Shy Basenji

😕 I have a eight month old Basenji named Tippy that we have had for six weeks. she is very jumpy and is afraid of everything and everyone. she will come to us when called by as soon as you go to touch her she jumps and runs away. Even if you had just spent a lot of time with her and as time go by she dose not seen to be getting any better.

@kimbertonhaynes:

😕 I have a eight month old Basenji named Tippy that we have had for six weeks. she is very jumpy and is afraid of everything and everyone. she will come to us when called by as soon as you go to touch her she jumps and runs away. Even if you had just spent a lot of time with her and as time go by she dose not seen to be getting any better.

Where did you get her from? A breeder? Rescue? If from a breeder, have you talked to the breeder? She shows what would be called poor early socialization, which means that as a baby puppy and up to when you got her, she was not exposed to situations, strangers, noises, etc.. which is all part of socialization. Many kennel dogs react this way. And also depending on her breeding (pedigree) she may come from a line of dogs that do not in general have a good temperament. If this is the case then it will be a long "haul" to turn her around.

My first suggestion would be to have her evaluated by an animal behaviorist… and they can give you suggestions to help bring her around.

Is she food motivated? You need for one thing to make every single thing you do with her fun... lots of treats for things she does well (like coming when you call her)... playing with toys... hand feeding her... rewards when she lets you pet her....

With rescue dogs, our fosters/owners, give "strangers" treats and then they approch the dog with chicken or beef jerky in hand.
If the dog is fearful of folks coming into your house, have a bowl of treats set up outside, and have your friends come in dropping trails of goodies..
Hands and treats should be the same in a basenjis mind.
Having rescue dogs, we find most of the b's are timid of hands.
This can be corrected, but it takes work and folks to help you.

Welcome kimber!!

Have you tried not touching her until she touches you?

Let her make the first move. Talk to her in your kind and reassuring voice, then sit in a 'senji friendly chair (or on the grass in the yard), still talking to her until she makes the first contact.

With my Katie, I can NEVER, at first, reach over her head (with palm down) to scratch her ears. She immediately ducks her head/neck and flattens her ears. (It's been so long since I did this I tried again, and Kate still did the duck and dive) I always have to start with the palm up, offering hand scent first and a scratch to her chin.

I have no idea why this is ….my Tyler has always been comfortable with an open palm over the head and a good ear scratch to start the day:) . Then again, Katie (aka sissy) has always been leery of EVERYTHING, including an ear scratch, dark back yards, trees blowing in the wind, unlit hallways, new toys that don't make noise, etc...!

Re being head shy, what you do, is have a treat in your hand…YOU come up under the dogs head, toward the chest...you let the dog take the treat and you touch the chest with a nice voice.
Head touching not tolerated except by the best socialized b...IMO.
Coming up from under the nose, toward the chest, gives you a level to be on with the dog...we have to get down to do this with b's.
You have to go slow and let the dog smell your hand before you touch it treats help...
and the dog learns that hands are good.
Ok, maybe I am giving too much info.
If so, I am so sorry.

I agree Sharron… I always tell people to never go to pet "over" the head, but always palm out and under the nose...

Please listen to the people in this forum. My dog was the same way when I got him at 9 months old. I wanted to show him and I was devastated because he was afraid of everything. I did what folks on here told me to and my now 20 month old dog is showing like a champ. He is still frightened of some things like walkers and crutches but I am amazed at how far he has come. Whatever you do don't give up.

Posted by Sharron…"Head touching not tolerated except by the best socialized b...IMO."

I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on the above statement:( . Katie and Ty were socialized the same way, in the same home. I think, just like our 2-legged kids, they all have individual personality quirks--like being head or hand shy, tolerating or not tolerating wet feet, eating at the bowl or grabbing a mouth full of kibble and dropping it elsewhere in the house to nosh at leisure, etc.

That's not to say that some individual personality quirks can't be overcome. Katie also did the jump and run when we reached out to pick her up or pet her (at about 10 weeks old). She'd do that small b-500 puppy run, then duck under or behind the nearest piece of furniture. We let her be until she came out on her own then called her over to offer a treat. In no time at all, maybe a week or 2, she realized there was a reward tied to human contact/affection, and in no time at all WE realized the over the head hand was a no-no with her.

I guess the big thing I took away from that experience with Katie was it wasn't necessarily what we taught Kate, but what Kate taught us:D

BTW...every once in a while (like bath days or nail trimming day) when she knows what's coming, she still does the the jump back and run behavior. Difference is, she does a play posture after the backward jump and before the run, then often gets her now much larger butt caught behind furniture, or half way under the bed:D 😃

(Edit just to say I'm just a pet owner. There are others here much more experienced than I. Sharron is one of them!!)

Oh, I should have said that most well socialized dogs put up with our human "rude" behaviors..laugh.
But dogs who have "hand" issues, well, its very important to respect this head space…as well as our bending over and "towering" over dogs.
Most dogs know that is what humans do...but with a dog who is not secure, its best to get down to your knees and extend your hand with treat, slowly toward the chest area of the dogs. Again, I work with dogs that we sometimes know nothing about...this type of approch can set you up as someone the dog won't fear...
Direct stares again, can be seen as aggressive..but then I am going on...
Lots of the "stuff" we do to dogs without thinking, is filtered through the dogs history...so if its an unknown dog, or the dog is having some type of trouble, then its best if you can try to help them with being dog polite.
Snorky, you it sounds like you have a great home...
Glad to hear your b's enjoy you as much as I do.

My previous furbaby was this way (shy) - any time someone would come to the house, he'd run and peak out from behind the furiture or around a corner. If the person was a relative or friend (so likely to be returning) I made sure the person left him alone until he felt comfortable to come over and investigate on his own and I also had them give him a treat.

He was also extremely nervous if anyone tried to pet him on top of his head - so I made a point of telling everyone especially the neighborhood kids that he had to snifff every hand first (to see if they were a good boy/girl:) and then they would tell their friends that :)) and then they could pet him but only under the chin so he could see their hand (it prevented them petting from behind and scaring him).

It took some time (as in more than a year) but eventually he warmed up around people in the house though still cautious while walking in the neighborhood.

EL D (my current furbaby) is not shy at all and likes to investigate people but he doens't like it when people "gang up" on him. If things get crowded I have to disperse the people or pick him up and remove him - I think he feels threatened when there's too many tall creatures surrounding him.

@wizard:

EL D (my current furbaby) is not shy at all and likes to investigate people but he doens't like it when people "gang up" on him. If things get crowded I have to disperse the people or pick him up and remove him - I think he feels threatened when there's too many tall creatures surrounding him.

I'm very short, (just 5ft) and if too many people stand too close to me, I get really uncomfortable. I cannot see or navigate, and I have to look practically straight up to see faces. If you think about it from the tiny perspective, you can see how difficult it is….

I'll second that.. being 5 ft myself, having a bunch of ppl who are sig. taller stand all about you can be very abrasive.

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