Hunting maniac
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  • M

    I am new to the forum but not new to basenjis. We have a female rescue who is obsessed with hunting and killing other animals such as our chickens and our neighbor's birds. She will blindly go after even the big ducks. We haven't actually lost any birds yet because she does not have easy access to them, but she cannot join us when we spend time in the backyard because the hen house is back there, and she spends the entire time trying to get into the building. Nothing distracts her from her goal of trying to get to the birds.
    Her hunting instincts include the need to go after cats. We have a lot of cats, but again, we have been very careful to limit her access.
    Some day, however, she's going to get past us or find a way out of the yard and kill something.
    Is there anything we can do with a hunting obsessed basenji?

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  • Yep, just doing what a Basenji does best. When we walk by this house that has chickens in the backyard mine stalks the fence line back and forth and I have to pick him up to keep moving.

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  • M

    I figure the answer won't be, "Yes, there's a training method." After all we're talking about a basenji. However, how about a pill, or a shot, or a surgical procedure? :)

    Maybe some creative method like hanging a dead chicken around her neck for a night?

    We really would like to live a peaceful existence with her.

    attachment_p_146799_0_lula.jpg

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  • P

    Welcome to the Forum - she looks a very pretty girl.

    The bad news is that if she has strong prey drive there is no reliable way to kill her instinct to chase. When she gets much much older she may lose some of this instinct but that is only a possibility. Hanging a dead chicken round her neck won't work I'm sure and may possibly make her worse.

    I have sheep and I have to have secure fencing round our area and keep my Basenjis on lead while walking them. I'd recommend that you make her play area secure so that she can't get at your other livestock.

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  • S

    The only way I know is to keep the dog and birds seperated. Physical barriers would be needed.

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  • D

    Basenjis are hounds-hunting dogs and the only way to prevent it is to keep all the animals separated. I am an independent Basenji rescuer and I doubt I would have allowed you to adopt one of my rescue Basenjis because of the hen house. Just about all of my Basenjis have killed something in the backyard-squirrels, birds, and rabbits. I live in the suburbs and not in a rural area. My Fanconi affected 10 year old, Zippy who had eye problems caught a squirrel and tried to bring it in the house. I thought it was dead but after I got it away from her and put her in the house, it was gone!

    Jennifer

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  • S

    Basenjis have some of nature's best creative minds. Most of us have been surprised with how they figure things out to get to what they want. Personally I would never have such a prey-driven basenji in a house with cats.

    Over 40 years of having basenjis we have seen them catch and kill many squirrels, groundhogs, rabbits, one raccoon, and one very large possum, several garter snakes and frogs. One even attacked a full grown deer that got into our suburban neighborhood and jumped our 6 ft fence. She took a big bite of deer hair off the deer's hip as he jumped back over the fence after a chase around the yard.

    All of our Bs have grown up from puppies with cats and learned early on not to chase them. The stress of trying to keep the B away from the cats would worry me to death. I really hope your cats will be okay.

    Merry

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  • There are training methods that you can use to condition a different response to the sight of cats and chickens. It takes a lot of dedication to doing the training and it isn't going to mean that she won't still go after other small animals or if she gets out she won't decide it is more rewarding to hunt them.

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  • @lvoss:

    There are training methods that you can use to condition a different response to the sight of cats and chickens. It takes a lot of dedication to doing the training and it isn't going to mean that she won't still go after other small animals or if she gets out she won't decide it is more rewarding to hunt them.

    Completely agree! If the hens are safely enclosed, you could definitely do some desensitization training that would work while you were out there with her. I would never trust her alone in the yard with the hen house, or any other prey animals…but she could learn to leave the chickens alone while you are out enjoying the yard together. As lvoss said, however, it will be a long and labor intensive project for you. You can check out 'Click to Calm' by Emma Parsons, and probably 'Control Unleashed' by Leslie McDivett

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  • M

    Thank you all for the suggestions. This is just what I was looking for, "but she could learn to leave the chickens alone while you are out enjoying the yard together."

    We have another yard where she goes normally, but we just fenced in the backyard so we could have the dogs join us.
    Our cats have their own indoor room, and we built an outdoor playroom that is completely basenji-proof.

    The chickens are a new addition, and they have a secure house, but I don't want Lula getting injured trying to figure out a way to get into the hen house. And, unfortunately if she gets past people coming in and out of the house, our neighbor's fencing is not secure enough to keep out a basenji.

    We had 2 basenjis before who loved to chase rabbits, but they were great with cats and never killed anything. We have been surprised by how strong Lula's prey drive is. After reading the story about the deer, I have no doubt she would try to do the same. I figured if there was any training method out there that might work on a basenji, the forum would know. She has become desensitized to one of our cats, and they spend a lof time together, however, not without supervision.

    She is a beautiful dog, and for the first year was amazingly well behaved for a basenji. Once she realized her "forever" home was for real, and we were madly in love with her, she started letting her basenjiness show.
    Gotta love 'em!

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  • B

    My house is filled with animals that shouldn't traditionally be together. We have two dogs, one cat and two budgies. Basil was half introduced to the cat… he does chase her but only for play. When I was on my trip he would chase after the cats but they would find higher ground and that was it. Although with my friend's one cat that is used to dogs, we held Basil up to him and Basil would lick his nose and then we'd walk along. Sometimes the cat would escape into the back yard just to play with Basil and Basil would just jump on him and then stop and the cat would hiss and we'd take Basil off him... but they never hurt each other with a bite or a scratch... just play. I hope he doesn't produce these instincts, although our lab mutt and our deceased schipperke cross learned to hunt mice but mice only. I would definitely have a play area for the dog away from the chickens. goodluck!

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  • All my beasties have had strong prey drive (not too far down the line from African heritage) and it has taken a lot of work to partially control this. If you can find a special treat (takes trial and error but piece of steak maybe) that the dog gets ONLY when responding to "come", whistle, or whatever you use for recall, and work that relentlessly and regularly, then you can develop the "whiplash turn" (as described in "Control Unleashed"). BUT this takes a lot of consistent work and finding the right treat isn't easy. My 2nd male would instantly turn away from a squirrel when I used the whistle (even when on a dead run after a creature) but I have yet to find the right treat for my current female who sometimes will respond nicely. I'm still working on her.

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