The Rip Van Wrinkler, XXII, Issue 4, November 2018

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Training Conversation

1. About dumbbells/then toys.

2. What to say to people who don't like basenjis.

3. AKC FIT DOG Program

4. Sandpaper skateboards.

5. Wonderful video.

About dumbbells/then toys.

Lisa Stewart
What size dumbbell is best for a basenji? We are going to try some scent retrieve practice at dog scout camp in November and I need to order some dumbbells to practice.

Natalie Culver I don’t remember the size but comment about the type of material. Way way back when doing some obedience class / practice with my then young Kunjo he was picky about the material. I purchased a wooden dumbbell and he only wanted to gnaw on it.

Lisa Stewart back when we did obedience in the 80's there were no plastic ones, I was thinking of ordering those from J &

Kristine Dougherty Mine is a J&J plastic one piece. 2 inch ends and 21/4 bar. Had trouble with chewing the wooden ones. This one is light, small diameter bar seems to keep him from chewing on it too.

Lisa Stewart Bolt and Gambit will retrieve tennis balls all night

Linda Butterworth I finally taught Pi to get a ball.

Lisa Stewart I may be able to work this into their next trick dog level routine. Bolt and Maddie are almost always carrying a toy around in their mouths.

Liner stole this one.

Kristine Dougherty I’ve not figured out why, but Oz always grabs a toy from the toy box on his way to the crates where they have breakfast and dinner. I have to clean his crate out every few days and put all the toys back.

Lisa Stewart mine want to go outside with a toy in their mouth every time I open the door to the backyard. Fortunatley I have made a game with Bolt and Maddie to see who can get the most toys brought in the house when I tell them to go get their toys.

Harley Dering's favorite toy.

Kristine Dougherty I did get Ozzie to get my shoe for me last night when it fell off the bed and tumbled a few feet away while I was getting ready to take them for a walk. He seemed to find it an odd request but he finally came over and did a nice front holding my walking shoe!

Sally Wuornos My instructor says big enough to not pinch the dogs lips, but no more than a 1/2 inch between the outer edge of dumbbell and lips.

Deann Haggard I go so far back that the retrieving ones were just wood! And yes, the scent ones were metal, wood and leather, but for my Sheltie I used very small and light weight scent ones, as he hated to carry anything in his mouth. They used to sell them at dog shows, when they were all conformation and obedience only. That way you could try them. Don't know if they still do.

What to say to people who don't like basenjis.

Andrea Stone I generally consider myself to be socially inept, however every so often you meet someone that makes you feel a lot better.

At the show yesterday, Gagey was being his usual affable self and attempted to greet a passer-by. The man commented that he "could never like one of these dogs." As I am generally over hearing stories about how shitty my breed is I said, "Okay, we won't bother you," and started walking away. He chased after me for the purpose of telling me how nasty his neighbor's Basenji was, and thus he didn't like them. So I just stood there and let him talk, then, changing the subject I commented that I detected an accent. Are you from the New York area? Yes, Brooklyn. I told him I loved it - makes me think of home. He went on to tell me how much he hated it there and that's why he got as far away as possible.

This was not a young idiot who just hadn't figured out yet that people don't want to hear this shit. He was an old idiot. People!

So here's your PSA - don't regale strangers with how much you hate their dog or some tiny commonality that they bring up in small talk. Also, when a complete stranger says, "Hey, how's it going?" The answer is always, "Great, thank you."

The end.
PS - I was one of those young idiots that had to learn. But at least I did!

Susan K-M I have spent decades trying to walk away from people like this. The worst are when the find me a captive audience at an agility trial or a rally trial, and follow me around telling me all the awful basenji stories they have saved up/

Andrea Stone RIGHT????

Lisa Marshall Whenever I meet someone who starts the conversation with “my neighbor/aunt...” had a Basenji when I was growing up, you know it’s all going south from there.

Susan K-M Lisa - BUT - sometimes these are good memories.

