Rescue dog prey drive!

@fiona said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

Tbh I had never heard of a Basenji until people started asking me if she was one!! So all her prey drive came as a bit of a shock! It is like owning two dogs really as in the home she is brilliant calm relaxed and loving - then we go out walking on lead and she is “Devil Dog”!! So strong for her size too.

Yes, they are strong for their size. So as has been noted, pay attention to surroundings and be prepared so you aren't taken by surprise. A short leash is safest. Apart from anything else, if they leap to the end of a short leash the dog may get a jolt but it won't be severe. A dog hitting the end of 25 feet at a full out run could pull you over, or could flip the dog, possibly causing injury. The only up side to this is that if the dog is uninjured it may have learned a lesson! But don't count on it.

SF Bay Basenjis

Get a “No Pull” harness ASAP! They attach to leash at the chest and give you far more control of your dog than a collar. It was recommended to me by a trainer when my basenji was a puppy and after buying one I never use anything else. My dog is 12 now so he’s calmed down, but when he was younger he had the strength of an ox! And only 23 lbs! The naughtiest and least obedient dog imaginable until he was about 3 or 4. Basenjis will kick your butt!

@uconolly said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

Get a “No Pull” harness ASAP!

Please don't ! Get a Gentle Leader - for so many reasons these are far superior. I have been extolling their virtues now for months - no need to repeat it here.

And @jengosmonkey - if you want to use a long lead, use a long lead, NOT a flexi ! You can very easily damage the dog's neck when you reel it in and let it out and it snaps back when the dog runs the full extent of it and is brought to a sudden halt.

My packs have always hunted squirrels (and rabbits). As long as I am not expected to cook them for them - its in their DNA and I wouldn't change it !

I have two basenjis and I know what you mean about walks-they are not always a fun experience for me either-we have tons of wildlife around our house as well. The best success I have had is to replace one prey drive with another. I do coursing with mine so from day one I have used a horse lunge whip with a plastic bag on the end to "play" with. Its long enough to give them some space and action to really go after it. It doesn't stop them from still hunting but it gets a ton of steam off so they are a bit more tired and easier to walk (just make sure they don't eat the bag). Also, when they have gotten loose, all I do is grab the bag wave it around and they have always come right back for it. Its my emergency catching tool. I agree that the busier you keep them, the better they are. They love to have a job and be active!

"Prey drive" is certainly not exclusive to Basenjis, nor is it the same across the breed. Some are far more inclined to hunt than others. Many dogs that aren't even hunting breeds can be high drive dogs when something they perceive as "prey" is accessible. A friend's GSDs regularly kill rabbits that enter their yard. A stray cat would suffer the same fate. I think most Basenjis react to motion. My second girl chased a skidoo for over a mile across a frozen lake, because in her eyes I guess it was fleeing prey. She never showed an interest in chasing cars, but she would jump off the dock and pursue water skiers. However, she would not attempt to chase anything when I was walking her on a leash, because experience told her I would not allow it. Basenjis are not stupid. If taught to walk properly on a leash, they may react to a squirrel or rabbit running away, but after the first impulse they should refrain from unreasonable pulling because they know from experience it gains them nothing. At least, that's the way it has worked for my five....

My Tess loves to rid our yard and bird feeders of those pesky birds! She does have a very strong prey drive. Walks in our open space were really something with all the jackrabbits and other critters

My phrase has always been “eyes.” Tess was so good at that in training and in the house. Basenji’s can give attention like crazy.

But on walks? The tastiest treats were nothing to her. She was too focused on the critters.

Over the years Tess has become much more likely to pay attention to me. She does come when called. I believe that is down to wanting to be safe.
I say she comes when called, but she is getting quite deaf, and only hears me when I pitch my voice up in the high range and really yell.

You can certainly train a basenji, and I do recommend it. It strengthens the bond between the two of you. Basenjis love having their minds challenged.

I will also tell you that when I was actively training Tess, she had an amazing leave it. She loved the leave it game (doggy zen, they get the treat in your closed hand when they look away; to get the treat, you must not look at the treat).

One morning she ran out in the yard and grabbed a dove. She put it under her paws and began plucking it. I calmly told her to leave it, and believe it or not she put the dove down and backed away from it. She got a ton of treats for that.

The dove survived and eventually flew away, minus a number of feather.
I imagine that Tess leaving the dove was down to an age old instinct of giving up prey to a human hunting partner.

FIONA, I wonder what size your dog is? if she is not a very small dog, a front loading harness may be a possible choice, if the martingale doesn’t work for her. The leash snaps to the front of the harness. When the dog charges away and hits the end of the leash, the dog ends up facing the handler. I like how it works for some dogs. If she is at all interested in treats when you are out walking try giving her treats when she looks at you, whether you asked her to or not.
The martingale or the front loading harness may at least keep your arms from being pulled out of the sockets!

