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posted in Behavioral Issues read more

Hi - a few thoughts in case they are helpful, although ours doesn't bite.

For biting:
Figure out the reasons for biting first.

  • if it is around toys/possessiveness - we gave him the toy on his bed and let him be there gnawing on his own. Then walked close by (not too close) and threw him something yummier in his view (eg a small piece of sausage that he can eat quickly) and walk away. Do this at random (though not too often) and have different people in your family do it. Soon she will associate your coming close to her and her favorite toy as something good. Progressively get closer (ie throw the sausage from closer), and then squat down, then touch on head briefly, then hand sausage to her, then move hand towards toy but don't touch it. By this time she will anticipate your coming to her when she has a toy as "yay, something more tasty coming my way". Evenutally, you should pick up the toy/bone hand her the sausage then hand back the toy/bone. Pretty soon she'll let you pick up her toy/bone without biting or thinking you are going to take it away. The key is to progress slowly in terms of distance etc, and mix up the treats (sausage, cheese, chicken).

-if she does bite someone, then immediately isolate her in a basenji-proof room where she cant destroy things. And when letting her out, ask her to sit and be calm for a few seconds first so that she's not hysterical and she learns to watch and listen to you. There may be something else that one does for biting, so maybe others or a trainer would have good ideas.

For pulling on walks, 2 things worked for us:

  • A gentle leader - suggested by our trainer. This means she can't control her head (if they pull forward their head moves to the side like a horses halter) and so she won't be able to forge ahead. It will give your arm/shoulder immediate relief while you work on the rest.

  • In the yard and on walks start rewarding with small treats every time she looks back at you/checks on you. At first she'll do it by chance, or if she is checking to see what you are doing, and sometimes it's a side glance. As soon as she does it - give big verbal praise and get her to come to you and give her a treat and lots of pets. She will begin to do this more often. initially treat every time she looks at you, and once she is good at it, then randomly. On walks you'll find her looking back and coming back to you more often, and as a corollary less pulling, which is a relief. We usually keep the leash in one hand and a handful of small, soft treats in the other - so you don't run out and have to keep going into your pocket to get treats. So, she'll come and nose your hand and you can pet some times, treat sometimes, etc.

The one thing is to progress slowly, praise the right behavior and don't get impatient (count to 10, stop training or go do something else for a bit till you feel ready to try again). When doing the praise really have an excited voice and go overboard even! Our basenji really loves being praised. It takes more time perhaps than other methods, but it's long lasting because they see these behaviors as rewarding so you don't have to get into a battle of wills. And once they get the idea, they'll improve rapidly, even over one walk.

Good luck!

posted in Basenji Rescue read more

Dear Debra,

Thanks for the notes and looking up options nearby. We had already written to the Swiss basenji email address, but didn't get a response. We'd be willing to take him to nearby countries in Europe for the right fit. Perhaps now we will try writing to the other countries' basenji groups.

He is such a lovely dog, and we want a good situation for him. He has come a long way and is much calmer now that he's a bit older!


posted in Basenji Rescue read more

After a great deal of thought, we are looking to rehome our 20-month old male basenji-cross. He is a loving, smart, confident, happy guy. He is good with kids and very social with all people. Trained in basic obedience, he understands about 20 commands (although he retains the right to ignore them!).

We are looking for a home where someone is at home for most of the day as he is much happier following his people around, and has some separation anxiety. This has been challenging as we work full time. Also, it has turned out not to be a great fit with our other non-basenji dog, who is allergic to most animal proteins. This means we can?t leave bones lying around, which he would prefer to chew constantly instead of toys. We will never drop him off at a shelter, but are looking for a better situation for him if we can find one.

He gets along with other dogs if properly introduced (loves to chase and play). However, he does have leash aggression, but is much better when he is not with his doggy sister who has a real fear of other dogs because of her history. We haven?t tried him out with cats.

He has an interesting story, as he was rescued at around 8 weeks old from the bush in East Africa (a veritable Congo dog!). We took him in as a last resort when he was around 12 weeks old. Since then, we brought him with us to Switzerland, where we?ve been for a year. We think he?d do best in a house with a family, garden, and/or other dogs.

He is neutered, microchipped, and up to date on all vaccinations.

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