Chase game

The scent training does not replace conditioning. But when I start with a few scent challenges she seems to stay more focused for other types of requests I make. Having never trained a dog beyond parlar tricks this is new to me. So we are working on scratch board training to avoid the nail grooming issue for a bit, seems to really stress her. And working on more consistency with coming when she is called as well as training her to put her nose in my hand upon request.
Have any of you had the experience as the years go on that the little growl warnings are replaced with more agressiveness, like biting?

@chrisf - Is your pup growling?

She growls when I try to move her after she falls asleep, if she is at the groomer getting nails trimmed, at the vet if they approach her with a needle ...bit generally on a daily basis I don't see her growling. But Sunday I took her on a walk for hunger and there were so me other dogs there. She got along with all but one. An adorable black lab puppy she growled at.

@chrisf said in Chase game:

Have any of you had the experience as the years go on that the little growl warnings

Basenjis (rather like me !) hate to be woken up abruptly from a sound sleep - you need to approach her gently and TALK to her - Mom's voice is the best trainer. Wake her up slowly and let her regain consciousness and then turf her out of your favorite chair, or wherever !
The small preliminary growl is often just a warning. A Basenji will warn often children when it is time to leave him/her alone for a while. Parents should train their kids to respect the Basenji's warning so they give it space. It will come back to playing again in its own time. I have never come across more than this initial warning growl - it is just that, a warning. And when I've explained the need to train the children - there has been no more growling.

And probably its the same thing at the groomer. The dog doesn't want its nails trimmed.

Why not get a dremel and do it yourself ? I get each dog by turn onto my lap, tucked securely under one arm, they get a cuddle and a tummy rub and then I pick up the dremel and in a few minutes all is done - and time for a 'special' biscuit. Nicely trimmed nails, not squashed or cracked, and no hassle (or expense bar the initial cost of the dremel - obtainable in any hard-ware store).

I showed a dog once - he hated cigarette smoke or the smell of it on hands. All too often in those bygone days, judges did have nicotine stained fingers. I learned, as soon as I put the dog on the table and stacked him, to say, say good morning to the judge ! knowing the dog would growl a warning. Judges were always surprised ! How on earth did you train him to do that ? - to which I smiled enigmatically before accepting his first place rosette !

She might have growled only at the black lab puppy cos she sensed it was as young and inexperienced as she was -

@zande - All the same things I would have said! Totally agree!!! ChrisF, have you discussed any of this with her breeder?

Not much to add.. just some comments.

On dremels, for a long time they had warnings not to use on dogs, lol. Then they made one for dogs.

For dogs that hate nails, do one a day, fast, over, no trauma. After a bit, do 2 a day. Eventually they'll adjust to all being done.

As for growling... how else can they tell you they aren't happy? Do dogs that growl then bite? Um, yeah, some do. Usually if you ignore the growl and keep pushing it, especially if you are scaring or hurting them. The smart thing is to figure out why they are growling and either don't do it, or work on helping it be less stressful for them. Some dogs growl over everything because they learn they can intimidate their owners and get their own way. Obviously you want that not to develop. But usually it's a valid form of communicating.

Our current basenji is crabby if you wake her, but using a voice before touching gets an evil look but no growling.

As for training... doesn't matter what you do, the more you work with your dog, the better the relationship, the more they look to you to teach something new and the happier they are. Scent training is really great. I had my child work with our Rottweiler early... the dog bonded with her more than me, and I was fine with that. 🙂

Thanks, I stopped trimming nails because she was so uncooperative with me. It was frustrating me.and my son said they take both of their dogs to the groomer and he suggested I do that. I have taken her 3 times and probably will not go back. The girls all tried very hard to be sweet and gentle, but she was not a happy camper up on the table. My trainer said we will work on desensitizing her to it and I will start doing it with the Dremel tool eventually. I am learning. She told me not to take her back. I am taking her to the vet almost weekly for a visit walk through the waiting area. The vet comes out and throws her a few treats. Trying to reduce the stress of those visits. I don't like medicating her for.every visit.
Yes. I did talk to the breeder and she suggested I not breed her, as I was planning. She said she does not breed any of her dogs that seem to be as growly as mine. That is why I had her spayed last month.

last edited by ChrisF

@chrisf - If that was the breeders only suggestion, I would question if really a responsible breeder..... And I would wonder about the temperament in the pedigree? And the comment "growly as mine" makes me wonder because she bred the darn girl?

It would seem that this was not a breeder who undertook any socialising of the pups - Do as I say not Do as I do (did). This is where my database comes in handy - you can trace pedigrees and maybe get a line of whether this growling is actually inbred or (more likely) comes from a lack of socialising by contacting breeders and owners further back up the line.

@chrisf said in Chase game:

She growls when I try to move her after she falls asleep, if she is at the groomer getting nails trimmed, at the vet if they approach her with a needle ...bit generally on a daily basis I don't see her growling. But Sunday I took her on a walk for hunger and there were so me other dogs there. She got along with all but one. An adorable black lab puppy she growled at.

I would say many (most?) Basenjis take exception to being moved when they are comfy, and many "wake up badly" to the point where it is a question on BRAT's list. Basenjis, like any other dog, may be difficult about nail trimming if they haven't had their feet routinely handled. And dog aggression is also common in the breed, so I don't see anything unusual here. How you respond to it will be key to whether it remains a problem. Once a Basenji perceives that it can back you off by growling, it will take advantage of the situation. If you aren't confident in your ability to respond it would be best to avoid situations that trigger the growling, but when it does occur I find continuing whatever you were planning to do in a very matter of fact manner is generally the best course to take.

My first girl used to snarl fiercely when picked up. I just laughed and walked off with her under my arm, and the "sound effects" eventually went away. There is always the possibility of escalation to a bite, but that is far more likely if they have succeeded in avoiding something they find unpleasant by growling.

Thank you, I am starting to see what you have said coming true. I did consistently work with her feet from a puppy, but I must have been doing something wrong because the conflict kept growing. It may be exactly as you say I would back off and she learned a little growl was an effective tool.
Laughingly I say she seeks out love and cuddles from my husband because she has no expectation that he is going to do any training or maintenance. Oh well.

The trick is to make them understand that cooperation gets things over with much faster than resistance. Once the penny drops they may still not like the procedure but they learn to accept it. Timing is important. If you have had problems in the past, maybe not insisting on too much too soon is the approach to take. As mentioned previously, start small and work toward your goal, but never, ever quit when the dog is resisting or growling at you. If you take her foot and go to clip the nail and she resists, you need to keep the foot, even if you don't clip, until she stops trying to take it away from you, and stops growling. When the resistance stops, praise and release, and give her a break before trying again. If your nerves are shot, postpone until later or tomorrow, but make it your idea, not hers!

@eeeefarm said in Chase game:

but never, ever quit when the dog is resisting or growling at you.

Exactly ! The Basenji must never think she has won and you have given up !

I will keep trying and I am seeing small improvements. High value treats in training has helped too.

Trying to get attention, your Basenji is bored & wants to play.

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