Need some advice…

I hear a lot about being the pack leader with Basenji's as they are very pack driven. I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot of experience with this and want to make sure I'm starting out doing things that are helpful now rather than change them and confuse her later. Are there some routine things I should be doing?

And when I'm sitting on the couch and she runs up, walks over my legs half way and leans her rump against me (hopefully that makes sense), her showing dominance? My boyfriend thinks it is but I don't know.

@spitfirekrl1:

I hear a lot about being the pack leader with Basenji's as they are very pack driven. I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot of experience with this and want to make sure I'm starting out doing things that are helpful now rather than change them and confuse her later. Are there some routine things I should be doing?

all dogs are pack driven, not just B's. some things I do are along the lines of the NILF method (nothing in life is free). I ask my dog to work for everything. from dinner time, playtime, walk time, and even snuggle time, my dog is asked to obey commands. (nothing "military-like" - just simple stuff… sit, down, speak, up, come!, stay, wait, spin, go touch, etc..... this list could go on for a while) but by doing so I'm asking my dog to pay attention to ME to get the prize (food, exercise, affection), and reinforcing his training.

Other things I do... I eat first. my dog gets fed after we eat. He must be INVITED on the bed or couch, or any other area that is MY area. I also take things away from him, regularly. I'll give him a bone to chew, 5 min into it, I'll walk up and take it. (I give it back, but the point is being ABLE to take it - I do this with toys also, but bones for my dog are more high value) He must walk next to me or behind me on a walk - not in front of me, unless given a release to do so.

These are just some thing that help me remain in control.

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Personally, I don't think is an expression of dominance, it may be an expression of rudeness 😉 but I really don't think she is saying...'you are my subordinate'. My dogs sit on each other all the time....usually the most subordinate is sitting on top of the others Now, what I don't like is when I am sitting somewhere and a dog tries to push behind me, or otherwise tries to take my space...that is displacement, and I don't allow it with humans.

if you take bones/toys away for a few minutes…what if they growl? How do you stop that. I've seen dogs where if you even get near the food bowl they become "old yeller"! I have been wondering how do you keep this from happening and what kinds of decipline can you use to not have this happen?

When we first got Jazzy – keep in mind she was a puppy and so easier to deal with than an adult dog --- she would growl if I took her toys, got too near while she was eating,etc.

I made a point to make her sit before she got her food bowl, and I'd pet her the whole time she ate, rubbing my hands down her back, along her sides, even along her face, talking calmly the whole time, telling her what a good girl she is.
She'd have to sit to get a rawhide/toy, and I would pet her while she chewed it. After several seconds of chewing, I'd take it away. She growled and got snotty, but I just kept one hand near her neck {to be ready to grab if she tried to bite me!} and took the chewie/toy. Again, talking nicely and telling her she's a good girl -- enthusiastically once I got the toy away. It only took a few days.

Now I can take anything away whenever I need to and she doesn't complain at all. And anyone can touch her while she's eating.

I have kids, and there are kids in and out of this house all the time. I cannot have a dog that gets grumpy when people disturb their eating or chew time.

Fortunately, I implemented this practice from the start. I started w/ my dog (as a pup) by playing the game "trade ya!". I'd walk up (armed w/ a treat) - say "trade ya!" show the treat, once he was focused on the treat, I took the item. No growling = he got the treat. a reward for good behavior. I did this w/ toys, chews, bones. I never took his food away from him, however, I did place my hand near the bowl while he was eating and used just my voice to praise him. (didn't touch him while he was eating)

I believe you should be able to take anything away from your dog, at any time.

teaching commands such as DROP IT, GIVE and LEAVE IT can be very helpful. of course, always reward the good behavior. if your dog gives up the bone or toy, give it right BACK. he'll learn if he gives it up w/out attitude, he gets it back. you can associate a command w/ this, such as OUT or GIVE. this is especially helpful to me when my dog has a chew that is too small, and becomes a choking hazard. I know I can safely take it away.

I don't think you need to use much discipline, simply reward good behavior. set your dog up to succeed, and always end on a positive note. I'd start with something of low value, such as a toy - not a bone. graduate up to a bone. but starting out w/ the bone may lead to disaster - you getting bitten or the dog displaying terrible manners which inadvertantly get reinforced by him keeping the item.

I also have certain toys that are MINE and mine only. A select few that I decide when he plays with it, he must obey all commands when playing w/ it, and must mind his manners. if he slips up - toy goes away. i.e. tug w/ a long stuffed snake… I decide when we play. I START the tug session. I END the tug session. if he won't DROP IT or GIVE when asked, it gets put away, and the game over.

I agree with everying that Jessi said 🙂 It is so much easier if you start these practices when the puppy is young, than trying to correct it as an adult.

