Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meet & Greet

How is it that you can manage to get two Basenjis to meet each other (or another breed for that matter) with out growls, snarks and the "mohawk"? Heaven forbid that they be on leash. Then you're trying to keep ahead of the tangle and out of the way of that sudden head-to-tail switch-a-roo they all seem to have perfected.

We've tried unleashed in the yard, leashed on the street, in neutral territory and just about any other way we could think up. Still, how do we make sure that they're safe until they get past the sniff & growls? We've had various degrees of success with different methods with different dogs. It wasn't until I read some of the work of Turid Rugaas about "Calming Signals" that I discovered things about my Basenji that I never knew. I suddenly realized that my furkids were telling me things all the time. I was deaf, dumb and blind.

So now, I try to be as aware of my behavior as I am of what my Basenjis are telling me when a new dog comes into the picture. It is as important for me to utilize calming signals as it is for me to be aware of the signs of stress in my kids and try to implement actions that can break that stress. If we're out walking on leash, I never approach another dog directly or quickly. Slow and curved sideways type approach, stops are okay, but not directly facing the other dog. Stopping to sit at an angle can be good too. Of course it helps it the other dog walkers know how to follow the same approach! It helps even more if the other dogs are actually on a leash!!

My most recent difficulty came with a basenji foster boy who was taken to a single dog home when six or seven weeks old and who was never exposed to other dogs. He didn't respond to most of the signals I had grown so used to seeing in my other, better dog-socialized, Basenjis. We had to go very slowly, with many, many stops to backtrack.

Learning to listen/see what my Basenjis have been trying to tell me has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. For more information check out or do a google search for "Calming Signals for Dogs".

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the biggest and most confusing issues I've dealt with as a basenji dad. I worry about any wrong signals I may be giving off and want to make the eventual progress to happy, easy greet and meets. Thanks for the link reference, and I hope more weigh in on this issue.