Newish owner needs advice

My name is Jillian and I have a 7 month old red and white Basenji named Maverick. how do I go about estabilishing Alpha with my basenji? He pulls on the leash, jumps on the coach and nips ALOT!!!!
He gets a 45 min walk in the morning and then run at the dog park in the evening so he gets lots of exericise. We try our best to be consistant!
Additionally, he HATES going out in the rain- what do you do for tolieting when it is raining (besides putting him out anyways, cuz he just stays by the door and wont move and then uses in the house.

He is also very affectionate, and sweet adn cuddly

Jillian
😕

What are you doing to train loose leash walking, greeting behaviors, and appropriate play?

A couple of different techniques for loose leash:
http://dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Levels/ByLevel/2Level.html (scroll down to leash)
http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/LLW/index.html
http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2001/lltotal.htm

While you are working on training loose leash you may want to invest in something like the SENSEation harness http://www.softouchconcepts.com/products/sense_ation_harness.php or an Easy Walk harness http://www.premier.com/View.aspx?page=dogs/products/behavior/easywalk/productdescription

For the jumping up on people, is the dog on leash? When people approach do you ask the dog for a down and then reward for that position and ask the person to back away if the dog breaks the down? You want four feet on the ground to be a condition of people coming near. Down is a nice default position for dogs who jump up on people because it is the hardest to jump up on people from.

What situations does the nipping occur? How are you redirecting your dog from nipping?

As far as housetraining, you need to go out with him… and stay out till he goes.... even when raining... they learn fast enough to "potty" quick... and you need to always reward good behavior...

Jumping on the couch?... All of mine are permitted to be on the couch...? If there a reason that furniture is off limits? Now, things like the counters/kitchen/dining tables are off limits.. but that takes time and patience for them to "get" the "off" the table idea..ggg And from time to time they do remind us that if they really want to, they can.

Have you discussed any of this with the breeder? Especially the nipping?

Your puppy sound very BASENJI. You should talk to your breeder first. Do some searching on the search box for the Forum as many of these issues have been addressed in the past. Puppies are work, but worth it!

Starrlamia- I like the NILIF but what should I do about jumping on the couch, according to other animal behavioural specialists dogs shouldn't be on the couch because they think they are on your level, but now whenever he jumps on the coach we have to get up and put him off the couch or say "down" according to NILIF that means we are giving him attention for it and I think it's a game for him now.

@Jillianj:

according to other animal behavioural specialists dogs shouldn't be on the couch because they think they are on your level,

This is an outdated view of canine behavior. If there is no other reason for not wanting the dog on the couch then I would work on calling your dog off the couch and then asking the dog to wait to be invited back on the couch with you. You may also want to teach Go To Mat which is one of the behaviors described at the dragonflyllama.com link I sent earlier.

@Jillianj:

Starrlamia- I like the NILIF but what should I do about jumping on the couch, according to other animal behavioural specialists dogs shouldn't be on the couch because they think they are on your level, but now whenever he jumps on the coach we have to get up and put him off the couch or say "down" according to NILIF that means we are giving him attention for it and I think it's a game for him now.

I dont buy into the whole "alpha" theory that some trainers and so called behaviourists are into.

When he jumps on the couch I would do what you are doing and tell him down. Now if you are ok with letting him on the couch, I would make him sit first and wait for your to ask him to come "up". It will take a while but as long as you are consistent he will get it eventually.

http://k9domain.org/alpha_theory.aspx

the reason we dont let him on the coach was because he was developing territorial aggression and actually he was asleep once on the couch and my husband bent down to nuzzle him and the dog bit his face (it was hard/deep cut)

Remember the saying "Let sleeping dogs lie", it is a good idea to make sure the dog is awake before touching him because some dogs when startled will snap and bite. If he is asleep on the couch a good idea is to call him off the couch. If he doesn't respond to his name then use a leash to help get him off, do not use his collar or just shove him off. Once he is off the couch reward him for getting off, you want to make being off the couch a good thing. Then if you want you can invite him to join you on the couch. Since it sounds like he wakes poorly teaching Go to Mat and reinforcing the Mat as a good place to be is also a good idea so he has a place that he can sleep undisturbed.

