Anxiety & Behavior
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  • J

    Hi All :)

    I am new to this forum. I have had my Hemi for about three years and I had some general behavior questions and wanted to see if anyone had any of the same issues.

    1. Severe anxiety, to the point of aggression during any grooming or vet activities. Whenever I take her to the vet she has such severe anxiety even if I am in the room. She will not let the vet touch her, and if he tries she snaps. I have to muzzle her (which BREAKS MY HEART) to get any kind of an examination done. The last time I took her in for her booster shots she uh.. expressed her anal glands all over me - which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I have tried the homeopathic remedies, like calming chews but she is like a tank. I have fed her triple the amount suggested for her weight (25lbs) with no change. The same with grooming. Getting her nails clipped leaves me (and the groomer) with severe scratches because I physically have to hold her down. I know this sounds terrible, but her nails get SO LONG that I have to do something. She is never, ever aggressive towards strangers unless she is in a grooming/vet environment. I don't understand. People will come up and pet her on walks and she never has a single issue.

    2. She LOVES to lick feet, hands, and legs. Not to the point of obsession, and if I tell her "no" she stops and finds something else to do. But if I were to let her she would spend hours licking my feet and legs. I have been told it's a sign of affection - but it just seems so strange.

    3. Leash pulling. I know this probably isn't Basenji specific, because all dogs pull - but she is out of control. I stop walking until she stops pulling, and tell her no. But aside from those spiky collars (which I think is cruel) does anyone have any suggestions on how to get her to stop pulling. I understand that she is excited, but her an her 25lbs have pulled me (7x her body weight) so hard out the front door that I nearly fall down the stairs. I know she is STUBBORN (oh my word, is she stubborn) but she generally knows I am the boss in the house. Once we hit that front door, all bets are off! 0_1472423691506_hemi 2.jpg

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  • #1 sounds like a fear reaction, especially the expressing of the anal glands. Her aggression is her trying to defend herself. The only fix for this (other than tranquilizers) in my opinion is taking a lot of time to make her comfortable and less defensive with basic procedures. Was she a puppy when you got her or a rescue? If the latter, there may be some history you don't know about. I would work with her at home, gently but firmly and with lots of rewards for good behaviour. There should be no areas of her body that you cannot touch. Be patient and preferably work alone. Dogs (and other animals) do not like being "ganged up on". Gain her confidence one step at a time. Make very sure that nothing you do hurts! Work on being able to handle her feet, and eventually clipping her toenails, but take it very slowly and reward for any progress. And work with her daily for short sessions. DO NOT BE CONFRONTATIONAL! Firm, yes, but very "matter of fact". When you get to the point where you can handle her all over and do basic grooming tasks, then it's time to introduce someone else under your supervision. She may not get over her aversion to vets. Face it, the dog knows where it is from the smell, even if they have not been to that particular clinic, so a muzzle may be necessary to ensure the vet's safety. Buy one and get her used to wearing it for short periods at home. Put it on her just before you go into the office with her, not after she is already all tensed up.

    If you must force the nail clipping, wrap her in a large towel (works with cats) to avoid those scratches and "bear hug" her as gently as possible. If you can walk her on pavement you may not need to trim nails very often.

    #2 Not unusual. It isn't affection, IMO. Basenjis can be very intent on "cleaning", themselves or others.

    #3 Again, pretty normal for a Basenji. Try a martingale collar and try reversing direction when she pulls. Not moving forward when she is pulling is a good strategy if you have the patience for it. Not everyone does!

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  • K

    Agree with eeeefarm:

    1. We went to another vet with Lela recently, and she had no problem putting ointment deep in her ear, whereas Lela usually fights to get off the table and does not want to be touched. Some got it, some don't. With patience I learned how to put the stuff in her ear without even holding her head.
    2. If you're not dry or clean, sit still, until you are.
    3. Big challenge! For us it works like this: On a long leash Lela and Binti can move around and sniff what they want. But when we take the leash short, they seem to understand that it's 'walk (sort of) next to the human'.
      Good luck!

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  • M

    You might want to try acepromazine when you go to the vet or the groomer. I know some don't agree but it works for my boy. He doesn't have to be muzzled or held down and the visits go much faster which my boy likes. I also bring special treats which he only gets at the vet's and have the staff give him the treats. It helps him to know that good things happen at the vet's too!

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  • Acepromazine is a drug I will never ever give to a dog again.
    http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=570

    I agree with Shirley, it seems very fearful. Sadly, that's often a trait you can work to help control, but it is something your dog simply may be born with. You can work on desensitizing to vet... by doing by, let them toss a treat, go home. Do it for quite a while. Ditto on muzzle.. do it at home for a few mins, take off and treat. Work on making both as unstressful as possible. But better to muzzle than have a bite incident.

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