Teaching my guy to signal

Hey. New Basenji owner here, just under a month. It's been a hot second since I lived with dogs and I now live with two, and we're all learning things. Puppies are hard.

My singular priority with my boy right now is not peeing or pooping in the house. Where we're at right now is that we have about 75% of the battle: he goes when he's outside, goes on schedule (pee about every hour and a half when he's awake, plus three or four poops a day, usually around meals), and he doesn't go in his crate, even when he's scared because he was in my car alone for 0.56 seconds while I filled a prescription. In the early days, he nervous crapped a couple of times because his brother's big scary growl caught him off guard, but he's learning social cues and is generally less scared of things now. And we haven't had any accidents inside anywhere except a little pee in the living room in the past week. The living room is usually barricaded for this exact reason--used to be because he liked to shred my roommate's couch, now it's because I don't trust him not to pee there. And a little bit because his brother, who slides on wood floors at high velocities, tends to play rougher in the carpeted living room.

So. Advice on teaching my boy to signal me when he needs to go outside is highly appreciated. Has anyone been able to do that successfully? I've read mixed results so far, but am optimistic because homeboy's singular priority right now is making me happy, and the rest of his training has been going well.

People of the Internet, teach me things.

My experience with the breed is that house training isn’t easy. You have to be diligent and take them out every few hours. I never exactly taught them to give me a signal. After a while they learned where the back door was and they will spin and or paw at it until I let them out. My puppy just turned a-year-old and he stopped having accidents maybe around six months.

I taught my Samoyed to ring a bell. I really generally take the dogs out on a schedule but the bell has been great.

@dres_actually - My experience with this breed (puppies) it that if you are not consistent and diligent it will be way more difficult to potty train. I litterbox train my puppies and they pick up pretty quickly but aging diligent is the key. Expect accidents... they forget... and typically I don't consider them fully potty trained till at least a year. We have doggy doors, so I never had to try to teach them to give a signal

I never taught my puppy to signal, but I kept everything for going outside by the front door of my apartment.. Eventually he would just sit/stand up next to the door when he was ready to go out. (With some added whining and circling if he felt like I didn’t see him). Also, he doesn’t have free reign of the house when I’m gone and he was still able to pick this up fairly quickly. I recommend using the same routine for going out whenever you can and he’ll pick it up quickly.

5 basenjis later......a christmas bell about the size of tennis ball. One door all the time, hang on door knob low enough for paw and nose to reach easily. EVERY time you go out, ring the bell, hold puppy paw and tap bell, or nudge puppy nose to make bell ring. Eventually puppy will realize..ring this thing and I get to go out this door....down the road you my get ring just because....but let them out anyhow. Bell is portable good for visits and motels. Good luck

I was extremely fortunate- I acquired my Basenji as a returned dog to the breeder @ the age of 1 year - I have say she "chose us" - that said - she was potty trained. I was extremely vigilant about taking her out to do her business. She is currently 13 year of age and has NEVER POOPED OR PEED in our house. She would wake me @ 1 - 2 am to take her out - I would have a Basenji in my face pawing me To wake me up -which was good but exhausting to me. I had my husband put in a doggie door which was a blessing - enabled her to go out @ anytime. My basenji was @ one time crate trained 12 years ago - she is now de-crate trained -lol- - has the run of our house - NO DESTRUCTION - she is the most wonderful dog you could ask for! We absolutely LOVE HER! She brings so much joy to our lives - could not imagine life w/out her!

I think it just takes a while. The puppy needs to be sufficiently self-aware and you need to be sufficiently aware of the patterns. You figure out that at X time they need to go and you get them out or watch for signs they want to go out, and then you get them out. It's a two sided learned dance as it were. It's also not likely to suddenly be working 100% as if you've turned on a switch. Basically like many other things it's an iterative process.

Generally in my experience Basenjis don't want to do their business in the house, and you don't want them to either, so things work out.

Dogs, especially Basenjis, love routine. They always go outside for a piddle whenever they have finished eating. They need to go as often as you do, so don't forget them. Mine now go to the door and swipe the glass, or rub their nails on the wire, and they get to go out, even if it is 3am. Be obedient to their call, and train yourself to respond. They quickly get the message, as you will.

Agree w/ ROUTINE! My basenji eats @ the same time twice a day. She goes for 3 walks @ approximately the same time each day - weather permitting. We do 2 to 5 miles per day - I FITBIT it. She receives her snacks after her walk and EXPECTS it. She goes to bed w/ us @ same time each night and wakes upn@ same time. She has an internal biological clock. Her clock is so strong that I have to stagger the time by 15 minute increments when we have DAY LIGHT'S SAVINGS TIME. Routine is definately the KEY!

@joan-duszka said in Teaching my guy to signal:

5 basenjis later......a christmas bell about the size of tennis ball. One door all the time, hang on door knob low enough for paw and nose to reach easily. EVERY time you go out, ring the bell, hold puppy paw and tap bell, or nudge puppy nose to make bell ring. Eventually puppy will realize..ring this thing and I get to go out this door....down the road you my get ring just because....but let them out anyhow. Bell is portable good for visits and motels. Good luck

Excellent idea. I'm going to try this--I'll report back with success or failure, hahah.

Lots of helpful feedback and info here -- thanks to everyone so far, both for ideas and for sharing your experiences. I'm fortunate to be in a life stage where I can be home with my boy a lot at this early time in his life. He's three and a half months.

Otherwise, my roommate donated a clicker to the cause that never worked with her dog, and we started that today. Looking forward to him having all of his shots and being able to do energy-letting things with other dogs besides his brother.

Mine scratch on the kitchen door. Resulting in a frequent need to repaint - so now I have clear plastic in the door panel.

But I forgot to cover the outside, cos they also scratch when then want back in if I've shut the door against the weather. I need to redecorate the outside and then put plastic over it.

This entirely self taught habit is good for getting them out to empty but Hoover has learned to scratch the door when she is hungry or just wants attention. So in fact, the Basenjis have taught ME to open the door at their command.
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@dres_actually

The easiest way to teach to use a bell is with the "touch" command. When it's time to take them out to potty, I give the touch command and out we go. They learn quickly to signal for pottying. If we go out and the dog lied, lol, no treat. Works easier with a female since the males' hollow leg lets them pee every time.

We do a routine with pups.. every time they wake up, eat, or play, immediately out they go.Once their bladders have better control, the bell makes it easy for one to signal if they need an extra potty. I hate the idea of them holding it in because they can't tell anyone what they want.

Here are Mary's instructions on targeting (touch). If you check to the left and right, she has a lot of other training instructions:

http://www.clickerlessons.com/targeting.htm

I think signalling is a great idea, although I have never used it. A friend taught her two Bichons to do it with a bell at the door. My dogs always let me know when they needed out. We had a regular routine, but if a potty break was needed at some other time, restless pacing and trotting toward the door was a pretty clear picture. Never a problem.

Worst thing is the sound of a dog beginning to retch and jumping off the bed at 4 a.m. Seldom managed to get outside quick enough!

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