How we got through the first years of "whacko dog" and some tips for you

Have you ever tried Stella and Chewy's Dehydrated Raw Diet on Harry? It is a very balanced diet and healthy for a Basenji with lots of protein. Now, you would have to dampen it for him, but I think it is worth a try and it comes in lots of flavors. We have found that our Basenji understands WAY more than you would think and if we tell her what is going to happen, she is usually good with it. And finally, the being startled by ANYTHING out of place is a Basenji thing....if it is in a new place, it is something to be suspicious of. Walking up to the "new thing" with your dog helps...they are very pack oriented, so if the pack is going to investigate, then they figure it is OK to go along, but they will still be wary.

You've obviously had a very difficult time these past years. He was obviously not socialised at all and obviously came from an irresponsible breeder. Adding to the fact that you didn't understand him at first probably made matters worse. This is a warning to others not to buy a Basenji 'off the cuff' but to contact a reputable breeder who will have reared her puppies correctly and socialised them well. It sounds as though his fear of outside stems from being confined since babyhood. No wonder the person who sold him to you disappeared!

In my opinion, it would be better to feed him a more balanced diet. It is never a good idea to encourage Basenjis to eat your food. Mine are fed on raw meat, including some organ meat, and a good organic mixer biscuit. Have you tried to feed him raw? Far better than "everything and anything". Some foods make dogs hyper.

Best wishes for the future with him. You obviously love him very much.

Harold - I got a good chuckle on your Basenji post. I could relate to a lot of your comments. Your baby is lucky to have you as a Basenji parent! I'd love to see a photo of him!

Wow, I thought I had a difficult first year! I am so proud of you for being Harry's human hero and giving him many chances. I have read much information about basenjis and I had never heard about not moving furniture. That actually explains a few things to me.
I have recently thrown my dog for a loop by providing respite to a dog who's owner is in the hospital. It has taken 6 days but they are finally playing rather than just sniffing each other rediculously.

Try Harry on some Raw Beef Brisket Bones (RBBB) for his teeth and general diet. One about 50mm (about 2 inches) will keep him quiet but interested, without any residue to come hurtling through a window when mowing. I have to order mine from a local butcher who will cut them to size. Good luck.

Harold, I was remiss not to acknowledge your sticking it out and caring for the dog. That is, as others pointed out, wonderful. You also went from really awful training (yelling is not good for any breed) to adjusting to what the dog needs... many people don't have the ability to do that. You tried to understand what he needed, what he responded to, and care for his needs. I deleted my post because it was truly harsh and uncalled for.

Please do not compare autism to animal behaviors. What you have isn't at all like autism. You have a very fearful and reactive dog. Autism is not some strict set of behaviors, and people with autism do not deserve to be treated like they cannot understand or have emotions. We could very well have autistic members here, and most certainly have members with children or family with autism.

Allowing the dog to eat what limited food you have allowed is going to kill him. It is utterly unhealthy. In all situations, someone gets trained. It's good he trained you to stop yelling. Not good he's trained you to give him such a horrific diet. I admit to often allowing my dogs to have leeway about a lot of things... so yes 🙂 I sometimes get trained. But other things you have to stand firm on. Healthy nutrition is one of them.

Tea is toxic to dogs. Small amounts aren't dangerous, but why give a little of what it not good.

For some really positive training, and easy to understand, obedience lessons are on the left, and problem areas on the right.

http://www.clickerlessons.com/index.htm

I have a dog that gets diarrhea no matter how little of raw that I feed, and thus far, no research actually supports raw as being better for dogs than quality cooked. But I have used Stella's for dogs and most of them love it. If that doesn't work, pick a good quality kibble, add a little warm water, and do tough love. Put the food down... in 15 minutes put it up. Evening, try again. No snacks, no giving in. Most dogs will not starve themselves to death. Obviously if after 3 or 4 days your dog is eating NOTHING, you may have to try adding something to it. You could put a spoon of peanut butter in hot water and soak the kibble, or grind up a small piece of the duck jerky, soak it then mix with the kibble.

@harold said in How we got through the first years of "whacko dog" and some tips for you:

Thank you for sticking with your pup.... however, many of the things that you describe can be for any pup, not just a Basenji. If you got your pup from a responsible breeder I would think you would not have had many of these issues? Not sure why you are thinking this is a Basenji? Can you post pictures? And I would further guess that he was not 8wks old with the development you are describing. Sounds like he was way younger than that... especially since he came from a craigslist advertisement. Responsible breeders do not sell puppies on craigslist

