Crouching like a heeler when on leash?

My boy Mansa has this weird behavior when on leash. He will see a dog coming down the sidewalk, and will either crouch down or lay all the way down until the dog gets closer. Then he bolts towards them. Usually if he makes it to the other dog without me getting him away, he will slow down, sniff, and then we are on our way.

He is NOT aggressive with other dogs off-leash, or even if he meets dogs on-leash. We go to a dog park every week where he plays with big and small dogs with no issues (running, wrestling, fetch, etc). I don't think he is trying to be aggressive when he does his crouch-down, but I am sure that it worries the other dogs as well as their people! It does kind of look like he's getting ready to attack!

Any advice for stopping this behavior?

Totally normal for a Basenji…. that is what they do as a sighthound, get "low" and watch ..... it is pretty much part of their makeup. So not a strange behavior

Agree with Pat, that is a basenji thing. And if you think of any hunting type of animal, this is similar to what they do as well.

Well, good to hear he is "normal" at least!

Has anyone had any luck changing this behavior? He does it at the dog park too when he is waiting for another dog to come back with the ball (smart dog!) but it is a problem when he is on-leash.

Yup, totally normal. Both of my B's do that when they are at the dog park or sometimes when they are on-leash and want to play. Once the other dog gets closer then they bolt towards them and do the greeting or keep running to see if the other one wants to play.

I don't think that you will find anyone that has wanted to change that behavior….

Well, thank you for your opinion but I am hopeful that someone might be able to help me. If someone else's dog does it and they live in a city where they pass a lot of people and other dogs, they might also see it as unwanted behavior. Whether it is normal for basenjis or not, people and other dogs are not used to it, and I would like him to behave better on our walks.

I should add that Mansa did not always do this–its been a recent thing.

You might just shorten the leash and keep walking quickly. Or try training an alternate behaviour, using the approach of the other dog as a cue. Clicker training would work well for this. I agree, the behaviour, although "cute", is undesirable on a walk.

I would adjust the leash higher on the neck to gain control of the motion to go to the ground and redirect into a sit….I second clicker training for this. Oakley doesn't do this behavior but he tends to lunge so this has been my method to gain control....I also use a martingale which works well for him

Mine does that every time. I just reel him in close to my right side, let them pass on the left to prevent his surprise lunge.

Give your Basenji the command to resume walking when they go into that behavior… instead of waiting for them to lunge. Keep their attention on you with treats or praise.

My B-mix tries to go down like that while walking occasionally but I don't let her accomplish it. I move her collar higher on her neck and just keep walking quickly past the oncoming traffic, be it other dogs or people, because I know her intention. She goes down like tht at dog parks so she can "charge" other dogs, especially her "sister," to play with them as they run by. That's fine when she's in the park playing. However, while walking with her alone one evening, she went down before I noticed it and began to charge a man who was walking toward us. I pulled her up close really quick because I'm not so sure she was going to "play" with him.

Thank you all so much!

Yesterday I tried having him sit when we saw another dog approaching, which was difficult for him 🙂 He did do it, but I think just to appease me, if that makes sense…he was still very focused on the dog, and for longer because we were at a stop. I will try to remember to bring treats with me tonight and do the resume walking command. Usually the only problem with that he doesn't watch where he is going at all as his nose is positioned up toward my pocket!

Blaze does it, too, as did Maxx before him.

It does tend to freak people out who are not dog savvy or who know nothing about Basenji's because they think he's waiting to attack their dog. We try to reassure the other person that, no, Blaze isn't going to attack their dog…it's just something Basenji's do. Some people aren't convinced, though...we had one person in the RV park where we spend the winter go so far as to pick up his dog everytime they saw us coming. That dog, who started out being friendly, turned into a barking, growling dog everytime we'd walk by.

Some people simply shouldn't be allowed to have dogs! 😉

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