Visiting new Basenji w/ my pack

Hi, everyone.

I was wondering if anyone could help me with a unique problem. I am visiting my brother for a few weeks over the summer with my two Basenjis. He has a Basenji boy (neutered) that is almost 18 months old and has been with him for about 7 months now. He had a heck of a time getting him to bond with him to begin with (I think he may have been mis-handled by a male at some point and always seems to prefer women.) That said, now that we have arrived (about two weeks ago) I think we have confused the poor little boy and although he gets along very well with his cousins (an older Basenji matriarch female and a 3 year old male), he seems to want more to do with us than my brother.

Anyway, I hate this because my brother has done such hard work and brought him a long way and now he won't come to him when called and will barely accept treats from him, much less petting, etc. We try to sometimes walk them separately, I walk and feed mine and he walks and feeds his and we all keep them separated at night (brother w/ his and me w/ mine.) But, in addition to this what would you recommend so that he can get back to his behavior before we arrived?

ANY advice would be welcome and appreciated. We will be here a few more weeks and I want this to work for everyone! I don't think it's so much about me as it is about the little guy being part of his new pack. What do you think?

Thanks!

Lauma

Does he hand feed his boy? Hand feeding is very powerful in relationship building.

Hand feeding such as treats? All the "kids" get fed at the same time and he gives his boy his bowl and I give mine theirs. Then, he feeds his boy his treats by hand. Is that what you meant?

By the way, your pack looks a lot like mine! Beautiful!

@Lauma:

Hand feeding such as treats? All the "kids" get fed at the same time and he gives his boy his bowl and I give mine theirs. Then, he feeds his boy his treats by hand. Is that what you meant?

By the way, your pack looks a lot like mine! Beautiful!

Lisa means food/treats given from the actual hand, not the bowl. So your brother giving him treats or pieces of food by hand gives the dog the feeling that good things come from your brother. Does he just hand him one treat for the day or what does he do?
He could try taking a piece of chicken breast and break it up into numerous small pieces and give that to him one after the other and talks to the dog at the same time telling him he's a good dog, etc. that may help.

Also, when you do get there, walk all the dogs away from the house, giving them a chance to smell all the pees/poos.
I woudn't take them in the house, until they seemed like they wanted to play.

It sounds like he is really enjoying hid cousins' visit, and dogs sometimes do bond more with other dogs than humans. When you leave, your brother may have to start over a little, but I predict that in a much shorter time he will be back as his dogs main focus, rather than a human that's getting between him and his new pack. Hopefully, anyway!

Dan is right, I mean not feeding from a bowl and instead feeding all his food for a period of time by hand. Usually after a week, the person's value to the dog is raised considerably. This also gives a really good opportunity to work on things like name response, attention, and reinforcing calm behavior.

Its Yer Choice is another game that your brother can play that also involves hand feeding.

First Basenji's

Well, a good question. In my experience with dogs and B's specifically, the less your brother tries for affection, the more his pup will regard him with respect and eventually learn to 'love' him. Your bother's dog has to Go To Him, it has to be the B's decision to have anything to do with him. Through time, his pup will begin to trust and respect him via the food and walking ritual. No matter what his history. Your Bro will be looked at as the care giver, giver of life-sustaining food, water, shelter, release of badder, giver of exercise, etc…..Tell him to try this as a daily exercise. Sit on the couch in the evening, and don't look or talk directly to his B. Over time, B will be curious enough to one day get close and maybe sit next to him. It will happen, just not on any ol' time schedule.. It will be on a Basenji's Time Schedule. Let me know!!!! Deb

I happened across a good piece of advice from a bird dog trainer that really helped to strengthen the bond between my dog and myself. He used the command "whoop", (maybe it's spelled "whup", not sure), when he was performing this.