I agree with the previous posters but you might also like to leave a very short light lead (or even a piece of cord) (we call it a 'tag') attached to his collar all the time until the problem is resolved. Use that to take him off the couch if you don't want him there. Saves putting the leash on if he's feeling 'nippy' he might resent that.

The 'alpha' theory is indeed debatable.

Well we decided no couch so I will try the rewarding when off the couch, we have been saying "good boy" and giving a belly rub when when he gets off the couch. but we have been using his collar to get him off the couch if he doesn't repond to the "down" command. Why not use the collar? or push him off the couch? I thought that would be establishing that it was our couch? thanks for the ideas

any more ideas for the pulling on the leash when going for a walk?

@Jillianj:

any more ideas for the pulling on the leash when going for a walk?

Again, have you talked to the breeder? And how about an Obedience class?

Breeder hasn't really given much advice yet, waiting on email response. did some alpha training with a trainer trained by Bill Patterson and is thinking of doing treat training end of the summer if the current training does not work.

First Basenji's

By treat training, do you mean clicker training?

Here is a list of positive training technique-friendly trainers that has been passed onto me in the past. If you can't find someone in your area, you may be able to get references from the closest trainer listed…?

http://www.trulydogfriendly.com/blog/?page_id=4

Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, and Pat Miller are also some other names/authors you may want to explore if you want to read up on some other perspectives on training. While I'm fairly happy with my dogs' behavior at this point, I'm going through some of this literature myself this summer, hoping to learn why more and more folks are rejecting the 'dominance' and 'alpha' theories of training.

You don't want to use the collar for a couple of reasons. One reason is that many dogs react poorly to having their collar grabbed. The other reason is that you want to do everything you can to build positive associations with collar grabs because if your boy every gets loose that is what someone trying to get him off the street is probably going to reach for so you want him to be happy that someone is reaching for the collar not thinking something negative is coming next.

You want the reward for getting off the couch to be something really spectacular since it has to compete with how rewarding being on the couch and with his people is. For most dogs praise and a belly rub is high enough value reward to compete with losing couch priviledges. A piece of duck jerky or even a stuffed Kong that he can enjoy in his crate or on his mat would really help to cement the idea that really good things happen when I am not on the couch.

He sounds like a normal young male, starting to be territorial. Is he intact, or neutered? Sometimes that makes a difference. And I agree that the whole "alpha" and dominance theories are rather outdated. We just work at having happy dogs, and they seem to sort things out pretty well on their own. All the furniture belongs to all of us, no need to claim any of it!
As for rain, get a big umbrella and go out with him, keep him under the umbrella if he will, and then reward well for going to the bathroom, get him back in and dry him off and make a game of it. He won't necessarily like it but you will have a clean dry house.

Basenjis (in my experience) are much easier if you just let them think it's their idea and then they will do what you want! Much more fun to outsmart your basenji than to try and 'out-alpha' him, that is a long and unrewarding relationship for everyone, IMHO.

Set him up for success and reward accordingly. Don't disturb a sleeping animal of any sort, some wake up very badly, nothing personal! Walk and praise, and for a young basenji, pulling like a demon is pretty natural and requires a lot of work to improve .(age helps, my oldsters hardly pull at all!)

How old was your boy when you got him?
Had any training been done with him?
And as asked previously, who is the breeder?
Have you called or just emailed them with the issues you are having?
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they me out of email access _.

I agree with the leash…
but I completely disagree with NOT allowing your dog on the couch.
WHY have a companion that is small and lap size if you can't or won't be cuddling with it?
Petting on the head just isn't the same as cuddling up next to your buddy.

I also agree with Pat on letting sleeping dogs lie.
Heck, when I was a kid and someone tried to wake me, my arms always tended to fly and whatever or whomever was in the way sometimes got the backhand :-)_

@khanis:

but I completely disagree with NOT allowing your dog on the couch.
WHY have a companion that is small and lap size if you can't or won't be cuddling with it?
Petting on the head just isn't the same as cuddling up next to your buddy.

I also agree with Pat on letting sleeping dogs lie.
Heck, when I was a kid and someone tried to wake me, my arms always tended to fly and whatever or whomever was in the way sometimes got the backhand 🙂

LOL Kathy, I think I remember that!!!! :eek: now I am really showing my age!

And I agree with you also about the couch…

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