HELP! Distant Little Man
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    Me and my fiancé just got our first basenji "Little Man" (8 months old) despite all the horror stories we heard and research we did we still wanted one of these adorable and affectionate dogs. Or at least we thought he would be affectionate. We bought him from a breeder in GA and he had a short flight to us in VA. I felt horrible about putting him on a flight but it was the only basenji near us. So his first day he was scared (as expected) all he did was find his corner far away from us. We attempted to interact with him very slightly to get him to at least know we are here and then let him be.
    It has been five days now and he will still hide in his corner and run from us despite treats and bribes of affection. The wierd thing is is that if we put him on the couch or in the bed with us he will cuddle up, but on the floor he will run away and hide.
    He seems to love the outside closely at my side whenever we walk. However, if I'm walking away from him he's fine and following but if I walk towards him he's scared and running away. I attempted to take him to a small fences in area to get some outside off leash time with him but as soon as he realized the leash was off he wanted nothing to do with me.
    He won't touch any toys or even treats. He even only liked bacon! Didn't even eat it!!!! IT'S BACON!!!
    Long story short we love our little man and all we won't is for him to love us and be happy. Is there any one that can help us?

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  • Do you know anything about his background? At eight months old he should have been socialized, but his responses make me wonder if he has been a kennel dog. What do you know about the breeder? Have you been in touch to discuss his behaviour?

    I think you will make progress, but it may take a while. Young puppies don't have a lot of history, but at eight months he may have been exposed to situations that frightened him and without knowing more about his background it's hard to say how he will respond to his new living arrangements.

    BTW, Basenjis are often a bit standoffish with new people. And many are only "affectionate" on their own terms. Don't try to force it. Make sure any interaction with you ends on a good note.

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    He sounds like a Kennel dog-has not been socialized.
    Who was the breeder? Did you get papers?

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    It may help to know more about what happened to him. But in the meantime, be as patient as you can be, not forcing anything, let him develop at his own pace. Don't look him in the eye, or bend over him, don't move toward him if you don't have to, don't touch him when he doesn't want to be touched. Be calm, silent and observe. What you could do as an experiment, is just sit on the floor in the middle of the room, doing absolutely nothing, no treats, talk or eye contact. See what happens, how he deals with a calm presence. Take your time. Keep us posted. All the best!

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  • Did he come from Harmony Hounds? Sounds to me also like he was a kennel dog and not properly socialized. kjdonders has some very good ideas to try.....

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    Thank you all for the replies. I'll try them all! Hopefully he gets settles in.

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    @tanza yeah he came from harmony hound . You know them?

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    With my Male-he was a Rescue- I lay on the floor with a paper bag of treats and some potato chips. I had my back to him and ate the chips with loud munching sounds. Basenjis are soooo nosey and he soon cam and stood in front of me. I move away and made sure my back was to him. After a few times he came right up to my face and I gave him a treat. Make sure you use something only for that- a special treat he cannot resist.
    Sitting on the floor and doing the same thing works. Try not to touch him right away.
    When you give him a treat with one hand gently touch hime with the other. It may take some time but he has to learn that you are a good thing.

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  • Have to get out the door, doctor appointment... so I'll just make this short.

    I wouldn't get a statue of a dog from Harmony hounds. I'll just let you draw your own conclusions.

    But since we now know there is no need to worry about stepping on the breeder's toes by giving advice, hopefully people can help. I'll post more later.

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  • @atcbehrens said in HELP! Distant Little Man:

    @tanza yeah he came from harmony hound . You know them?

    Yes, not someone that I would recommend. Hopefully he and/or his sire/dam have been health tested

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  • Okay... a few ideas.

