tips for new basenji puppy owners

@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

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.

http://4pawsu.com/cesarfans.htm

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.

thankyou for the responses

in the end, im simply a novice trainer that is trying to raise a basenji. It seeems to be a lot easier to excute and a lot easier on my mind to use positive training methods. Cesor Millan, to me, is a unique case, who has the ability to raise and rehabiltate dogs that are considered too dangerous to society. In my opinion, his methods are out of my reach. since i am someone who has had little to no training in raising a puppy. I will gravitate towards those who preach positive reinforcement since it is easier to understand compared to the primal aspect millan has studied and used for many years. once again thankyou for the comments and hopefully i can raise a decently good, well mannered, basenji (my work is cut out for me).

Garcia, Allan

@giza1 said:

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.<<

Agreed on that... I look at someone who is going to get dogs killed, people seriously injured, and I'd poke at him if there was a video of him stubbing this toe. Petty, I admit. But I just can't even be rational about him.

Garcia, that actually is the problem... he isn't able to do what he says. He can dominate and force dogs, but research shows you teach those dogs to look for a weaker owner and move in. To me, he takes those dogs and makes them more dangerous. I will not say that physical correction is NEVER okay... obviously if a dog launches at a child you are going to do whatever you have to do to stop the attack. But that is emergency intervention, not training. Glad to hear you'll look at more positive training. Your dog and your relationship will gain value from it.

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.<<
Agreed on that... I look at someone who is going to get dogs killed, people seriously injured, and I'd poke at him if there was a video of him stubbing this toe. Petty, I admit. But I just can't even be rational about him.

And I notice that he has avoided all charges, which I think is the correct outcome in this case.
-Joanne

I won't talk about Cesar, but I have raised 3 french bulldogs and one boxer from they were puppies, then we got our basenji. Before Yuna came into our lives, we read a lot about the breed. I read that kindness, praise and rewards is the best way to raise them, and I have to agree. I can only talk about the individual we got and not all basenjis in general, but I had to take a few steps back and reconsider methods when training Yuna.

I have always been a fan of positive reinforcement, praise, and basically teaching dogs in much the way we teach our kids. Punishment in our house consists of the fun ending. Like a puppy biting means that I will remove myself, turn my back, and ignore it until it stops. So the puppy learns that biting = no more fun. This sort of training takes time, but the point is that it's learning. Some learn quickly, some take more time. We have to expect this, since individual dog mature at a different rate.

With Yuna, I realized that any "rough" behavior from my side brought out the fight in her. Like if she stood with her front legs on the table, she was okay if I pushed her down gently or blocked her access with my body, but if i pushed with even a hint of force, she would start biting (as a puppy, that is). Not hard, but she was protesting my behavior. My experience with dogs made me realize that I had to take a step back and train this particular dog with even more kindness and patience than I normally did.

To be honest, I have no problems seeing why the basenji as a breed is known to have aggression issues. A very proud, strong-willed dog with a lot of courage won't be pushed around without fighting back. Violence breeds violence, and sadly there is a lot of dog training that consists of showing the dog that we are their physical superiors by using force, instead of teaching them and guiding them based on well know learning principles.

To agitatedpsyche

In my experience, basenji training requires a lot of patience, a lot of treats, a lot of praise and no yelling or grabbing. You should not approach the training as "alpha" (that's Caesar Milan's basic start point) but rather as a team. I found that clicker training with my dogs allowed them to catch on much quicker to what I was trying to teach (the click means "you did something right and you are going to get a prize because of it"). Most of all you need to be CONSISTENT in your use of verbal cues and body cues. Does "sit down" mean sit or lie down? What's the difference between "off" and "down" - hmmm? And your body cues need to be distinct. Does a flat hand flapping downward mean lie down or stay? Start out with simple things (such as "hand targeting" and "attention on me" and sit and stay) in low distraction environments (like home) and once these are solid move to areas with more distractions. Your dog needs to learn to generalize that "sit" (or whatever) doesn't just mean sit in the kitchen but also on the street corner and at the vet and etc. And you need to learn to generalize as well. How can some of the simple tricks ("tricks" = team, "command" = dominance) be used in other situations? Find a trainer who follows "positive reinforcement" and you and your dog will become great companions.

I think the key to ending up with a well behaved dog is to not give a pup the opportunity to "practice" the bad things. Anything learned in puppyhood, good or bad, will likely persist as the pup grows older. Supervision is key. Taking on a pup is a big responsibility, and getting them off to a good start requires time and patience. Yes, crating can keep them out of trouble when you are unable to watch them, but IMO a pup or dog that is crated when you are out should not be when you are home. Too much crate time can lead to all sorts of difficulties, and besides, they aren't learning anything while they are in there. If you are too busy to keep an eye on your dog, then "wearing" the dog is a viable alternative. Tether your dog to you so he/she is not off getting into trouble. I used this tactic with great success when I was moving house. My dog was with me constantly, and I didn't have to worry about him disappearing out an opened door.

Consistency and boundaries are important. Your pup should be acquainted with the house " rules" and those rules should not change from day to day. Your training can certainly be "positive", and I agree that clicker training is very effective, but sometimes you just have to insist that some things are off limits and if necessary enforce it by physical means. I am not talking about being rough, but gently removing a pup or dog from an unwanted activity is, IMO, sometimes essential. Also, while employing positive methods, you need to wean the dog off the treats once the behaviour you desire is on cue. Intermittent rewards are actually more effective! Reasonable manners and obedience should be obtainable without reliance on a steady supply of treats.

Reading through all the posts has been interesting. It seems that each has found their own individual way. Each dog is different also, my first B was a very confident alpha type. My second is a fearful agressive, what worked with the first does not work with the second at all. The third is very easy going and confident with me and familiar surroundings but becomes freaked out with new things.

Each needs their own unique training. the only two things which I can say are mostly consistent are stubbornness and redirection.
When a Basenji refuses or does not want to do something which is important I become more stubborn than the dog. it may take me an hour or two but I do not move on until I have achieved the goal.
Once they understand that we don't move on until they comply, then it becomes easy to train them.
Grinding nails, giving pills, checking for tics, checking teeth, baths, muzzling at the vets and even giving injections and testing blood sugar for my diabetic dog. All these things can be done without a problem once the dog understands that it is going to happen first before we move on. Calm, patient, assertive and stubborn. One note is you have to be very calm, you can not get upset, frustrated or angry at all. Some exceptions do apply, never get stubborn that they must eat For instance.

Redirection works well which is why many advocate clicker training, I have never used a clicker but when a B starts behaviour you do not want redirection is the way to go.

One more thing is that a puppy will need a lot of treats, praise and rewards for training. Once they become four or five years old then they will not need them so much. An older dog who has bonded to you will want to please you even without a reward every time.

I look at their thoughts much and read them, very subtle signs give them away. We have a running joke in our house that to Basenji's we are just stupid monkeys. I believe basenjis are very challenging dogs to train and understand however when you do they are the most rewarding.

You could training dog your self, It's not as hard as you think.

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