I also teach my dogs an "off" command, which basically means 'back up' and then a 'take it' command. Then I work on this with a high value chew toy. I hold it while they chew, then I say "off", they back up (leave the toy) then I say "okay take it"

If you always take, take, take, and never teach them that won't lose their most valuable things…you can end up with a dog that guards.

I have also used the method that Jazzymom described. Where you just keep petting while they chew, and then taking it away, then enthusiasm, then I give the toy back.

Basenji Mix

I began feeding Duke by hand. He was a poor hungry puppy too. I told my son to feed him by hand too. Just a few kibbles and then he'd eat from his bowl. I'd put my hand in the bowl while he was eating and have him go back and forth from hand to bowl with lots of "happy talk". I wanted him to truly trust me and not be food agressive. Today, we can take anything from his mouth. He will likely run first, but he knows to "give it". We do "trade" too, for the short chewys to throw in the trash. (Poor dog has seen many yummy chewys thrown away. He probably has dreams of living with Sesame Street's Oscar.) 😃

Oops, I should have said that after I took the toy/treat away, Jazz was praised and then she ALWAYS got it back with great enthusiasm!
Didnt mean to make it sound like I just take away her stuff.

@Quercus:

Now, what I don't like is when I am sitting somewhere and a dog tries to push behind me, or otherwise tries to take my space…that is displacement, and I don't allow it with humans.

I have a question about this. Tucker is just getting used to getting fenced in the kitchen for the day while I am away. The first two days were fine (prolly because he hadn't a clue what was in store for him) but on day three and today he was resistant. Yesterday, he tried to monopolize the space in front of the gate so he could rush out if I were to open it to get out. When I tried to nudge him out of the way, he snapped at me and bit my shoe (no biggee, I wear work boots). I didn't get mad, only told him NO and had to hook his leash up to pull him back to keep from getting bitten (he was on the major defensive). Same routine today, except when I was about to leave, he planted himself on the sofa and I had to pull the sneak attack on him (sitting down, petting him, and then getting a hold of the ring on his collar). At that point I pretty much half led, half dragged him in there and shut the door. Followed by some petting over the gate to chill him out. Prior to the sneak attack, I tried all the tricks… Offered him the kong with pbutter (from the kitchen) and rustled some packages in there because he typically comes running. Not this time, he knew what was coming...

Also, he likes to take the warm spot on the sofa when I get up for a minute... He's not aggressive about this. I just come back and pretty much lie/sit on him until he moves with a grunt. (I don't hurt him, of course, but make it uncomfortable for him to stay)

On a side not, and quite comical I found... He's used to being fed with food out all day (and was with the previous family). I am trying to train him off of that and feed him in the evening when I get home. So I've been giving him a little less each day in the morning and more at night. Last night, I gave him only a little when I got home because he had already had food earlier. He ate that lickity split. I was watching TV and I heard him rummaging in the kitchen, but didn't know what he was up to. A moment later there was a loud CLANG! on the floor as he tossed his stainless bowl on the floor in front of me. (He's got a raised bowl stand, so getting the bowl out must have been a chore for him since the lip is flush with the wood stand) :rolleyes:

Jason

C3 was VERY VERY resistent with his crate but we tried giving him a special treat ONLY for his crate which he learned to associate with as the best place in the world to get his treat. Now we just toss him a treat when he voluntarily gets in his crate & he sits patiently for his treat. When the crate door is open he'll actually go in it to relax or chew on his nyla bone.

Try tossing in something very very special…pig ear, bacon bits, yogurt, ANYTHING & he'll see that going to the kitchen will always be a treat for him. Something he never gets any other time. After a few times of convincing hm to get in the kitchen...you can incorporate a holding the door open & pointing always giving him his treat when he's IN the kitchen. Also I would try to feed him in there so he knows this is the place where great stuff happens.

As for the feeding...maybe you can feed him 2x a day. In the morning & in the evening. This may work best. Also how much are you feeding??? He could just be hungry! We feed 1-2cups a day split it between the AM & PM.

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He may not find a kong with PB all that important. I am sure there is something out there, that he would find rewarding enough to go into the kitchen when he KNOWS he is going in for the day. Try a raw marrow bone...like a knuckle or femur that you can get from a butcher. Try not feeding him at all, until he goes into the kitchen in the morning...if he wants to eat, he has to go into the kitchen.
Other than that, it sounds like you are handling it very well. He may have to wear a lead to get him into the kitchen, then you can remove it. I imagine he was allowed to pretty much do whatever he wanted in his last home...so he is confused with the new restrictions, and boundaries you have put in place (ones that he should have had from the beginning). It is hard when a dog has to start from square one, especially when they have learned that using their mouth can get them what they want. Good for you for hanging in there. He will eventually learn that he has to cooperate. I would definitely use his food for reward for good behavior. Doesn't mean you have to withhold his food if he doesn't cooperate...but you can use his food to help him realize what you want him to do.

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