It might be that The Girls are duelling over who will rule the roost now that your 14 yr old is settling into 'retirement'. Fortunately they're fighting with each other and not her--females are not respectful of age and I've had first person experience of two elder females injured so badly by younger females that euthanasia was required, and one--mine--where an old girl was beaten up and pushed down the basement stairs (!) In two of the above cases, all females were spayed--so spaying is not a panacea.
Honestly, I really doubt behavioral therapy will help long term--you're up against centuries of instinct, after all; And it could hurt by lulling you into a false sense of hope and security, resulting in an epic battle causing real injury. Depending on the method used, it could even redirect aggression towards your senior girl--whatever you decide please, please ensure she is separated from the others when you can't supervise directly. I gated mine in the master bedroom when I was away from the house; If she 'leaks', a plastic drop sheet placed over the bedspread and pillows and with a large, cozy bed on top will keep things dry.
If re-homing becomes necessary, remember that good, experienced homes ARE available--maybe even nearby, where you could visit. You just never know which members of an online forum or FB page are looking for a pack newbie. Good luck!
While there's no harm in changing his food, I've found Earthborn in general to be a great product. Since Meadow Feast is grain free, maybe try him on a an Earthborn product that isn't grain free:--the pea/bean/lentil flour often used in grain-free dog food can be problematic for immune issues. If your budget allows, why not try him on a commercial raw diet? Turkey is an anti-inflammatory meat, and usually a more reasonably-priced choice. Try to at least stop him from licking his foot after meals during this experiment--easier said than done, I know!--since the bacterial load in his mouth might ramp up slightly after eating. In general, licking will cause infection--it may be that the rash started as an allergy then became an infection from licking, so maybe try a soft collar. I taught my BRaT boy "Leave it" because he was a nervous licker, and it actually worked, but you might need a soft collar. I've jury-rigged them from a 3-4" wide piece of stiff-ish upholstery foam held in place by the dog's collar--it stops them from bending their neck enough to lick, but is still comfortable.
That said, basenji skin rashes usually start from environmental issues. Dust/mold/mildew from central heat or air; Cleaning products used on bedding & rugs or heavily scented products spray products, off-gassing from new rugs or carpets; Even residue from baking soda or other carpet cleaners can cause a rash if not sufficiently vacuumed. Toilet bowl or shower cleaners may not be overtly toxic, but the VOC's and chemical compounds definitely weaken the immune system over time if the dog drinks from the toilet or shower. Outdoors, look at what surfaces he's walking on/through--a dog I walked at the SPCA got a rash between his toes from tough brush; Herbicides or pollen in grass could be an issue. Do you have Foxtails in your area, or did they exist near his former home? Check with your BRaT coordinator, since that could be causing his foot irritation. Maybe walk him in a set of rubber sole dog socks like Sport PAWks or Grippers to see if that helps--my b's prefer them to boots.
Finally, it may also be that stress from his previous situation eroded his immune system, which may need help getting rebooted. Raw diet will definitely help with that, and probiotics are vital: I give stressed fosters organic goat Kefir to increase their gut flora, it's like yogurt on steroids.
Organic cow milk kefir is often sold in grocery stores if you can't find a health food store that sells goat kefir. Probiotics from the vet (made by Purina) made one foster sicker, which is why I now use Kefir. It--and human grade Omega 3 supplements--are my go-to "meds" for inflammation and allergies.
Reducing cleaners etc mentioned above will also help, if you use a lot of them--I switched to homemade vinegar or lemon based spray cleaners and baking soda scrubs years ago (foster dogs teach me so much!) and haven't gone back. If you have grandkids, it's healthier for them, too.
Sorry for the epic post--I've been in your shoes and know how upsetting it is, so I wanted to share my experience. Feel free to contact me if you have questions, and thank you so much for adopting a BRaT
@nick4 I'm assuming your pup has had Fanconi testing or is clear by pedigree? It usually causes decreased appetite, so I wanted to make sure it's been ruled out.
