Basenji Reactivity- please help!

A few months ago we got a 1 year old Basenji male called Ozzie who had been re-homed as the owner could no longer care for him, due to this, as a puppy he did not receive the correct training as a puppy so lacks socialization. We have managed to train him to sort of walk nicely (he still sometimes pulls) but his main issue we are still yet to solve. If he sees another dog, or any people, he will freeze in place and lay down, you can't move him if you tried, distractions don't work, body blocking doesn't work, toys, treats, a freshly cooked steak, nothing will work! It is extremely embarrassing and people think that he is aggressive, but he only does this as he is so excited to see other dogs. We need to solve this as he will do it in the middle of the path/road even if a dog is miles away, and I don't want to wait for ten minutes to let a dog pass just for the dog to not even care about mine or greet. Any way to solve this behavioral issue, we are open to anything as we are desperate at this point, we really need it solving.
Thank you in advance!

You are bigger than he is, pick him up. Walk away from his distraction and put him down again. My boy would do this, and it was definitely aggression/stalking. It could also be a fear reaction. My approach was "let's go" and a firm tug on the leash, which worked for him. You could also try reversing direction and walking away, if he is open to this. Main point is to remove him from the situation and hopefully he will give it up if it doesn't get him what he wants, which at this point is not clear. If he is scared, perhaps he will welcome the "rescue", otherwise he may resist you removing him, but in any case it is your call, not his.

last edited by eeeefarm

We will try, we have also used the command ''Let's go'' with a tug to get him moving the opposite way, the only problem is sometimes if you pick him up when he doesn't want to he will growl, I don't think he would bite though so we will try it.

@chlloe-k said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

We will try, we have also used the command ''Let's go'' with a tug to get him moving the opposite way, the only problem is sometimes if you pick him up when he doesn't want to he will growl, I don't think he would bite though so we will try it.

Not unusual for a Basenji, and generally speaking it is a bluff, but one caveat. If you opt to pick him up, do not hesitate or change your mind if he growls. If you do, you are teaching him that growling gets him his way. You have to be confident and willing to take a bite if it comes to that. If you are unsure of yourself, just don't even start, because you can teach him that he can back you off and then if you do insist he may escalate to biting. Never, ever let biting result in him getting his way! I am serious about this. If you aren't sure of yourself, then the alternative is to just insist with the leash, even if you have to drag him a few steps. Most dogs would rather walk than be dragged!

Sometimes a "let's go" combined with excited running steps away from the object of his interest may work. At some point you have to be the boss and he has to be the dog....

last edited by eeeefarm

I disagree... this a normal for many Basenjis... they lay in wait... let him do it... live with it... it happens... he is a hunting dog, he is stalking his prey... real or NOT! I have had Basenjis (and been in the breed 30+yrs) that did this... stalking prey is what they do... please research the breed and learn about them... this is what many of Hounds, which is a Basenji does.

@tanza said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

I disagree... this a normal for many Basenjis... they lay in wait... let him do it... live with it... it happens... he is a hunting dog, he is stalking his prey... real or NOT! I have had Basenjis (and been in the breed 30+yrs) that did this... stalking prey is what they do... please research the breed and learn about them... this is what many of Hounds, which is a Basenji does.

I agree, some do it, some don't. However, on a practical level you can't just wait around every time your dog wants to do the "stalking" act when you have a time frame and a walk to finish before you go to work or whatever, and my impression from the original post is that it has become an issue. From a safety standpoint, you certainly cannot wait in the middle of a road until your dog has decided to move on!

last edited by eeeefarm

I know this practice very well. My basenjis don't do it, my Lemon Beagle used to do it! I wasnt aware of the reason back then but OMG carrying him home was like juggling a 45 pound bag of doorknobs.❤ I miss that guy.

Neither of my basenjis do it but I have plenty of experience with the growls and bites when she is moved...lol. A very cranky 10 year old gal.

I'm with Tanza. It's normal for many Basenjis. Just let it go.

