Here's a question I struggle with all the time, that I want to throw out there to all of you: How should you let your basenji greet other dogs?
I have two basenjis, and one is fine greeting other dogs but the other is not. My BRAT boy Biko used to be shy and let the other dogs greet him, but now that his confidence has grown, so has his ego. Now he lunges at the end of the leash, growls, snaps, and basically makes a huge show of what a big dog he is (not). We have received several points of advice on how to work with him on this problem, including:
- Let the other dog sniff his butt first. This involves me spinning Biko around and holding him so that his hind end is forward, basically giving it up to the other dog as a peace offering. I have had only periodic success with this; usually he's still growling and snarling on the "other end."
- Hold him behind me so that I'm the leader. Several folks (including the dog whisperer at last year's BRAT Convention) have told me that he does what he does because he's protecting me. When possible, I try to have other folks walk him. However, since it's usually me by myself walking two basenjis, I don't usually have this option. So, the next best thing is to have him get behind me, from which vantage point he usually continues to snarl and growl while I greet the other dog and pay him no attention. This sometimes works.
- Walk him alongside the other dog like it's no big deal, but never allow them to come face-to-face. This works the best, but it's not appropriate for every situation. For example, meeting other dogs on the dog beach, or at the dog park. And even still, sometimes he still tries to pick a fight.
So, does anyone have any advice about what I could be doing better to socialize my little boy? I want him to be social, but unless he can learn to greet other dogs nicely, he'll never have the chance! What has worked for you?