My 3 year old basenji girl, Minki is normally very well behaved around other dogs. She and our 2 year old male Basenji boy, tikka love to play together and with other dogs at our local dog park. They often initiate chasing games and display all the respectful greeting procedures before doing so eg the play bow and sniffing. Its a joy to watch them run! However on a recent trip Minki took off after a small fluffy dog (there was no greeting) and nipped him on the back drawing a small amount of blood. Ever since they have been labeled 'the evil basenjis' by a small but vocal group at the park although this incident has never been repeated. Because the basenji's sometimes make low guttural growling noises when communicating displeasure that is taken to indicate their innate viciousness. I believe that on these occasions they are not a menace. I do feel concerned though that there may be a potential problem especially in relation to smaller dogs (and cats) and would appreciate your advice especially in terms of how to discipline any untoward behavior.
It is very hard to un-do that kind of "reputation" with a small, vocal group. As it was only one incident, is it possible to nicely chat with one or two of that group, let them know you are concerned but that their behavior is very good otherwise, and that you are working on the 'predator' behavior. It's harder to talk bad about someone you know!
When we first got Eddie, eh had a very strong prey drive and white, fluffy little dogs got chased, thought he never drew any blood. I watched the entrance and when I saw one coming in I leashed Ed, took him over, let him sniff and told him 'it's a dog'. If he lunged at it I gave a corrective jerk and a "NO", then let him sniff again. Once he sniffed and turned away, I let him go. It also gave a "heads up" to the owners that some dogs might see their little fido as a "bunny"…a thought most had never considered. Eventually I could trust him completely but it took a good year of vigilance and pre-emptive action. Good luck, as for the gossipers, either make friends with a few of them, or ignore them and make your own set of dog-park friends and allies.
I had to do this with Arnie. He always went to the big dog side of the dog park in Houston but I decided to take him to the small dog side. I walked him near the fence and there was this small white poodle walking around and Arnie looked at it and then looked at me. He did this several times and I told him it was a doggy, a puppy. I think if he saw it running first he would have wanted to chase it. He was fine with the small dogs but I rarely took him in there because Bs tend to play too rough with the small dogs and Arnie was around 25 lbs. He also lure coursed.
He did the same thing when he saw a cat in a window in an apt. He had only seen stray cats up to this time and he would want to chase them. I told him it was a good kitty inside.
Now that Ella is off leash more often, the biggest probem/fear that I have is that she can be agressive around small, fluffy dogs. It has happened several times. I don't think she has drawn blood but she has been labelled a bad dog by a few people. Thankfully, the vast majority of people and dogs like her. But it is a problem. I assume she considers them prey. I spoke to the dog trainer that we have sucessfully used inthe past and she thinks she can help. I am trying to set up a session soon. I will make a posting here when I have more to report.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments - very useful and much appreciated Anne. Jennifer it sounds like you've got great communication with your dog! Bcraig I'll look forward to your posting after you speak with your dog trainer. And agilebasenji I'll following the predator drift. I'll let you know how things progress and what works. I guess my fear is that I just don't know when this rare behavior will be expressed.
our boys do so well with other dogs but they just sometimes see these small furry doggie friends as a "lure"
Basenji people are used to the vocal behavior of our breed but most people think they are agressive, but after a minute of playing they see it's not agressive behavior but very good behavior.
What we do is when we meet a furry little dog, we let them meet on a loose leash and when that goes allright, they can play off the leash.
When they already are playing with other dogs, it always goes well when a new furry dog is entering the group.
Chafuko is very addicted to take some hairs with him from furry dogs, he is crazy about it but the more we give him our trust and only use our voice he won't do it anymore
There always will be much dog people that are only used to their companion doggies and don't "know" dogs like basenji's and they just won't listen.
We were at a show some years ago and Buana was playing with another Basenji, both used their voice alot and the owner of the other Basenj and us, we were laughing and loved to see them play so well.
Then there came an owner of another breed (a little dog with much hair) and she began to tell us that they would kill eachother if we let them go on any longer, we tryed to tell her and explain the way Basenji can play but she wouldn't listen, she only kept saying, this is not how normal dogs play, and please take them away from eachother.
We didn't take them apart and the ended up next to echother, resting and eating a snack
I have had that same situation with Ayo,only with him it's usually with large dogs. we only have one area at the park here, all together, small dogs and big dogs. When he goes in he always chooses one big dog , runs up to him and starts growling. Sometimes he stops very quickly, or the other dog growls back and it stops or it escalates , usually because the other dogs owner freaks out. He is fine around small dogs. And I am pretty sure that he is fine with most dogs, that if I leave them they will work it out, but I'm afraid to let it play out because bigger dogs can really hurt him, and also because usually the other owner freaks and intervenes making everything worse. Sooo, Ayo has started to get a bit of a rep.. The basenji rep!! I usually wait till only small dogs are in…