Trouble Dog

Asha who is 2 years old is being a bit nasty to people coming into the house and not only that but when she is on the lead she won't interact with other dogs other than to growl and not only that but when we(the owners) move her she growls at us.

I think it might be a dominance thing and was wondering if there was any way I can start to fix it.

Have you ever tried an obedience class? It might be a great place to start.

It sounds like your dog is space guarding.

http://ahimsadogtraining.com/blog/resource-guarding/

Also what exactly is her behavior like when she is being a bit nasty? Is she stiff-legged with her tail and ears up? Or does she seem nervous and fearful? The approaches differ depending on what is the background of the behavior. The same goes for the way she is reacting to dogs on leash.

Again with things like this I highly recommend that you enroll her in a class or see a trainer to discuss these things with. 🙂

We have but not for a while. I will try them again. her hackles go up and I think she puts her ears up. She will growl at first but if you don't stop she resorts to mouthing then biting. When there is a dog on the leash she usually acts really excited and then as soon as she gets close she gets nasty.

Not only that but when she is moved she growls at us and sometimes mouths/bites. At that point I just take her off the place she is sleeping as punishment. I am not sure if it is territorial or being scared but I think most likely territorial.

Is it normal for them to go through this sort of stage I am scared of walking past children just incase they want to pat her. She used to be very good with anyone, she loved pats from anyone.

she doesn't growl when we touch her food or go near her bone. Mostly when she is sleeping and we are trying to move her or she is sleeping with someone of the pack (family) and someone tries to approach her. for example my sister was sleeping on the couch with Asha and her boyfriend tried to approach who she knows and she growled.

First, you have basenji, not a Golden Retriever. 🙂 Expecting the dog to like other dogs on leash isn't going to make you very happy. Many dogs are aggressive inside fences or leashed because they feel confined and vulnerable. Do not allow other dogs near, problem solved. If you must go near other dogs, consider a muzzle, but please do NOT LET OTHER DOGS come up to your dog.

People come in, put her on a leash, have them toss her a treat. Get LOTS of people, strangers, the world, to come in, toss her a treat, leave. Soon she will look forward to people. Then get people to SIT and let her approach them for a treat. You can retrain that one. You can also set her up at a PEOPLE park and let folks do the same thing. I don't know what has set her off, but remove dogs from it and work on the people friendly retraining.

Biting you is another issue altogether. If the only time is when she is being moved, that worries me less. You do right to make her get up.
Is she asleep prior to this or awake and actually guarding? Have you had her checked to make sure she does not have an injury (such as hip or elbow etc) causing her pain when she is moved?
Work on the come command. Instead of actually moving her, CALL HER TO YOU. If she is asleep, call her name until she wakes up before moving her or asking her to move. You can make it sweeter for her by giving her a treat when she complies.

http://www.clickerlessons.com/index.htm

I don't let my b's interact with dogs when they are on a leash. fyi.

@spataculrly_kat:

We have but not for a while. I will try them again. her hackles go up and I think she puts her ears up. She will growl at first but if you don't stop she resorts to mouthing then biting. When there is a dog on the leash she usually acts really excited and then as soon as she gets close she gets nasty.

Not only that but when she is moved she growls at us and sometimes mouths/bites. At that point I just take her off the place she is sleeping as punishment. I am not sure if it is territorial or being scared but I think most likely territorial.

Is it normal for them to go through this sort of stage I am scared of walking past children just incase they want to pat her. She used to be very good with anyone, she loved pats from anyone.

It is not unusual for some dogs to be more reactive/aggressive on leash. It is best not to allow her to meet dogs on leash. You can try to teach her to quietly ignore other dogs at a certain distance.

What you are describing is definitely space guarding. Space is considered a resource by most dogs. The link I provided explains it and gives you advice how to approach the problem.

In the case of people I would start by not forcing her to meet people. I also would have visitors toss a few treats at her when they enter and other than that ignore her. As she settles they can give her a treat or two from their hand if they wish…It is about teaching her that people are okay. You can also have people do this when on a walk.

Also if this is a sudden instead of a gradual change in behavior I would take her to a vet for a thorough check up. Some illnesses can cause behavior shifts. Thyroid problems for example can cause the dog to be more aggressive.

