Call me crazy…

Ok, so I may have lost my mind, but my husband and I have talked it over and decided to give Baroo another chance. I should say, a fair chance. (We were planning on finding him another home if you hadn't read my previous post). I was re-reading what I had written about him being a good dog with the exception of a few things that need to be worked out, and I realized a few things. He needs to be trained and walked more, and I thought about it, and didn't think that I had the time, but I realized that I just wasn't making the time or wanting to put in the effort. We went through this before, and we decided to keep him, but we really didn't change anything we were doing to teach him to be a better dog, and he really doesn't know for sure what is ok behavior and what is not. We gave him every chance to fail, and that is why he did. Up until now we have basically just been yelling at him and reacting to his negitive behavior, (which I know is bad) and I now realize that these dogs need positive reinforcement and to be taught right from wrong instead of it just being expected of them. I see where we have been going wrong with him, and I want to give him a fair chance at being a better dog. He just needs more guidence and exercise, and I have decided to commit to doing it. If he can be a good dog with a little effort, then I want him to be my good dog, not someone else's, because I really do love him and dont want to give up on him. He is really smart and wants to learn, so I know this will just be something fun for him, but it will help out a lot, and he really needs it. He really is a good dog, but there are things he needs to know are not ok, and we would get along great. He needs to stop jumping on guests that come over, and occasionally snapping at them (nothing serious, I think it is just a dominance issue because he never bites hard, just enough to make them back off, and usually he only does this when he is startled). He needs to not beg for food and steal it from my son's hand- and I know this will never totally stop, but we can work on it. He needs to not chew up my sons toys, but really he only does this when he wants my attention or needs to let off some steam, in which case he needs to be walked or played with, and I can do that. Also, I think he needs more toys that he knows are his that he can chew on when he feels the urge, because it is only an occasional thing. He also gets into the trash, but I guess I am kidding myself if I think that will ever stop, so we will just continue to use the baby gate system, because that has been working great so far. He just needs to know that the kitchen is off limits. The last thing, and its a big one, is that I need to get him leash trained, because he is horrible when I walk him, and that makes me not want to take him anywhere. Anyone have any tips on how to do this? I have a harness for him, and I use that in combo with the choke chain I have, (and I only use that because it has so far been the only thing that has produced results) and it works ok sometimes, but only when I can get the chain to stay high up on his neck, which it really won't. He is really bad about pulling and wanting to run up to the fence to play(or bark) with other dogs. I think this is one thing I will focus on first, because he just needs to be walked more, and there is nothing more to it, but he just cant be out of control anymore.

I think I just realized that when it comes down to it, I just can't give him up. I love the little rascal, as much as he is a pain in the butt! He just needs a fair chance, and I cant send him away unless I know I have done absolutely everything I can to fix the problem, and so far I have not, but that is going to change. He is worth giving another chance.

We also have decided to take everyone's advice, and as soon as possible we are getting him neutered. We hadnt done it yet because we were trying to find out more about his blood line to possibly breed him, but that idea has been thrown out the window because it is impossible, so that is something that needs to be done right away. From what everyone tells me, that will make a huge change in him, which would be great.

So here's where you will think I am just really nuts, but we have gone from one end of the spectrum to another, and are now seriously considering adopting another one. Crazy, I know, to go from wanting to get rid of the one I have to getting another one, but all along I have thought that he really needs more companionship in the doggy form, and he would be a much happier, and possibly better behaved dog, although it could go the other way too. I have heard many people say that having 2 is easier in some ways because they play together and wear each other out, and that keeps them from misbehaving out of boredom so much, which I know is Baroo's problem, because that is the only time he does it. I am just unsure as to if I should hold off a little bit until he is a little more under control, or if I should get one sooner, and just train them both at the same time. Either way, he will be getting neutered first, because that is not an issue I want to deal with! I have come to the conclusion that although 2 will definately be more work than 1, it won't be that much more, and since we have already changed our lifestyle to accomodate 1 (as in baby gates, closed doors, off limits areas and keeping things picked up and dog proofed), having another wouldn't be much harder. If we are going to have to do it for 1, then why not for 2, especially if it will make them both happy to have a companion. Baroo used to play with the dog next door for hours and then he would come home pooped and sleep for the rest of the day, and it was great! Then they moved and since then I think he has really missed having another dog around. I really want to get another one soon, and I think I can handle it if I am really commited, and I am going to make the effort. Is this totally crazy to want to do? Anyone else been in the same situation? Is 2 better than 1? And let me clarify, because I know some of you might get the wrong impression, I do not want to get another dog to solve my problems with this one, or just because I want to get another dog, I have thought about it a lot, and I really think it would benefit our family, and the dogs. I guess I am just wanting to know if it is possible to take on another dog if I am still working out some kinks with the one I have. What do you think?

I think there are threads here on leash training–there are specific methods to use. But have you tried the gentle leader (either harness or head collar)? The head collar is the only thing that has really worked with Tyler. He was a terrible, terrible puller and is doing really well with the gentle leader. But you need to make sure you read the instructions and follow them--you don't jerk on it like a choke chain. I have used it on 3 dogs over the years, and it didn't take long for them to get used to it and walk nicely on leash.

