I am not offended. There is no community of Basenjis in my area and my vet is new to this breed. This forum after reading it seemed like an honest and responsive way to seek and receive a helping hand. With our beautiful boy Thor. This is why I wrote, if I wanted softy and fuzzy I could have done nothing or given the dog to a shelter or rescue, dropped off in the woods or simple have him put down. I am obviously concerned and want a healthy happy dog and family. I will have a Thyroid panel done.
Now to your response, There are suggestions you have given that we as owners needed reinforced, and some you addressed that we already do. A little history. He is from a reputable breeder in Homestead Florida. We have his linage and will do some research on both the breeder and line to see if he was predisposed to aggression.
We got him at 10 weeks old, not knowing this pup or much about the breed...with the little we could find out...he seemed like a good fit. Within days he showed an unnatural aggressive response when startled and this did alarm me, therefore startle was already present. I blamed it on the newness of being away from his siblings and mother.
We had a trainer come to our house. Some things worked and others did not. He was of the old military style school, his attitude was with a heavy hand this defiant little fellow will obey. Thor did not receive this well, was belligerent through out the 8 week training sessions of 1 hr a week. Trainer indicated he was highly intelligent but with a big “A” and we needed to keep him in check. We did not heed this warning. I have had many dogs in 72 years, this little one has tested us.
When we first got him if you touched his ears, hind quarter, or his tail (tail was especially off limits) while awake he would snap and growl. During his training period he would show his dislike for a command with an aggressive posture show his teeth, growl and have fire in his little eyes. Like the flip of a switch.
Potty trained in 2 weeks on a bell to go outside it was unbelievably easy. He has never had an accident in our house. He is so smart and staying just a half step ahead of him has been our greatest challenge.
I worked with him On desensitizing those sensitive body parts by slowly and gently touching and rubbing these areas... he no longer has this issue when awake, he rather enjoys a soft touch running down his back and good message to his hind quarter and legs. I can unfurl his tail to some degree and he is totally accepting.
Let me preface, when awake.
I will from this point be more judicious in keeping things out of his reach, but I swear he can stretch to 7 feet tall and grab something that seems well out of his reach. He is always on the propel looking for something to snatch. He has hopped on a table and over a baby gate once, I said no sternly and he was responsive to the command or maybe startled in a good way immediately back on solid ground. He doesn’t realize his own jumping capabilities. This is a good thing.
His social skills or the lack their of is a major concern for me. He does not interact often with people or other animals he must always approach them, never the other way around. We tell people immediately, do not reach out to him, let him come to you if you are receptive, if not we keep him at bay. He is highly aware of dog people and non dog people....it is uncanny how he knows. He is not a people pleaser and we have to use a soft muzzle when we go for an outside activity. He gets car sick every time we travel so outside activities are very limited. There are few dogs in the area to socialize with and the dog park is to far to travel with him. He idolizes my husband and is his shadow. He shows me attention and on his terms, for a touch, a rub, a treat, or play time. He is no lap dog.I hope that this history sheds some light on the trek we have taken with Thor. We love him, and will try very hard to make the corrections you suggested. Thank you for the 101.....will keep you posted. I am open to anything that could help us undo some of the things we have not accomplished so far. old dogs do learn new tricks.
@eeeefarm Thor- for day, he has an open rest /sleeps area during the day. Inside our common area a resting area, a canvas platform outside and a locked crate at night in our bedroom. He is not crated until we go to bed, which is around 11p. He sleeps on an open sofa during our evening hours. If he is asleep we make sure we wake him by calling his name, letting him know it’s crate time...After a potty break he willing goes to his crate because he knows he gets a tiny treat, easily settles down and we cover it to keep him comfortable.
When he was a puppy we tried sleeping with him since he was so small, we learned very quickly about his his sleep startle issue.....
We are going to work more diligently with behavior modification, he is so smart and as my husbands tells it, “ The boy has personality”. As well have him checked out medically to rule out any health issues.
We are retired and get to spend a lot of time with him, so their is lots we can achieve if we give it the old college try. I will contact the breeder as well.
Thank you so much for your quick responses and check the link you sent.
This guy can cut through a leash in a snap, we keep a basket of new ones on hand. Working with shorter leash.
I must admit I am laughing when he does the ball juggle, he amazes me how much dexterity he has...
I will, Ladies try to curb my enthusiasm....he can do it faster than I can roll the balls back, so I giggle. My bad.
There is so much to learn about this dogs.....my head is turning. where were you guys two years ago.LOL
I take Thor out of the area I am going to hide treats. Hide them at first in site and pretty obvious. I have a a few in my hand, I do not give him the treat out of my hand, I tell him to “go find it”.....I only let him smell it. I guess the first few times I would stand in the general area (saying find it). Coached him a bit, he was young when we started. I use fuitables this is not a promotion, just saying what I use. I break them in half....so he doesn’t get overly full on treats. They come in a variety of flavors.... I have increased the amount of hiding place, and even had three different smells and more difficult hiding spots.... if you are an apartment dweller it’s a great indoor activity .....you build up slowly how many hiding spots for treats you want him to find. ....their sense of smell is uncanny... keeps um busy for a bit. The mental stimulation is tiring as well. I don’t do it every day, and you can also use, toys when the pup learns the names of their the toys.
Try the find it game, Thor is up to three different smelling treats and I put them all over the lanai also inside the house....he finds them lick a dee split.... but it is something he enjoying doing...strengthening his mind and his sense of smell
He has favorite toys in a toy box, each day he will pick out something different have that we toss about and he will retrieve show his trophy and we are working on drop on command. Not there yet..but it is a daily activity about 4 p....
your pup is new to you, you guys hang in their. Thor is 2.5y/o and I am still learning about him and all of his idiosyncratic behaviors. Your dog can be so much fun....( staying a half step ahead of him is the key). LOL Congrats and good luck.
