Unfortunately we have the same problem with our boy (9) and girl (10). Off leash they play well - 95% of the time. The other 5% can be a disaster especially with small frightened dogs. My guys have gone after such animals and even bitten them - once drawing a small amount of blood. This behaviour seems quite instinctive and regrettably I have not been able to curb it. I do hope your pleasant little fellow doesn’t go this far. But we are talking about a very primitive breed.
Pulling on the leash, crazy on walks
I am in need of help regarding my Basenji, who was rehomed 6+ months ago, he pulls a lot on the leash, and we have tried many months of training techniques, head collar, etc. but nothing is working at all, especially with his problem with other dogs/people, he will go insane no matter how far away the dog/person is, even if they are no longer visible. We would love for him to just walk on a loose leash and be able to take him in public, as at the moment we are unable since he can't even walk nicely in our local park. Open to anything, collars, dog training etc. Please just help us, we are running out of options.
Thank you in advance,
Unfortunately this will likely take some time. There are some options with equipment, but training is the best long term solution. However if immediate control is what you need, I would recommend the Sporn head halter. Unlike others, it does not turn the dog's head, but brings the dog's nose down. My neighbour has one for their Golden Doodle, and it instantly turned that dog from a bad puller into something her young kids could control.
The excitement at sight of other dogs will take time. Try to redirect his attention to something else, go in a different direction, and keep any contact to a long distance until you start to see some results. Without knowing why he reacts like this it's hard to give advice. I had a boy who had similar issues with some other dogs, but only with close approaches, and mostly I just tried to avoid the situation, but if I couldn't I would ask for a sit, and wait for the other dog to pass.
Edited to ad, personally I think a wide martingale collar is the safest and best tool for walking a Basenji, based on personal experience. They cannot back out of it and because it does tighten when they pull, there is some incentive not to do so. However, you cannot beat training for stopping pulling, and the best approach I know is to not proceed forward when the leash is tight. It can take a lot of patience to achieve the desired result, but most dogs will eventually figure it out if you are consistent. Another approach is to teach them to target (either a target or your hand), with lots of repetition so you can bring them to heel without yanking them around.
I'm tossing two ideas out there that I think may have some measure of success.
The first, is not to take your dog for a walk. Take him for a run. Best if all three of you go, but fine if it's just you or your husband. The reason I'm suggesting a run is because it requires a different level of attention than a walk does. With a walk, your dog is exploring the world and everything is a distraction. When you take your dog for a run, his focus shifts. "Are we going fast or slow or stopping or, or, or...?" As you jog or run, you can add walking in for breathers, or doggy needs, and then if the dog starts displaying the less desirable behavior, you can go back to a run and the dog is focused on you again.
The second, would be to do something with your dog that will get rid of the energy (or some of it). As the saying goes, "a tired dog is a good dog". Basenji's probably won't want to play fetch. Mine wouldn't. But there are other things... lure coursing, agility events. What you choose will depend on you, your dog, and your situation, but the idea is to find an outlet for your dogs' energy.
Let us know how you end up solving the problem.
You need to work their minds, not just with walks.... teach him to focus on you... with commands in the home like sit, stay, watch (especially watch which is to watch you)... I would not do running with him until you get his attention. And as noted since he is an older dog, it will take time with re-focus his attention
Martingales! They’ve been a wonder getting my 1.5 year old basenji to walk well on a leash. Go on YouTube and you’ll find a ton of great 101 videos explaining how they work and how to train with them (it’s way easier to watch than for me to explain)
Take walks that are specifically training walks, Even if it’s just up and down the street a couple of times. no wandering and no sniffing allowed. The dog’s sole job is to walk by your side and be attentive to you. Have treats on hand and reward your dog every time he looks to you or gives you his attention. It’s also helpful to have him practice sitting and waiting - my girl is at the point where if I stop walking she’ll almost automatically sit and wait at my feet.
She has the most trouble when we’re passing other dogs and we’re definitely still working on that, but just setting the expectation that her job on a walk is to be next to me has made walking with her so much easier.
Once he starts to get the picture you can give him ‘sniff breaks’ too, so he still gets to have fun and do what dogs do. And I take my girl on lots of off leash hikes in the woods, so she gets to have a place to roam and run but she also has a place where it’s time to listen and behave
Each basenji is different. What works for 1 doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on another. HOWEVER, you can teach your dog to walk on a leash with LOT of patience, consistency, desensitizing, and positive reinforcement. My high energy basenji needed a job. I was very serious about his ‘job’, and he was very proud to do every day. I backpacked him with slightly filled water bottles. Adding a little at a time to equal tiring him out with his exercise fitness. Our current male that we adopted 7 years ago, is very dog reactive. I need to be very aware of the other dog’s body language to judge how mine will react. I made some basenji specific walking videos for a friend. They are private but I can message them to you if you would like. I’m not a trainer, but I made these as my friend didn’t quit understand what I was trying to convey. If you are interested let me know. But it took about 2 years before he became ‘good’ on the leash.
One thing we did with our dogs in the winter, when spending a log time outside wasn't an option, was play 'get the fish.'
We tied a plastic bag (like we got at the grocery store) to a string (we used a nylon about 1/8 inch) and attached that to a 4 ft pole. Then we just waved it back and forth and the dogs LOVED chasing it. Sometimes they got it and destroyed it, which was more fun that just chasing it.
We had to be careful when we brought the groceries in!
There used to be a thing called a 'gentle leader' - I had a boy who pulled like crazy when we were going into a show. Probably two if not three Basenjis, a loaded trolley and hordes of people going in the same direction, similarly laden, just as encumbered.
And one dog who pulled in every which direction towards every other dog we saw.
I bought a gentle leader, used it just once - it is perfectly ok, doesn't encourage over-muscular shoulders, and there is no rubbing off of the pelt - but Firbi did NOT like it.
The first time I used it, he tried to argue with me but finally gave it best and walked quietly alongside. That was the only time I used it. From then on, all I had to do was show it to him in the car before I got him out and he was angelic !
NOT a no-pull. A Gentle Leader. Great for training doggies. Make sure you get the right size. I am minded I got a size 2.
We had a very unique basenji that LIKED to grab a blanket, towel, toy, whatever, lie down, and the kids would drag him around. As near as I could tell, it never hurt his teeth. He just laid on his side, and got dragged around in circles! It helped get rid of kid energy too!
@rugosab Mku loves to do that but my kid is 49 years old. He still plays with the puppy when he is home. LOL