Happy New Year everyone! I have a 10 month old daughter and a 3 year old male basenji. We have had him since 8 weeks and he has always been "the baby" up until we had our little girl. He is very well socialized with people (he went to work with me every day for 2 years) and loves kids. He has even been sweet with other crawling age babies that he met before our baby arrived. I was nervous that he might be a little jealous when she was born so I read up on all the suggestions for how to introduce our fur baby to the newest member of the family. When she finally arrived we followed every suggestion, letting him get her scent, letting him come up to the bassinet and sniff and lick her, never discouraging his curiosity. However, once the initial wonder of this new tiny bundle wore off, he decided that he wanted nothing to do with her. Naturally I was a bit heartbroken that he didn't want to be sweet and snuggly with her the way his was with other children in the past. I thought perhaps as she got a bit she older and was able to interact it might get better and she would regain his interest, but now that she is crawling and toddling around the house it's only gotten worse. He is very vocal with her and will growl at her just for looking at him from across the room. If she tries to crawl even vaguely in his direction he bolts to the opposite end of the room. She has never yanked on his fur or pulled his tail, and they are always closely supervised when they are sharing the same space. We have tried giving him treats when he comes near her, but he just takes them and runs away. We have tried letting her give him the treats, but it doesn't make any difference. I try to keep him calm and make spending time with her a positive experience, but it doesn't seem to be working. I'm hoping that as she continues to grow that he may start to come around, but I'm worried that he may be too stubborn for that if left unchecked. I love my furbaby and want him to be happy with his new little sister. I hate seeing him so miserable. Our daughter want to love him so much but he wants nothing to do with her. If anyone has been through this or knows how best to handle this basenji/baby dynamic all advice is welcomed and greatly appreciated! Thanks!
I have 2 kids they are 5 and 2 and I have 2 basenjis. I have had 5 basenjis in total and they are all very basenji but different personalities. My dogs were great with kids but they are not really into my kids. I think what it comes down to is that they really can’t relax like they did before the kids in their own home. The kids are unsteady on their feet, they are unpredictable. Some basenjis can be a little neurotic about knowing and controlling their environment. Also babies and kids are loud, none of my basenjis have ever been great with noisy things. They are a bit happier when in pairs. It seems to give them more confidence about dealing with tough situations. A basenji puppy might be a good idea. It would be young enough to grow up with your baby and might be an ice breaker for your existing fur baby. Also giving the dog escape routes is really helpful. We have couches the dog can climb onto the back of to escape the small people who have boundary issues. Sometimes having a space for the dog that is off limits to the kiddo may give the dog some semblance of control. I know you are looking for a way to make them a happy duo but that may be unrealistic with your dog. The other thing I considered was getting a dog for my kids, a beagle or some other super kid friendly dog might give her something to love on. I had a beagle before and my daughter loved her. She also loved my daughter the food factory.
I wish we could have another dog, but at the moment it's not really an option for us. The house we live in is rented so we are at our pet limit (we also have a cat). Fortunately for him we have baby gates all over the house so if he wants to go in another room and be left alone I can easily let him through and shut her in with me. Even if he never really learns to love her, I hope that we can at least achieve a modicum of tolerance in the years to come. Thanks for the advice about the puppy though. I'm hoping we won't be in this house for too many more years. We'd really like to build so that's we can have space for another dog and a fenced yard for them to play.
Just a couple of thoughts. Don't be too anxious to get your dog to like the baby. Most Basenjis will be reluctant to cooperate if the situation feels "forced". Be sure to give your dog lots and lots of attention so that he doesn't feel the baby has taken over his position and he is now in 2nd place (even though he is!) I would be "matter of fact" and allow your dog to engage or not at his discretion, while of course keeping a watchful eye, and yes, for sure give him the option of leaving whenever he feels he must. You may find that with time he will come around.