@DebraDownSouth:

First, you have basenji, not a Golden Retriever. 🙂 Expecting the dog to like other dogs on leash isn't going to make you very happy. Many dogs are aggressive inside fences or leashed because they feel confined and vulnerable. Do not allow other dogs near, problem solved. If you must go near other dogs, consider a muzzle, but please do NOT LET OTHER DOGS come up to your dog.

People come in, put her on a leash, have them toss her a treat. Get LOTS of people, strangers, the world, to come in, toss her a treat, leave. Soon she will look forward to people. Then get people to SIT and let her approach them for a treat. You can retrain that one. You can also set her up at a PEOPLE park and let folks do the same thing. I don't know what has set her off, but remove dogs from it and work on the people friendly retraining.

Biting you is another issue altogether. If the only time is when she is being moved, that worries me less. You do right to make her get up.
Is she asleep prior to this or awake and actually guarding? Have you had her checked to make sure she does not have an injury (such as hip or elbow etc) causing her pain when she is moved?
Work on the come command. Instead of actually moving her, CALL HER TO YOU. If she is asleep, call her name until she wakes up before moving her or asking her to move. You can make it sweeter for her by giving her a treat when she complies.

http://www.clickerlessons.com/index.htm

I understand that I have a basenji but she has never acted like this before. She is quite good until recently which is why I think I will definitely take Moth's advice and take her to the Vet.

Thank you so much for that advice. I will definitely put it to use. The only problem is my family doesn't think she is resource guarding or being funny.

@Moth:

Also if this is a sudden instead of a gradual change in behavior I would take her to a vet for a thorough check up. Some illnesses can cause behavior shifts. Thyroid problems for example can cause the dog to be more aggressive.

THANK YOU! you have been awesome. Gives me somewhere to start with 🙂

@sharronhurlbut:

I don't let my b's interact with dogs when they are on a leash. fyi.

Wow, because that was helpful. YOU may not let your dog interact on a leash but my dog has always been good until recently. If you are going to post please post something that will actually contribute to the conversation.

@spataculrly_kat:

THANK YOU! you have been awesome. Gives me somewhere to start with 🙂

Please let us know what you find out…if it is thyroid it will be controlled with medication.

I certainly will keep you updated.

Also do you notice any of your Basenjis "digging" sort of thing when they are just about to curl up to sleep? I find it funny and only seen one other dog do it. Just interested in why they do it… Never mind, google answered it 😛

First, Moth the link you sent is
1. recycled info the person got from others… and
2. some of it is outdated (dogs aren't really "den" creatures, nor are wolves who use dens only with young. Knowledgeable trainers know this but here is link: http://www.wolfcenter.org/den.html

Now considered sub-adults, the wolves will never use a den again in their life, unless one of them later becomes a mother herself. Dens are only used for birthing puppies, not as a sleeping area or to escape the weather as you may think. In captivity, wolves will occasionally use dens to escape dominance from other members, but this is not a natural behavior, rather an ingenious way to use the available environment to cope with the negative aspects of captivity.

3. some of it wrong (yes horses, cows and other grass eating creatures sometimes DO, indeed, guard food and grazing area)
4. dangerous. … to suggest a dog that growls over food is EVER, even under adult supervision, ready for a child to work with is bad info.

As for "space guarding" ...when your dog is actually reacting to being approached on a leash... having more to do with the leash/being held back and vulnerable and sometimes what we call "loading"... an excitement created by pulling on the leash, and in the home which is territorial. Being MOVED depends on whether the dog is asleep or simply having to do with saying you have no right to move it.

Second, the snarkiness at Sharon, uncalled for. She offered her advice that she does NOT allow other dogs to approach when leashed. That is pretty common behavior for many dogs, not just basenjis. Dogs reacting on leash is COMMON. To chastise her for giving you her view ... wow shaking head. Here's a bit of board education for you. You can post what you like, but others get to respond. And if you take a simple statement and jump them like you did her (someone I double darned guarantee you has more basenji experience than Moth or I have (albeit not more DOG experience, lol... sorry Sharon had to toss that in), you can expect snarkiness in response either from the person you jumped or someone like me who is less concerned with niceties than dear Sharon. Tut tut.

Third, your dog is MATURING. The "new" behavior may have nothing more to do with anything than maturing. Absolutely your dog COULD have a thyroid issue which can create aggressive behaviors but it is more common after 4 or 5 in most breeds. Maybe a breeder will chime in. Get a FULL panel, don't waste time on general one. Not sure where you send them in Australia but here we have maybe a dozen reliable sources only.