    Leash him to you with a fairly long line , so he's always following you around, but let him approach you more. You need to work on calming signals... for some reason I am not finding my usual link, but this may help

    Calming Signals
    Two dogs, strangers to each other, meet at the park. Rover slowly blinks as he averts his eyes and sniffs at the grass. Fido yawns. Rover looks toward Fido, flicks his tongue and then moves in a wide half circle towards Fido. Fido flicks his tongue in response, then approaches Rover and sniffs him. Rover stands still until Fido is finished and then he sniffs. Fido goes into a play bow (front legs extended, butt in the air) and the party is on. They romp and play and growl and bite and have a wonderful time. Neither has had enough exposure to other dogs to be well skilled in social nuances, just enough to send calming signals and an invitation to play. More experienced dogs will produce an entire range of eye movement and body language in a few seconds, communications that most humans don't even notice, and commence to playing (or fighting!) in quick order.

    We can use these signals to our advantage. Tongue flicking appears to have a number of closely related meanings. Frantic flicking can mean "I'm very, very nervous! Please calm down!". Less frantic flicking seems to ask "I'm nervous, but I'm coping, are you OK?". Dogs noticeably relax if their tongue flicking is answered in kind. A simple lizard impression on our part can go a long way towards telling the dog that we mean him no harm. When handling a very nervous dog a stronger way to get the "I'm OK, you're OK" message across is to tongue flick and slowly blink, or blink and yawn or any combination of these things.

    Some dogs never see anything other than their own homes, their own back yards and their own people. The social skills of these dogs are going to be poor. They may not recognize calming signals since they've had scant opportunity to learn them or practice them since leaving their littermates. They may also be so overwhelmed by the strange atmosphere and people that they are incapable of calming down even if they do recognize the signals. Conversely, a dog who's been throwing signals at people for years and receiving intermittent (even if unintentional) positive responses may over-exaggerate his body language and calming signal usage.

    Forehead massage is a very effective means of calming. I think it is a successful method because it feels good and is an indication that no harm is intended.

    What must they think of us? Why would any dog allow himself to be put on his back on an x-ray table, by two strangers, and have his legs stretched out? Why in the world would any animal allow us to poke needles into his skin? I've come to believe that well socialized dogs learn that humans can sometimes be very weird. We do completely outrageous things without adverse effects to the dog. They learn to be tolerant of our weirdness. Those that are not tolerant are only displaying normal canine behavior, not something odd. We're the ones being odd.

    The bottom line is that we are strangers to the dog. We are not pack mates. We are not a known quantity. We are the unknown, the unsafe, a perceived danger. We cannot arrogantly demand that they cooperate with our efforts to put them in very uncomfortable situations. If we try very hard, what we can do is communicate our promise to "First, do no harm".

    ©1999 Deb McKean<<

    Kathy Diamond Davis is excellent with fearful dogs.

    http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1612&S=1&SourceID=47

    For all her articles:
    http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=SRC&S=1&SourceID=47

    But one of the best things is to begin basic obedience training, setting up things so you make contact learning and rewarding to the pup. Use treats, praises, whatever he responds positively too, and keep on a long line so fleeing isn't an option or becomes a habit.

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    @atcbehrens

    We have so many good basenji breeders in VA. Why get a dog from GA, if you don't mind me asking?

    There are some really good breeders here. I would seek one of them for guidance. And please get your dog tested. Harmony Hills is supposed to be really sketch.

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  • First Basenji's

    Yes, to all of the above. New to a home, they will be standoffish, always let them come to you on their terms in the beginning. If you need to crate train, put high value treats in there. If it is an airline crate fine, or just a wire crate, then put a blanket on it for a 'safe place'. Use common sense about closing the door, don't rush in and slam it, let him get used to it daily, then for a very short time, close it. He'll come around eventually, when he can TRUST you. that means not walking directly to him, staring at him, forcing anything, don't yell for any reason, and as DebraDownSouth mentioned, use those calming signals. If he was under socialized, then you speaking dog to him will gain miles!

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    Another way is to start by putting high value treats inside the crate, but close the dog OUT.
    He'll be dying to get IN.
    -Joanne

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    just wanted to say that "PATIENCE" is probably the best treatment for a Basenji. Be patient and "Little Man" will acclimatize to his surroundings and you. And not most dogs patience...Basenji patience! (This could mean months)

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