An update-escaping and training

  • First Basenji's

    Between work, preparing to move, and Cody's new routine, I haven't been on much lately other than a quick comment here and there, so I thought I'd do an update.

    A few days ago, Cody escaped from our back yard. A deer damaged our fence last week, and I thought that while it looked sound, the repair work might not have been quite as basenji-proof as I thought it was, resulting in him squeezing through a portion. Boy was I wrong! After we reworked and repaired the fence again, I took Cody out to play. We were having a great time playing with his ball when a helicopter flew low overhead and it spooked him. He took off, running at top speed, and leaped completely over the fence with a few inches to spare. Our fence is at least 5 ft tall. I thought my heart would stop! I knew that he was scared, and I was so scared for him. Luckily, he just ran two houses down. By the time I made it to the end of the driveway in our front yard, he was already running back toward our house. I remembered the advice to run in the opposite direction so that they chase you, so when I knew he could see me, I started running toward our front door. Thankfully, it worked! He chased me all the way into the house. He was only free for a few minutes, but it felt like hours, and all I could think was that he was going to get hurt, hit by a car, or become another of the many lost basenjis we've been reading about lately.

    The strange thing is that in the 10 months we've lived here, he's never shown interest in jumping the fence. He has tried to climb it a few times, but I always caught him, and even that hasn't happened in recent months. I guess this is just another example of something that works until it doesn't. Needless to say, we take a lot more leashed walks, and he isn't allowed in the back yard off leash. He's not too happy about it, but I love him too much to take the chance of him jumping the fence again and actually getting hurt this time. He is getting used to it though, and doesn't grumble half as much as he did the first day.

    On a happier note, we are going to start training again on Monday. Our first experience a few months ago wasn't ideal. The trainer claimed to use positive methods, and while she did use some, there were others that weren't so positive. Cody doesn't respond well to being pushed around or bullied, so his behavior worsened. The first time I was told to forcefully put him on the ground to show my dominance, I'm sure Cody and I both looked at her like she was stupid. While that may work for some dogs, I know my boy, and that would have just made him mad and even more defiant. We ended up not finishing the class. It's been hard finding a good trainer in my area, but one of my cousins used to work as a groomer at Petsmart and encouraged me to observe one of the beginners classes. I talked to the trainer afterwards, and she has had a lot of experience with difficult breeds prior to working at Petsmart, and she recently worked with a few older shiba inus. I was a little leery at first, because I've heard mixed reviews of their program, but after talking with her at length, the trainer really seemed to understand our problem areas and thinks that Cody will do well in the class, as do I. We have been working with training on our own, but I know that we can both benefit from classes.

    While I doubt that training will help with our current fence jumping issue, I am looking forward to it.

  • Crystal, i am so glad Cody is alright, what a terrible fright you must have had.
    Good luck with the classes.

  • I know what it's like to have a Basenji take off scared. Thank God Cody didn't keep running like mine did. What is the fence made of? If it is made of wood how about adding some lattace on top to add another foot. It's unfortunate if you can't have him loose in your own backyard. The training will definitely help.

  • i'm so glad to know you were quick to recover cody! As far as petsmart (or any big box shops) training goes, well, it's only as good as the trainer and all trainers are different. there are some bad ones, novice ones and good ones. Sometimes a really good trainer will work at a big box shop because they feel the need for things like health benefits, etc. Congrats on finding one that you feel good with. And it's always a good idea to watch a class (or two) if you can.

  • First Basenji's

    Leapt over a five foot fence! Wow, it's true what they say…!

    Good luck with your continued efforts at training. This trainer's got my attention if she's had prior success with shibas, so hopefully she's got some good tricks that will also work with your B.

  • First Basenji's

    Nobarkus, I didn't even think about that. We have chain link fence, which is why he used to try to climb it, but there should be a way to lengthen that too, even if it is just by adding some kind of wire fencing to the top.

    Curlytails, now that he is safe, sitting beside me, and I can view it from that perspective, I can say it was an amazing sight to see him jump that high, and one I hope to never see again. I will definitely never, NEVER underestimate him again.

    I'm really hopeful about the classes, not only for obvious reasons, but also because Cody and I are moving in August. Mentioning that I have a basenji has scared off more than a few potential roommates when they looked up the breed. Hopefully working on our problem areas will give them peace of mind as well as benefiting us.

  • Even though we don't have our first basenji yet, I always look at our fencing. It is 6 feet, including the trellis top. So hopefully good enough for a basenji. But I am not surprised at how the helicopter made for a spook. Is there a way to train a basenji to be 'bomb proof'? That's a term in the equestrian world that signifies a horse that won't react to anything. It's great to ride a horse like that. On the other hand, with others, a piece of paper flying across their sight line can make them bolt - I have experienced this and it really can be a challenge to stay calm throughout the situation. Good for you for keeping your wits and thinking about the running in the opposite direction idea - so glad it worked for you both!

  • Like with all else with Basenjis, early and good socialization is the key to being "bomb" proof… Breeders will have lots of loud noices in the house, drop and bang pans, blast the TV/radio, rattle things, run the vacuum... One thing that will usually freak out Basenjis is other dogs barking. And if your breeder lives in a area where getting to outdoors is not really an option at a young age (as early as 5wks) and they don't have neighborhood dogs around that bark, it can make that noise pretty scary.

    Chain link is an invitation for a Basenji to climb or jump... however that said, you boy must have really been totally spooked to jump a 5ft fence, that is pretty high. We had solid board fence that is 8ft with another 2 feet of lattice on top. And in some places it is up to 12ft. With the solid fence there is no place for them to get a foot hold to climb.

