Basenji Reactivity- please help!


  • 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....


  • @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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  • @chlloe-k did this improve over time? I have a similar problem.

    I got my B when he was 6 months and he had this behaviour from day 1. At first I thought it was submissive, but now it really is becoming a huge problem. I can’t get around a park with him, and if the dog comes close but doesn’t acknowledge him, he’ll start darting and choking on the leash. If he sees multiple dogs but can’t meet them, he becomes unmanageable for the next hour or so, in a crazy hyper alert state.

    It might be a “natural” behaviour but it’s dangerous when 1) the dog stops in the street 2) becomes hyper alert and reactive to other sights and sounds and 3) other dogs interpret it as threatening

    Did you manage to improve this with your B? Really hoping for any tips before I start working with a professional on the behaviour


  • @castoinde how old is your Basenji now? Mine is 12 months old and has been doing this for a few months. I can't work out what it means, as sometimes she does it and says hello nicely, but other times she growls. I don't think it's just a Basenji thing, as when some owners of other dogs see her doing it say laugh and they theirs used to do it too. Using the lead I move her off the path and over to the grass verge so she's not in the other dog's way and shorten the lead to stop her lunging.


  • @jkent yep! I get the same reaction here! He’s 18 months, the conversation usually goes like “ours used to do that too when he was a puppy” followed by my “I was hoping he’d grow out of it but here we are”. Sound familiar?

    It got marginally better using a halti yesterday, where he was accepting treats and (eventually!) walking by (with some, um... persuasion) but I’m now avoiding parks that I are busy on sunny days. Busy streets are the most difficult, and I think it stems from him growing up during all of the intense lockdowns in Europe last year. Cities were silent, but now thronging with day trippers.

    He’s never growled at another dog, but I have met a couple of people with Manchester terriers who have both mentioned theirs behaving similarly so I think it’s definitely an overstimulated-hunting-dog thing. With the lunging, I usually let him have a very slightly loose leash, he’ll wait for the other dog to come over but if it’s clear the other dog isn’t interested then I need to take it in to control the lunging—I almost have hold of his collar at that point. I try to avoid keeping it tight throughout the interaction because I believe it makes the lunging behaviour worse.


  • 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.

    Oh my, yes! The flap in the middle of the street 🤣
    Weve had Gizmo 2 weeks now and I've mentioned this to my daughter how he loves to do it on his walk.

    He is also a master other doggy stalker then meets them to play but sometimes the pounce scares other dogs away.


  • Cara is 11. She has only love our Samoyed in her entire adult life. No animal is worthy of breathing air. While Pam did take her about 5 years ago for a refresher course, she learned to ignore the other basenjis, not like them. If she freezes, she is definitely waiting for prey. Usually she keeps walking slowly, eyes seemingly forward, until she is within striking distance.

    I wouldn't trust my dog to lie in wait until you truly are sure of their intentions. Even then, do you know if their behavior may be stressing out the other dog? And how many dogs and how much time do you have to play out this behavior?

    On a good day, Moose the Samoyed runs into up to 10 of his harem on a long walk (usually 3 to 5). He's out to play, that's the goal. On a potty walk when my daughter or her fiance are in a hurry, they give him very little play time and he accepts it. No, he's not a basenji...but also an ancient independent thinking breed. They live to play. We get to decide when.

    My point being, I understand that a behavior may be normal...but I am surprised at owners throwing up their hands and letting it go. There are many situations where you need the dog to keep moving, and you want training in force before that occurs. I am not sure at the resistance against that view.

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