Stressed out about this behaviour and need help…..

  • Hi all, have an issue with my two Baenjis, one more than the other chasing and nipping other dogs. Not too sure how to correct this behaviour as when it is happening its off in the distance where im out of arms reach. Someone reccommended an "e collar" to combat the distance issue. Im not a fan of that route and was wondering if anyone had any pointers. They for the most part are good with recall, but when they really want to go after something or have there little minds set on something that goes out the door. Yesterday at the dog park had 2 seperate, very embarassing, and stressful run ins where one was an overly excited boston terrier and they were on it like none other nipping and chasing. My one female will even run after a dog that is stationary and nip the butt, without , from what I can see the other dog provoking anything. Usually happens with over excited and or very timid dogs….please help before I get into trouble or even worse my dogs do. Thanks

  • You probably won't like my advice, but if you don't have voice command over your dogs at all times, you shouldn't take them to a dog park…period. If you have good voice command most of the time, but lose it when the dog becomes overstimulated in play, you need to try to call them to you BEFORE the dog switches into "can't hear you anymore" mode.

    Not all dogs can go to dog parks. Mine can't. Lots and LOTS of basenjis can't because their brains are hardwired for "chase a moving object" and once their brain goes there they literally can't hear you calling them anymore.

    If you feel you must continue to go to the dog park, you should become an expert on the kind of dog they are likely to harrass, and gather your dogs up the minute you see that kind of dog coming, before they have a chance to engage in the behavior.

    Please don't use an e-collar, this would very likely confuse your dog, and possibly cause them to fear other dogs, resulting in worse problems for you.

  • hansfingas,
    Would you mind providing a bit more info? Are your dogs being aggressive when they chase and nip? Are they trying to harm the other dog? Is the dog they are chasing having fun or acting more afraid?

  • I believe an e collar would be the worst possible solution. Basenjis can react to a correction by taking it out on a dog near them, you could make the situation much worse that way. Making them more fearful is another risk, e collars are based on fear training.
    I would consider doing exercises to tire your dogs out a bit before the dog park. If this behavior is new or not constant maybe they are over excited when they enter the park. So many people use the park to burn off dog energy when in fact it should be a social place and dogs should enter in a calm state to have the best experience. Try giving your dog games (chasing a laser or toy) or even puzzle games to wear them out a bit before going to the park and enter with a calm approach.
    Dogs when over excited will do all kinds of rude things, if the dogs is having trouble with mostly small dogs then I would recommend letting your dog play with large dogs, some parks are seperated by size.
    I have heard of some dogs at parks picking on smaller dogs, especially if they are shy or timid. Often two basenjis will tag team picking on that dog. I often hear basenjis play better wih larger dogs at dog parks.
    I also agree with Andrea, unless you feel confident in the situation I wouldn't risk the dog park. Just imagine how much you love your dog, now what if your dog causes serious damage to another dog equally loved by its owner, not just physical but the fear it must generate if your basenji is picking on a timid dog may not be reversible and equally as damaging.
    If there is a trainer in your area I would encourage you to join a controlled play group or training class that includes multi dog interaction.

  • Agreed, you don't have full control, the responsible action is to keep the dogs OUT OF THE PARK unless on a line. Which means one dog at a time. You truly need to work on recall and have it 100 percent before dog parks, imho, especially if the dog has issues.

  • Are you sure your dogs are being agressive? Perhaps it's just playfullness. How do the other dogs react?

  • Playfulness or no, other dogs may not recognise this and it could result in a nasty fight.

    If you have to let your dogs run loose around other dogs, why not put a kind muzzle (such as is sometimes used in lure chasing) on them? Of course you'd have to accustom them to wearing them first.

    Personally I keep my Basenjis on leads at all times when they're not in a situation where I can control them.

  • @stazy:

    Are you sure your dogs are being agressive? Perhaps it's just playfullness. How do the other dogs react?

    I have seen the behavior that is being described with my own dogs and a cat that we had. The dogs would try to force the cat to run by nipping at its butt, because they wanted to chase it. The cat was frozen in fear…and I think these dogs at the park are as well. Even if the OPs dogs ARE playing (which they probably are!) it isn't fair to the other dogs.

  • I think Therese advice is right on. Good luck.

  • i agree with the general consensus that these dogs may just not be dog park type dogs. you may want to google "predatory drift dogs". small white dogs often set my boyz off when they were younger.

  • @Patty:

    Playfulness or no, other dogs may not recognise this and it could result in a nasty fight.

    Which is why I asked how the other dogs react…


    i agree with the general consensus that these dogs may just not be dog park type dogs. you may want to google "predatory drift dogs". small white dogs often set my boyz off when they were younger.

