• This is a confession of sorts. When I started training Sanji I took an 30-day online-training course for puppies which was quite useful in many ways for the first 6 months to teach us not merely how to train him, but how to care for a puppy (potting training, crate training, schedules, toys, etc.). It's "positive-reinforcement" conditioning. The trainer doesn't recommend e-collars, synch leashes, electric fences, etc.

    That was all well and good until Sanji's prey-drive kicked in around 6 months as he entered puberty. At 4 months his recall was better than at 6 months. He didn't respond to treats in high-distraction situations so positive reinforcement conditioning couldn't be continued. It probably could be with a non-hound breed. Not a basenji.

    A side note on treats, I subsequently discovered a high-value treat that he will respond to for heel conditioning .
    I get fresh salmon filet, remove the skin, then cut the skin and flesh into small cubes or pieces, dry in oven on low heat for half a day. Store in fridge. It's all I use now when I do heel work and it makes positive conditioning progress possible.

    When I hit the training wall at six months, I realized I had to start using an e-collar. But after a month or so, I also realized I wasn't using it as effectively as I could be. For example, I was escalating too gradually from vibration, to sound, to low stimulation to high stimulation. The timing was off.

    So I talked to a friend who hunts birds and has owned Vizlas for years for that. He recommended a better collar to start (dogtra) and said after teaching the ABC's, he sends his for board and train for two months. I found a local, show-award winning, black lab hunting dog trainer. Just one private lesson so far, but learned how precisely to use an ecollar, and its really help a lot. The first time I say "Sanji come" its a "freebie." The second time is not and he is stimulated. The level has to be adjust just enough so that he does respond. As she put it to me, "you want your dog to know that when you give the recall demand, you mean it."

    Wish I had known this at 6 months. More recently, I explained the problem of Sanji bolting away after something and not responding to the ecollar in our local park (City Forest), which is 520 acres, and running well out of my sight, leaving me standing there not able to use the ecollar since he's out of sight (have to see his response or lack thereof to use the ecollar). I had to stand there and whistle and call his name for 5-10 min until he returns (and fortunately the extensive off-leash training so far has helped since he has returned every time so far. But I could see this wasn't working and she confirmed what in hindsight what should have been obvious: discontinue biking with him at that park and just stick to the smaller park near my house (24.9 acres and fenced), where I can see him almost all the time and he can't get lost, until we get the recall and "stay near me" whistle training down pat. I suspect that'll be another 6-months or 1 year or so.

    My takeaways:
    (1) an e-collar is an essential tool for training a basenji to recall in all situations, including when he bolts after prey or other dogs
    (2) an ecollar is useless unless you can see the dog's reaction (or failure to react, which requires upping the stimulation) and the timing between the command and stimulation is crucial
    (3) whatever this kind of training this called, it's effective.

  • Totally disagree with using e-collars.... Basenjis are hounds they hunt what they see... and scent also... but that is just me

  • I think an e-collar can be very useful for insurance when the dog is off leash, which is how I used it. However, the possibility of misuse is very great if the basics haven't been covered well, which is why I don't generally recommend them. You can damage your dog's trust if you use higher levels indiscriminately. With some dogs, you can also destroy the effectiveness if you overuse higher stims. IMO, it's only appropriate to use a split second tap at a high level to interrupt an action that is taking the dog into danger, then immediately switch to a verbal command or a working level stim. From my own experience, I seldom had to use the collar for recall once Perry understood, and the only time I used a high level was in a chase situation where his safety was at risk. For the most part, I used the collar for "leave it", and when he was persistent I might dial up one level above his working level, which generally earned me a baleful look and an "if you insist" reaction.

    Best to teach your dog his "working distance" and to stay within it, as bird dogs are taught. They are no good to the hunter when ranging out of sight. And you can't keep your dog safe if you don't know where he is.

    It's pretty par for the course for a Basenji to start pushing the limits when he matures. This is a testing time when things often start to go wrong. Much depends on the individual dog and the relationship between you, and yes, I do agree the dog should not be allowed to ignore you, but there is where experience can make all the difference. It's a fine line between enough and too much. Also between R- and P+.....

    One point I missed, and that is that a Basenji is not a Lab or a Vizla, both being generally more "biddable". Basenjis are also clever, and one thing they will learn if given the opportunity is the range of the e-collar. Better not to have them figure that one out, which is another reason to keep your dog relatively close. That is one big advantage of not being dependent on the collar and having it mostly for emergencies. The less you use it and the more you build the habit of obedience the better, IMO.

  • @sanjibasenji I would NEVER use a e-collar on a Basenji. There is no need. Mine are now almost exactly 2 years and 1 year old and out this morning in the forest their recall was very good indeed.

    I can see further now cos winter is approaching and there is less undergrowth but while they may do a wide circle around, hunting squirrels and dancing around a tree which is harbouring one, they come back if I whistle. Which I ONLY do if it is absolutely necessary. As when a tractor was rumbling along one of the main paths this morning and Mku is inclined to chase the very few motor-vehicles he sees in the woods. I whistled, both came instantly.

  • @tanza said in Hunting Dog Training:

    Totally disagree with using e-collars.... Basenjis are hounds they hunt what they see... and scent also... but that is just me

    And me !

  • It's great to have a safe place for off leash work. Helps immeasurably with training and with the opportunities to allow your dog the freedom to run free. However, if you don't have a secure area, for me having a way to influence the dog remotely was key to allowing him freedom. We will have to agree to disagree on this point. That said, I never felt the need with any of my non Basenji dogs, but they were all more biddable and I never used food rewards with any of them, so there's that difference as well. What's interesting is that many people in the past have had good success with Basenji training without any of the aids we currently employ. e.g. people who trained for the hunt field, which I believe was usually for bird hunting, where it is necessary that the dog remain within range of the hunter, solid on point and hold, flush the birds when asked, steady to the sound of guns, etc. I think the relationship fundamentally changes when you become a team with a purpose, as opposed to just out giving your dog some exercise.

