Saturday, September 15, 2012

Talkative Basenji Boy

By Linda Boutin

     I joined The Basenji Community: today. They asked me to link up and it makes sense having enjoyed the company of this unique breed for my whole life. I used to think that I understood basenji vocalizations very well. However lately Kindu has proved to me that most of my dogs, primarily females, barely scratched the tip of the sounds they are capable of making.
Kindu walking near our home

     Lately when my basenji boy is surprised he releases an involuntary woof. One single bark which causes him to turn around and look behind himself to see who is barking in his house. He's never quick enough to catch the culprit at it, especially since the sound emanates from his own throat.

     Kindu always surprises us when we are out on walks and he decides to let out a full-throated BARROOOO. And not just for us either, he uses this technique to gain the attention of other walkers who show the slightest interest in him. It's his way of saying, "Hello, how are ya? Watcha doin?" He has a pretty good vocabulary for a dog! Often this gains him a reward of petting from the new person he's just met.

     Just yesterday he spoke up when we were all walking together. Star and I led the way with Gary's mom following us girls. Next came Kindu straining to get to the front with Gary holding him back keeping him from tripping anyone. Our boy disagreed with this arrangement and BARROOOOED at me to slow down and let himself and his man lead the way. We gathered together at the corner and Kindu pulled Gary into the lead while we crossed the street together. He has strong opinions about who should lead and who should follow.

     His other new sound is what I call "chuffing." This is a guttural sound from deep in his chest that he uses when he is very unhappy about a situation. It usually comes out when Star walks on him or touches him in any way. When he riles her up, she uses the standard dog growl to tell him to back off. But when Kindu is unhappy with her, he sounds like an old man HARRUUUMMMPPPPPING about a small child getting too close.

     So what about you? Have you been learning any new communication techniques lately? Is there a community out there that you should be involved with, but just haven't taken the big step of joining in? One of the reasons canines and humans integrate together so well is that we are both social creatures. How about taking a step of faith and joining a class, a Bible study, or checking out a church where you might find camaraderie with your fellow beings. All of us crave a sense of belonging so next time you are surfing the internet, look for a local group that meets your set of interests. You'll be surprised by the potential rewards just like Kindu when he BARROOOS.