Thanks everyone for the replies: first let me say that we tried every food training trick in the book. Putting food down for approx: 15 to 20 minutes and the picking it up if he hadn't touched it. He would not eat the food. Not even after 3 days. So after a few times doing that and trying every dog food we could find from raw meat to cooked meat to the highest priced dog food to the cheapest we could not get Harry to eat anything except what I mentioned in my post. This was over a period of months.He will go for days and not eat "anything "put before him. Finally we gave in. Yes I know it sounds crazy and irresponsible but we have wasted more food on Harry than we have bought for our own consumption.Harry is not consistent in what he decides to eat. He might decide to eat "A" 3 days in a row and then on the fourth day, he won't go near it. Then he will eat "B" and do that for a day and not again for 3 weeks. Then "A" again for a day and then "C" and the nothing tickles his fancy. Believe me we have done everything but force food down his throat. Also, we never yelled at Harry because of him pooping in the house or anything. What I was trying to say is he will go into these ...I don't know what to call them...fits or something where he will sit down and look at a specific spot on the wall and just stare and nothing affects him. You can scream t the top of your lungs, bang cymbals right next to his head, but he doesn't hear you or see you. It is as though he is not there. This will go on for about 3 to 5 minutes and then "boop" he just snaps out of it and goes about his business as though nothing happened. Which is also why I mentioned autism which is recognized in dogs, as he exhibits many traits such as the one above, not responding to his name, not wanting to cuddle, has to have things orderly like food and toys, and much more strange behavior. Please do not feel I am denigrating anyone with autism. Now I am pushing 60 years old and I have owned dogs all of my life. All of my dogs have been well trained by me and all have had long lives. Harry is the weirdest, strangest, craziest, goofiest dog I have ever had the pleasure of living with. And..he loves taking baths...or at least he is very cool letting me bath him and doesn't give me a hard time. But try to clip his nails and he will rip through the muzzle to bite your face. Anyway.... thanks all for the tips. I will look up the Stellas and see if he will try it.

@harold Your Harry has Separation Anxiety. That is part of the Breed profile. RAW food is bad for Dogs because they are Omnivores. Unless you raise your own Bovine and slaughter it yourself the Flesh from those animals is full of Steroids to make them grow fatter. When my little girl had Cancer at the age of 12 I had to Tumor removed and fed her Vegetarian Dog Food. She ate everything except Raisins and Milk Chocolate. She knew not to eat that stuff. I had her until she was 16 years old. Kudos for getting through it all!

@harold said in How we got through the first years of "whacko dog" and some tips for you:

autism which is recognized in dogs

Harold, it isn't recognized in dogs. It is theorized, but predominately find it is other issues, bad training, fear, anxiety, OCD etc.

Nothing you described in your dog doesn't fit other issues. (( So to boil it down: he chewed everything except food. he pooped everywhere except outside. he was standoffish. could not hug him. scared of everything. acted autistic. )) He acted like a totally untrained, fearful, unsocialized puppy. Your home-diagnosis of "autistic" when you have almost no background in canine evaluation and behaviorism doesn't equal your dog really being autistic.

Your dog staring is more like a seizure, btw.

If your choice is to feed food that is unhealthy. But you could also soak kibble and spoon feed him. It isn't hard, taked 3 or 4 mins to give 10 spoons of mushed dog food. Do twice a day. Or ask the vet for appetite stimulants so he eats. For me, I couldn't bear to give my dog junk that would eventually affect his health.

@debradownsouth I too do research and dogs are Omnivores. As I said unless you raise the Bovine yourself and slaughter it yourself then there are not any steroids or antibiotics in the Flesh. Have you not seen that the overuse of antibiotics due to use in Farm Animals is causing a massive problem because we are becoming Immune to these Drugs. The FDA has a Rule about using antibiotics to feed Livestock but they made it VOLUNTARY.

I would not feed Raw anything for that reason. Farmed Salmon us not good because investigations have shown Algae Blooms which is a sign of improper maintenance of the Tanks.

Most of the women in my family are Nurses. I took the route my late Father did. I went to Law School at NYU. I follow the USDA and the DOI because I despise what they are doing to our Animals. USDA has scrubbed its site so there is not a single reference to Horses being Slaughtered in Mexico or Canada. How you could be so lax as to advise feeding RAW Meat is beyond me.

Harry's attitude to his food - first eating and then refusing is very similar to my Basenji who has kidney failure - I'm not saying that he has actual kidney disease but other health matters could cause him to be fussy. Have you consulted your vet about his eating habits? I appreciate that you might have already done this and there is no health problem. I hope not anyway.

@antigone I note what you say about feeding Basenjis raw and beg to differ. Obviously to each his own and if you believe that meat is dangerous that is your choice. Being omnivores certainly doesn't preclude them from eating their meat raw. I 'm sure that Debra like me is experienced in giving her Basenji raw meat.
I've owned and bred Basenjis for more than 40 years and fostered them for many, many more. I have always fed them a raw diet (including raw eggs)and have had very few health problems. I am careful to research what I buy. Being a natural primitive breed I am of the strong opinion that they should be fed naturally.
I'm concerned that people who read what you post take it as fact and feel extremely worried and guilty.

my vet has advised the starve until he eats diet which was tried...and why he eats what he eats now. he will not eat if you attempt to force food in his mouth...which has been tried also.

