d.melo............YOU have to show your dog that you are the leader. Otherwise he's going to walk all over you. My Mr.T came to me as his owner's were transferred to Brazil for their job. They bought him as a puppy from a breeder in Arizona where they lived. Apparently this was the first dog they ever had, or else they had NO clue about a Basenji. They never touched his feet, never picked him up.............nothing. He walked all over them. I didn't know that when he came to live with me..........which I found out real quick...............and he found out real quick that I was not going to tolerate his behavior. He hates getting shots, having his temp taken, blood drawn. He will BITE! That includes clipping his nails. Now I have to have a muzzle when he goes to the vet. He's fine getting weighed, but after that, the muzzle goes on. After all is done, muzzle come's off, and the vet and tech assistant both give him a treat so he knows that he gets good things afterwards. I also like and use Gentle Leaders for my dogs. I would walk all 3 (my Jenna crossed at age 17), so now its just the 2 boys with a gentle leader and one leash (coupler). Otherwise they would pull me. NOT a Haltie..............but a Gentle Leader.
The idea that you have to be the pack leader and assert yourself the right way to correct unwanted behavior is, unfortunately, a myth. The dominance method is not based in science and is the incorrect way to view dog behavior. The reasons that dogs do what they do have much simpler explanations than that they are testing you or trying to pull a fast one on you. This is why I urge you to seek out a trainer who is credentialed. Prong collars can increase aggression and solidify negative associations with other dogs. If you go Googling or YouTubing, make sure you first look at the source of the video or article. Is it from a trainer? If so, what are their credentials? (Google to find out.) What basis do they have for giving their advice?
The idea that you have to be the pack leader and assert yourself the right way to correct unwanted behavior is, unfortunately, a myth.
People have different ways of expressing the relationship between dog and owner. Lots of room for misinterpretation. The bottom line is that in a healthy relationship your dog respects you, sees you as the source of good things (like food, walks, etc.), and doesn't challenge your authority, for example by refusing to get off the couch! There is a lot to learn from various training approaches, and it's often true that "the only thing two trainers can agree on is that the third one is doing it wrong". Doing it "right" will be obvious by the results you get. You can take advice and try different things, but in dog training as in life the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Operant conditioning works well, but it is important to understand the way positive and negative reinforcements work so that you can apply the appropriate one with the right timing to obtain the result you desire. But, you know what? People have been training dogs "unscientifically" for a very long time, and back in the day before all the buzz words and fanny packs of treats arrived, most ordinary folks managed to find ways to get their dogs to behave.
The bottom line is that in a healthy relationship your dog respects you, sees you as the source of good things (like food, walks, etc.), and doesn't challenge your authority,
In other words, you are his pack leader !
I've successfully lived this 'myth' since 1981 with a pack varying in size from 1 to 8 and every number in between.
Ditto to everything said by others. But also keep in mind, just because an owner says her dog is not in heat doens't mean her dog is not coming into heat. My Teddy can tell a bitch coming into heat a day or two before the human knows it. If there are intact dogs at your dog park, stop going there (I don't recommend dog parks either).
People who are saying to avoid dog parks this time of year, is that for all Basenjis across the globe? Are they known to be particularly naughty this time? We've actually noticed a couple of behavioral issues at the dog park, nothing too bad, but our boy is starting to act like he owns the park and his recall is shocking...thankfully he doesn't go far, he just doesn't care much about what we have to say either all he wants to do is play with other dogs.
@lokishadjie There are people on both sides of the dog park "fence". Some like it, some don't. I'm on the "like it" side. Primarily because it's obvious to me that my girl enjoys playing and interacting with the other dogs.
Generally speaking, the dog park can be fun for the dogs. There are occasional squabbles. Sometimes an owner is not as attentive as other owners would like them to be. Or there is a difference of (human) opinion on training. Life happens. My favorite dog park is mostly: the dogs play, the people chat, and everybody picks up after their pet(s). Doodle even likes to go when it's empty. She has no problem sunbathing, undisturbed, for an hour. IMHO, going to the dog park occasionally is a good thing. Going too often can create a spacial ownership ("It's my yard, I'm in charge here.") problem.
But! It's pretty much a guarantee that a new, or clueless, dog owner is going to show up at the dog park with their intact female who is "in season". That creates problems. The aroma lingers and once a male smells a female who is in season, all reason goes out the door. Males become aggressive. Typical male "survival" mode sets in. And they will fight each other over who is going to mate with her. Even after that particular female leaves... the scent remains and then the poor boys are so confused they will try to mate any girl around (even if that girl isn't "in season"). None of that makes for fun at the dog park.
I'm no Basenji expert since I've only had one. And, I don't want to start a dog park argument. I'll just share my experience.
Jengo LOVED running free, but he's a Basenji. Can't do that cause... cars. The dog park near our house is HUGE. A big completely enclosed lawn area the size of a football field with towering oak trees. We were OCD about keeping Jengo's vaccinations up to date. He was chipped and wore a collar with contact and rabies tags 24/7. He loved the dog park, but not all the dogs there. He hated any dog of any size that would try to dominate him in any way. He rarely instigated it, but he never tolerated it meaning regardless of size... he wouldn't back down. He also hated if another dog approached him from behind and would snap immediately.
My solution was to stay near him and to keep moving. We would walk laps around the perimeter and by about the second or third lap he'd been or had checked out all the other dogs. Then things were good. If I saw that he was getting anxious I'd usually catch it before he reacted and would tell him "Easy". 9 times out 10 that was enough. I'd also make sure that he was aware of dogs in our vicinity so that he wouldn't be surprised if they came from behind. We went to the park for years. He never caught anything that I was aware of. I did pick him up and leave if there was another dog he and/or I weren't comfortable with. And, I also recall walking away before ever entering the park if there was a dog we didn't like already there.
I guess my point is that part of protecting your dog and others is knowing and focusing on them without over-reacting at the same time. I don't want to set him off. But, I want to know what he's going to do before he does. You have to read him. All dogs give signals one way or another. Tune in to your dog, not the other people at the park. I liked the other people at the park, but I wasn't there for them. My focus was always on Jengo.