  • When I was putting our chain link fence in, I purposly left it loose. I also have bells on the fence. Sugar will climb it and I knew she would, but with it being loose instead of tight, by the time she gets to the middle it is starting to fold in leaving her kind of hanging inside. The bell rings, and I go running. They are never left alone outside simply because anything can, and does, happen. I'm glad Cody got back safe and sound. I know the feeling of your heart in your throat too well.

  • We have a 5 foot wire fence. Bungwa is a great jumper and climber so we put another foot on top but left it quite loose and the top leaning inwards. That has done the trick. I find that once they've jumped over they will keep trying. I have never found chain link very good as all my Basenjis climb and can easily get over.

  • First Basenji's

    Hopefully we will have our fence lengthened by next week! The back yard has little appeal when he's stuck on a leash and can't run free. We are going to try what Patty was talking about, adding another foot or so to the top, leaving it loose to lean inward. I found out that the back fence, where he was jumping, is actually about 4 to 4 1/2 feet, where over the years, erosion of the slight hill that we live on has buried the bottom by about a foot or more. Our trainer suggested a light, nylon training leash (50ft) to test whether he will be able to jump or climb. I'm hopeful though, because as much as he misses running, I miss watching him run.

    Training has been going well. The trainer did more research on basenjis before we started, so I'm satisfied that I picked the right person. As I said, I was leery going into this. The only real problem we had in class was something Tanza mentioned: the yappy dogs freaked Cody out a bit. He has become accustomed to Moe's deep bark, but with the yappy barking of the puppies and smaller dogs, he was a little on edge. For the most part, he just sat stiffly by my side and watched them all, but applying the things from class at home, in the yard, and on walks has gone well.

    Kipawa, I've been working with Cody on bomb-proofing, almost literally. We live near a military base, and during all hours of the day and night they do practice bombing and artillery fire. We are close enough that we no long keep pictures on our walls because the house shakes so much that they fall and break. There is no schedule to the practices. For the first few months, he was nearly inconsolable-jumping, pacing, and whining, sometimes for hours. He is getting better though, the artillery doesn't bother him at all anymore, and when the bombing is "mild" or more spread out over time, he will only get up, grumble a bit, and then find somewhere else to lay. When the bombing is at its worst, we have learned that turning the dishwasher on actually sooths him, strangely enough.

  • Ah yes, the calming hum of a bomb…. er.... dishwasher. I can believe that Cody must find the constant hum of the dw much nicer than the abrupt sounds from the military base. In time he, no doubt, will be bomb proof!

  • Crystal, glad to hear Cody is doing well at his classes.

  • @crystalncody:

    . The first time I was told to forcefully put him on the ground to show my dominance, I'm sure Cody and I both looked at her like she was stupid. While that may work for some dogs, I know my boy, and that would have just made him mad and even more defiant.

    Someone told me to do that while I was trying to get Shaye to walk better - I tried it one time. She never stopped struggling, and the entire walk after that was one big war. Although she is easily distracted and will try to run after squirrels, etc., she has learned on her own to walk better with me. We didn't get Gemma until she was 14 months, and she's 2 now - she still pulls like a Clydesdale with her nose on the ground, and throws flipping fits when we pass anything with a loud motor:mad:!

  • Glad to hear that you've now got a Basenji friendly trainer. The bad ones can do so much damage.

    The calming dishwasher reminds me of when my human family were small - they used to love lying down by the dishwasher or the washing machine and going to sleep!!

    We often get low flying jets coming over on trainig flights and my Basenjis have great fun chasing them in the garden (they make me jump but never the b's). Much to their disgust they've never caught one!!!!!

  • Last week at training Malaika was reluctant to sit and the trainer kept Physicaly putting her in position which didn't go down well.

  • To my mind this is very negative trainig for a Basenji and the trainer should have this explained. I have always found and (I used to tell the trainer at obedience classes) that the best way to get a Basenji to perform an action that it's not keen about is to lavish praise and then command rather than the conventional approach of command - praise.

  • @Patty:

    To my mind this is very negative trainig for a Basenji and the trainer should have this explained. I have always found and (I used to tell the trainer at obedience classes) that the best way to get a Basenji to perform an action that it's not keen about is to lavish praise and then command rather than the conventional approach of command - praise.

    Yes i agree. Mostly i do like the trainer and she has good advice.
    She did say when i asked about something to forget she was a Basenji, as she is a Dog first and most Dogs behave the same way :rolleyes::rolleyes:

  • Ha Ha - I think if you continue at her classes, she'll change her mind!!!

  • First Basenji's

    We finally finished our fence! We actually built another higher fence and gate to block off the very back half acre where our vegetable garden is, which is where the fence was shorter and where Cody was jumping. This still gives him a very large area to run and play, and makes it easier to keep an eye on him since the view of the back fence is obstructed by the garden and trees.

    I took him out on the long leash this evening when we were finished and let him sniff, push, paw, and generally inspect the fence. When he realized that he couldn't break into it, he huffed and walked off. I let him off the leash, and for a few seconds he just looked at me, and then he took off running at top speed. I was still a little scared for a minute since the side fences are still chain link (we are still working on lengthening it), but he just ran the B500 around the yard. We ran and played for hours. He's so happy! He didn't want to come back inside, but he finally got thirsty and tired. It was great to see him run happily around the yard again.

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