Newish owner needs advice

Getting him into a gentle obedience class, as suggested earlier, will help you and your dog learn to "talk" to each other.
It does…...

Well, he growls even when you try to move him (NOT SLEEPING) on the couch to sit down or get comfortable. So since he has territorial aggression he isn't allowed on the couch, it's our couch not his. when we want to cuddle we go down on his level on the carpet and he cuddles with us there and doesn't growl when we move him.
He ws 10 weeks when we got him, we have done some training with a professional and i do lots on my own, he is VERY persistant and stubborn.

what is gentle obedience class>? We have been trying Alpha training ( someone trained by Bill Paterson) if you just do treat training/clicker training then don't they only listen when you have a treat/clicker? especially since he is sooo stubborn

In general, it is best when you want a dog to move not to touch him but instead ask him to move by calling him over to you using his name, using hand targeting or a command like go to mat to send him to a different location.

@Jillianj:

what is gentle obedience class>? We have been trying Alpha training ( someone trained by Bill Paterson) if you just do treat training/clicker training then don't they only listen when you have a treat/clicker? especially since he is sooo stubborn

In doing Alpha training, you are creating a relationship built on fear and punishment. And you are setting yourself up for a "no" win battle. And in a battle of wills, trust me, you will lose and someone may get hurt.

Reward based training does not set them up for just behaving when you have a treat, as the reward can be a pet, word praise, and/or treats.

In my opinion alpha training is not based on fear and punishment at all but on respect. All it is is using umbilical training and lots of physical exercise for the dog to watch me and follow my directions instead of doing his own thing. there is no punishment or fear involved. But I also believe in using lots of positive reinforcement and love guess I believe in a balanced approach.

@lvoss:

In general, it is best when you want a dog to move not to touch him but instead ask him to move by calling him over to you using his name, using hand targeting or a command like go to mat to send him to a different location.

but what if you are in the bed or on the couch and you need to move and they are leaning on you, do you then give the command?

I am really confused here…
you aren't allowing him on the couch...
but you are letting him on the bed?
That is how the last post reads, it is quite confusing.

I also agree that the alpha training [which is not what you are describing] is a set-up for failure… in one way or another... and usually ending in someone getting hurt/bit/etc.

In all my years of having Basenjis... the very best way to get anything out of them, is REWARD BASED TRAINING. It gives them a reason to want to do something for you. Not to do it just because you are the human and they are the dog.
After all, why go fetch the stick that the stupid human threw?? Leave that for the Labs that can't think of a good reason not to get it.
I have never seen Alpha Training that works with a Basenji in the long-term.

Sorry for not being clear. No not allowed in the bed or on the couch, I was just trying to figure how I could have him do those things when in the past he was growly and nippy when moved. He used to be allowed to do both because that is what we wanted ( and he LOVES it) but he would growl and snarl when we nugged him or moved him to get comphy. I will try treat training, but I would love him to be able to get exercise by fetching.

Perhaps as basenjis are so darn intelligent (and a bit stubborn) training needs to start very very early. Regarding alpha training, does it not come naturally even if you are using reward based training? I guess what I mean is, will any training set the human up as the alpha?

I would suggest you investigate the methods of other trainers. Not all techniques work equally well with all dogs; we are telling you that this particular way of training often backfires with Basenjis, and creates the exact problem you were trying to eliminate.

Andrea what would you suggest for leash pulling

As Andrea says, some training methods work better with certain breeds.
Step back and look at your situation: what you are currently doing IS NOT WORKING or you wouldn't have these problems and be asking for suggestions.
Consider starting all over with methods that folks here (who have had basenjis for many years) are suggesting. Like people, different dogs learn and respond differently, continuing to do something that is not working will likely not give you the results you want. I suggest reading "The Other End of the Leash" by Dr. Patricia McConnell, or other books that people have recommended.
When I am doing something that isn't working, I need to stop and look with fresh eyes and re-evaluate my approach. Especially if the situation is getting worse.

Good luck to you!

@Kipawa:

Perhaps as basenjis are so darn intelligent (and a bit stubborn) training needs to start very very early. Regarding alpha training, does it not come naturally even if you are using reward based training? I guess what I mean is, will any training set the human up as the alpha?

If you read the link i posted above it debunks the whole alpha theory. The studies they used to create the basis for alpha training have all been disproved over the years. Alpha dogs/wolves in packs are not violent or aggressive leaders, rather it is the beta and lower dogs that are constantly fighting for the hierarchy. It is really interested to read about how an actual pack functions.

Just want to add that I agree with the positive/reward based training. It is the way to go for happy and harmonious life with your Basenji, or any other dog or cat for that matter.

