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posted in Behavioral Issues read more

We adopted Kiya at the end of October. Since the winter isn't really thunderstorm season in Wisconsin we didn't know how she would respond to thunderstorms. We did have had a few rumbles and light thunder-snow storms over the last several months but not the typical loud and sudden cracks of thunder - until yesterday.

Not only did I have my almost 2 year old son climbing up me at every crack of thunder but Kiya was also trying to climb up me. I thought maybe she was just feeding off of his fear but later in a day another storm came through, my son was at the store with my husband, and Kiya again was trying to climb up me whimpering and crying out with every crack of thunder.

I did everything I could to calm her down. I even put on some mellow music in hopes to drown out the sound of the thunder. I did get her to finally stop crying by laying in bed and having her crawl under the covers and curl up tight against me. I watched TV while I massaged the pressure points on her ears and she stopped crying and wasn't shaking as badly as before.

I can't give her some of the herbal calming remedies because she is on Prozac and the drug interactions that could be harmful.

Is there anything else I can do to help her calm down during thunderstorms?

Side Note: I simply want to clarify and explain our reasons for giving our dog Prozac. - I know that giving Prozac and such meds can be controversial with some pet lovers. Kiya is on meds for extreme anxiety, fear, and trust issues stemming from the physical and verbal abuse she lived with from 6 weeks old until she was 16 weeks old when we adopted her and removed her from that environment. We have met with numerous behaviorists regarding these issues. Every one of the behaviorists and our vet agreed that Prozac right now would be the best thing to help her in addition to positive training and counter-conditioning. Basically we are just adding another tool in our arsenal to help her get over her anxiety, fear, and trust issues. Sorry if I am coming across as defensive, but as you can imagine I have had to more than once explain our decision to medicate and deal with the criticism, so I thought I would just throw this out there right away and get it out of the way. 😃

posted in Behavioral Issues read more

Thanks for your replies.

You say Alpha and people automatically think Cesar Milan, alpha rolling, e-collars and correction based training. There is such a stigma with the word.

I guess the term "Alpha" was the wrong word to use because of the negative connotations that come with the word. Strong leader - I think that would be a better term to use.

However even in households where behaviors are molded through positive reinforcement, rules and boundaries have been established for which the dogs live by and follow, and while humans and dogs live in harmony and respect is given by both parties, the reality is that the humans are the ones in control of the situation. You are the leader, you are the boss, you are essentially in the in the alpha roll position. It just comes down to how you lead. Iron fist with negative punishment or gentle with positive reinforcement.

I know with my own personal experience, not only with children but with dogs, positive reinforcement and gentle redirection will yield better, faster, and longer lasting results than the iron fist with negative punishment approach. But at the same time I am the one in control. Everyone knows the boundaries, what is to be expected, and what is not tolerated.

There are all different types of breeds and breed personalities. There are some dogs which are mellow, easy going, and just want to please. There are the other dogs which are more active, curious, and they have a mind of their own.

Obviously approaches in how to handle these dogs are going to be different. While you are still going to use positive reinforcement you may need to take a more leadership approach with the more active dog with a mind of its own.

I guess my question I guess is, do you find the Basenji breed falls into that category, the category that you need to take a more leadership roll with your dog because of their "free thinking" personalities.

And from the answers it sounds like yes, with Basenjis you do need to take a leadership roll. One enforced through rules, boundaries, and respect.

posted in Behavioral Issues read more

Oh, rules and consistency are a big thing with me - as well as positive reinforcement. These theories that hold true for dogs as well as for human children.

I personally believe that you can take an Alpha position - a boss position - and still conduct it all in a positive way with positive training and positive reinforcements.

With Kiya we take an all positive approach with training because even a scornful look can cause her to react negatively. But at the same time she knows that I am the one in charge here.

posted in Behavioral Issues read more

From various forums I read there seems to be a debate - sometimes heated - in regards to the Alpha theory and dogs and I was wondering where this lies with the Basenji.