From petmd:
Has Autism been Diagnosed in Dogs?
As early as 1966, veterinarians were talking about the occurrence of autism-like symptoms in dogs. More recently, a presentation at the 2015 American College of Veterinary Behaviorists reported on investigations into tail chasing behavior in Bull Terriers and a possible link to autism

and please stop talking about autism like it is something that shouldn't be spoken of in public. there is nothing wrong with me saying i think my dog has autism. That is like me not being able to talk about my dog being blind because there might be a sight impaired person reading the Basenji Forum. There is actually no definitive laboratory tests to prove someone (a human or dog) has autism but rather it is through a subjective diagnosis is made based on the examination of behavioral characteristics. They are people like every other people. They just have autism No, I am not saying dogs and people are the same, but the behavioral characteristics can be looked at to compare and see if the dog exhibits signs of autism and not just bad training and fear. As I have stated earlier, I have been a dog owner since I was a child and am now almost 60 years old. Harry is the only dog that I have not been able to train within 30 days. He has been with us 4 years and still exhibits the same traits he did when we first got him except for he has chilled a bit, but the things he does are just too strange. After 4 years you think he would become normalized to my wife's and my routine. I'm just sayin!

@harold said in How we got through the first years of "whacko dog" and some tips for you:

my vet has advised the starve until he eats diet which was tried...and why he eats what he eats now. he will not eat if you attempt to force food in his mouth...which has been tried also.

You need a new vet.

From petmd: blah blah blah... <

As I said, talked about, not diagnosed, period. Not one single study, not one authoritative research calling it "autism". It's a response to people saying "they act like"... and THEN vets/behaviorists pointing out hat the behaviors are better defined as OCD and other issues. You aren't a behaviorist, so lumping your dogs behavior into "autistic" with severe behavior issues is derogatory... that kind of labeling is something the Autistic groups have tried to fight for a very long time. It is derogatory and dehumanizing.

and please stop talking about autism like it is something that shouldn't be spoken of in public.<

There is nothing wrong with talking about autism. There is something wrong with someone taking bad behaviors in a dog and calling them autistic. Fighting stereotypes is the opposite of what you did. But go ahead,

As I have stated earlier, I have been a dog owner since I was a child and am now almost 60 years old. Harry is the only dog that I have not been able to train within 30 days. <

Actually, you said you went 15 years with no dog, just your wife's bird. You also talked about yelling at the dog. ( You couldn't yell or scream or raise your voice at him.) You also said you got a dog from craig's list ... and took a mixed dog as a chihuahua. IF you had taken that poor baby to a vet immediately, they'd have known if 8 weeks old or, as you probably guessed right, considerably younger. So owning dogs can be like chewing gum, the more you do it doesn't necessarily confer any type of expertise or even much common sense. Who knows how a person with real experience may have made the dog much more secure, using calming signals, widening exposure to new things. You can't fix a fearful temperament, but a knowledgeable dog owner can improve it tremendously.

Biting isn't uncommon with puppies taken from their litter too young. Fearful behavior is generally genetic. Not knowing how to train a dog who is fearful often feeds into their fears and makes them worse. But whatever.

last edited by DebraDownSouth

@antigone

LOL so now you are a lawyer? Okay then. That makes you an expert on what? Nothing to do with dogs.

Even if you feed what you grow, rain and pollution makes it also contaminated. Feed what you want, but calling me "lax" about my food choices for my dogs, or other people their feeding choice, is uncalled for and says far more about your own insecurities than anything.

Raw isn't proven to be any better than cooked, but it also isn't poison.

And in case you missed it, you keep saying dogs are omnivores. First, that means meat and plant, not just plant.

Even as an "omnivore", experts always said more on meat eating end. And for several years now, actual experts debate if they are even omnivores.

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/are-dogs-carnivores-heres-what-new-research-says

Still want to know why you say this is a Basenji? 4lb at 8 wks is NOT normal for a Basenji pup.

In the early days in the UK many breeders (certainly not all) tried to train Basenjis as they would have other dogs in those days. This did indeed lead to behavioural problems and Basenjis were believed to be an aggressive breed because of developed traits. I have heard this repeated so many times when referring to early imports. It wasn't really true. Have you consulted a behaviourist well versed in knowledge of Basenjis? She/he could possibly help you with Harry's behaviours. Possibly you are happy with him as you obviously have learnt to live satisfactorily with him so then please ignore my suggestion.
Another suggestion about his eating - have you tried leaving him without food once a week on a regular basis? This is quite normal practice amongst natural feeding advocates.

@debradownsouth I have never claimed to be an expert at anything. As I have said I would only feed RAW Meat if I bred and raised the animal and slaughtered it myself. If you check out the PEW Research site this week they are discussing the overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock. There are other articles about the use of Steroids in Livestock.

Yes, I know what an Omnivore is and before my Dog got Cancer at the age of 12 I fed her IAMS both canned and dry. She got the Vegetarian Dog food after she had the Cancer and she lived for 4 more years.

My point is that the crap they are feeding the Livestock is putting Human Health at risk. We are becoming immune to Antibiotics and Superbugs such as MERSA is not easily cured. My Uncle got that at the Gym where he works out (it thrives in water) and he was on a Pic Line for 3 Months and then they amputated his big toe.

THAT is the main reason I would not feed Raw anything to my Dog. Also, nobody can claim to be an expert at anything. I find it odd that the Alpha Females of this forum toss that word around so frequently. Experience is one thing but Expertise is another thing entirely. Expertise is not just eons of experience but a quantifiable claim.

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