Hi from Sol's house

Hi All,

I adopted my third basenji 5 months ago– he is the first I didn't raise from a puppy, but he is a very good and lovable dog, and we have bonded amazingly. His name is Sol and I call him alternately Solace and Solomon.
I am having a problem with him and my husband-- he ( my husband, not the dog) is legally blind and when Sol got away shortly after we adopted him he yelled a lot because he was upset and couldn't help look for him, and ever since Sol will tolerate him, but is quite afraid of him, despite 4 months of feeding, walking etc. Sol still won't take food directly from him, not even the most savory treat, and won't approach closer than 5 feet or so in the yard. It really hurts my husband, who loves and grew up with basenji's, to be rejected like this, especially when dealing with being newly blind (a year). Sol even has accidents, apparently out of fear, when he is with my husband, who has been completely kind to him for months! Any ideas about how to get Sol over his fear?

Kris

How old is Sol? It may take time and practice, but, hand feeding from your husband only; no yelling b/c of accidents; talking in a very soft voice(crooning) all will help. You say he won't take food from your husband-but is that b/c you're feeding him the majority of the time? Some dogs are very afraid of men b/c they are very large with loud (booming) voices. Just a few suggestions.

Hi Arlene,

Sol is 5 1/2, and was raised by women, but he is very friendly with most men. My husband can be louder than he intends, which I've noticed more since he became blind, but he has been careful to talk quietly with Sol. It's hard to hand feed when he won't approach– usually he gives up, puts the foot down and Sol scoots in and takes it. Thanks for your help. Kris

It may be too soon for hand feeding. How about trying to throw treats at him from whatever distance he IS comfortable with. Eventually he'll get closer but you can't force him to until he's ready.

My Topaz has similar issues except she's like that with EVERYONE :eek: So I ask people to come low to the ground (standing over the dog makes it more intimidating) and have your side face the dog (meaning do not face the dog straight on) and just hold the treats in your hand & pitch them so that the food/treats fall in front of Sol. Do this for about 5 minutes (try to have husband just remain quiet if he can't control his voice volume). Try not to do this for more than 5 minutes each time. You don't want to overwhelm Sol. Each time he'll be able to do this a little longer.

Eventually pitch the food/treats half way between him & the dog. Then get closer each time. Once he's comfortable enough to get a little closer (maybe 1-2ft) then have your husband use his voice…"good sol" or "what a good boy" Sol needs to get used to your husbands voice otherwise he'll always get startled. If he can get used to his voice & associate it the loud voice with something good he'll be fine.

@jys1011:

So I ask people to come low to the ground (standing over the dog makes it more intimidating) and have your side face the dog (meaning do not face the dog straight on) and just hold the treats in your hand & pitch them so that the food/treats fall in front of Sol. Do this for about 5 minutes (try to have husband just remain quiet if he can't control his voice volume). Try not to do this for more than 5 minutes each time. You don't want to overwhelm Sol. Each time he'll be able to do this a little longer.

I'll agree with part of this. The problem is #1 he's blind and cannot see the dog. It's better for him to sit quietly and hand feed Sol. Unfortunately, this means that the dog may get a little hungry since he will be the only one feeding him. It will also be hard to throw the treats not knowing where they will fall. It sounds like the husband(sorry-we don't have his name) is overwhelmed at times with his blindness-this is very normal and natural to get very frustrated still. It's also true that a few minutes at a time throughout the day is better than both getting frustrated at the sequence of things.

Arlene-my grandma was officially blind & had better aim then you can imagine :eek: it was incredible how well her hearing developed when she lost her eyesight. We couldn't tip toe into a room without her noticing IMMEDIATELY 😃 😃

I figured Kristink could help hubby out with the tossing at first. Maybe stand where the dog is & be a vocal cue for her husband to throw the treats/food. It doesn't have to be perfect because the dog would be more inclined to go get the food since he doesn't have to eat it from his hand.

Good idea-about Kristine helping to throw the food. I'm sure your Grandma though had accepted the blindness though. Our generation seems to take a bit longer to accept the difficulties of life IMO. This whole thing reminds me of feeding the chipmunks at the campground. Same outcome is expected.

Thanks to everyone for your help. We have been doing pretty much what you suggest, and Sol is better than he was. It's jist hard for Tom (tha't my husmban's name) because our other basenjis loved him and having Sol lie next to him and be petted would be such a comfort, and this all seems to be taking so long… And because when his brother came over Sol was great with him. It is all part and parcel with the many little frustrations of blindness. Tom can still see some-- it is fuzzy and washed out, but he can even put a leash on Sol, who will even stand still politely for it, but is clearly just politely tolerating, not likeing Tom. And he absolutely won't come to Tom. We will work on the Tossing stuff- it seems the best avenue.

In cool stuff, I am a rock climber, and when I go to a local wood to climb boulders sol like to climb them too- obviously shorter ones, but he really likes it, and runs to them to climb-- I have to discourage him with a firm 'no' when it looks too dangerous. I want to do a little video of him climbing. He jumps on stone walls and walks along next to me too. I use treats to teward him for getting to the top sometimes, but he still climbs after I am out of treats.

Kris

Welcome to the forum, it sounds like you've got great advice and are making progress. Looking forward to hearing how it goes, and seeing pictures of course!

Welcome to the forum! I saw a film once at the Banff Film Festival of a jack russell that rock climbed with his owner…it was amazing! Post a video, post a video! 😃

The only other thing I would add to your original note and question, was that when I got Ruby, she was afraid of my brother. He's 6ft5 and has a big voice...I think he was the biggest man she had ever seen. The way Ruby finally came around was that he would talk very softly to her, even if she was standing way across the room.

Now she will go over to him, sit beside him and he sits on the ground and talks very quietly (almost a whisper) in a friendly voice and he gives her a body massage. 😃 It took about a month of her getting closer to him on her own terms. Oh, and he is the only one that she has actually barked at. He came in my house at 10pm one night and there weren't many lights on and she barked (a real bark) twice. 😃

Good job on both your parts! I'm glad you're finally making progress.

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