Training Advice, Please help

I am really having a hard time with my boy, Ramsey. I can't get him to stop chewing up clothes, begging for/stealing food, biting at our face, and running out the front door. Swatting him on the back-side does absolutely no good but he hates having his nose hit. I hate doing it because I know how sensitive a dogs nose is and I don't want to damage it in any way. PLEASE HELP!!!

Other than hitting him, what are you doing to redirect him from these behaviors?

When he chews on something inappropriate do you trade him for an appropriate chew? If he is not interested in the chews that you have for him, have you tried different brands and types to find which ones he does like?

What obedience classes have you taken with him to establish a common vocabulary between you two?

Here are some good basics that can help you with some of the issues your are having, http://dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Levels/ByLevel/1Level.html, but you really ought to enroll in a good positive reinforcement training class where you can get feedback and help working toward specific goals.

@lvoss:

When he chews on something inappropriate do you trade him for an appropriate chew?

Yes, he has a couple of stuffed animals that the kids gave him and he loves them. He also knows which ones are his and not and leaves the ones that are not his alone. But when it comes to clothes, he tears them up. I thought it was just my wife's underwear but he has moved on the other garments also…

What do you do to restrict access to clothes? How is he getting the clothes? Is he pulling clean clothes off hangers or digging dirty clothes out of the hamper?

This really is an issue of management. If you can not watch him and trade him for an appropriate item then he needs to be kept from the items. Make sure closets are closed, the door to the room the hamper is in should be closed, etc.

Yes, we close all the doors, but sometimes one of the kids or my wife and I might forget or not get the door all the way closed and he is all over it. it is the dirty clothes, by the way…

He needs some basic obedience so you have tools to help you to teach him alternative behaviors. Until then, if you accidently leave a door open and he gets into the laundry that is not his fault, when you catch him, then redirect with a appropriate chew item and have him leave the room and close the door behind you. Hitting him will only cause other more serious issues.

It takes time and consistency to train good behavior in dogs. When he makes a good choice, chews appropriate toys, be sure to praise and reward. When he makes a bad choice, redirect to a good choice.

oh, one other thing, how do you keep them out of the cat litter box??? we found a higher spot for it today, but there has to be a reason why they fight over cat poop…

@Porthos:

oh, one other thing, how do you keep them out of the cat litter box??? we found a higher spot for it today, but there has to be a reason why they fight over cat poop…

all my dogs do that either. It does not depend on being a B or not. Just make sure that Ramsey has no access to it. It is not so good if he swallows lots of the cat litter stuff.

Our cat pottys are either in a part of the house where the dogs don't have access or are in a place where the dogs can't reach them.

Good Luck

Esther

@Porthos:

oh, one other thing, how do you keep them out of the cat litter box??? we found a higher spot for it today, but there has to be a reason why they fight over cat poop…

Cat poop is mostly "undigested" food… which is what makes it so "yummy" to dogs... of any breed

I have friends that put a small kitty door into the laundry room door and they keep the litter box in there.

I guess it sounds like your wife and kids will need to learn to close their door, or lose their clothing.
Sometimes it takes having had one of their favorite items become crotchless before it really kicks in.
My kids have learned that when they bring me something with a hole in it, regardless of where that hole is, my answer is ALWAYS the same:
"Sad to be you, next time you might pick up your stuff."

Do you have a crate for him?
Dogs do NOT need ot be left uncrated at all hours….
if you cannot watch him with an eagle eye [and if I recall he is a youngster??] then in the crate he goes.

I agree with Lisa, puppy obedience is a MUST !!!!!

I have a small laundry basket in the living room that is filled wtih both squeaky [soft and fuzzy of course] dog toys, as well as rawhide and pork twists. My dogs have access to this basket all the time they are loose in the house.

Sounds like a great deal of training is in order, with both the wife, kids AND dog!! Good luck!

How old is this b?