    Given the right park and proper socialization I don't necessarily agree. If you're adamant about wanting to take your basenjis to the dog park then I would suggest taking them to a reputable dog daycare to socialize them beforehand. They'll be with lots of dogs in a controlled environment and it provides a nice a transition into off leash areas. (Of course working on recall is another issue entirely…)

  • Ayo does this a lot with other dogs. He mostly just wants to play all the time. Some dogs play along , others dont like it and let him know it, he usually backs off after a couple of warnings. I dont think you should worry about it too much, just keep an eye out, for a situation when they really keep harrassing. FOr example, My parents have an older dog , he must be 16 pointer mix, and Ayo is constantly nipping at his tail to get a reaction and running around trying to get him to chase him, but even this old guy lets him know it when hes had enough!! I think the fact that there are two basenjis may make it worst because they will gang up and becomes kind of a frenzy. I have noticed that, unless big, ptetnially dangerous dogs are involved, its better when i let them be before I react, usulaly they will settle issues themselves. But, im no expert, just what i have noticed, that when i overreact to things it gets worst.
    Sometimes, other dog owners get upset at Ayos constant nipping, in that case I will take Ayo out for a walk and come back later…

  • Thanks everyone for the responses….very good to hear from other owners. Reagrdless of whether or not its what I want to hear, its usually what you need to hear. I'll clarify a few things.
    1. I wouldnt say its "aggressive" ( an intent to hurt )
    2. Typically "OVER" excited ADHD type dogs
    3. Doesnt happen often, 1 out of 10 trips maybe
    4. 2 types of behaviour going on,
    1 chasing and nipping doing laps of the park behind other dogs nipping at the butt, other dogs usually dont pay attention to it, owners on the other do
    2 and also with smaller dogs that are usually timid and dont leave owners side, if excited( anxious ) my guys will run up to them and forcibly sniff and bump ( bully ) the other dog and that dog usually ends up being picked up by the owner within seconds ( chihuahas,or dogs of that type )
    5. I am entering the park with over excited dogs, as of late they have been whinning on the car ride there, dont know why...but i let them in over excited ( my fault....that will stop now....side do I get them to stop whinning? )
    6. They go to daycare, a good one as far as I am aware, no issues for the most part, they arent a fan of overly excited dogs and the daycare knows this, and act accordingly

    Hope that helps shed a bit more light on my situation, I dont feel its a terrible one, but maybe one that has potential to escalate just wanted to get some info on how to go about it. E-collar not an option, never was, just a recommendation. Wow, I feel ike a bad owner, all these questions, issues. Hmmmm, where to start. Guess I'll start a new thread and go from there. Thanks again 🙂

  • First Basenji's

    I have the same problem with Mojo. I switched times to take him to the dog park. Late afternoon there are tons of dogs at the park. I think he got too excited with a lot of dogs around and wanted to play chase with them- too many dogs was too confusing for him. We go much earlier now and not many dogs there. Seems to keep him calmer. Also, it is only big dogs that get him wound up- he doesn't mind small dogs.

  • A BAD owner doesn't ask and things get worse. When I think of all the utterly basic things I had to learn… really, the fact you ASK shows you are, in fact, a good owner. These are not easy dogs. People fear Rottweilers... trust me, their desire to please make any well bred one nearly push button training. I have had, trained, done rescue and rehab for nearly 30 yrs, and these freaking dogs challenge me daily. 🙂 It ain't just you, iow.

    I have to say, I am not a dog park fan. I like the parks that let you sign out an enclosed area for you and your friends. A park where you are at risk of any nutjob owner/dog, not so much. But particularly with your guys. I hope you find a way to retrain the perfect recall, and to get them back. But right now, you are putting them in danger.

    I like this link a lot,

    But once someone posted on not just recall, but creating neuropathways more stable while teaching it.

    From: PCF Click

    Do this exercise three times daily for two weeks:

    Walk toward your dog until he sits; blow the whistle while within one second
    popping a real treat into his mouth. Do this three times for each exercise.

    After two weeks, walk across the room and blow the whistle. The dog will
    come and sit in front of you. Give him a very big handful of goodies (
    REAL treats, not dog cookies). After ten out of ten successful repetitions
    of this game, blow the whistle at various times throughout the day from
    another room. When the dog comes and sits in front of you, reward.

    Take this outside and do "round robin whistle' with the whole family.
    Now you have a conditioned response.

  • I completely agree with Debra! Don't feel like a bad owner, you are doing the responsible thing and trying to figure out what is going on, and how to manage the situation.

