Booger the Bully… need advice please

  • I need some advice on what to do with Booger.
    He will be 2 in January, and we started coursing him this summer. We went to 2 practices, where he ran alone & with Zip. (Zip is MauiGirl's female)
    He ran with Zip in August for his ASFA certification, and also ran against Zip at an ASFA trial in late October. So far, so good. Good follow, enthusiasm, etc.
    However, last weekend at an ASFA trial he turned & bumped Zip, and coursed her for a bit. It didn't progress further, so the judges decided to keep the lure running, and they finished out the course. Booger was dismissed for interference. The judges said it is likely it was play rather than aggression since they spend so much time together.
    This weekend we attended an AKC trial. Yesterday he got the first leg of his JC with a beautiful run, and today he failed to get his second leg because he lost the lure & wandered around for a minute before picking it back up & finishing well. After the trial, I decided to practice him with my 11 month old, both to practice her as well as see how he would act.
    The lure operator complimented Lola, but in the middle of the run called Booger "a bully." He was bumping into her for the entire second half of the run (after he stopped to take a poop! Oops!). At one point, he knocked her over & she rolled. Fortunately, she is used to it as she is little & gets bowled over a lot during play. She finished beautifully, ignoring Booger as best she could, but Booger antagonized her for the whole second half!!! He was very keen on the lure yesterday, but today seemed to be less interested in it & more interested in everything else.
    He loves to run, and I will continue to practice him as well as run him in Singles stakes in ASFA. Any advice for how to refocus him on the lure? Or should I just let him keep doing fun runs & singles stakes at ASFA events?
    Since he enjoys it, I don't want to stop completely, and I have no problem with him never winning ribbons or titles. The down side to him running singles is that there aren't many basenjis running in our region. Currently its just Zip & Booger. Lola will start running in mid December & Riley (MauiGirl's other b) will start running in January. Taking Booger out really limits the competition, but I can't have a bully on the field!!! Help!

  • Some dogs never really gain focus, some just need more maturity, and some just can't focus for an entire course. If you have some straight racing in your area, you may want to see if he is more focused on the short straights. Try him by himself and see if there is a difference in his focus. Also because the straight racing uses a squawker it sometimes increases the dog's interest in the lure.

    It is a good idea to keep him in singles or practice until you see improvement in his focus otherwise he will just learn that it is okay to do it.

  • For now, if he were mine, I would just continue to practice him and run singles.. and your are totally right, no Bully's on the field…..

    You may just find that it is the time of year that is distracting him... many B Boy's are "stupid" during breeding season, neutered or not.... my boy, neutered at 3yr, knew quite well that it was breeding season and still does at 17+.

    Do you run him with a muzzle? Many times that will help to keep the focus on the task at hand instead of bumping and playing...

    Also the fact that you are running him with his housemates/friends that he typically plays with, is also a distraction (possible)... and if he is not totally focused on the lure then he thinks they are out there for play time.

    I would (if mine):
    1. Put on a muzzle if he is not already wearing one
    2. Continue to practice him alone and ask the lure operator to keep the lure right under his nose... even to the point of letting him almost catch it... to get him really focused on it.
    3. Don't run him with Lola as being a housemate might keep leading to him wanting to bump and antagonize her
    4. Wait till well after breeding season to see if that changes anything in his focus

    And in the end, some are just like that... my OJ has never coursed (except the other dogs...ggg)... he was sure that the only reason that he was out there was to bump and run with the others (I only ever let him run with bitches that I knew in practices and would not be put off if he did that)... and when he ran alone, he would get totally distracted if the lure was not right under his nose.

  • Thanks for the advice! I heard a lot about muzzle use this weekend, and how for many basenjis its like "focus time" when the muzzle goes on. I'm definitely NOT going to run him with other dogs for a while. He was an a-hole this weekend. I was aggravated that he was messing with Lola so much… she was having a fantastic run otherwise!

  • Some dogs, as the others have said, just run better by themselves. I'm not very fortunate as mine, for the most part, won't run away from me, but I'm working on it. We wear muzzles up in Canada and after they get used to them, they get excited when they see them come out.

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