I'm so glad you've reconsidered – I was just about crying after reading your first post -- and getting a second beastie may help solve some of the problems.

Basenji Mix

lovemybaroo - IMO the best place to learn how to train positive reinforcement techniques is to enroll in a beginner training class that teaches you to train Baroo. I had no idea how easy training Duke would be until I learned the techniques - and timing is everything for rewarding the correct behaviors. I signed Duke and myself up at Petsmart. The fee was minimal for an 8 week course that you attend once a week. Yes, I had to commit to go to the classes and when I went, I enjoyed it. Duke enjoyed it. It was a good outlet, mentally and physically stimulating for him too. After the Beginner class, I worked on the basic techniques for a few months and then signed him up for the Intermediate class (another 8 weeks). I saw greater improvement with the second course. I immediately signed him up for the Advance course (6 weeks). I actually miss going to the classes now we've been done since October. I stayed with the same instructor who I thought taught positive rewards behavior very well. If I were you, I'd start there and when you feel you have the confidence to teach a second dog what you've learned - then - take on the challenge. Yes - it takes a strong desire to succeed and being prersistent and consistent. The whole family should be on board to maintain consistency and have the same verbal commands. Involving the family what and how you train Baroo would be a fun project - so to speak.

I have added a second B-mix in my home - long after I felt Duke was trained and being a good obedient little boy. Life was crazy when we first got him though. People thought I was nuts getting another like him - but actually they aren't that much alike - Duke being the wilder, Daisy being the sweet little unsuspecting thief. They are both young and I am happy they have each other to romp around with in and outside the house.

Just my 2 cents. You sound determined this time. Good luck!

Basenji Mix

Oh and I forgot to add - that in all three training courses, loose leash and heeling techniques were included. Every week we practiced walking on leash. With your instructor, he or she will be able to assist in your techniques. I bet you'll get one of those treat bags that clip on your pocket or belt and never leave home without it. 😃

You know, honestly, chances of him leaving you son's things alone, especially if on the floor or a place he has access to is slim to none, and IMO very unrealistic. And until you totally commit to making it work with the one you have now, I do not think it is a good idea to get another one… it could totally backfire... Remember you idea that "he" needs to know that this or that is off limits.. again IMO is a bit unrealistic... if you give him the opportunity to be in those places, he will....

And thank you for getting him neutered... and NOT considering ever breeding him...

You're gonna have good days and bad days with them, just like with ANY pet. Last night I came home to an angry wife who said I needed to do something about "MY" dog (as in not "OUR" dog). 🙂 Sometimes we forget that yelling at her really doesn't teach her anything, either.

We make the time to walk her (even on days we really don't want to), and sometimes just play a fun game of keep away to run her ragged. My wife and I are both confirmed cat people, and dogs (Basenji's or otherwise) are definitely not cats - they require a lot more attention than a cat does, and it's an investment in time you have to be willing to make. The turnaround is that you get exercise yourself, your house has to be kept clean (or stuff "disappears"), and you have a fun companion that makes this great baroo noise. It's worth it.

Good luck to you both. I hope you can make it work out.

I should also mention that I live in a VERY small town in the middle of nowhere (we dont even have a Petsmart, let alone a decent pet store) so the chances of me taking him to training somewhere are slim and none, although I am looking around still. So thanks for that advice, but that isn't really an option. Anyone know of any good books on training?

And as far as me wanting Baroo to leave my son's toys alone, this is more wishful thinking than anything else. It doesn't happen very often, and when it does it is because he is not getting the attention he wants right then. The little devil actual will chew up a toy right in front of me, and not because he wants to, but just because I am not letting him outside 20 times a day at the exact moment that he wants to be let out. (I sometimes put him outside when he has been bad, and he counts on this and uses it against me). He is too smart for his own good sometimes! Or maybe I should say mine!

I live in a town with no Petsmart nor Petco and yet there are several training options in town and in the nearby towns. Try doing a trainer search on the APDT website, http://www.apdt.com

If you still have problems finding a trainer PM me with where you live and I will see if I can help you find someone nearby.

From what everyone tells me, that will make a huge change in him, which would be great.

My experience is it made no difference in our dog's behavior (Boy). He still did everything he did before.

Complaining about walking a dog in California is not going to gain sympathy when in Chicago I walk my dogs is sub freezing weather, freezing rain, sleet & Snow- no sympathy !

As other said if you just remove the issue you remove the bad behavior (toys & Trash). You can't ever trust a basenji around trash or toys (in my experience)

If your keeping her you all need to be on the same page, including the kids. I they leave a toy out and the dog destroys it, it's not the dogs fault, it's who ever left it there. same with food, trash tissues, killing small animals.

They will do certain things if you give them the chance.

You need to change your routine. Walking & training does wonders to make a Basenji less destructive.

