Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A lifetime of learning

Of the many things I recall reading when I first read the various "Is a basenji right for you" disclaimers, one that keeps coming back to me was something on the order of "You will need to be committed to a lifetime of training."

Since adopting Bow nearly two years ago, we have done ongoing training with a few breaks along the way. We've advanced from basic to now being part of a weekly advanced drop in class. There have definitely been many milestones. She does well on "Leave it", "Sit", "Down", "Shake" and a few other tricks. When doing our "puppy push up" warm ups she can get confused on "Sit" and "Down" and often will move straight to the latter since she seems to be so proud of that.

Like any discipline, there are week's when I really want to wimp out and just stay in, but I am always grateful that we go and enjoy the other dogs and owners in our class. As it is with exercise or music lessons, it's always great to have a goal. Our group is working on the various points of the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification. We are at about 60 to 65%. While the other dogs really struggle with not jumping when a friendly stranger approaches, Bow can stand like a Buckingham Palace guard. She's also fine with the stranger grooming her, responding to a sit and letting me pass another owner with a dog. We have a long way to go on the extended stay and passing another dog directly. But challenging ourselves has been a great process, and we make small bits of progress every week.

I'd be interested in hearing from others who have gone through the same process and any suggestions on how you reached all of the goals.


  1. Wow! I had no idea that basenjis were capable of not going berserk when passing other dogs! I'll have to start working on that with mine... just as soon as I figure out how :)

  2. It's still a huge challenge for her to pass another dog, but she has moved beyond leash biting, jumping up and down and trying to lunge at the other dog. My dream is that she'll eventually be able to politely pass another dog, but I don't ever expect her to behave like a Golden Retriever.