't get the expected results the reason is one of timing, not understanding what you are rewarding, etc. but I have seen situations with some dogs that have become confused where it pays to address the problem from a whole new direction (including throwing out the old cues and inventing new ones), which often sorts things out when persisting with the original method does not.

    I know an obedience trainer whose students often have trouble with a particular exercise (directed jumping), and I'm sure there is something in her method that is faulty, but I haven't had the opportunity to watch and figure out what the problem is. Back in the day, we used to teach our dogs to jump and they would have a go at anything we pointed at, but I will admit I have never trained the exercise formally.

    The one thing that I consider extremely important is to be sure not to teach the dog to ignore you. Yelling "come" repeatedly while the dog chooses not to comply is one of the worst sins a trainer can commit, IMO. Otherwise known as "don't ask for things you aren't sure you are going to get", or when clicker training, don't name the behaviour until it is solid!

  • I just want to add, when reviewing training methods it helps to have a pinch of common sense. While kicking a dog is just so obviously wrong, there are a number of "positive" tactics that IMO are stupid at best and dangerous at worst. I will mention one. Many obedience trainers teach "watch me" by spitting food from their mouth at the dog. Why they do this is a mystery to me. You can clicker train this behaviour in no time at all, and the dog will be staring at your eyes, not your mouth! Apart from aesthetics, why would you want a dog to expect that food in your mouth belongs to him? The possibilities for a tragic mistake involving a child are obvious, at least to me. Just because someone is a coach or trainer doesn't automatically mean they have any common sense!

  • Shirley, I agree teaching look at me should eliminate food fast. But not use at all? We have basenji, where eye contact is good, positive, usually not an instant confrontation. When you have some breeds, such as Rottweilers, who can often see eye contact as a challenge, you need to treat and reward eye contact. But NEVER would I spit it out. I start with puppies and have them follow the treat to my eye level and when we make eye contact, it's GOOD WATCH ME and pop that treat in their mouth.

    LOL and 100 percent on "come" command. Decades ago Mary asked us "what is your real "come" command. The discussion led to precisely where she knew it would. Mine? "DON'T MAKE ME COME GET YOU!" after 2 or 3 "come" didn't work. I learned to get off my ass and go get the dog if I gave the command once and it wasn't obeyed... or to just go get the dog if I knew the command was going to be ignored. With chows, I put a line on them and reel them in (come is NOT their strong suit) til I get consistent recall.

  • @DebraDownSouth said:

    Shirley, I agree teaching look at me should eliminate food fast. But not use at all? We have basenji, where eye contact is good, positive, usually not an instant confrontation. When you have some breeds, such as Rottweilers, who can often see eye contact as a challenge, you need to treat and reward eye contact.

    Oh, I agree entirely! When I said clicker train it, I meant with a food reward. It's just so easy. Wait (the first time will be the longest) until the dog looks at you, then click and treat it. I would say 5 miinutes maximum until you can put it on cue (I use "eyes", not "watch"), then fade the reward (so they aren't looking for your hand with the treat) and reward on an intermittent schedule, preferably by getting the behaviour for the length of time you want, then say "good" or whatever your "reward" phrase is, and go get the dog his reward, preferably not from your pocket. My boy will lock onto my eyes when asked, unless there is a mighty big distraction going on. I agree, easier with Basenjis than some breeds. They like to stare at you! 🙂

    Perhaps the biggest "secret" in training is to be consistent. You cannot expect a dog to learn if you keep changing the rules!


    'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan investigated after animal cruelty complaint

  • OK, I don't get it, I don't see any "abuse" here at all.
    In my opinion, people are way to quick to jump on this guy.

  • @DebraDownSouth

    I agree very much. In my particular case, I have a dog whose fearfulness is shown through aggression (food possessive and Dog intolerant) I have a very small margin of error with him and in his training I have had to make major adjustments for my expectations and change my approach. Cesar Milans training would send Oakley into a tailspin.

    I would suggest, ESPECIALLY with a breed such as a Basenji- his methods are not conducive to any positive outcomes for a well adjusted B.

  • @giza1 said:

    OK, I don't get it, I don't see any "abuse" here at all.
    In my opinion, people are way to quick to jump on this guy.

    Joanne, do you mean in general or that article? The article, probably not... accidents happen and I honestly was just posting it for info.

    But if you mean in general, you probably haven't read or seen enough of his methods. If you believe old "alpha" rolls, manhandling, and rough physical handling are fine, if you feel that the many veterinary behaviorists and trainers are wrong, that's your prerogative.

    I'll leave with one final article, because "in my opinion, people are way to quick to jump on this guy" translates into believing that there is no WRONG way to train, so his methods should get equal respect as others. I totally disagree.

  • I was mainly referring to the article mentioned.

    As for his methods, some I think are too heavy-handed, and there are times that he needs to back off. His basic concept of establishing leadership with calm, assertive energy has merit, and his idea that dogs need EXERCISE, discipline and affection is right on, and discipline does/should NOT translate to punishment either, it's more about establishing boundaries. Body language, and a dog's response to your mood and the "vibe" you give off is so important in trying to teach a dog anything. And no, I do NOT agree with alpha rolls of any type.

    No, my observation that "people are too quick to jump on this guy" does not translate to believing there's no wrong way to train a dog, It means that people like to find fault, case in point, the previously mentioned lawsuit for cruelty.

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