As for: she usually acts really excited
Many owners do not have the experience to interpret "excited." Excited often is "OH BOY A FRIEND" and often "OH BOY A CHANCE TO FIGHT" or "OH NO I CAN'T ESCAPE THE APPROACHING DOG."

Since you can avoid dogs, or stop them coming up to your dog... again, work on the human issues first, with vet check. You may have to accept that your dog, like many, is never going to regain friendliness to other dogs on lead. If you keep pushing it, it will, I promise you, get worse.

Take care of the human issues, and once resolved, then you can revisit the dog one. You might arrange a play date or find dogs your dog knows and likes and work on the leash thing with them later to retrain that dogs approaching on leash are not a threat.

They may "dig" to make den, but much like the circling, it's only a guess. Cara does this to Leora (my daughter) as if trying to dig under her. My daughter is not impressed and it is usually when she wants to play, not sleep. My bedding doesn't like it either.

Firstly I honestly don't think it is Space Guarding because she would be growling at me every time, it doesn't seem to be a constant. When I was reading the information it didn't seem familiar to me but I can always check it out, no harm I guess 😛

Secondly I feel that providing helpful information is what this forum is about, Sharon seem to just want to chip in, I have met many people like this but I do apologize because I could have just ignored it I just get defensive that way and yes there was no reason for me to respond the way I did.

Thirdly, I will get it checked out she does need a check up etc but you have a point. I am not sure of the resources here Australia can get very frustrating here, if it doesn't have a market they won't do it. I will keep trying though. I will most definitely not be letting her interact with other dogs on leashes human or otherwise once was enough for me I am just lucky she is a small dog 🙂

@DebraDownSouth:

First, Moth the link you sent is
1. recycled info the person got from others… and
2. some of it is outdated (dogs aren't really "den" creatures, nor are wolves who use dens only with young. Knowledgeable trainers know this but here is link: http://www.wolfcenter.org/den.html

3. some of it wrong (yes horses, cows and other grass eating creatures sometimes DO, indeed, guard food and grazing area)
4. dangerous. … to suggest a dog that growls over food is EVER, even under adult supervision, ready for a child to work with is bad info.

As for "space guarding" ...when your dog is actually reacting to being approached on a leash... having more to do with the leash/being held back and vulnerable and sometimes what we call "loading"... an excitement created by pulling on the leash, and in the home which is territorial. Being MOVED depends on whether the dog is asleep or simply having to do with saying you have no right to move it.

Whoa…how did I get into this argument. My link was about resource guarding period and that is it. It had nothing to do with dens. And they never claim that dogs are the same as wolves...they merely mention that predators may engage in resource guarding and that has nothing to do with dominance (unlike a lot of people think). I merely was trying to give her a chance to learn about and understand why her dog may be guarding space. Responding to her concerns about the animal growling at family members when resting on the sofa.

I was not talking about her leash aggression other than to say that training her to be calm at a distance was a good idea.

Recommending for the dog to have a vet exam and mentioning thyroid was merely a response to the OP mentioning that the behavior changes seemed sudden.

You might try the book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. And also (before Kim/Agile can say it) "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt 🙂 Both of these books will help you change the behavior, regardless of why it is happening.

@Quercus:

You might try the book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. And also (before Kim/Agile can say it) "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt 🙂 Both of these books will help you change the behavior, regardless of why it is happening.

Thank you! I will definitely get on that :):):):):):):):):D:D:D:D:D

@Quercus:

You might try the book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. And also (before Kim/Agile can say it) "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt 🙂 Both of these books will help you change the behavior, regardless of why it is happening.

oh, look! A CU convert. 😃

I want to be like Sharon and chip in too!!!:):):)

I have a precious BRAT rescue, Hunter, who resource guards me, the couch, and me & the couch. He bit my Husband very badly on more than one occasion.

I took Hunter to a trainer and she showed us ways to get Hunter to unlearn the behavoir. My Husband did none of the work. The behavoir continued so I got rid of the Husband. Guess what? The behavoir stopped!

All kidding aside, everyone on the family has to be willing to do the work. Consistancy is the key and it is possible. When you commented on your Sister all cozy, sleeping with the b, and then your b was growling at her boyfriend. Your b doesn't want him spoiling her warm snuggly place!

Good luck!

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