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-Andrea Stone

Saorsa Basenjis

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. –Wayne Gretzky

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posted in Behavioral Issues read more


Personally I find this scenario unlikely, if the dog has been properly trained with the fence. I've had quite a bit of experience with different species of animals (horses, dogs, cattle, goats, sheep, etc.) and electric barriers. An animal that has been properly introduced has no confusion whatsoever about the source of the discomfort, or the fact that the option of getting zapped is entirely up to him/her.

Late to the party, as usual…

Unfortunately, Lisa's scenario is repeated far too often with dogs. We have seen it a number of times. The fact is, that even the most well timed positive punisher has one thing not within the handler's control: what is most salient to the dog at the time. Even if the training is consistent and well timed, if -in that moment- the thing that was most in the dog's mind was the other dog, they could most certainly associate the shock with the other dog.

If OP's dog has had pleasant experiences with big dogs, but only unpleasant with small dogs (I get to play with big dogs, little dogs only pass by/cause me to get shocked) it is certainly plausible (but guessing on our part and it could just as easily be that she just doesn't like small dogs). Also, though perhaps irrelevant, Dr.Jim Ha stated in one of his DVDs* that Toy Poodles have in tests proven to be less able to readily recognize social signals in other dogs, thereby making them sort of doggie cretins (my word, not his). So while the behavior is uncool, several factors could certainly play in, including the invisible fence. And then there of course is your key phrase, "if the dog has been properly trained with the fence". Many are poorly trained with the fence and, IME, many are willing to run through it given a good enough reason. Just one more reason I dislike them.

Gotta say, I agree with everyone else that has said, "Get a physical fence." If you had one, OP, this would never have happened.

*"Behavioral Genetics" IIRC

posted in Breeder Talk read more


She is slowly but surely getting necessary health testing on her dogs, recently having spent a number of weeks in a hotel, in an area where the testing can be more easily done; one of the disadvantages of living in Idaho!

First let me say, I don't know Rose Marie. My personal interactions with her have been minimal. I'm only responding to the implication that it is difficult to health test dogs in Idaho.

I lived there from 2005 to 2007, not far from Rose Marie. She was, at least at the time, in Nampa. I lived in Star. It's not difficult. Hips, elbows, patella, thyroid, Fanconi… totally easy. CERF is the only thing that takes a little extra effort and I do know that at least once or twice per year an ophthalmologist comes to Boise for a clinic. Or at least that was the case a few years ago and I cannot imagine things have become more difficult with the population growth they experienced during that time.

Rose Marie, if you are reading, call WestVet in Boise to find out when they are hosting their next clinic.

posted in Behavioral Issues read more


Andrea, great post. I have taught many dogs bite inhibition at a much older age, though… only thing you wrote I don't heartily agree with.

Yes, I understand that it is possible but I'd like to know more about it. Generally it's accepted that teaching remedial ABI is difficult to do at best, at least amongst the trainers I know, talk to and read. Dunbar says he's done it but I tried to pin him down at a seminar and he was evasive. I was hoping to get specifics, training program and how to test it or pointed at one. He said to buy his DVDs. I did.

Best I could find was teaching a better ritualized bite and jaw prudence and done my best to scour books and websites as well (and speaking with colleagues, natch). What I found didn't really satisfy me. I mean, when I think of teaching ABI, I am thinking of teaching it so that it holds up even under duress since that's when it's most important.

For instance a colleague was recently contacted about a Level 5 biter. If it's possible to teach reliable ABI in adult dogs THAT dog should be a candidate for sure. I'd love to assist someone teaching it to a dog like that, or in training a dog that has poor ABI with other dogs. How could you train and test that safely or humanely? What is the liability there? Pretty serious, I would think.

I do remember my first basenji experience though. I have trained and worked with dogs my entire adult life. So imagine my surprise when squeaking caused her to bite MORE, lol. Change of tactics. Life offers us so many opportunities to learn new things. 🙂

Ah yes, I've had one of those. I changed to a calm "too bad" and then removing myself. Worked MUCH better. Depends on the dog.

EDIT: I just looked at the site you linked and what she is talking about is what I refer to as 'jaw prudence'. When I use ABI, I'm referring to how hard the dog bites when it bites, not if it puts its mouth on you. For instance, your Rottie I would say had great ABI but iffy jaw prudence. OTOH, there are dogs with great jaw prudence but the one time they use their mouths they do it will full jaw force. I'd much prefer the former.

posted in Behavioral Issues read more


Andrea, not sure what the "who cares" is about. If you don't care about the topic, why even click on it?

Ha! Yep, totally mistook me, Debra. 😉 I don't care about "dominance"! It's a lot more constructive to decide if you are okay or not okay with any given behavior and then modify it as needed. "Dominance" and "dominant" are words that have a load of baggage and they are not clearly defined in most people's minds. I do care about dogs and people having healthy, happy relationships and find worrying about what is or is not "dominant" muddies the waters and can side track people in working with their dogs. It takes up brain space better dedicated to other things IMO. So that's why I say, who cares? Let's just work on the behavior!

