Do I know you?

Dear BJ owners, lately I have been noticing some kind of change in my 8 months old basenji and I wonder if that is normal and to be expected, or if I need to improve something in my training that I am overlooking (this is my first basenji).
He "used to" (in past tense) come when called. I would say "Nilo COME" and he would come from wherever he was, home or dog park. I would praise him and give him a treat. It used to work!

But this week -or maybe this started last week-, whenever I take him to the park, he completely ignores me, I call him and he plays deaf and keeps playing with his other canine friends. He comes when called if he is at home, but once he steps out the door it is like he is saying to me "Do I Know you?".

What happened?😕

Sounds like he's growing up and testing you.
Generaly though Basenjis are very unreliable off lead. Some owners never ever let them off, they are Hounds with minds of there own.
Our Pup is 6 1/2 months and is great at recall off lead as long as there is no one else or any other Dogs around. If there is something more interesting there id no way she would come back even for a treat.
Like you we have noticed a difference in her behaviour, we have to work much harder to get her to cooperate. At training class last week she was a horror and the trainer said she was sticking two fingers up at me 😮
I have heard from several people that they do go through a difficult stage rather like teenagers.

Sounds normal. Really, it does. Kananga, even being over 2 years old now, will do this time to time indoors when i want to put his leash on. I'll tell him to come, and he'll just give me a blank stare and walk in the other direction.

For me I find it comical and entertaining. They are just so unpredictable sometimes and that's what makes them great.

Really? It is good to know that you are going through the same. Is it so true that this stage seems like they are acting like teenagers!
It was funny to a point: as his friends were leaving the dog park then it was when Nilo would be looking for me to play and come right when called, (ahhh now I am your friend ah?, cheeky you!, was thinking to myself).
So smart primitive creatures!:D

In my opinion this is quite normal Basenji behaviour. He obviously feels now that he will try to be a bit independent and is testing you for your reactions. I would say be patient and firm in what you expect from him - don't weaken but at the same time don't feel you have to challenge him.

Perfectly normal for that age. I have three 8 month old Basenji boys now who have a bad case of selective hearing. They seem to enjoy pushing my buttons with their mischief. It's a rough stage but you will get through it…...usually. :p

Teenage basenjis, perfectly normal. The reason they are so cute as pups is to prevent us from turning to violence when they reach this age! We already adore them. He will recognize you again…someday!

@YodelDogs:

Perfectly normal for that age. I have three 8 month old Basenji boys now who have a bad case of selective hearing. They seem to enjoy pushing my buttons with their mischief. It's a rough stage but you will get through it…...usually. :p

You make it sound like maybe they out grow that stage. Zest, my superstar in training that Q'd 4/4 runs last weekend, missed breakfast this morning. She was waiting for the new puppy next door to come to the fence. I gave her a couple of chances, but she opted to not come to the gate but stay by the far side of the yard instead. I told her it was breaky time. She ignored me. So I went in, fixed breaky for 3 dogs then went back to get her. Sadly by that time, the kitchen was closed. So sorry little girl. Maybe tomorrow she'll not miss breakfast.

@agilebasenji:

You make it sound like maybe they out grow that stage. Zest, my superstar in training that Q'd 4/4 runs last weekend, missed breakfast this morning. She was waiting for the new puppy next door to come to the fence. I gave her a couple of chances, but she opted to not come to the gate but stay by the far side of the yard instead. I told her it was breaky time. She ignored me. So I went in, fixed breaky for 3 dogs then went back to get her. Sadly by that time, the kitchen was closed. So sorry little girl. Maybe tomorrow she'll not miss breakfast.

Hehe. I find they have their share of phases that they go through, even after their puppy years. For the last month Kananga has refused to walk in the direction that I choose to go. He walks with a slant because he's wanting to go an opposite direction. Sometimes I'll just have to pick him up because there's no winning with him. Other times he's just fine and will walk without a struggle.

Go figure…. :rolleyes:

There are ways to help with recall but some are better at recall than others. Make sure that you are not only rewarding with treats when your dog comes when called but also that you don't call when you are going to do something your dog doesn't like. You want coming when called to be associated with really great things. If you need your dog for something he doesn't like then go to him and get him rather than calling him and weakening the recall you have worked so hard for.

udate- today Zest comes running when I called her from her morning romp. To heck with new friends, a little girl's got to have her breakfast.

This sort of thing often works here, but you do need to practice recalls with increasing distractions.

The behavior is not at all unusual. Mine will come if they are tired from running at a dog park, and when I call them beforehand, they will come to the area, but not to me. At home, if they are interested in something, it's like they are deaf. If I pick up their leashes, suddenly they remember who I am.

This sort of thing often works here, but you do need to practice recalls with increasing distractions.

This is precisely what I need to do, practice recall as distractions are increased.
So far he does well at home, also when we walk on the street: let's say my husband and I are walking him, then I let him and Nilo go ahead until they get far enough then I say "Nilo COME" There he flies towards me, always using positive reinforcement, treats, and specially holding him up in my arms and having a little dance, he loves that!
I always try, as Ivoss mentioned, to use that command only for positive situations and seemed to work well until now, in that specific situation: dog park, but now I know that is normal and I have to take it as a teenage stage and hope that he will recognize me in the dog park one of these days…hopefully!

When you go to the dog park, do you stand still or keeping moving?

Most dogs learn that there is no reason to keep track of "mom" and "dad" at the dog park because they stand around like a bunch a trees on the sidelines chatting it up. It is much better to keep moving and when you call and they don't come, then if possible hide so they learn to keep an eye on you because you get lost easily.

ALSO, don't just recall at the park to go home. recall often, reward, and send him back to the fun. if you're only calling him to go home, he sees recalls as something that ends all the fun.

It is funny but when we are at the dog park he does NOT even look where we are anymore. Once he steps in the off leash area…see ya! He is so focused on his friends that forgets whatever or whoever might be around. I usually play hide and seek there but he seems to know exactly where mom hides, he perfectly knows all the trees so there is no need to find mom anymore!

Do you think that might help if we moved to a different park?

good intro about training and dogparks. enjoy! it's a bit brief, but may give you some ideas and helpful hints.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ian_dunbar_on_dog_friendly_dog_training.html

I love this quote, "Yes, we put sniff butt on cue" - Ian Dunbar

Excellent video. It made me laugh!
Now I know why Nilo is acting that way at the park: all those smelly rear ends…much more attractive than mom's face 😉

Thanks a lot for the link agilebasenji.

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