my serious question is:How does it work? Most of the Azawakh-owner say that the Azawakh can´t learn those things.
This needs a longer explanation: The ability to learn depends upon an early promotion from the side of the breeder. In accordance with the different stages of development, you have to provide the whelps with the opportunities and encouragements to practice their natural perceptional and automotive dispositions. As a reference to these stages, see my ethological field study at http:// www.azawakhs.eu/63.html.
Audio commands: Connect the feeding of the litter from the beginning with the same short address or a whistling. Next step: Have the pups wait for a while before presenting their food. Furtheron, let them sit down during the waiting period, then place the bowls, but allow them access only upon a sound signal. This has to be trained over again with each feeding, four times a day during the first five weeks. By the way: Original Azawakhs in the Tamashek- („Tuareg“-) camps have to observe very strict feeding rituals from their earliest age, related to the general scarcity of food for owners and dogs alike. The fixation on food as the basic means of survival might have become a genetic part of their instincts. So, edible rewards are helpful in all training procedures until their final behavioural implantation.
An Azawakh is unable to learn? This is a general and in the end fatal misunderstanding of the breed. The Azawakh is a multi-talented working dog for the territorial protection of his camp, its family members and cattle, and for hunting. This is accompanied by the possibility of spacial self-determination within the African savannahs. Many Azawakh owners in Western cultures don’t know enough about this inherited background. The existence of these sighthounds is historically founded upon the close co-operation with their masters and feeders and the ability for team work as hunters. Azawakhs need the individual commitment of their owners. So they are dispositioned to learn together with them and to enjoy the positive results of new experiences within this co-operation. An Azawakh owner lacking this basic communication with his dog will hardly be able, for instance, to re-call his dog by a whistle blow. An Azawakh who is limited to boring walks on the leash and his presentation in exhibition rings will try to find his very own psychic alleviation: To achieve his instinctive desires elsewhere, by running away, being untouchable for strangers, even for family people, and hostile or panicky towards other dogs and surroundings.
The rewarding socialisation of an Azawakh starts at an early age within a sound breeding environment. It can be completed or spoiled by the following owners. They need cynological competence, understanding, discipline and a lot of continued working. So, the future of original Azawakhs outside the Sahel needs more people of Helene’s standing.
Elisabeth Naumann, Azawakhs of Silverdale