@Porthos:

I am really having a hard time with my boy, Ramsey. I can't get him to stop chewing up clothes, begging for/stealing food, biting at our face, and running out the front door. Swatting him on the back-side does absolutely no good but he hates having his nose hit. I hate doing it because I know how sensitive a dogs nose is and I don't want to damage it in any way. PLEASE HELP!!!

Just curious how much research you did before getting Ramsey? I mean, Basenjis are notorious for eating laundry, esp. socks and underwear! :rolleyes:

At our house, the general rule is – if you don't want it chewed/eaten/destroyed/gutted, PUT IT AWAY. Bedroom and bathroom doors stay shut or..... you pay the consequences.

Food is not left low enough for ours to reach, and is always pushed away from the edges of the tables and/or counter if we have to leave it. YES< they have been taught the "Leave It" command, and they almost always do leave it.....almost always. I believe "better safe than sorry", and try to avoid giving them opportunities to fail {and piss me off :p }

Also, it's generally accepted wisdom that you not hit your Basenji {or any dog, really}. They respond best to positive reinforcement, or even firm but calm voices and being physically removed from a restricted area.

If he bit at my face, I would firmly, but not harshly, hold each side of his head and say "NO", followed by a "sit, stay" command until he settled down. THAT kind of behavior can really never be allowed, IMO, or you are asking for trouble later.

As for the front door, our B's always rush the door but never actually go out. Of course, they never are near an open door if there's not a person there to block them should they try. We have not done this but I understand it to be highly effective: Choose a spot some distance from the door and make your dog sit/stay while you open and close the door. He receives praise and a treat when he does sit/stay.
NEVER let your dog go out the door first -- he cannot go out the door without an expressed invitation from you, even when he is on leash. He must sit/stay or stand/stay until you invite him out the door.

Good luck! These dogs can drive you crazy, but also make you fall crazy in love so.... well worth the work!!:D

Hold old is this b and what type of exercise does he get?
B's young b's need to walk, not just go into the backyard.
They need to run in dog parks if they are nice with others and they need
exercise everyday!

  1. Put cat litter up or restrict your guy's access to it. I have NEVER had a dog, b or not, that could resist the lure of the crunchy outside/warm gooey center of fresh cat mess. I don't think it is possible to train this out of a dog's habits.

  2. I have always found with my b and the other mixes I've owned that redirection and positive reinforcement (even if its just praise) works much better than hitting. Just as a note though, if you come home to find a decorative rearrangement of the arms of your shirt, (or other things Ramsey is doing) don't try anything with your dog until you are calm. Take a deep breath, count to ten etc. They can totally read frustration, anger and tension and react to it, often with misbehavior or worse behavior. I know this is sometimes hard to realize (I'm guilty of it too:( ) but whenever I find something just really not working with Beegin, I try to check myself first. Am I tense, frustrated etc?

  3. Exercise is a big deal. Beegin is my first b but his energy level (and reserves!) are much more than any of the mixed breed guys I've had in the past. Sometimes, speeding it up is even better especially if you are crunched for time. I.e. you bike, and he runs, or you run and he runs (which I personally hate…:eek: ) or you roller blade and he runs etc.

  4. I use a crate for Beegin every once in a while so I recommend having one but if you don't feel you can do that, at least try baby gates to restrict his access to tasty cat leavings or laundry fun.

  5. You can leave little containers at various (high up) places around your house full of a favorite treat so that you can offer praise and a quick reward for good behavior.

  6. As far as the chewing, that is a puppy thing and a b thing. I don't want to say "just deal" but you really should invest time/effort in finding out what his fav chew toys are. If there is a pet store (PETCO, PetSmart or a local one) where you can bring leashed pets, take him shopping and let him pick out his favorites. Sniff packages etc. He will let you know if he finds something he likes! Also rosemary oil/water or tea tree oil/water are safe, natural sprays to prevent chewing on some things. Only use on hard surfaces though. I'd think those would stain upholstery and fabrics.