First he would collect his dog by his side and then put him in a standing position. He used a grip of the dollar and one ear and lift the dog back into place for any correction to the dog if the dog tried to move either his body or his focus. He also used an arm under the belly if he had to move the dog more than just an inch or two so as not to be too rough on the dog. Once the dog was in position he began to stroke the dog lovingly but calmly. He continued to reward the dog with non-stop petting for 5 minutes with the only interruption being the use of his word "whup" about every 30 seconds and the occasional putting the dog back in stance form. He recommended this be done at least once a day, every day, for the entirety of the dogs life.

His theory being that for 5 minutes that dog got all the love and attention that he could give, 5 minutes of being the absolute most important thing in the world and all the dog had to do was to stand still for it. It was intended to teach the dog that he/she was important to the owner/trainer and that all that would ever happen when that word was said was 5 minutes of loving and petting. He used this training to stop his dogs when they were out of control at a distance and he claimed that it worked flawlessly.

I can only tell you that it greatly increased the relationship that I have with my girl, Molly. Since beginning following his instructions, she became a more confident dog and a more obedient dog. She became quicker at responding to every command. There are many days that I forget to do this and I am working at being better at getting into good solid habit with it but even though I do miss some days she still has become one awesome dog.

I am not sharing this to tell you that it will work for you, or your brother, because I have no authority to do so. I am only sharing this experience with you because it worked so well for me. If he decides to try it, I'd love to hear the results of it. Whatever he does, I hope it works out well for him. Best wishes.

Petting and stroking are not rewards for all dogs. For some dogs being pet, held, stroked are punishers. For many rescues this is the case. They do not have positive associations with these actions.

The method described by Skookum9 would be absolutely terror inducing in some dogs.

There are far better methods for relationship building. Again, I highly recommend hand feeding.

@skookum9:

First he would collect his dog by his side and then put him in a standing position. He used a grip of the dollar and one ear and lift the dog back into place for any correction to the dog if the dog tried to move either his body or his focus.

I do not understand the reasoning behind lifting a dog (in part) by it's ear? Ears are incredibly sensitive and this has to be painful. Some breeds like Labs will take the abuse and forgive you but but for most dogs it would only serve to teach the dog to distrust you and, in the worst case scenario, the dog will retaliate by biting to get away from the pain. 😕

Lvoss, once again I apologize for mentioning anything that has worked so very well for me personally that apparently offended you again. I guess I hadn't thought about this being against your commands here, I will try to not make this mistake any longer. Or, perhaps you could just accept the fact that I am only telling about some good experiences I have had and that I am not claiming to be a trainer or tell others what they should do. I do hope you treat your canine companions with greater respect than you do people. If you wish to convince me that your ways are the best, you might try a little more reasonable approach.

YodelDogs, he did not lift the dog even in part by his ear, he held the ear between his fingers on the same hand that he used to grip the collar with but he didn't lift by that ear. I didn't describe it well and I apologize for that but it in no way was intended to make the dog experience discomfort. I cannot tell you why he even held the ear but I suspect that he did it to somehow give the impression to the dog that he held some control over it, perhaps the way its mother would have when it was still a pup. It may have been something he found he needed to do for some dogs to keep them from turning their heads to focus on something other than him. I don't know why so I could only guess. I found that it was unnecessary to hold the ear when I did this with my girl so I just used the collar in one hand and the other hand under the belly. It would make a lot more sense, I think, if you could see it.

If indeed Lvoss is correct that petting your dog is a punishment to it then you definitely should not try this. I've yet to meet the dog that was this way unless it was either wild or at least half wild. But, unlike Lvoss, I haven't seen and lived it all and experienced everything there is to know. I am not a trainer and do not claim in any way to know what I am doing with training dogs. I did not share this information to tell anyone what they must do but to tell of something that was almost magical in its effects for me. Please know that what I do is only a simple mans approach to raising my dog to be a great companion for me.

I have not seen it all but I do not feel it is correct to not say anything when a person has posted something that has the potential to greatly harm both person and animal. I do personally know several dogs who do not enjoy being petted. I have also seen many dogs bite for far less than what you described in your post. The method you described has great potential for harm to both the person and the animal.

