Chase game

Does anyone know how to break the cycle of "grab and run" or is this just my Basenji? She grabbed the wrong thing and is in so much trouble with my husband he is threatening to force me to sell her. I am frustrated, please help.

My first basenji and my current basenji engage in this behavior. She just wants your attention - when this happens in our house we just start the chase laughing like it is a fun game instead of yelling or threatening and the item seems to lose its importance and is dropped. Honestly, the look he presents as he grabs the object makes it almost impossible for us to not laugh. This is our 2nd basenji and we did/do not believe that total obedience was/is a priority for either of them. We are just really careful about where we leave any possession that we are concerned that could be harmful or is deemed too valuable to be used as a toy.

Two things work with my dogs. If my puppy is playing keep away I turn around and run the other way. He goes “hey where’d ya go!!” And starts chasing me instead. I get back what I want and he thinks it’s fun to come to me.

Another thing that works is trading. Get a fun toy or treat and offer it instead of the thing you don’t want her to have. He’s just tall enough to reach the garbage and likes to shred paper towels. So we trade for those a lot.

My adult boys just give it up to me when I ask. They were trained the same way and it’s not an issue with them.

Also, pretend you have a 2 year old child and pick up your stuff. My dogs are not allowed in my back rooms where my reptiles and important things are. Everything at their level is dog safe. Don’t set her up to fail!

Don’t chase her whatever you do. Unless she’s eating something toxic and you need it away from her NOW it’s best to use it as a training moment. Trust me, I know it’s frustrating. If your husband is so quick to get rid of her for it you may have to do most of the training. I can’t imagine being told I had to get rid of my dog just because they are you know, being a dog. Good luck to you and keep us updated!

last edited by CrazySenji

@chrisf - This is a typical basenji..... when you get a Basenji, better have a sense of humor.... Agree with CrazySenji on the suggestions. Especially the "trading".

I would certainly excuse a puppy for taking off with a prohibited item, but by the time the dog is an adult it should have a good understanding of "no". "Keep away" is a game I refuse to play and there are consequences for absconding with "illegal" items. For the dog's own safety I make it clear what is legal to play with and what is not, and I reserve a stern "no" for occasions when it is needed. If this is a frequent problem, let her drag a leash and take immediate action if she grabs something she should not have. I dislike using the "trade" approach because a smart dog (which Basenjis certainly are) will learn that taking something you don't want them to have will lead to a reward. (otherwise known as "chaining" when you are trying to train a behaviour).

The most important thing is to refrain from rewarding the behaviour.....which means don't play her game and don't reinforce with your amusement, which will be apparent to your dog.

Thank you all for your common sense responses. Yes, of course my husband is over reacting. After 43 years I should be able to tell if he is bluffing. But he is weary of the constant dog proofing we have done in the house. He thought at the one year point we could remove Gates and trust her more. She does surprisingly well with the "leave it" training. But these glasses seemed like a real treasure and she was not letting go. And of course we we're outside in the full yard with nothing to just grab and trade, as I do in the house. I have put feelers out for a one on one behaviorist to tweek my training and I hope hubby gets it into perspective soon.
She has been on her best behavior today......

Ohhh boy.. one of mine killed my moms and my sisters fiance’s glasses.
My dogs are 5yrs, 3yrs and 3 months and I don’t trust any of them with full run of my house and I have baby gates. My older boys don’t destroy anything anymore but they might if I set them up to. Basenjis get bored and shred.

Good luck to you and your family with training!

Trading has not worked with our Samoyed. He steals more to get to trade more.
So we work on a solid COME. No play, no chase, no exchange.. just good boy for coming, calmly remove whatever he has stolen (and at 80 pounds, house proofing would be prison bars 6 feet high around him).

Someone suggested finding something you want him to get and "hiding it"... making THAT the one and only trade item. They said it worked. I haven't tried it yet.

I teach mine the word 'TRADE !' from a very early age. 'Bring back what you stole and you get something nice !' They are intelligent animals, they catch on very fast.

@chrisf - Glasses in my house are never where the Basenjis can get them... it is the ear pieces they are after, they have your/husbands smells on them.... remember dogs have a great sense of smell.