It is great hearing many responses, We have had a learning curve with him, more like a you turn. He is a normal pup 98% of the time....but that left over.....part! Wheeee is causing me much anxiety.
Thanks for the encouraging words. I will get this great little dog what he needs.
Thank you for the feed back and your concern.
When we got Thor, he did not liked to be held, he was never touchy feely. Yes, I did have to work with simply touch while awake. I read an article and began working on desensitizing him to feeling violated. Like I said his tail/flank area was totally off limits any time of the day. When he was about 3 maybe 4 months old, he would rest his paw on my lap for mere seconds, even now he rest his head on my lap for a few seconds then moves off and will lay beside me. if I feel he is falling asleep I make him move to to his daybed. it was not until he probably 6 months old before I could hold him close and he lay his head on my shoulder. I was elated. I can still hold him close for short periods of time for a quick snuggle.
About stroking his tail and unfurling it, he allows it to relax just enough to let it unfurl when stroking him. I have never forcefully and never have I tried to straighten it in the slightest. I am sorry if I gave that impression. Just To touch it was a major feat of sorts.
I am going to do some research on his history and address my concerns with the breeder, and vet, with all of the concerns as well try and find somebody to help us help him with Some behavioral modification.
I am not quite sure what you are asking regarding touch?
He is a hundred times better than when we first got him.
We brush his teeth nightly, we can open his mouth to get something out, reluctantly. But if we doing some kind of inspection he allows it for a short time. I can pick him up and walk around with him. I can walk him into the pool, he is at ease with me holding him and his front paws over a noodle, I know how much he can handle then release him and let him swim out. He has never been In the pool alone, we have never encourage him to jump in or become frightened when he is in the pool. On long walks in the Florida heat even a morning walk can cause him to get somewhat over heated......he never shows any aggression walking him slowly into the pool. I feel him relax in my arms as the water cools him down. But for sure he is no water dog. LOL
When at rest, we really don’t touch him, If you even accidentally touch or get to close he will give you “the look”. He will act out if someone outside his small immediate circle, tries to touch him...this to me is not acceptable. We tell people not to pet him. So thus a soft cloth muzzle when appropriate, seems to create a very dossal Thor. The muzzle is not used often, Mostly and only around strangers and small children. It protects them, us and him. I hate having to do it, even still. Safety first.
Let me know what you are looking for with touch, every little bit helps
Having Thor from such a little guy and not being able show him affection on even a minimal level was hard.
I had to actively seek out and research on a way to touch him without “the look” or growling at me. This is a little known trait in dogs and a subject that is not easily found or talked about. I got lucky a dog psychologist wrote about desensitizing touch, that is how I know the term. I was able to work with him on petting and light touch, firmer touching with out him hunching with raised hair and snarling. . He was a sensitive little guy. If you reached for his face as if to pet him he would snap at you. You could not touch his ears, and in no was I pushing them in any manner that would cause discomfort. I have never had a dog that behaved like Thor. As I explained to Tanza, the hind quarter was the toughest, I included touch from head to his tail and as he relaxed, his tail relaxes, unfurled and I followed all the way to the tip with ever so gentle touch, and to this day he is receptive.
My husband is the dog walker, they both like and share in that activity, he can run with Thor as I cannot. We share feeding him. He will sit and wait until the bowl is down. I am the one that will more often than not make him wait. I am the one he trust in the pool. He sits outside with my husband while he is working in the yard. Thor will run from front to back just to see my husband mow the grass. Quiet time for Thor is resting on the cool tile floor while we are working in the kitchen. We both take him out for potty breaks, Thor and I have a special time in each day for play time he reminds me by bringing me a toy. We both interact at different times of the day with different activities. Thor is so astute he is so quick with great paw, head, eye contact he can juggle 4 balls at the same time with his paw and noise it amazes me how he uses his paws to hold the balls and flicks the balls with his noise. He can be so funny and playful. With any activity there is the risk of him becoming hyperactive, There is a fine line I walk. When I do recognize inappropriate behavior, I walk away
Or stop the activity... he displays his displeasure by running up and nipping at my cloths or backside.....I really am at a loss with what to do with this unacceptable behavior. I have tried standing still, tried ignoring him (that was not smart), he is a persistent one. Not found a good solution. Please know this does not happen with every play period rather. But it does occur, not found a good solution. If you know one, I am willing to give it a try. I like ending these sessions on a positive note.
this is so normal, we let Thor go until he cannot run anymore..... He will even do a bounce off the wall like a flip turn in a pool routine...we keep him safe while he is doing this....
Maybe 6ish for our boy. He seems like he is in another dimension..... we can’t stop him, and we don’t try to stop him...He runs the B500 almost daily.....gonna have to paint the wall soon.
The biting and nipping we are working on.... we just don’t accept it, any more. we are both working very hard to shut it down....
Biting for Thor can go from 0-10 and nothing we did was a deterrent. There are new suggestions I see on this issue, I am gonna incorporate that in our regiment to even further deter ....
As far as pillows and furniture, never had issue with furniture, but pillows we had to removed the pillows, allow him to be around them when we can watch him now even this behavior ceased.....
Cwalker- this B forum is the most open and honest you will find on owning and loving a Basenji.
Thor is one tough little cookie.....but loved beyond words. Hang in there.
Been a rainy two days in Fl Thor has not had the normal pool side runs. it’s our rainy season here in SW Fl. USA.
His paw is looking a bit better, less red between the toe, bottom pad as well. and back to a normal gait. The rest ( lack of running on deck pavers)....seems to be helping. I am going to stay on top of this problem because I can’t keep him from running....It’s his safe run area.