You can test a dogs response to petting by leaning over and give it 3 pets from back of head to tail.
Dogs who don't like touch with move away even before you get to the second pet, dogs who like touch will lean into you, look at you and ask for more.
This is one of the tests shelters use to access a dogs touchability if that is such a word

If the dog in question is even the slightest bit motivated by food, I would highly suggest clicker training to help with bonding.

Many years ago I had a Chinese Crested that would not bond with me or anyone else. (He was an adult, kennel raised dog when he came to me.) He was depressed and aloof. He had many other behavior problems also such as soiling his crate and the house, being aggressive to other dogs, and food aggression. He didn't enjoy being held or petted and trying to hand feed him would be risking the loss of a finger. (Not aggressive biting but rather hyper excitement over the food and inability to curb his excitement over it.) I had him about a year and I was about to throw in the towel and euthanize him but then I heard about a dog training clinic that was coming to my area. I went to the clinic and learned about clicker training. This turned out to be the key to success with Gizmo.

Gizmo was incredibly bright and caught on to the clicker fast. He was very willing to work for food and he would work for long periods of time and never get bored. His whole attitude went through major changes. He started to act happy and more relaxed. He stopped soiling his crate and the house and he was calmer around the other dogs. He never wanted to be held but he would lay next to me or sometimes in my lap. He never got over food aggressiveness but with clicker training you do not have to hand feed. He turned out to be a pretty cool dog though he was always a bit nutty. 😃

Clicker training is great for all sorts of issues…good suggestion.

It DEFINITELY sounded like you described lifting the dog by its ear…I was thinking WTH kind of advice is that?? The problem with giving training advice, particularly by description only, without visual teaching, is that it can be misunderstood. The beauty of clicker training and other positive reinforcement techniques is that the worst thing that can go wrong by bad explanation is the dog doesn't learn the correct behavior. I don't even want to imagine what can go wrong by joe public mistakenly lifting his dog up by the ear....

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I guess I never thought about anyone out there thinking that anyone could suggest lifting a dogs weight by its ear, I guess I'll have to rethink the lack of common understanding in the care of dogs. I will no longer be posting any input on this forum so there will no longer be any misunderstanding of what I write. I will sit back and watch for a spell to see if there is anything that I can possibly learn from this forum as I had initially hoped. If not, I will simply remove myself from here entirely. There certainly have been a few of you here that have been helpful and I do appreciate it and I give my most sincere thanks to those of you who did but I am not interested in getting anymore ridicule about training that one person cannot comprehend. I do wish you all the best but I think I would be best to stay away from this forum for the most part, other than to listen to what others think anyway. I will continue to love and care for my beautiful little girl but I am just not cut out for this place.

@skookum9:

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I guess I never thought about anyone out there thinking that anyone could suggest lifting a dogs weight by its ear, I guess I'll have to rethink the lack of common understanding in the care of dogs. I will no longer be posting any input on this forum so there will no longer be any misunderstanding of what I write. I will sit back and watch for a spell to see if there is anything that I can possibly learn from this forum as I had initially hoped. If not, I will simply remove myself from here entirely. There certainly have been a few of you here that have been helpful and I do appreciate it and I give my most sincere thanks to those of you who did but I am not interested in getting anymore ridicule about training that one person cannot comprehend. I do wish you all the best but I think I would be best to stay away from this forum for the most part, other than to listen to what others think anyway. I will continue to love and care for my beautiful little girl but I am just not cut out for this place.

I think it might be an over-reaction to leave the forum because we misunderstood what you wrote. Forums are a good place to get lots of different perspectives, and different views. There are quite a few regular posters here who have lots of experience training Basenjis, and we generally agree on the best methods for training dogs…that doesn't mean we don't welcome people with different experiences and opinons.

That being said, I feel it is important to clarify advice given on a public forum, to make sure that novice owners/trainers don't think a piece of potentially dangerous advice is a generally accepted technique.

Don't feel like you need to leave, or be silent 🙂

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