Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Shaka and Audrey - Year Two Begins
Our first year and a half together has been a great adventure, and I learn something new about basenjis and life each day.
Being basenjis, there is always some level of challenge, and one that I thought had been resolved a year ago has reared its ugly head again. When he gets excited, especially after a good long walk Shaka will jump on the dining room table. He knows better than to do that when I am eating there, and he is quick to jump off when I say "Off", but I have yet to find the best way to encourage him to stop it. I prefer not to use the water bottle route, and that generally doesn't prove to be much help. I've heard of more severe options such as mouse traps but refuse to use something that could cause potential bodily harm.
What is especially mysterious about it is that after doing it for a month or so last summer, he completely quit and then started it up again this August. Three days into September, and he's not doing it. Could it be a seasonal bad boy trait?
As always, the positives far outweigh the positives. It has really taken me a full year to master walking two basenjis in the big city. Besides traffic, skateboards, garbage trucks, children with sticky hands charging towards them and firecrackers, there are also the charging off leash dogs that we encounter at least a couple of times a week. While I certainly know that it's crucial that I not panic and cause them to do the same, it's not always easy when out of the blue a yapper comes racing towards us. But their reactions and mine and have slowly improved. A year ago, there would be leashing biting, spinning and basenji mohawks if they even saw another dog on leash a block away. They certainly still notice them, stare but then a manage to regain focus and stay calm.
Even my skilled trainer felt that walking with another dog would be too difficult for them. But this summer, I have been walking Audrey with a Boston Terrier named Phillip. We have taken it slow, and even Phillip's owner and I have agreed not to hug or shake hands when we first greet so that Phillip and Audrey can have a bit of distance and slowly warm up to each other. Even on the first walk, all went well. No lunging and snarking from Audrey and no barking or lunging from Phillip. By a couple of blocks in there was friendly mutual bottom sniffing and they had fun walking together for over an hour.