Otherwise, I've always found basenjis who are 'only children' are really fussy eaters--no siblings to steal their food if they walk away. At 5.5 months, it might also be he's missing the his mom & littermates, since b's are social dogs. Does he spend a fair bit of time alone? That's often stressful for them, and stress affects their appetite a fair bit.
You could try a commercial raw diet, mine definitely prefer it to kibble. Earthborn Meadow Feast is another kibble that's tempted mine when they weren't hungry.
Also, make sure the kibble is stored in a cool, dry place out of the sun in the original bag. If you economize by buying large bags, store the bulk of it in the freezer, taking out about a week's worth at a time. It can go rancid quickly once exposed to air, especially in hot weather. I'm also cautious about buying kibble in the summer months--I think it might go rancid if transported in unrefridgerated railcars or trucks that stand in the sun for hours. I have one boy with a sensitive nose and even more sensitive gut--I pay attention when he refuses food, he's my canary in the coal mine.
If he doesn't eat, pick up his food and either discard or bag it & put it in the freezer. Leaving it down for him to eat later will make him a pickier eater. It's better for training & housebreaking if he eats (or not) on a schedule that YOU dictate. Good luck!
Antigone, I've heard many comments regarding rescues (or coordinators/fosters) who 'keep dogs for themselves' and would like to address that issue. I live across a provincial border from the 'puppy mill capitol of Canada,' and have become an unwilling expert in rehabbing & rehoming PM dogs. I don't think you--or anyone else--would make that comment if you'd actually cared for one of these dogs. Moreover, it's difficult to find appropriate forever homes for many of them, since they come with behavioural or health problems that adopters either aren't equipped or willing to deal with.
I've adopted two of my own fosters: one so incredibly timid that I've never been able to pick him up or put both arms around him unless he's tranquilized, otherwise he bites; Another I received as an 8 week old foster with cranio-facial trauma--he's visually impaired and is mostly incontinent, although he's improved somewhat over the years. I didn't 'want' to adopt either dog--I wanted to continue fostering--but the fact remains that they--and a number of PM dogs--were and are 'undesirable' to the average adopter, and often remain with the foster parent.
Also, even PM dogs less impacted by their experience awaken a protective instinct within their foster parents, who then--not surprisingly--become unwilling to give them up. I can vouch that it's very, very difficult to nurture a broken creature who comes to you encrusted with feces and mange, who stinks to high heaven despite repeated baths but still needs the warmth and security of curling against you at night--then 'betray' them by handing them over to a stranger.
The thing to keep in mind is that rescues are about keeping the dogs safe and happy, first and foremost. Often the best home for them is where they feel safe and loved, which is sometimes their foster home. Anyone who gets mad at THAT probably isn't the most ideal applicant. If someone really, really wants a rescue, maybe they should become a volunteer first, just to see what's really involved with caring for a rescue. Contrary to popular belief, young, unaffected rescue basenjis are few and far between.
What a cutee! Is this your first basenji? Always a shock the first time you turn around and are suddenly eye-to-eye with a puppy you're used to seeing on the ground! I had a foster who thought he was a rock climber--he somehow managed to get up on the counter by grabbing the handle of the oven door and clawing his way up the front of the stove(!) (Edit to clarify The stove was not in use at the time, and seldom is: I hate cooking: ) Believe it or not, this was cured by getting him a comfortable chair where he was high enough to sit and watch what I was doing on the kitchen counters. Naturally, the kitchen was gated off-limits when we weren't in there; But he had absolutely no interest in being in the kitchen unless we were.
@basenjifan I don't really consider b's (especially males) reliably housebroken for pee until almost 2 years--they're so excitable, developing control can take some that long.
That said, when was your boy neutered, when you got him? B4 you got him? I had a horrible time housebreaking a young male until I realized he had a bladder infection he caught from catheterization following his neuter surgery. I've also had dogs develop bladder infections from being cathetered to get urine samples. If his neuter surgery was within the past few months, or if the previous owner had trouble with housebreaking following neuter surgery, get him checked for a UTI.
Also, is your boy from a reliable breeder and do you have proof his parents weren't Fanconi affected?
