4 yr old Tri Boy- Comox Valley, Canada- 11/30

http://comoxvalley.en.craigslist.ca/pet/2087769235.html

Tricolor Basenji free to experienced loving handler (Campbell River)

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Date: 2010-11-30, 2:36PM PST
Reply to: comm-s6nky-2087769235@craigslist.org

Free to the right home/ handler.. 4 year old male basenji, neutered. He is a loving dog but does need some work.. He has all the typical basenji behaviors. He would need some who is framiliar with the breed or an experienced, patient handler. Any other questions please email.

Location: Campbell River
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

I have emailed this owner and he wants to keep his boy, but there are snarking and behavior issues. I've encouraged him to join this forum for support, and he is working with his local BRAT coordinator. πŸ™‚

Patty, that is so kind of you. Hopefully we will see the owner on the forum soon.

I would immediately suggest a complete thyroid test if one has not been done!

Jennifer

Here is the email that Sully's owner sent to me:

"The reasons for trying to find sully a new home are mostly behaviour related.. Some of his undesireables are, chewing on furniture when he's left unattended too long, I have an old (12 yrs) Dalmatian, and he has been acting more agressive and jealous toward him lately.. Sully was the alpha in his litter. The really bad behaviour is when sully feels threatened, whether he is woken or petted while sleeping or it he has a bone or a piece of laundry on the couch, and anyone tries to get it from him the wrong way, he attacks and bites.. And he us fearless when he does.. He is also very skittish towards new people or visitors, and misbehaves when they are around he… I don't trust him around any kids at all.. Now he is a very loving boy, and is by no means bad or agressive all the time.. If I felt I could fix all his problems I would happily keep him.. This is why I thought BRAT could help."

Here was my response:

If you want to "fix" him, you certainly can! If this is your first basenji (notice I say, first, implying that there are more to follow, lol), then I'd like to give you a couple of pointers.
1. Level of exercise. My first dog was a llapso apso, and there was no such thing as "pent up energy" with him, lol. With basenjis, they need to run, and a "good basenji is a tired basenji." I live in Tampa, so I am blessed with wonderful weather, and I try to run Lola at least three times a week. Compare this to my sister who lives in Milwaukee and doesn't have a fenced yard or the year round warmth. However, Cathy has found a dog park for her two basenji's, Bacchus and Becca, to visit every night. They go at about the same time, and her dogs know when it's time to go to the park! Cathy commented that her dogs have found "friends" at the park, and my sister has found some new dog loving friends, too.

2. Discipline. Basenjis have NEVER been featured on a Cesar Milan show, lol! In fact, if you overly scold a basenji, I think it backfires, and this is where the skittishness comes into play. Someone told me that a dog has an intelligence and maturity level of a 5 year old, so when I discipline Lola, I keep that in mind. I also think that 95% of basenjis are willing to be the "alpha" dog, but they really need to know that YOU are the alpha parent. And I mean alpha in a positive, caring way, where Sully knows that you are in charge… not the dalmation, and not him.

Many basenjis will wake up snarky and as long as everyone knows that, the best practice is to make noise to wake him up before touching him. However, when he growls when you take his bone (or your laundry, lol), that's where it's best to be calm and authoritative... but not confrontational, if that makes sense? And if he's willing to snap, then instead of reaching with your hand, use a water bottle to squirt his nose as you use your magic command, like, "Leave It", or "Drop It".... I'm sure you know how much they hate water, and it won't take long to change this behavior. When he does drop it, instead of reinforcing that you are the leader negatively (like when Cesar rolls them and puts them on their backs).... that's where the next command of "Treats" or whatever your magical goodness word is, immediately comes into play. πŸ™‚

That may sound counter-intuitive to "reward" them for stopping, but once the situation is diffused, and you have the treats in your hand... and he wants the treats in his belly... well, once again, you are the alpha leader, in a good way. πŸ™‚ And if your dalmation loves treats just as much, this is a great time to reinforce that you are the one in charge. If Sully tries to snark at your dalmation while you are feeding them, you reassert yourself as the parent, making them both sit and stay. When giving treats, the other best practice is to bring the treat to your nose so that he's staring into your eyes (or as close to it as a basenji will, lol)... and using, "Good boy" as you let him gently take the treat from your hand. And if he tries to snatch it from your hand, then what I use is a negative "Uh-Uhh!" sound, jerk the treat back, and then have him sit again, look into my eyes again, and then use "Gently" as he takes the treat from my hand. Lastly, because Lola is an escape artist, I will pet the back of her head and touch her collar as she is enjoying her treat, so that when we are outside and she's escaped, I can get her attention with "Treats!", and then I can get her back onto the leash. Just be sure to monitor how much you feed him so that he doesn't get fluffy. πŸ™‚

Does any of this help? I hope there are a couple of little tidbits that may help you keep your basenji, and I hope this doesn't sound condescending. My Lola will turn 2 this month, and we are her FOURTH home.... when we got her in May, she was extremely skittish around people, and truthfully, didn't know how to behave.... she didn't know to ask to go outside, and she was skinny, skinny! She would table surf, and if my kids were eating on the couch, she would literally take the food out of their hands. (My 20 year old was holding a hot dog in a bun, and Lola snatched the hot dog out and ran away!) She would escape out any door, and then think that we were now playing "catch me!" And yet, at night, she would curl up and cuddle and look so innocent....

I found out (after I adopted her) that Lola was crated while they ate, and confined to the non-carpeted areas of the home with baby gates (which meant she lived her life in the kitchen)... She was also fed 1/3 cup three times a day, so she was always hungry! And because she ate three times a day, she'd poop three times a day too, lol. The previous owner said that she "never really trained her, just managed her". Well, we've given Lola the run of the house, and put a bell on her collar so we can hear her when she wakes up and "dances", indicating that she has to go out. Seven months later, she goes to the designated door and softly scratches to go out. If we don't get to her within a couple of minutes, she WILL find a place to go, but she gives us a chance first. πŸ™‚

For eating, we increased the amount of food to 2/3 cup, twice a day, and she would gobble it up as if it was her last supper. Eventually, she slowed down, and now, we put 1 cup of food down at night... and she doesn't gobble, gobble, anymore. Actually, she will leave some food in the dish for the morning, but it's no longer an issue with her. When we eat, she will curl up on a kitchen throw rug and wait to see if anything falls off the table, but she doesn't lunge for food anymore.

Her skittishness is really gone down, but if there are loud voices directed at her, she will react by scattering away... anyway, she's not perfect, but she's come so far in 7 months, which is the longest she's been in a home. I think she realizes that this IS her home. While she'll never be a perfect dog, she may become a perfect basenji. πŸ™‚

Sorry this is so long! If I can help you out, please let me know.

Patty.

Hopefully, Sully's dad will surf on here, and find the hope he needs… πŸ™‚

Patty, what a great letter and wonderful advice for him. Often, a person just needs a simple technique for 1 issue at a time, and you have given him good, easy solutions, and great general information. Hopefully he can keep him!

Patty-

Tail wags to you for such a nice post and good deed!

As usual Patty M you've come up with such sensible advice for someone in need of help with their Basenji's 'problems'. You are a godsend.

I am curious Patty M, did they or have they talked to this boy's breeder? Since they say he was the "dominate" in the litter, they must have gone directly to a breed or so it seems. It so sounds like typical behavior from a young "teen" dog that has not had proper training from the get go and from an owner that was totally unprepared for a Basenji

All that said, great advise

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