Some hold strong that there needs to be an Alpha in the pack - in the wild there is the Alpha dog, the strong leader, and in the home there is the Alpha, the strong leader, aka the human in charge.

Others think that the Alpha theory is outdated and not true. That in the wild there is no true Alpha of the pack and that you don't need to assert dominance or take on an Alpha position in your home and with your dog. That through common respect between you and your dog you can live harmonious with your dog with the both of you at the same "level of dominance" without the archaic theory of Alpha positions in your pack.

I have read that for the Basenji breed in general - that if you don't step up to be the leader of the pack, the leader of the household, that your Basenji will be more than happy to fill that roll and take over for you!

Do you find that the Alpha theory holds true to the Basenji? That to keep them "in check", so to say, that you need to have the upper hand and be the one in control, be the Alpha of your pack?

Personally I don't know if it is because I have 3 very active and headstrong sons that if I didn't take the "Alpha Position" in the household we would have nothing but chaos, so I tend to be the same with Kiya. She knows who is boss of the house. Although that doesn't stop her when she is acting like a teenage girl testing the waters and toeing the line. :p

posted in Show Off Your Dog read more

Baby is adorable!

Kiya is a B-Mix - confirmed through DNA testing - with a little Chi thrown in for good measure. She doesn't look very B, but it's all there shining through in her personality!

From the pictures you posted, Kiya and Baby both have a lot of similarities, although Kiya is a little bigger than Baby, weighing in at 20 lbs.

If you really want to know what Baby is check out having the DNA testing done by your vet. Our vet used the Wisdom Panel which is the most comprehensive dog breed DNA test on the market right now, detecting and distinguishing between 134 AKC recognized breeds, with more breeds to be added to the mix over time. It normally doesn't cost all that much. We happened to get it done free - the vet wanted to "try it out" for the first time- but I think it is normally around $100-$150. The one thing it has given us is the peace of mind in knowing exactly what mix of breeds Kiya is and that we can keep an eye out for any breed-specific illnesses and ailments, keeping on step ahead of the game to keep her healthy and happy.

posted in Basenji Talk read more

Mmmmmm Mmmmm Mmmmmmm tasty!

Well, Kiya has never had the pleasure of another dog puking around her but when I had the stomach flu a few months ago she was right there next to me in the bathroom, sitting on the kids stool next to the toilet, and I had to literally remove her head from the toilet as I was throwing up. After I removed her from the bathroom she sat outside the door whining to get in like I was depriving her of something great.

As for poop, for her it is deer poop. Now that stuff is like caviar to her and she goes nutso when she finds a fresh pile first thing in the morning after the deer have moved from where they had bedded down for the night.

I guess we always have to keep in mind that B's are not far removed from the wild and have not had centuries of domestication as the other breeds so it is not surprising to see mother nature shining through, showing up in their behaviors. (although I have seen other breeds do this as well…some dogs just like "leftovers" in any form)

posted in Behavioral Issues read more

To start off with, we have always been very pro-active in teaching our children how to approach, interact, and behave around dogs. While we never had a dog of our own up until we adopted Kiya, we always seem to be around dogs be them other family members dogs or neighbors and friends.

Kiya has some anxiety and trust issues stemming from her life before we adopted her. A sad and abusive situation that she endured from 6 weeks old until 16 weeks old when we adopted her. So she has issues with adults - generally anyone over 5 feet tall - and it is something we are constantly working with her to help her get over it.

The moment we brought Kiya, our B-Mix, home she has been nothing but superb with kids, especially my 3 boys (they were 9.5, 3.5, and 1.5 at the time we adopted her in October). I had never seen a 16 week pup be so gentle and with such great bite inhibition. If she wants one of the boys attention, especially my youngest who happens to be her partner in crime, she gently takes his hand in her mouth and actually leads him over to whatever she wants. There is absolutely no fear, anxiety nor lack of trust when it comes to the boys. Half the time I seriously think she thinks is a human child with the way she interacts with them.