You also need to understand that a Basenji isn't going to be as easy to train as most (all?) other dogs. LOL I'm actually quite impressed you have him walking as well on the lead as you do. This is not so much of a "wasn't done right when he was a puppy" as it is "that's how they roll".

The good thing is that if you're in Africa your little guy will understand* how to sneak attack and attack the lion from the rear so as to distract him from his task of eating you!

[edited: substituted understand for undertones]

last edited by elbrant

@tanza Thank you Pat for your wisdom! We are on Basenji #5 and Miles is now 4 years old, they all did this : ) eventually the time shortened up and usually he wants to just play most of the time.Sweet Miles

last edited by elbrant

Hello Chlloe, I think the thing I learned most from our basenji (s) is patience. Sometimes you just have to out wait them. Miles is now 4 and the time now he lays down and stalks the other dogs has shortened up. Good comments from others here too.

I'm sorry to have to disagree with people whose opinion I respect, but I stand by my advice. For safety reasons you cannot just wait out this behaviour when it happens in an inconvenient place, and if you allow it to become a habit it may be difficult in the moment to deal with an emergency. What are you going to do if your dog decides to lie down halfway across a road with traffic coming? Obviously you are going to have to pick him up or drag him, which may result in a struggle and put you both at risk. Better you never allow the behaviour in the first place and teach him that it is not an option. JMHO.

At the very least, if you decide to allow the behaviour under safe circumstance, teach your dog that "let's go" means immediately, and that he must defer to you when you command it....

last edited by eeeefarm

@eeeefarm said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

if you allow it to become a habit it may be difficult in the moment to deal with an emergency.

Very good point!

@eeeefarm - I never said if in a unsafe situation that you should do nothing, I was expressing the fact that this is inbred to Basenjis to stalk. Some don't, many do

@tanza said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

@eeeefarm - I never said if in a unsafe situation that you should do nothing, I was expressing the fact that this is inbred to Basenjis to stalk. Some don't, many do

It's an interesting behaviour. Of my five, only one displayed this, and only on relatively rare occasions. My concern is that if a dog does it frequently on seeing other dogs it has the potential to be unsafe, and you really do need a way to be able to move on immediately if necessary, and without a fight.

@eeeefarm - This is a typical Basenji behavior.... not all, but many and of course if they are in a situation that is unsafe, you need to take action. If not in immediate danger (like the middle of the street and I would have to ask why are you walking in the middle of the street) there is nothing wrong with removing that dog from the situation.... but understand this is a hound (sighthound) reaction...

@tanza said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

@eeeefarm - This is a typical Basenji behavior.... not all, but many and of course if they are in a situation that is unsafe, you need to take action. If not in immediate danger (like the middle of the street and I would have to ask why are you walking in the middle of the street) there is nothing wrong with removing that dog from the situation.... but understand this is a hound (sighthound) reaction...

No, I don't walk in the middle of the street, but I do cross the road, as I am guessing most people have to do from time to time. 😉

@eeeefarm said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

No, I don't walk in the middle of the street, but I do cross the road, as I am guessing most people have to do from time to time. 😉

I've never had a problem with this when crossing a street, which I think I've done thousands or maybe tens of thousands of times. I have never thought about it, but most likely the conditions when the crouching occurs -- another dog slowly approaching from a distance -- doesn't happen when crossing the street. If it did I'd just drag and keep going, but as best I can remember it never has.

On the other hand, for some reason Basenjis LOVE to stop in the middle of the street. To FLAP. No idea why but they all seem to think it's a great idea, which it definitely is not.

@donc said in Basenji Reactivity- please help!:

Basenjis LOVE to stop in the middle of the street

doodle stops everytime there's smooshed food on the road! Otherwise she's pretty good at staying next to me. Hard to blame her. But she will "leave it" with a firm command and a tug on the leash.

@eeeefarm

Thank you so much for understanding the issue I am facing, and we are not allowing him to greet unless he goes to the dog nicely

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