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Amore Basenjis

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The Puppy Culture Journey

One Litter, Determination, and a Better way of Life.

This page is dedicated to the first "Puppy Culture" litter we raised. You will see descriptions, videos, pictures, etc of our journey through Puppy Culture. We will take you with us on this journey, showing you the experiences and fun that we have when we raise our puppies. This is just one of the many litters that were lucky enough to be raised on Puppy Culture! Videos, Pictures, Information, etc are provided so that you can enjoy the process and see the true difference between a Puppy Culture raised dog and a non enrichment seeking dog. You will see what a true difference Puppy Culture really makes for each and every puppy raised on it and we will continue to use this program while we breed!

WEEKS ONE AND TWO! (3 to 16 days)

Early Neurological Stimulation

       ~ Each Individual puppy is stimulated in 5 different areas, for 5 seconds per area, to create a puppy with stronger heart rates and beats, stronger adrenal system, and the ability to cope with stress and life and to be better resistant to disease!

      ~The Following are the 5 different areas needed for Early Neurological Stimulation

     1. Head Held Up

Using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation is 5 seconds.

     2. Head Held Down 

Holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation is 5 seconds.

     3. Supine Position

Hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep struggle. Time of stimulation is 5 seconds.

     4. Tactile Stimulation

Holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 5 is seconds.

     5. Thermal Stimulation

Use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Place the towel on a level surface (plenty of room on all edges) and place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain the puppy from moving. If the puppy wanders off the towel, that is ok.
Time of stimulation is 5 seconds.


     Introduction to Goats Milk and Puppy Mush

When we first introduced the puppies to the milk (at about 2ish weeks) most don't seem to interested in it at all, while a couple took a dabble to it but then lost interest as well. They will look at it and some will lick a little, but they don't seem to make a dent in the milk (meanwhile mother was gulping it down faster than the puppies could decide whether they wanted it or not. LOL)  We decided to skip giving the milk until closer to 3 weeks, when we figured they would have more of an interest. We plan to give the milk at or shortly before 3 weeks as the next go round.

At a day shy of 3 weeks, the teeth are well on their way, eyes are fully opened, as are ears, and, although we trim them, their nails bother mom a lot more now. She feeds them less and they now have a bigger interest in the goats milk. 

This is their first introduction to the milk since the initial introduction. As you can see, they are very excited about the milk and are doing spectacular on "getting in on it." We plan to do this a couple more times and then we will mix in a meat mixture so that the puppies are eating actual mush, and not just goats milk. :) ...We tried to keep mom out of the milk until the puppies had their fair share, since previous milking ended with no puppy satisfaction and an empty milk dish! lol She did get to finish the milk once the puppies seemed satisfied (which was still quite a bit left)

Introduction to Puppy Recall (through feeding sessions)

When puppies are very young, and we start introducing them to mush, we also introduce a recall! By introducing the recall very young and when they receive mush, the puppy will develop a reaction, such as Pavlov's dog. (He would ring the bell, give the dog food, and repeat this every time he fed the dog, eventually he'd ring the bell and the dog would salivate with no food around!) The dog would have a physiological response as if food were present, even if  the dog were never given food! And This is hughly beneficial to us because we can use this type of classically conditioned response to train puppies to be the best that they can be! We use this for Clicker Training (to be touched on later on) and with food, because By introducing and continuing to use the "Puppy Call" as we feed them, this "sound/call" drives them to have a solid recall! Eventually, we will wean out the repetitive "Pup Pup Puppy" and replace it with "Pup Puppy Come!" and then just (higher voiced) "come!" and this will ensure an amazing recall for the life of the dog! (when carried on through adulthood!) 

     Introducing Nail Triming and the Dremel

Introduction to the new weaning pen!

Here we also have the noisy tunnel which they were gladly exploring! (though not in this particular video) and i also added in a little "Startle and Recovery" when i shake the tunnel to make it make sounds to startle them. During the 3rd to 4th week of life, the startle recovery is vital! This is the period in time where they have no true fear response so by startling and letting them recover, it gives them the best chance at being able to recovery from frightening and stressful things in the future as an adult, without causing any true fear responses because they dont have the fear at this age! It's a win win!!

They are so cute! :) Are just about right at 3 and a half weeks old.

These puppies are so happy to be introduced to their new weaning pen! They are just about 2 and a half weeks old and are starting to crowd the whelping box.


This was the very first time in the weaning pen (first one is small, second one is bigger) and their reactions are so much fun! We have a potty area, a play area, and a sleeping area (we recommend this set up for any puppy, especially when they arrive in their new home. This would be in the form of an Xpen, a crate, and a potty area) 

These guys warm my heart so much, I just cant get enough of them :)

Here they are starting to chew on and investigate each other. This week they have been nibbling and gnawing on each other, they have found each other now and its so entertaining to watch!

We tried to get "Franky" the other Basenji in our house to come and play along, but he didnt really feel like it. lol so he went downstairs instead.

They are wobbly and unstable on their feet at this age, but are doing so well considering! lol So funny, they look like little dogs now, not just mounds of fur and bones ;)

     Socialization with New People

We had a puppy socialization party where a couple friends came over and we held and played with puppies. Unfortunately I didnt think to get a video! But I got a few pics of the pups being held, etc. We did this at a day after 3 weeks. Personally, I think we maybe should have waited a few days or more longer because all they wanted to do was sleep, so they didn't really do much. I'm not sure how much it helped, But its the thought that counts, right? ;)

Next time we will be making the introduction at 3.5 weeks instead as i think being a little older will help with them being physically more able to do better and will likely achieve better results...well see! The puppies are currently at 3.5 weeks now and are doing MUCH better at wanting to be physical. Here is a video of the puppies finally wanting to interact (with me) and looking into my eyes and at my face. They melt my heart with their little eyes of innocence! 