He is an adult person and she is a year old canine Basenji....who do you think should be more responsible for not leaving things lying around where a curious dog can get them? Perhaps he, too, has some annoying traits....will he understand if you sell HIM, too???? I do not mean to be so harsh, but adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment (Sort of like marriage) and you do not give up (or sell) a dog (or a husband) when you hit a bump. you work on it together....and maybe that's exactly what you do ...you two team up to see what works with your little girl....whatever it is, it isn't selling the poor dog!!!!!!!

Though I commend your passion Nancy, and agree with you I will defend my infantile husband to a degree. He was working with the pressure washer and his glasses got fogged up so he took them off and placed them on the picnic table ....Piper was with me in the garden at the time and it did not occur to him the glasses were in danger. But on another point, hehas both personality quirks and health issues and his point to me was that he may have less time left to live than this young dog and he will have to put up with her quirkiness for the rest of his life. So consider that you are never hearing the whole story when you get a question posted. At this point he has agreed to let her stay and I am going to find a behaviorist who can help me train her for more consistent responses. I am kind of the spoiler in this issue because I pushed so hard to get a dog when he was not real enthusiastic about it. I should have waited I guess.

If his health is failing and he expects the Basenji to outlive him, even more reason to keep her. I could not have come through the past year since Marvin died without my support team. They give me a reason (their breakfast !) to get up in the morning, they make me get out and walk in the woods so they get exercise, they sleep in the greenhouse while I prick out seedlings and right now they are curled up - Hoover in Marvin's recliner and Keepurr in another arm chair, keeping me company in the evening. If he is correct then you will need a Basenji. You can forgive them anything - just for their support.

Sorry for your loss. I am so glad the dogs are such comfort. My husband doesn't have cancer but a heart condition that he has predicted will be his undoing in the next few years. But he does love this dog and has spent many hours putting up fencing to protect her. They are both reactionary. I have paid for private training lessons to augment my work with her. She knows he is mad at her and she has been trying to make up to him. It is amazing how smart she is.
I was told that because Basenji are so distractible in the puppy phase that building on the foundation in year two can be effective. I hope that is correct because I am looking forward to more consistency with her listening this year.

@chrisf Excellent point. Posts would never attack a third party.

Also, I would like to say that what I loved most about my B's was their independent spirit and their joie de vivre. I never did much training with my dogs except where their safety was concerned. My husband's personality is completely opposite mine and he is more of a "Lab" or "Golden" man. Lately he's liking standard Poodles! (ugh). Introducing a Basenji into your home IS like having a 2 year old and all the personalities have to have some give and take.

Thanks I did have my first private session tomorrow. I found someone who has owned a Basenji and understands. She is very is very optimistic.

@chrisf said in Chase game:

I was told that because Basenji are so distractible in the puppy phase that building on the foundation in year two can be effective.

The most important weeks in a Basenji puppy's life are weeks 3 - 6 ! But yes, as long as they are well grounded in other directions, I'd be quietly optimistic in her second year. Boys - possibly not, but girls are always aware of your displeasure and appear anxious to please as long as it suits them ! Good luck.

What the heck , I did not even have her at my house until she was almost 9 weeks old. I missed the boat on that time line. The trainer today pointed out that she is so scent driven that the training needs to be geered differently than a non-scent driven dog. And as soon as she pulled out her scent tin Piper was all in and more focused. So I will be using some new approaches and I can already see her responding. Things I never would have thought of and have not seen in any of the training books. She did say that some of the training will be more challenging because of her age and she cautioned me that as she gets older the things that she does not tolerate well now, (vet visits, blood work, nail trimming) she will only dig in and get more reactive to if we do not pull her back from the ledge. So I think I have the right trainer.

My challenge is not to people who purchase a pup at 9 weeks. It is to breeders who need to prepare their puppies for life beyond the nest. I have written several articles on this subject which are still pertinent even if the website they are on needs drastic modernisation !
http://www.zandebasenjis.com/
which, thanks to the on-line pedigree database, I never have time to accomplish -

I'd have even less time if everyone on these forums sent me details of their Basenji - NO show poses, please.

Many years ago, I read about a trainer who came to the conclusion that Basenjis could not be trained WITH other dogs, or AS other dogs. But that training sessions with all Basenjis could get through to them. This is because your average Basenji (ok, that is an impossibility for a start - NO Basenji is average) will follow the routine for a few weeks and then get bored. OK I did this last week, I need something NEW. And the only way to do it is to vary the routine, do things in different order , so the Basenji gets excited - what is coming next ?
I have two Basenjis trying to share my lap with the laptop at the moment - typing is difficult <sigh>

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