Karen Christensen Like the guy who trucked on over from the car show at the fairgrounds when he spotted the dogs of his childhood in the back of my van. It took me 10 seconds to get Tutu out of the crate and on a leash for him, and she looked at him with love, and visa versa. He helped box my dogs at the meet.

Lisa Marshall I do have to say that I heard the most horror stories from people wandering around at conformation shows. When I was running Casey and Miranda in agility here in the Midwest 99% of the people I trialed with were awesome and supportive.

Andrea Stone You can usually tell by the tone of the, "Oh my [fill in here] had one of those..."

Susan K-M Two years ago, on Long Island, a woman persecuted me all weekend with how awful basenjis are. Fern at that time needed only a few points for her MACH & the tone of this woman was, "Don't tell me you can get THAT dog to do one jump for you..." I could not get her to stop, for 3 days.

Andrea Stone You should have bet her some dough.

Lisa Marshall Susan that is when you need a sign that says “just leave me alone “

Kim McNeill yea, I've dealt with a few of those. I just smile sweetly and say "Oh my goodness, well, she's a certified therapy dog and LOVES going to the Alzheimer's facility."

M. Halloween, just fits in right here.

Susan K-M Kim IN FACT! I did just that. That woman on Long Island came back for more. Because it is true that Fern does that and is a therapy dog who visits seniors with dementia.

Brenda Phillips Brilliantly done, Andrea!

Kipawa Harder Negative person - they can't find anything right with their life or the world. You tried, much better than many would have.

Andie Paysinger I have stopped many of them and told them that in my opinion, having been in dogs most of my life, it is PEOPLE who lack knowledge of breeds who make statements that accuses an entire breed of being vicious when often it is just an individual dog or PERSON who is antisocial, untrained and would do better wearing a muzzle when approaching strangers.

Eunice Ockerman I remember being asked about my first Basenji. I was so smitten with her that I enthusiastically gave a brief history of the breed. When I finished the man asked me why I got such an ugly dog! ??

Margaret Duclos My god! Some people

Karla Schreiber I have never in 30 years had this happen. I guess I've just been lucky!

Jackie Dering I’ve been really lucky. The people in my classes have always appreciated my special dogs.

Susan K-M I must add that basenji people who reinforce that our breed fights and is not biddable or trainable drives me just nuts. It’s the hardest part of all this. Friendly Basenjis can be bred and breed true.

Karla Schreiber I do not think comments like the ones Andrea heard stem from same sex (or otherwise) dog aggression issues. I suspect they stem from a personal or hearsay bad experience with humans. Those of us who started out in the 80's or earlier remember some of the temperament problems that existed.

Susan K-M I remember a woman who came over to me in early 1973, when I was holding Blush, and took Blush's paw in her hand and tears streamed down her face. She said she had lived with a basenji she loved that bit her if she did anything like touch her paws.

Karla Schreiber as recently as last summer, when my Magenta injured her eye, the rather young ophthalmologist expressed incedulousness that she could be thoroughly examined without a muzzle! I think perhaps some of this thinking where vets are concerned is still being propagated in vet school... or perhaps by older practitioners who bear the scars from long ago encounters...

Susan K-M Karla - it's a shame. Because it's fixable.

Karla Schreiber Very!

Pat Fragassi I have had the same experience with older vets... telling me "oh your Basenjis are so nice" but even with that they didn't hold that against them.... and agree it could be propagated in vet school... my current vets think that they are very nice.. my repo Vet loves all my Basenjis and has remarked that they are so easy to work with...

Carrie Rose When I lived in Michigan I use to have people come up to me at dog shows .Say ... I hate Basenjis because someone they knew had one and it was terrible. To shut them up I would ask them " Did they buy the Basenji from me " ? They would say, "No" and shut up .


Now more than ever, fitness is important for both dogs and people. The most commonly recommended exercise to improve fitness is walking. Walking is considered a safe activity that improves muscular strength, circulation, memory, weight loss, increases energy, helps with sleep, and reduces stress. The American Heart Association recommends walking a minimum of 150 minutes per week.

Participation in the AKC FIT DOG program will bring health benefits to both you and your dog.