I wish you luck with your dog. Each dog is a puzzle when it comes to training, and it will take time to find out what will work for the pair of you.

@brindlebasenji said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

My phrase has always been “eyes.” .............. Each dog is a puzzle when it comes to training, and it will take time to find out what will work for the pair of you.

That was my "look at me" phrase too! Dead easy to teach with (or without, for that matter) clicker training. And Basenjis like to look you in the eye, so easier with them than some dogs. Totally agree, all are different. "Leave it" for my last boy, was the hardest thing for him, but IMO right up there with essential commands, behind "come" and "stay".

@Zande I share your concern about damaging the neck. I only use the Flexi with a harness. I know you're not a fan, but it works for us. The only time I use a Martingale is with a short lead. I've worked many hours with Logan on both long and short leads. He's gotten so much better. He's learned that when he's on the short lead he's working. He also knows that he'll get leeway on the longer lead, but only in certain places. One thing I kept working on with him while on the long lead was recall. Before he'd get to the end I'd call him "Logan, Come!" he'd trot back and get a treat. Now, every time I even begin to say the command he comes right away. I wish Sparkle was as food driven, but she's not when she's outside. She's proving to be more of a challenge for me. I'm determined to prove she's not smarter than me.

I wish I had a forest I could turn him loose in, but we don't have anything like that here. All the county and state parks have leash laws. There's a few state beaches that allow for off leash, but we don't get there very often.

@jengosmonkey said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

I'm determined to prove she's not smarter than me.

Good luck!!!!!

@tanza said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

... One time many years ago at an indoor show, there was a person that had a "pet" squirrel in a crate... this critter got loose and ran through all 9 indoor rings.... and you could say "no" to your were blue in the face, they wanted that critter... and honestly that was for all breeds, not just Basenjis...

🤣
Did the squirrel survive its suicide escapade?!!!?
What owner thought that was a splendid idea to bring a squirrel to a dog show? What fear the critter may have felt the whole time in its crate.
Still... 🤣 for the imagined chases!

@helle-devi said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

@tanza said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

... One time many years ago at an indoor show, there was a person that had a "pet" squirrel in a crate... this critter got loose and ran through all 9 indoor rings.... and you could say "no" to your were blue in the face, they wanted that critter... and honestly that was for all breeds, not just Basenjis...

🤣
Did the squirrel survive its suicide escapade?!!!?
What owner thought that was a splendid idea to bring a squirrel to a dog show? What fear the critter may have felt the whole time in its crate.
Still... 🤣 for the imagined chases!

Yes it did... lucky for the squirrel that all the dogs were on leads in the ring...

@donc The Basenji is alert, energetic, curious and reserved with strangers. The Basenji tends to become emotionally attached to a single human. Basenjis may not get along with non-canine pets. Basenjis dislike wet weather, much like cats, and will often refuse to go outside in any sort of damp conditions. They like to climb, and can easily scale chain wire/link fences.

Basenjis often stand on their hind legs, somewhat like a meerkat, by themselves or leaning on something; this behavior is often observed when the dog is curious about something. Basenjis have a strong prey drive. According to the book The Intelligence of Dogs, they are the second least trainable dog, when required to do human commands (behind only the Afghan Hound). Their real intelligence manifests when they are required to actually "think".

Basenjis are highly prey driven and will go after cats and other small animals.

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basenji

last edited by kittenishkat
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@kittenishkat said in Rescue dog prey drive!:

Basenjis often stand on their hind legs, somewhat like a meerkat

Mku can stand on his hind legs longer than any Basenji I have ever had barring Firbi. He could stand for a long time, no support of any kind.

All mine have learned to 'catch' treats thrown. Anything that fell to the floor would be grabbed by someone else so they all taught themselves not to let that happen. Feeding them green beans was like dropping green worms into the mouths of a nest of young sparrows. Up to eight Basenjis dancing around on their hind legs shouting ME, ME, I want one too !

I have never noticed them doing it when curious about something. Only when feed was on offer.

I think it’s safe to say, that the information out there about the breed is true but with plenty of attention and consistency they can be trained. My dogs can do tricks too but they have moments where I would toss a ball to play with them and I get a “ you go get it” look. They are defiant when they wan to be.

It’s amazing the things they can do. Standing on hind legs and jumping as high as they do. They are so agile. They have a great sense of humor too. I taught my female to high five alternating paws if I changed my hands.

Do you get the “I want attention” stares?

last edited by kittenishkat

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