    We all use various methods to control our dogs' behaviour. Crates, leashes, long lines, e-collars, all tools that can be used effectively or abusively. What matters in the end is the relationship you have with your dog. If you have his respect and trust, that is everything to me.

  • @zande said in Hunting Dog Training:

    I whistled, both came instantly.

    I have found that doodle responds very well to her "special" whistle and will return on a dime, or stop fussing about which direction I'm going, when I use it.... Perhaps because the sound carries better than spoken commands.

  • @sanjibasenji said in Hunting Dog Training:

    I get fresh salmon filet, remove the skin, then cut the skin and flesh into small cubes or pieces, dry in oven on low heat for half a day. Store in fridge.

    I tried to make Jerky in my oven once, and only once. Failed miserably. Would you, please, provide more detailed instruction on how you are doing this... oven temp, ____ hours(?), special equipment used, etc.

  • @elbrant I don't have a whistle. I whistle. Its MY sound they react to. Paul and Sue both call their names with the same effect. They come when called. I worked with them in my own garden before they were able to go to the woods. Before they had had their shots and could only go in a sling around my shoulders but not touch the ground.

  • @elbrant - I make my own treats, I use a dehydrator and use chicken. Pound it thin (I use chicken tenders, white meat, dark meat is too fatty) and then on high in the dehydrator for 12 to 14 hours. I do this overnight. So in the morning they are done. They last a long time and I just cut them up with scissors and just keep them in a plastic bag. I have used other meats and fruits but they like the chicken the best. I have had mine for many years (dehydrator)

  • @sanjibasenji How old is he now? Based on what you said, I'm assuming 8-11 months.

    I'm not against proper use of e-collars in general, but 8-11 months is still pretty young. Admittedly, Basenjis mature fast, and I don't know your individual dog. Even so, I personally, would hesitate to use an e-collar on a dog that young.

    And when it comes to teaching recalls specifically, I definitely wouldn't be using an e-collar that early in the training process. I would use it, but only much later when they're an adult, after I've done everything else and right before I'm ready to go into "real world" scenarios.

    I would still be in the earlier stages based on his (presumed) age. I would still be training recalls with a competing motivator, and maybe distinguishing between call-offs and call aways if he was precocious. And then after that, leash pressure, preparing for use of positive punishment. And then finally e-collar use (positive punishment).

    To each his own. Best of luck with the training.

  • @scagnetti said in Hunting Dog Training:

    And then finally e-collar use (positive punishment).

    I think the lines are blurry here between R- (negative reinforcement) and P+ (positive punishment). Teaching recall with an e-collar can be done more than one way. My preference would be R- and the method would be to use a long line, let the dog wander around, give him a working level (lowest setting at which he can notice the collar) stim, hold it and draw him back to you with the leash, release the stim as he comes to you. In my experience, within ten minutes you have a dog that has learned to "turn off" the mildly annoying sensation by coming to you when it is felt. Once this response is solid, you name it with your command word and issue the command before using the stim. Soon no e-collar use is necessary most of the time. Then you can add distractions. At this point there has only been R- and not P+. (R- increases the likelihood of the desired behaviour, reinforcing it, in this case the desired behaviour is coming when called)..

    Using the collar to break up a chase or dog running away from you when you have called him would be an example of P+ to stop the unwanted behaviour. In this case you would use a high level stim (P+ decreases the likelihood of the unwanted behaviour, in this case chasing or running away) and immediately revert to a whistle or vocal command (or working level stim if needed) as soon as the dog stops his chasing/running away.

    I know the lines between R- and P+ can be blurry, but the proof is in the results. If it increases the likelihood of the behaviour it is R- and if it decreases the likelihood of the behaviour it is P+.

  • @eeeefarm

    Negative reinforcement = dog's behavior stops pressure
    Positive punishment = an aversive consequence.

    Negative = to take away/withhold
    Positive = to add/give

    Reinforcement = more likely to occur
    Punishment = less likely to occur

    Negative reinforcement = take away pressure so behavior is more likely to occur (you want dog to sit, you pull up on leash, he sits, you release pressure)

    Positive punishment = add pressure so behavior is less likely to occur (dog jumps up, you punch him in the head)

    These are extreme examples to illustrate the point. I've never hit a dog. But a lot of people only use positive punishment (in the form of hitting/beating).

    For the record, I think everything has its place. It's simply a matter of how it's used and how effective it is in the situation that it's being used in.

    I don't judge what others do. I don't particularly care. It's not my business. Just giving the information. A lot of people in different dog circles have different ideas of what things are.

  • @Scagnetti Thanks for reiterating my point. 🙂

  • @eeeefarm

    Agree entirely on every point. There is one small difference. As my trainer confirmed, one can also use a constant stimulation at a lower setting for obedience rather than a nick at a higher setting. I try in all circumstances to not have it set so high that it causes a little yelp, but just enough that he notices. Not always possible when he knows the command but doesn't want to obey. During the learning and association phase, it seems its important to establish the expectation of compliance, whichever way.

    The "working distance" via whistle seems to come naturally to him, though again has to occasionally be reinforced.

    Above all, I agree with this: the whole point of a solid recall and working distance proximity is the dog's safety, and secondarily, to enable him to hunt, sniff, and explore as a dog was bred to do and is in their bones.

  • @scagnetti

    Thanks for that clarification. That's about the easiest explanation I've come across to remember.

  • @sanjibasenji

    Looks like you said that difference in your second post, so we are on the same page.

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