Sunday, July 19, 2009
I am a very active foster home and have fostering "recycled" Basenjis for a good 10-years now. I'm also the home that will take the "last chance" Basenjis and try to rehabilitate them. These are my special projects that can stay in my care for long periods of time, or forever. Needless to say, my older children and I have come across some pretty amazing bad behavior that could have been prevented by their original owner.
I remember back in 2001 or 2002, I was walking in my local PetSmart on a weekend. I was surprised (and thrilled!) when I saw a Basenji puppy walking with his owners through the aisles. Of course I had to stop and visit this boy because he was such a cute pup (and I need an occasional B-puppy fix!). He was a r/w, about 4 months old, petite, and already demonstrating behavior that his owners should not be allowing. As we were talking, this boy (don't remember his name) decided to lay down and take a nap. When I reached down to stroke his head he woke up in flying teeth mode. As most of us know, flying teeth is a BAD thing and can't be allowed. Any Basenji that has this behavior would not only be dangerous and difficult to deal with as an adult, but would pay the ultimate price for it later - either losing their home, or being put down. Since I was the object of his teeth and was prepared for this reaction, I immediately prevented him from following through on his bite. However, I was floored when his owners thought what he did was cute. Cute! Can you imagine a Basenji puppy, with flying teeth coming at you, as cute?
I promptly told them that this behavior was unacceptable, wasn't cute, and they needed to get control over it now because he would get worse as an adult. I further told them that quite frankly, there are more than enough Basenjis in rescue to deal with in foster care, and these dogs were there because they had owners like them (who couldn't train their dog). I gave them some pretty solid advice about how to work with and train this boy so he wouldn't have such a strong reaction to being disturbed and other helpful training tips.
Since behavior is one of the main reasons why Basenjis end up in rescue, I invite anyone that has something they want to talk about to post a comment. You're not alone, so don't worry about asking for help.
Of course if you have any "trick" that works in positively training your Basenji, we would love to hear from you as well!