Introduction to Potty Training

When the puppies are 2-3 weeks old, we introduce a small cardboard box that has equine bedding pellets in it. The "potty box" is introduced at this age, because once puppies are able to "move" themselves, by walking around (even if slightly) they will move away from their bed to go potty. 

Dogs are naturally clean and want to keep their bed/home area clean, which is why, in a sense, it is so easy to potty train. So, we introduce the puppies this early so they can get used to the idea, even though most of their attempts are futile. But as they get from 2-3 weeks old, they get a lot better at using the box. This year, by 3 weeks old, the cardboard box was nearly soiled at the bottom from continuous use (even though we change the pellets out daily.) 

Once we move them into the weaning pen, we usually graduate from cardboard to either a plastic under the bed storage bin or, like we are using this year, a giant crate pan (that goes in the bottom of a dog crate -- we currently are using 48") filled with the bedding pellets. Of course they are still underdeveloped in potty training, so by picking them up and placing them on the pellets when they are about to, or are currently going, (without any words spoken (normally)) does go a long way to reinforcing that the pellets are the place to go! :) Eventually, they wont need to be picked up and placed in the pellets, they'll naturally seek them out to relieve themselves!

     Startle and Recovery

Week Four

    Introducing a new toy daily

     Introduction to Challenges

     Communication Trinity

Conditioning a puppy to a training marker (Clicker)

At 4 weeks old, the puppies start the communication trinity. Step one: We start by conditioning them to the training marker, which in our case is the "clicker." We introduce and use the clicker because we want to classically condition our puppies to make training a breeze! We use the method explained prior (Pavlovs' dog of classically conditioned response,  As you recall, he rang a bell and gave the dog food. repeated this and then eventually could ring the bell without food and the dog would salivate as if food were present! The dog had a physiological response and this is greatly helpful to us! We can change the way the dog feels and in addition, make learning easier, more fun, and more enjoyable!)  :) In order to condition the puppies so that when they hear a click, they associate that click with food, we start by powering up/loading the clicker. We simply click and give food to the puppy immediately. The puppy does not have to do anything, the point is not to "train" the puppy at this point, the point is to get the puppy to associate the clicker with the food. By doing this, you create the "Pavlov Effect" and the dog will get an overwhelming good feeling when he hears the clicker because he knows the food is about to arrive! We want them to think that way when we click so that when we "mark" a behavior,  they can easily know which one response/behavior was right, and then we have time to give the puppy food without missing that "window of time" that they need the treat to associate the behavior.) Why do we do this, why not just give food when the puppy does something right? The reason is, alot of the time, you cannot reward the puppy at the correct time and so, by clicker training, you ensure you click RIGHT when the puppy does something right. IF you do not clicker train, and you say "yes" or you just give food, by the time you give the puppy food, (for example sitting) he may have sat and as you are bringing the food to him, he starts to stand up. he is halfway in the air when you deliver the food. Now the puppy thinks that "sit" means to halfway stand, and not that the butt needs to be on the ground. WITH clicker training, you can ensure that you CLICK right when the butt hits the ground and the dog will have the response as IF he was fed the treat and that gives you time to deliver the treat! This helps accuracy and it makes training easier, faster, and more fun!
Now that we have the clicker powered up and the puppy understands that the clicker is a reward and that food is about to come, we can now start on Part Two of the communication Trinity. To train the puppy to offer behaviors to receive rewards!

Introduction to other Pets

Teaching puppies to offer behaviors

Teaching the puppy to "Mand" to ask for things

     Emotional Resiliency Exercises

    Brain work

     Time Alone 

Crate Training Introduction

Week Five

     All About Fear Periods

Continue to introduce scary and challenging things to help with recovery from fear

Week Six

Breed Appropriate Health Testing

     Transition to Adult Recall

     Puppy Party

     Shaping Puppies to Prevent Resource Guarding

     How to Prevent Biting

Potty Training Fundamentals

Resource Guarding Training

Body Handling

Reward Based Training -- Why it works best

Bite Training

Week Seven

Walking on a Leash

Crate Training and Preventing Separation Anxiety

Advanced Automatic Sit (Manding)

 Temperament Testing

Week Eight

     Major Fear Period Arrives

     Leash Walking

    Formal Recall

Sit to ask for things/Manding

Crate Training in full swing

Attention to Behavior

Conformation Evaluation

Each puppy is evaluated to decide which quality they will be. Deciding on a quality will help us place them in the appropriate homes. Show Quality puppies are place on full registration and are able to be bred in the future (once CHIC Certified and age appropriate) and must be shown in some type of event (such as conformation, agility, lure coursing, rally, obedience, etc)  Pet Quality puppies, although no more or less important, are simply spayed and neutered and are not allowed to reproduce. Both "Qualities" are companions and are loved the same. However we try to place puppies into Quality Groups because we dont want a puppy who could win the Westminster end up spayed in a pet home, and vice versa, we dont want a dog who shouldnt be bred, due to certain reasons, be placed in a show/breeding home.

New Buyer Evaluations take place to decide where each puppy will go

Week Nine

Puppy Vaccinations

Learning bonding and eye contact

Focusing on positive reinforcement training

Puppies Go to their New Homes