For the most part Kiya is also good with other kids too. There is one family on our cul-de-sac that has 2 little girls, the same ages as my 2 youngest boys. We watch the girls occasionally, part of a neighbor-babysitting-swap thing we have going on. Kiya is just as gentle and playful with these two girls.

As for the other neighbor kids, Kiya is great with them as well - except for that ONE neighbor kid. A little 5 year old girl. This little girl has never done anything to Kiya (When Kiya is around kids she is under my 100% attention and supervision), Kiya simply does not like her. Kiya likes the girl's siblings fine. Just not this girl. This little girl can be playing in the cul-de-sac and Kiya's hackles are up and she is growling and barking out the window at her. If she is over playing in the yard with my boys and the other neighbor kids I have to keep Kiya inside, even if I am out with her supervising, because Kiya acts as if she just wants to tear this little girl apart. The parents are pretty understanding saying that actually most dogs, cats, animals in general don't like their daughter - of course the movie "The Omen" comes to mind and I start thinking maybe this little girl is Damien in a dress! :eek: They also understand that I will make sure that their daughter is safe from Kiya because the last thing I need is Kiya biting her.

So, what is it with this one kid?? Pheromones that she gives off? Her body movement? Her voice? She herself has a dog and for the most part knows how to behave and interact with dogs. I do have to say this little girl is rather spoiled and used to getting her way and tends to sulk and throw attitude. I can personally tolerate her for only a short while before she is under my skin. Maybe it is just her personality and the aura she gives off that Kiya picks up on…

This summer will be a little easier when all the neighbor kids are home all day long to work on some counter-conditioning with Kiya and this little girl. I really don't want to have to keep Kiya locked up inside though whenever this little girl is over playing with the boys and all the other kids in the neighborhood.

Any suggestions, counter-conditioning techniques, etc to help Kiya at least tolerate this little girl would be great!


posted in Member Introductions read more

Hello from Wisconsin!

We fell in love with the Basenji years and years ago when we were in college, dreaming about the day when we were married, had 2.5 kids, the house with the white picket fence and what would be the perfect dog for us and our personalities. Then one night we were watching the dog show on TV and the were talking about the Basenji. Our obsession started there, we read up on the breed, researching and learning everything about it. After college we were living with our oldest son in an apartment community that didn't allow dogs, so we kept dreaming about our future Basenji. We just happened to befriended a couple that had Basenjis and we house/dog sat for them quiet often since they both traveled a lot for work. Taking care of their 'Senjis really was the final nail in the coffin for us - we were sold and completely and totally in love with the breed. Well the years went by, we built our house with the picket fence, had a few more children, and one day we just knew it was time to add a pup to the chaos.

While we still longed for a Basenji we wanted to teach our children about rescuing a pup in need, so we started scanning Petfinder and various rescue sites for "the perfect dog" for our family.

We didn't have to look long. This little 16 week old pup kept catching my eye. She was listed as a Corgi-Chihuahua mix, but I couldn't see an ounce of Corgi in her from her pictures. We went to visit her at her foster family and we all just clicked. We took her home that very day.

As Kiya warmed up to her new family and her personality started to shine through, her yodeling started up, and the quirky little behaviors started to show we knew instantly that we didn't have a Corgi on our hands!

A DNA test confirmed it. We had a Basenji Mix!

Kiya, although she has come to us with some very heavy baggage that we are working through with her, she is a complete and total sweetheart. We honestly couldn't ask for a better pup. Our 3 boys, ages 2, 4, and 10 simply adore her and she simply adores them right back. She and my youngest are partners in crime, often getting into mischief together. And to say she isn't spoiled would be telling a big fib.

We are already looking forward to adding another Basenji pup to the family, as soon as late this summer. Our hearts grow fonder for this wonderful breed with every roll of toilet paper shredded, every coloring book destroyed, and every tissue box emptied.

I look forward to getting to know all the Basenjis here and have yodels of fun!!

Here is a quick pic of my pretty girl. We just love her tough underbite - makes her look so tough! Ha!! She may not look too Basenji, but she has 100% pure B 'tude!!

Amy and Kiya

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