If you walk with your dog on a regular basis, join the ranks of AKC FIT DOG and get your free (5-3/4 inches) FIT DOG logo car magnet.

The AKC FIT DOG magnet proudly declares to the world that you are committed to your dog’s health and fitness through regular exercise.

You can order your free magnet when you and your dog have met one of these fitness goals:

Walked at least 30 minutes 5 times per week for a total of at least 150 minutes per week for at least 3 months. For dogs and people in good shape.
Walked at least 15 minutes per session at least 10 times per week (e.g., two 15-min walks per day) for at least 3 months. For dogs or people who would benefit from a walk that is a shorter duration, e.g., senior dogs.

How to Get Your Magnet
Complete your walks. Keep a record so you will know when you’ve met your goal.

Complete the Magnet Order Form. It’s that simple! We’ll send your magnet.

If you are already taking your dog on regular walks, you may count those. Remember that before starting an exercise program for your dog, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.

Teaching Self Nail Trimming

by Lisa Stewart

Lisa with Maddie and Bolt.

How to Build a Dog Nail Scratchboard

Scratchboards are easy to make.   All you need is sandpaper, a base and a method to attach it to the stable surface.  One easy method is to tape a sheet of sand paper to a clipboard.  There are also peel and stick sandpaper safety treads that are used for stairs and skateboards.   I purchased the peel and stick treads as I already had an old skateboard that we were using for trick training. If you have a 2 x 4, you can staple or tape sandpaper around the surface, but I liked a wider piece of wood for added stability.


It’s recommended to introduce nail filing using 80 grit sandpaper. This softer grit is more comfortable during the learning stage and less likely to scratch paw pads. The sandpaper treads are 80 grit.  Once your dog learns to drag only her nails across the scratchboard, lower the grit size slowly. Remember, higher grit numbers mean softer (less abrasive) grit, which will slowly file back your dog’s nails. Most dogs are comfortable dragging their nails across 30-40 grit sandpaper, which files down nails fast. 

Placement of Scratchboard

For most dogs maximum nail filing is achieved when placing the scratchboard at a 45-degree angle to the ground. At this angle, your dog files the bottom portion first and then the middle and top of nail, forming a nice rounded and smooth nail. When keeping the scratchboard flat on the ground, you get a blunter bottom portion instead of a rounded nail tip, which seemed to grow out faster. In the beginning, your dog will drag one front paw at a time across the scratchboard. The goal is scratching two front paws (digging style) across the scratchboard, making dog nail trims quick and fun. When training the scratchboard I moved the treat from one side of the board to the other to change the angle that was being scratched to more evenly trim both sides of the nails.

First Training Sessions

Goal: Training should be fun and Positive   I do most of my training sitting down with the pups in front of me and treats in one hand.  Clickers can be used to reinforce.

1.    Place bottom of board on floor and lean top against your leg. The front should be facing your dog. I like to demonstrate behaviors to my dogs.  For this one I touched the board and showed them a treat, then waited for a response.

2.    When your dog looks at, walks toward or touches a front paw on the board, click and give a treat.

3.    Practice 5-10 times and end training session.

Paw on Board

Goal: Teach dog to touch paw to board.

1.    Place board on ground with top portion leaning against your legs.

2.    Click and treat paw touches (either paw or both) even if for a nanosecond.

3.    After 5-10 treats, end training session.

An alternate method of introducing the scratch board is to first teach your dog to dig.  This is done by using a small blanket or towel, and treats.  Place the cloth on the floor and put a few treats underneath.  Your dog should dig for the treats.  Reward for digging.  After a few times of doing this exercise, put the board on the floor and cover it with the cloth and treats, this will get the dog digging and finding the board, gradually remove the cloth and reward for scratching the board.  I did not need to use this method for my dogs as I had already taught them several tricks that involved targeting with their paws and it was easy to channel them into touching the board.  This method would work for scratch trimming rear nails with a digging motion.

Agility lesson with Hannah (5 yrs. old), Ch. Obike (13 yrs. old) with Nicholas (2 yrs.old) watching.

Their able instructor/narrator is Natalie Culver.


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