Hope that helps and just keep asking questions on this forum. It is funny how if one person's suggestion doesn't work, you will probably find another one posted in a day or two. Don't give up:)

Hello,
I had the same problems as yours when I got my Basenji when she was 2 years old. Took me long time to stop her from chewing anything on sight, but gradually, I remove all the temptations away, gave her lots of bones to chew, kept an eye on her all the time (from the corner of my eye) and closed doors. I also listened to lots of advice I got from this site (about training), and now, she pulls at scarves or finds shoes and hanbags to chew when someone has been looking after her for a few days and she comes back home (revenge??). Don't give up, I also put a DAP collar on her and she is much calmer and less anxious. Keep trying and don't hit your B, keep very calm and tells him off in a very serious and stern voice! It worked with mine!

The only thing that seriously works comes from the humans… and that is picking up after yourself... It was not till my kids were over 10 that I could leave a pair of shoes within their reach..ggg

And still to this day, if people come over and put a coat, purse, bag on the floor, chair, etc... there are immediate Basenji noses in them... as in, if not properly put away, this is fair game.....

If you read any of my other post's you will see that Ramsey is not my first Basenji. I new what I was in for but he is a lot more stubborn then Sheba. They both get lots of exercise. The thing is, Sheba was not this much trouble… lol The big problem with her was her running out the door. But now that she sees what he is doing, she is starting to pull the same crap. She responded to yelling and the rolled up newspaper. that was after taking her to a training class that did not work. I was clicker training and she hated it. She also responded to Treats, but that was a little difficult because she is so picky. I now have her to the point that i can take my dinner plate and set it on the floor, and if there is silverware on it, she will not touch it. She will get close and sniff, but not take. But if I remove the silverware, then she can have it. Now, like I was saying, Ramsey is just the oppasite of her and I'm having trouble... I was looking for that little something different in training advice. But, thatks for the advice you did give...

Porthos

A few more ideas for you…

  1. Try some tastier items instead of store bought treats. Examples like no-spices cooked chicken or burger, low fat hot dogs, canned chicken or small pieces of cheese (although be careful with the cheese as some dogs can be majorly lactose-intolerant and/or have constipation with too much). For my boy, if it comes from the people's counter it is already worth trying. If it is something he sees me eat first, he thinks it is worth having if not stealing.

  2. What was it about clicker training that your new b hates? I have been using a whistle. The clicker required too many hands for me.

  3. As another idea for training, some social species (it has been seen in corvid bird species, like parrots, and also chimps and gorillas) that they learn very quickly by observation of someone they know learning. Try having the new b watch you train your old b or go over things she already knows in front of him. You may need to have someone hold him, leash him or crate him to keep him stationary but he can still watch your other b "learning" and getting treats/praise/toys etc.

Keep letting the forum know what works and doesn't for you. Hope things are getting easier.

@Porthos:

I am really having a hard time with my boy, Ramsey. I can't get him to stop chewing up clothes, begging for/stealing food, biting at our face, and running out the front door. Swatting him on the back-side does absolutely no good but he hates having his nose hit. I hate doing it because I know how sensitive a dogs nose is and I don't want to damage it in any way. PLEASE HELP!!!

I am curious as to why you are hitting your dog in the first place? Clearly you have already found out that it is not the best solution and is not working for you. How much time do you spend taking your Basenji's walking every day?

Do you think the dogs are trying to send you a message of some kind?

Have you taken the female to the vet yet or are you just going to sit back and risk that Dogs Health. You know they have credit cards and they give approval online in 5 mins for some of them. Also being former military myself, I know you can go to the credit union and possibly get them to give you a small loan if you agree to have an allotment taken out of your paycheck. Maybe things have changed in that area but it would be worth a try.

Seriously, if you cannot afford to have a dog then why do you? And Yet you have more than one!

I have sat back and been quiet up until this point, but I personally feel (strong statement) that your behavior boarders on neglect and abuse of these animals. If these were your children(granted dogs are not children), would you let money stop you from taking them for proper health care.

I am sorry but I really find your lack of care and treatment of these animals appalling.

Jason

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.