• I recently adopted my Basenji from the pound who had been given up twice prior. Causing her to have separation anxiety and she seems to hate men. Whenever men get too close to her or even just pass her by on a walk she will start growling and barking (thank god she has never tried to bite anyone) I have had her for about two months now and I thought we were making good progress with socialization and we were able to go to the dog park without her barking at any of the other owners ( she has always done better when there are other dogs around and is more relaxed around strangers with dogs present) and even go on walks without her barking at men. However, it seems as if she is going backward and is now beginning to be reactive with all strangers and even with one of my roommates who she previously tolerated well and it seems like all our progress is gone. Does anyone have any tips for me?


  • Start giving her a command that would indicate that she should focus on you, not them. A firm, "heel" with a shortened leash and quicker pace. A stop, sit, and stay until the offending human passes by. How you choose to deal with it is really up to you. I will say this though, if you feel dread when you see someone approaching because of how your dog acted the last time, your dog will not learn to react differently. Be clear. You are the one in charge. If a stranger asks to pet or otherwise approach your pup, a polite, "next time, we are in training today", or similar comment should cue them to pass without further interaction.

    It's training. Both for you and your dog. It takes time, just keep working on it.


  • Take the dog for walks and bring high quality food rewards (like steak). Give the rewards while at a distance from strangers. The dog will tell you how much distance you should keep between the strangers and the two of you. (i.e. when the dog starts to react, you're too close; the idea is to communicate that strangers are nothing to be scared of. This is done by giving food to the dog in the presence of strangers. Depending on how reactive the dog is, you may have to keep a lot of distance at first. Keep doing this for several sessions, getting closer to strangers over many sessions, at your dog's pace.

    If the dog is too reactive to even take food rewards, then you need to go back to confidence building, or try from an even further distance from strangers.

    Best of luck.

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