Dominance certainly exists but it's contextual, fluid and not well understood. And, really, I find totally irrelevant between dogs and humans. If you define 'dominance' as having primary access to food, water, shelter and mates humans are by default dominant to dogs as we have absolute control over what and when our pets eat, whether or not they have water, where they live and their access to mates. We may fail to exercise that control but it is ours.

posted in Behavioral Issues read more

Well, first I will say I have a STRONG bias in my "who cares?" attitude about so called dominance. Honestly, it has zero relevance in dog-human relationships. If you like his kisses, let him do it. If you don't like it teach him to quit doing it.

Licking is typically an appeasement gesture, greeting, grooming or in pups a way to get Mama to vomit so you can EAT!

Lots of great links here:

posted in Behavioral Issues read more


Are you the GREAT trainer I know??

Ha ha! I suppose so! 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, Sharron.

posted in Basenji Training read more


Okay, knock me on the head a couple of times. I have no idea why, but I fit the harness so that the leash attaches behind Kipawa's shoulder/back. I hadn't looked at the picture showing the correct placement where the leash attaches in the front. Attaching the leash on the back seems to work for Kipawa. Are there any physical concerns to doing it this way? There are still no areas being irritated.

Yes, it negates the purpose of the harness.

The purpose is to A) help you teach the dog to check in and look back rather than pull and 😎 NOT to engage the opposition reflex, which rear clipping harnesses are designed to do (they are "inspired" by sled harnesses).

Yes, front clip harnesses (like any other) may chaff if the dog pulls enough. The purpose is to train the dog not to pull, so if your dog is habituated to the weird feeling of the harness and is just leaning into it and pulling hard enough to rub fur off you're doing it wrong!;)

posted in Behavioral Issues read more


he has SEVERAL toys of all differents types and yet still finds a pencil or underwear or chair to chew on…

Manage his environment better. If he's getting pencils, etc, it is because you left them within reach. Of course he's interested! He's only been alive 16 weeks. THE WORLD is interesting!! Just take the offending item gently (I always thank my dog for finding such neat things!) and offer him a "legal" toy instead. Praise, praise, praise!

the only time he is sweet is when he is tired meaning he also chews on ME.

Hooray! You want him to chew on you! You have 2 weeks left to develop his ABI (acquired bite inhibition - how hard he bites when he bites). After 18wks of age, ABI is "set" for the most part. A dog MUST be allowed to bite humans if it is supposed to learn to do so gently and about 9 out of 10 dogs will, at some point, put it's teeth on a human for some reason. Knowing how to do so using minimal jaw force is a learned skill. If your puppy's bite hurts, YELP and get up and leave for 15 seconds. When you come back, if he doesn't bite more softly, YELP and end the play session. Over the next two weeks expect softer and softer bites.

Once our puppy is 18wks old, that is the time to start teaching him, you know, really, you shouldn't bite. If he puts his mouth on you or your clothes just tell him (in a normal tone), "Too bad" and leave the area. Play time is over. Too bad, so sad.

Also i am crate training him. At night… no problem sleeps well through the night, no noise or yodel or howl. but during work hours i have to crate him up too 6 hours.. [snip] but when i get home he has peed more then once in his crate and then shreds his sheet.

That is too much crate time for a 16wk old puppy. Average ability to "hold it" is 15min per week of age. That means your puppy should not be crated (during the day, night is different) more than 4hrs. You need to have a long term confinement area that includes a puppy toilet.

See Before You Get Your Puppy for more info.

Get into Puppy PreSchool right away with a qualified trainer ASAP. This is all normal puppy stuff. 🙂

posted in Behavioral Issues read more

Honestly, I wouldn't worry about the whole dominance thing. There is no evidence that shows humping has anything to do with social rank, nor will NILIF (which is a good lifestyle for any dog) directly address the problem behavior.

Chances are, he's humping because A) he's excited 😎 it feels good (either physically or it's just FUN) and C) because he can.

Zepar used to sometimes try to hump my leg during breeding season. Just interrupt it (clap your hands or say, "Uh-uh-uh!") and then redirect him into an acceptable behavior. Then praise, praise, praise. So you have to decide, what's a good alternative to humping? For Zep, because I knew it was sexually related (only during 'that time' and because he was intact) I bought him a great big doll and encouraged him to hump -it- instead. We'd get his hedgie doll and I'd get him totally ramped up. When he humped it I'd let him know how AWESOME he is. Tug of war (with rules) might be another good alternative behavior. Whatever you choose, I'd make it something active and engaging.

I also would not push him away if you can avoid it - this can be seen as a play invitation. Chances are, you'll recognize "that look" so redirect him before he starts humping you. That way you both win!

posted in Basenji Training read more

The Wonder Walker is my personal favorite.

Also, it's important to note that after wearing it for a while most dogs will habituate to the harness and start pulling again if you don't actively train the dog to walk on a loose leash. This applies to all harnesses. 😉

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