Bailey is too snarky, and a fussy eater

Being outside for the first 10 months of her life means that she missed a lot of critical socialization. She most likely never learned proper communication skills. She may not know how to politely tell the other dogs that she has had enough.

I know that you have had her to the vet before. Can you refresh us on what has already been tested? Did she have a full thyroid panel run? There are some dogs that actually lose weight when hypothyroid.

Do you do any obedience/training work with Bailey? Giving her a job may help your relationship and build her confidence.

Do you think Bailey is upset over Rocky? Does Bailey get to sleep with you?

Rita Jean

Houston

Vicki, I sure hope I have an answer for you but I don't I am pretty sure the knowledgeably ones will chime in..before that, yes I too wonder about her thyroid and did you ask the vet about her behavior? If you don't feed her by hand, how long before she will eat on her own? Do you think she would starve herself? I don't thing dogs will, but there is always an exception to the rule, right. Maybe you should try to give her the food in a puzzle, made for kibble. I would love to use one, to make my dogs slow down on their gulping, but it doesn't work very well with raw meat and veggiemix..lol. Has she always, since you got her, been unstable in her moods?
Meanwhile, good luck..

Vicki, sorry to hear Bailey isn't doing well.

She could be hyperthyroid (hyper you lose weight, hypo you gain). Hyper is bad because it makes your heart work too hard.

Regarding the hand feeding…I still think that she could be training you. How many days have you gone where she has missed a meal without you hand feeding? And do you do controlled feeding with her?

I used to have a pet sitting business and my favourite charge was an elderly Jack Russell. He would not eat unless I hand fed him...but he would eat normal for his owner (I made the mistake of feeding him that way one time when he was sick, and anytime after that when I took care of him, he would go on a hunger strike for days until I would hand feed him...we're talking years of this.)

@renaultf1:

Vicki, sorry to hear Bailey isn't doing well.

She could be hyperthyroid (hyper you lose weight, hypo you gain). Hyper is bad because it makes your heart work too hard.

Regarding the hand feeding…I still think that she could be training you. How many days have you gone where she has missed a meal without you hand feeding? And do you do controlled feeding with her?

I used to have a pet sitting business and my favourite charge was an elderly Jack Russell. He would not eat unless I hand fed him...but he would eat normal for his owner (I made the mistake of feeding him that way one time when he was sick, and anytime after that when I took care of him, he would go on a hunger strike for days until I would hand feed him...we're talking years of this.)

I am a pet sitter - yes, we do get trained by our clients! Stinkers!

I've not always fed Bailey, but if I don't help her - she loses too much weight and her disposition gets even worse. I've recently started making sure she eats, even if I have to help her. Yes, I do controlled feeding. Bailey's attitude is better if I feed her smaller meals during the day. It took me a long time to realize she is so hungry. I feed my dogs high quality dog food, including added enzymes and Nupro.

Make sure if you get her thyroid tested it is a full panel. The list of what is in a full panel is on this site, http://www.hemopet.org/services.html

Even if there are no trainers in your area, there are some great video and book resources that you can use to work with her at home. Here is a free online "book" for training, http://www.dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/%20Dog1/levels.html

Some videos that have been recommended on the forum Crate Games and now there is a video to go with the book Control Unleashed.

Houston

Our foster Bana didn't eat until all the other dogs were done, and then of course her share was long gone..unless I stood over her and encouraged her to eat..well , I don't have time for that, sorry. So I put up a babygate between her and the other dogs, it took her several days to get the point but in the end she learned how to eat without encouragement. She also really liked it is I made "gravy" with her food, i.e poured some hot water onto the kibbles, swished it about and voila..gravy. She felt special and it took very little time out of my dogfeedings, so win/win. I know dogs can be stubborn, hey we all have basenjis right?, but can she just be so darn stubborn and "demand" to be fed, simply by not eating unless you help her..?

Good luck on friday and make sure to tell Mary about your thoughts (I am sure you already do..but I wanted to encourage you..) on how she is different, maybe you have a valid point.

Good luck on Friday and let me know what happens. Did you ever think Bailey is just really close to you loves you so much that part of her being close is when you feed her.
My Bandit (schnauzer) never ate unless I was home and the room were his food was. Granny could keep him and he would not eat I could walk in the door and he would go to his food and just watch me make sure I was staying. I use to think he knew what I was going to do before I did it that was my baby.

Rita Jean

I agree that because she was outdoors during a critical social period, she lacks total social skills both with other k-9's and humans… And to remark a bit further.. it is certainly possible that she has a developmental problem too... What do you know about her sire and dam? Her breeder? Anything...? This might give you clues to her behavior too... The fact that she didn't want to socialize with you and the pack certainly shows the lack of social confidence... If lock outdoors, she had to learn to "amuse" herself.... and it may take years for her to break through that shell... Giving her confidence by doing OB work will help... and also you might try walks with one other of your pack a day... so that she gets used to companions...

As far as food.. if she is not food motivated... then makes getting them to eat that much harder... I would continue what you are doing along with trying to build social skills... and making sure there is nothing medically going on

Houston

Do you have a picture of her?

@Vicki:

Thank you, fellow Basenji lovers. I've been on the path you recommended for months. I'm making a little progress, but it is so slow.

Lastnight, at bedtime, Bailey decided she needed to clean me up! I let her lick my hands and arms, then I kissed her gently on the eyes, nose, forehead, and ears…she melted into my arms like a little baby. Bailey breaks my heart because she is so maladjusted, and I believe developmentally lacking.

I'll get back to you with info about her breeder after the vet visit on Friday.