Last week we had an Ice storm, snow storm and the temp dropped to 18 degrees!

I dont know where you got that idea from, I am not complaining about walking him here. Its not warm (as in about 40) but that is nice weather compared to some parts of the country. It isnt the weather I dont like, its that he is horrible on a leash, or I should say was. For the last 2 days for some reason he has been wonderful on our walks. It might be that I am trying harder to correct his unwanted pulling, but he walks great now. He doesnt even really pull when we walk by another dog, and he used to be really bad and just about drag me down. He is just a different dog when he goes for a walk now. I think he just knows I was going to get rid of him, and he straigtened right up!

Sorry for the miss understanding.

It took a long time to get my dogs to behave on the leash. They would do perfect in train class, but then on walks act up & pull.

Or Trainer told us that walks should on be for walking no sniffing. Potty breaks are different. Consistency is key with everyone walking the dog. Everyone has to be on the same page.

Our dogs little by little learned that if the pretended to have to go potty they could get away with more & more sniffing. they worked me very slowly to get what they want.

Again sorry

Amen… Consistency is the key... and be careful not to try and put human emotion on how your dogs act.. they are NOT human... they are only dogs... as much as we would like to think different...

We had to cancel our cable for about a month, and by the end of that time I had goober all trained up on manners. If your having problems forcing yourself to spend the time time to train your legendarily "untrainable" dog, try losing the tv for awhile.

Well, I really think that lovemybaroo's biggest problem is the baby/toddler, it makes for short time trying to fit in "another" child… and that is exactly what having a dog is, Basenji or otherwise...and regardless of the breed of dog if you do not spend time with at least basic training they will be the same and have the same issues as a Basenji... Problem with a Basenji is the minute you think "hey they got it"... they prove you wrong....
People really need to think seriously on the committment to a pup, period...

A few years ago I had a lady call me wanting 2 B pups.. when on to tell me that she was expecting in 2 months and wanted them asap so that by the time the baby came they would be trained and she would not have to spend much time with them and they could entertain each other and grow up with the baby... HUH??? ... I explained that it was really a bad idea and that I would not place pups with her because it was and would not be fair to her, her husband, the baby or the pups.... we did have a nice conversation... but I have no idea if she then went elsewhere and got pups.. I hope that I "knocked" some sense into her thinking...

I am so glad you decided to keep Baroo. We raised 3 children while owning 4 different dog breeds. Some of the dogs were chewers (the boxer and the lab) and some weren't. They all stole food from the children. One thing was for certain - the children learned to put their things up and guard their food a long time before the dogs stopped chewing and stealing food. Our boxer ate so many hunks out of plastic toys that pooper-scooping the backyard was easy - the poops all had brightly colored chunks of plastic sticking out like little flags. :eek: Now I babysit my almost 2 y/o and just turned 4 y/o grandsons one or two days a week. The 4 y/o has really learned to put his things up out of reach and to close the playroom door. The younger one hasn't caught on yet but I expect he will over the next year. (A dog can be a great educational tool - Mom or Grandma may or may not remove the toy that they threatened to take away if you didn't pick it up. The dog WILL eat it if you don't pick it up and there will be no 1-2-3 warning and no second chance! Kids learn that fast.) Meanwhile, my grandsons know what the squirt bottle is for (and so does Cory) and they yell for me to get it when Cory becomes too pesky. When I get really fed up (like at lunch time), Cory goes in her crate. Bottom line is that things will get better because either your child will learn or your dog will learn or both will learn….but things will get better. Of course, there will also be bad days. Friday, it was wet outside here and the two little grandsons and Cory were all in rare form and drove me nuts. At one point the "B500" took on a whole new meaning as I had two little boys and a basenji racing from one end of the house to the other. I was reasonably certain that my daughter was going to come home from work and find me either cradling a bottle of Capt. Morgan or a carton of Ben and Jerry….....or maybe both!!!

Hang in there and good luck!
Pat

What a great post Pat… and you are right on... I love the "educate" part and that goes for adults also.... especially the pick up after yourself... or be ready to buy lots of new underwear!

Baroo has been much better about chewing up my son's toys lately. He never used to do it too often, just when he wanted something and I wasn't paying attention. My son is only 18 months old, so I am trying to teach him to pick up his toys, but he is still working on that concept. I have to say, my house looks like I have 10 kids living here with all the toys strewn about, but Baroo has been very good and hasn't touched one. I have been giving him rawhides to chew almost everyday, and he seems very content to just chew on that when he feels the urge now. It's like he just needed to know what was his and what wasn't because he used to get confused and thats when he would chew on things. He would mostly do it when he wanted to play and couldnt find his toy, so he would go for whatever was closest. I have gotten him more toys too, so that has also helped. I don't know what has gotten into him the past few days, but it is really like having a different dog! He has been really good and so affectionate. He thinks he is a lap dog more than ever now, and that is the only place he wants to be, and of course he is just too cute, so how do you say no to that? I am so happy we decided to keep him now.

Glad that it is going well and things will improve once you have him neutered also….

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