The whole Alpha role and the rigid pack structure in relation to domestic dogs - and in fact wolves has now been retracted by the very people who first popularised it - see David Mech http://www.davemech.org/news.html.

Also I hate the term 'stubborn' when used with Basenji's - they are more than willing to do something if you show them there is a valid reason for it. If they are not doing something its not their fault you've not shown them why its in their best interest to do it. And quite rightly, my boy will not go out into the rain unless I go with him - if he has to get wet so do I - I can't fault his logic on that :rolleyes:

I would recommend the Patricia McConnell book too. I also like Jean Donaldon's 'The Culture Clash' for making me view things from a dog's perspective. I've also just ordered her book, 'Train your dog like a Pro' which I hope will also give some extra insights and tips on getting the best out of my boys.

The training might not be working but I also believe in giving something time. Thanks for your opinions I will keep them in mind. I am not sure if I am using the right word "Alpha" for the training because it's neither violent or aggressive, it's just umbilical training. I want my dog to obey me from respect and love not because he is waiting for a treat, I dont believe in tricking my dog into obedience. I was just curious and looking for tips to help with the nipping and pulling on the leash, still really haven't recieved that info just arguing againt alpha training.Thanks all the same.

@Jillianj:

Andrea what would you suggest for leash pulling

Lots of the references that people have listed have some great techniques for training polite walking. Most them are based on the premise that the dog never gets to go forward when the leash is tight. There are many variations on a theme from trainer to trainer. Of course, dogs need exercise, and you can't get much if you have to stop every few feet..so during the time that you are training the dog, I prefer to use a Sensible (or Sensation) harness, or Easy Walker, as LVoss mentioned. It keeps the dog from being able to practice the habit of pulling, while you are teaching him a new skill. You can also use a Gentle Leader head halter; they are very effective in controling the dog, but lots of dogs really dislike wearing them. You can google any of these walking aides and get more info on them 🙂

@Jillianj:

The training might not be working but I also believe in giving something time. Thanks for your opinions I will keep them in mind. I am not sure if I am using the right word "Alpha" for the training because it's neither violent or aggressive, it's just umbilical training. I want my dog to obey me from respect and love not because he is waiting for a treat, I dont believe in tricking my dog into obedience. I was just curious and looking for tips to help with the nipping and pulling on the leash, still really haven't recieved that info just arguing againt alpha training.Thanks all the same.

A popular misconception is that positive/reward training is just 'bribing' the dog - this is not the case at all if done correctly. It reinforces the behaviours you like, so the dog will repeat them more frequently. This principle underlies all interactions with the dog, which is why we keep on saying how good it is as it applies whether to lead walking or asking your dog to get off the couch or nipping. By just not rewarding the undesired behaviours they diminish in frequency.

Unfortunately I have never heard of 'Alpha training by Bill Paterson' - can you direct us to where we can find out more? Also have never heard of the term 'umbilical training' so again do not understand what you've been doing.

@JayCee:

A popular misconception is that positive/reward training is just 'bribing' the dog - this is not the case at all if done correctly. It reinforces the behaviours you like, so the dog will repeat them more frequently. This principle underlies all interactions with the dog, which is why we keep on saying how good it is as it applies whether to lead walking or asking your dog to get off the couch or nipping. By just not rewarding the undesired behaviours they diminish in frequency.

Unfortunately I have never heard of 'Alpha training by Bill Paterson' - can you direct us to where we can find out more? Also have never heard of the term 'umbilical training' so again do not understand what you've been doing.

I was told harnesses teach a dog to pull, I use a martingale collar. Umbilical it just attaching the leash to your waist so they follow your movements. Its harmless. I find it helpful when we jog together. I also like NILIF (nothing in life is free) which someone here suggested. I just want him to walk nice on the leash and not pull, I guess I will buy some books. I came here to see about getting a specific trick or suggestion that worked for someone else.

@Jillianj:

I was told harnesses teach a dog to pull, I use a martingale collar. Umbilical it just attaching the leash to your waist so they follow your movements. Its harmless. I find it helpful when we jog together. I also like NILIF (nothing in life is free) which someone here suggested. I just want him to walk nice on the leash and not pull, I guess I will buy some books. I came here to see about getting a specific trick or suggestion that worked for someone else.

Harnesses where the leash connects at the back WILL encourage pulling. The ones we are speaking about attach at the chest, which turns the dog back around towards you when they pull.

Honestly, and I don't mean this in an offensive way…but as a breeder, the description of what you want from your dog would have made me discourage you from our breed. Basenjis just aren't wired that way to love and respect you because they are your dog. You may have to re-evaluate everything you know and understand about dogs and dog ownership...because Basenjis are an adventure 🙂

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