Bailey's face is peculiar - very slanted eyes and a large forehead. She isn't what you'd call a pretty Basenji. When I adopted Bailey from rescue, I immediately noticed her strange features.

It is very possible that she had/has birth defects…. it happens...

Houston

Vicki, I am so sorry to hear about Bailey. What does your gut tell you? Do you feel as if the vet got it wrong, or do you see what Mary was explaining as very accurate. You know Bailey much better than me, so I can not tell nor judge one way or another. I understand exactly what you explained and can see that to probably be very true. I can see it being a long road back. Please know that I wish I had an answer, but I don't..hopefully some of the "old timers" will chime in with ideas/points and then you might know more of how to handle this. Were did you get Bailey?

I don't have much to offer but since you are asking for any input…

We got our Ella from a breeder at just over 6 months (she is about 15 months now) and we found out later that she had pretty much ZERO socialization with humans other than the breeder herself during that time. She spent almost all her time in a fenced yard with a bunch of other dogs. (And the breeder defended this behavior, but that is another story). She did continue to live with her parents and one sibling. As a result, she is pretty good around other dogs, but exhibits some of the troublesome behavior that you mentioned around humans.

I sometimes sense that Ella is just not as happy as she could be. She definitely seemed "lost" for many months when we got her as far as figuring out what to do and what was expected of her. Much slower than most other dogs. She would shiver and shake with nervousness often. Sometimes I also thought she might not be quite right in the head. I don't think that as much anymore. Although she eventually did bond pretty well to us she is skittish around most other people. She will cuddle next to us (nap time and sleep time are the best) but she is just as likely to get herself comfortable by herself in another part of the room. She was not food motivated at all when we got her and still only moderately food motivated.

Regarding food, we found that adding a little water and heating up the food did make a big difference. Also, we changed her food from what the breeder was giving her and she has been much more excited about the new food that we switched to months ago. Also, we only feed her AFTER walks. She is more excited about food after a walk. I forget what her old food was but it was not very high quality. We switched to Innova Evo. She likes the chicken and the beef.

It took us months before we could even begin any obedience training but now she is really coming along learning commands. While these commands are very useful in themselves, I think it stimulates the dogs brain, builds the connection between you and the dog and establishes your leadership. A good trainer in 2 sessions gave us the guidance we needed to get Ella learning 6 or 8 new commands. It might be worth a try. Made me realize Ella was smarter than I gave her credit. Ella is a huge chewer and loves her chew toys, which we have plenty. She gets a very happy and contented expression on her face when she is chewing so we let her.

We have no other pets or children, so it is possible that Ella landed in the best situation possible with us.

You seem committed to making it work. The one thing that has kept me going with Ella is that while she has a long way to go in a lot of ways, she seems to be making progress as opposed to getting worse. That being said, she can back-slide and has on several occasions. She is independent, sometimes aloof, sometimes demanding, always exasperating. Somehow, I have accepted that this is the Basenji way.

Good luck.

It is very difficult for any dog when it has missed this critical socialization period. The longer they went without interaction and socialization the more difficult it can be to work with them. I have seen truly amazing turn arounds with dogs using click training and positive reinforcement. I have volunteered at the shelter and have worked with dogs that are non-affliative but it is a long process. Since you are pretty much hand feeding right now anyway, I would see if she likes the Natural Balance roll which is a complete food. If she does then buy a large roll, cut it up into small pieces and put it in a tupperware container in the fridge then get a bait bag or apron or treat can and put her daily allotment of food into it and then click and treat every affliative behavior she offers through the day. If she follows into the next room, click and treat, if she sniffs your hand click and treat, anytime she chooses to be near you and the other dogs reward. If she sits down or curls up next to you give her a jackpot of treats. Once she "gets" that being around you and the other dogs is a good thing then move on to other behaviors. The process of training really helps to teach these dogs a means of communication and builds confidence which is often lacking in these dogs.

Vicki, The old saying I wish I had the words of wisdom. I just read Ivoss post and I must say I like the click and treat that sounds wonderful. I know you will give it your all and Bailey is in the best care and hands with great home and that really will make a difference. Knowing that there is good health was one good word for the day.
I wish you best and keep us posted please anything I can do let me know. Take care all of you.

Rita Jean

Vicki, I think we often forget that in the gene pool there are naturally smart dogs and on the opposite side, dogs of lesser intelligence. Some times these traits are innate, some times physiological.

I hate to make the human analogy, but for lack of a better example, can I say that our dogs (or any dog for that matter) could have experienced an in utero birth defect that may effect the learning curve; much like you see in Autism or Aspergers syndrome.

I am in no way saying that training and socialization can't help, nor that a diagnosis should be used as an excuse. I guess I'm just suggesting that some of our pets could use alternative training methods more geared to their personal/household needs

Yes, you are fighting an up hill battle with a pup that was never properly socialized… and sad to say... some will never come around.. every time there is a mill bust and puppymills dogs/bitches are place either in forever homes or with fosters... it is a total challenge to socialize them... some are of the "opinion" whatever and go with the flow... others never trust what is happening... and some can take years....

IMO... if you could find the right home that she was "number 1", I think I would jump at it... she would be the center of attention... and just may come out of her shell... regardless of what you decide... she is still in a super place as compared to where she came from....

I think you are certainly doing all you can for Bailey… and kudos for doing so.... we are all pulling for you...

Houston

Vicki,
Bless you for having such a huge heart. I will keep Bailey and you in my thoughts and hope things work out. I know you will do anything for her and that is great, but sometimes the best you can do is to let somebody go..I know you will do what is best for Bailey and yourself as the packleader. PLease keep us updated.

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