Ok, dial it back a little, here: Are you aware that rescue staffers are VOLUNTEERS? People with full-time jobs, families, pets of their own plus foster dogs? These aren't corporations You're dealing with, they're non-profits! Don't you feel just a tiny bit self-absorbed and arrogant complaining, because that's the vibe I'm getting!
@tanza Yes, she could be. Then again, she could also be part basenji. The OP wasn't looking for your Holy Basenji-Breeder Annointment of her dog as a purebred! She merely asked if, based on her dog's appearance and behaviour, she might have basenji blood. Is your self-image as a basenji breeder so fragile that you have to shoot down every newbie who wants info? This is a basenji forum--I thought all basenji lovers were welcome. You, ma'am, are a basenji snob!
@debradownsouth I apologize, but as a rescue advocate I've never once met a breeder who didn't treat "poor-bred' rescues and mixes with polite but palpable disdain. In my old age, I'm becoming less willing to watch breeders be curt and dismissive to newcomers. @ Tanza's comment says it all: She doesn't "see" basenji. Basenjis--and this forum--are about a lot more than looks.
I'm following this post with interest: there's the (slim, fortunately!) possibility of an overseas posting in our future,and while I'd LOVE to be in Europe for 3 years, I've never flown my 3 b's or my fosters EVER. (I should mention all three are failed-foster rescues with anxiety issues or other issues which is why I'm obsessive about keeping them happy.) I'd happily pay for extra seats or fares so my guys could fly in-cabin in their crates, or sit in the cargo hold myself so I could sedate but still keep an eye on them (eg. Are they warm enough, breathing ok etc.)
@mshilo You're in Germany? Is it possible for you to take a train--which would at least allow you to be close to your dog--or to drive? I've put a ton of mileage on my car transporting rescue dogs in the last 10 years, my furthest was 3728 km. Because hubby and I have a long distance marriage, a very conservative estimate of my personal dog-driving mileage would be 54,238 km. It's totally do-able if you enjoy driving, especially with just one dog--but I get that not everyone enjoys driving. Having a hubby away in the military 75% of the time has been tough but wow, it's amazing for your coping skills!
If ground travel just isn't an option, here's what I've come up with so far for my potential trip that might help:
- list item Take a direct flight to avoid layovers & connections with their increased crate time; More importantly, direct flights limit interaction with ground staff & cut the risk of them sitting on the tarmac or becoming 'lost luggage' in half.
- list item I'm going to find the shortest flight time North America--Europe to decrease overall in-crate time & time in the cargo hold. I'll rent a car to drive to get to that departure airport.
- list item Start renewing crate training (Door off, my crate is a safe comfortable place) and start Thundershirt conditioning RIGHT NOW. If you want tips on that, I'd be happy to help.
Beyond that, I've started looking into passage to Europe by ship--onboard a freighter maybe, since I've already learned that cruise ships allowing pets are hugely expensive & confine them to a kennel area, which might not be much better than flying.
@heidiace My first basenji was a total hellion until I realized she was intelligent and bored...after that she became a model girl as I found ways to keep her engaged, interested and praised all her progress Since then I haven't had problems with my b's or my fosters, as long as I take time to keep them engaged and happy.
The only thing is to condition her very gradually to the clippers by having them around her constantly, beside her bowl when she eats or in your hand when you give her treats etc. Then hold them in your hand while you pet her...rub them against her head or legs...rub them against her claws. This will take ages and require lots of high value treats! Once she's ok with the clippers in your hand, try 'snipping' within the vicinity of her nails, then snipping the tiniest amount off her nail while her foot is resting on the floor.
Don't forget Thundershirts have to be 'primed' to work properly ie. dogs need to wear them frequently when they aren't stressed at all, when they're content & happy etc.
She's adorable! Her behaviour/movement sure sounds basenji, her weight Isn't that far off either...she also has white on all 4 legs, and her color is right--I'd say mix! Don't listen to Tanza, She's a breeder so she can't admit a mix can be the best of both worlds : D