Being picked up/ laying on back

hi, my 2 year old basenji mix, Rica, has a hard time being picked up. I've only had her for a year but she has loosened up a bit and doesn't panic as much as she used to. But i can tell she still does not like it. Another thing that she has never done is lay on her back. She will lay on her side and lift her leg up to get belly rubs but that's as far as she will go. I've tried to teach her to "roll over" but the second i give her a slight nudge she jumps right back on her paws. I'm not sure if it's a breed thing or something that has happened to her in the past. All that the humane society told me is she either came from a high kill shelter or she got sent to tampa when they had floods in mississippi, alabama, etc. about a year and a half ago. This is something I'm not too worried about because she still acts normal otherwise and she doesn't get aggressive towards anyone if they pick her up but any helpful information would be appreciated, thanks, matt

i cant offer any help except that most basenjis i know loved being picked up, however they have been raised being picked up. I also find all of them love laying on their backs and wrestling or getting a tummy rub (however we did turn our pups onto their backs as they were younger to play, if that makes sense). One of my girls came to me at 6mths and she used to hold her breath when we picked her up, but doesnt mind now (rolling on her back was never an issue though). My other girl that i got at 9wks will bunny hop into my arms so i dont have to pick her up 🙂

some may be fine with it, some may not. each dog is different

Laying on their back and exposing their belly is a very submissive position for a dog to be in; it is probably scary for your dog and it is making her feel vulnerable. I don't think that I would push the issue, and perhaps in time she will feel more comfortable with it. The same is probably true of her dislike of being picked up. It may stem from trust issues, give it time.

My first boy was uncomfortable being picked up and held. He felt like a stiff board in your arms. I assume he hadn't had that done very often, but since he didn't actually object to it, we continued to hold him and after some time he became a lot less stiff and seemed to enjoy it. He was almost two when we got him, had had one owner and been returned to his breeder, where he spent a lot of kennel time before he came to us.

One thing that Butu will do is 'Teddy Bear'. He will sit on my lap with all paws facing forward when I hug him - when he was a puppy, it would quite often calm him down…

First Basenji's

@giza1:

Laying on their back and exposing their belly is a very submissive position for a dog to be in; it is probably scary for your dog and it is making her feel vulnerable. I don't think that I would push the issue, and perhaps in time she will feel more comfortable with it. The same is probably true of her dislike of being picked up. It may stem from trust issues, give it time.

My boy has been with us for 18months now, and only now will roll on his side and allow me to rub the belly. I can roll him 'over' but he won't lay on his back totally exposed. In the beginning he was really hand shy, so I believe in time they will get comfortable and trust you more. Like giza1 says, time is the healer when they have come from 'another place'. Being Basenji too, remember they are aloof with strangers (some more then others and always exceptions) but love the family they have!

My Shaye loves being rolled over for bellly rubs, but really prefers lying on her side for them, when she puts her paws over her face while it's going on. We've had her since she was 11 weeks and mauled her every way possible so you can really do anything with her and she's fine with it. On the other hand, Gemma didn't come to us until she was 14 months, and used to be if you touched her feet or tail or tried to maneuver her out of any position she was in, she would "grin" at us, that toothy warning sign. She's now 4 yrs 4 months, and we can touch anything without a problem, but rolling her onto her back, even for belly rubs, makes her whine, and she sort of doesn't breathe right. We cannot pick her up, she squirms and fights it, and she's a mix, 35 pounds, so we don't try that often. Just give your boy his space, gently try to pick him up and quit when he resists, rub his belly any way he will let you, and eventually, he'll calm down for you probably.

@Shaye's:

Just give your boy his space, gently try to pick him up and quit when he resists, rub his belly any way he will let you, and eventually, he'll calm down for you probably.

I would respectfully disagree with quitting when he resists…....you are then reinforcing the resistance. If you can anticipate and release before you get resistance, that would be best, but if he starts to resist best to wait a moment and release as soon as he is quiet, which tells him what behaviour will get him what he wants. Reward profusely when he doesn't resist. When you know they don't like something, look for a tiny bit of success and build on it gradually. When you do get acceptance, don't insist on maintaining the position for very long. 🙂

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