    Dog parks are really complicated places. You have all kinds of social interactions going on: dog-dog, dog-human, human-human, and then you have a bunch of people not paying attention to any of it!…and the only ones who really know what is going on are the dogs, usually. If the dogs are nipping butts, and the dog being nipped doesn't seem to mind (not intimidated, not increasing aggression) then it is probably okay, but you may have to deal with the anger of the other humans who don't understand how Basenjis play. If the dogs are nipping and the other dog is intimidated, it is your responsiblity to keep your dogs from engaging in that behavior. Although it may be a bad choice to bring a timid or tiny dog to a dog park, they have a right to be there; and the more assertive dogs must be kept undercontrol.

    I think the best thing to do, would be to leash your dogs and head out as soon as you see a dog that you know will get them going. I have heard from people who have Basenjis that use dog parks that sucess is often dependant on finding the right time, and right group of people/dogs to socialize with.

    Another idea would be to take them one at a time, although that would be a big pain...they would probably be less assertive if there was only one of them there.

    I hope some of these ideas help. Please don't feel bad about trying to learn more...we are all learning all the time 🙂

  • I think you're a good owner. Bad owners wouldn't even be concerned.

  • I believe you are doing the right thing, asking for help. I share your pain - my 2 year old female has become aggressive with certain other basenjis at the park where lots of basenjis/owners get together once a week. She will, out of the blue and for no apparent reason, get in the face of one or another of them and hackle up, growl and start something. Then, of course, her "sister," my b mix, will charge the rear end, and lots of the others will jump in, and we all have to pull them apart, and mine get immediately leashed until they calm down. We will give it another try, but recently, she starts up again at some point. I do not know what's going on with her because she has been a very sweet dog most of the time when she is with her "pack." I must stress this is ONLY when she is with her group of other basenjis, sometimes 15-20 of them. We take the girls to other parks where there are lots of other types of dogs, and do not have this occur. At the non-basenji parks, generally they run, run, run together, playing and having a great time, and then will play with all other kinds of dogs, preferring the larger ones most of the time, and the day will go well. As much as it is breaking my heart to do it, we have decided that since Shaye is not behaving as she should with her basenji pack, and Gemma has appointed herself a bodyguard there, we are going to stop going to the basenji get-togethers, at least for a while, so the other basenjis/owners will not need to worry about them. Whether she thinks she is establishing her place in the pack, or just feels some insecurity we cannot pick up on, it's not a good thing where it should be the best of things for her. We have to do what we feel is safest for all the dogs at a dog park, including our own. Your questions and the suggestions here all make sense. I've printed out the block about recalling - and will try to make the girls respond. Although frankly, when any distraction gets hold of their brains, they do turn oblivious!

  • I too had this same problem with my male. Its seem to me that is was a dominance nip and usually on the overly active dog. It never escalated with the other dog into a fight but my male definately got the hint a few times from the other dog.

    But I will say that when he did do it, right away I would take him into the other pen and take them home. I took them to the park everyday and slowly broke him. I also paid alot of attention as to what dogs triggered him and gradually introduced him in.

    The three we have are great at the park now and actually, are some of the most complimented dogs that frequent the park. I love to see them run free cause i dont get to that often. Such beautiful animals.

    Hope you have had some luck. BTW, it did take some time and alot of patience.

  • My boy is the same… play with me... chase me.... and a playful nip to the butt usually gets the game going in the direction he wants! Obviously with my other dog, a younger Ridgeback male this is no problem, they both know the game. However I rarely let him interact with dogs we don't know.

    Whilst the vast majority of dogs understand its a game, the vast majority of dog owners don't. When I do let him play with known dogs (our main play group is a mix of Border Collies and Groenandals of both genders) I have had people (who do not have a dog present) come up to our group and complain about my Basenji to the other dog owners (who are fine and are happy to let their dogs play with him) because they can see the very obvious nipping. The nipping has never drawn blood nor distress but the majority of people simply do not see the nip it in the context of play.

    And has been said before, the other problem with letting dogs play in a dog park situation is that you just do not know how well adjusted and socialised the other dogs are - you only need one dog that doesn't speak dog properly to throw a happy and relaxed group dynamic into turmoil and potentially lethal situation.

    My old sighthound mix had been there and done it all, and I knew she would just exit a group if a dog didn't speak dog properly in a park situation. My Basenji, younger and male, is far more likely to get himself more involved in trouble and hence I do not put him in a position where is likely to get out of his depth. Who knows, as he gets old and wiser (I live in hope), I may give him more 'responsibility' but not at the moment, it is not worth the risk to him or other dogs.

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