HELP! Kipawa nipped twice in 3 days
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  • hi folks,

    Kipawa nipped both of Darrel's main care workers in the last 3 days. Both times he lightly broke skin. Here is what happened:

    • both times he was laying in the sun right near our kitchen table where I sit
    • both times I was not around him, once I was watching TV in the living room and the other time I was showering
    • only once did it seem he was asleep
    • both times the care workers were either bringing food to the table or were taking away plates
    • both care workers got bit in the same general area of the leg, around the ankle
    • both care workers wear baggier pants

    The oddity is that he LOVES the care worker that got nipped today. She gives him massages in the morning, sings to him and she loves to pet him while she works. He also is very affectionate with him.

    • Is Kipawa 'protecting' my area of the kitchen where I sit at the kitchen table?
    • Is he thinking that food is being kept away from him? I doubt this because both times he was quietly laying down, wasn't the least bit interested if there was food around or not.

    I know that basenjis can 'spook', but I know I have to get a handle on this FAST, because these are my husband's two primary care workers. Also, should I get any medical tests done? Thyroid? He just had a full panel of blood work done before being neutered on August 11th.

    I will be away this weekend and will be taking Kipawa with me, otherwise I would book an appointment with a behaviorist. I'll do that when I get back.

    I really appreciate your comments. Kipawa means the world to me.

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  • It may be impossible to know WHY he did it, but a little more info can help decide how to proceed. Did he growl before he bit? I know you weren't at the table, but was your husband?

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  • Hopefully a behaviorist can shed some light on what is going on. In the meantime, I'd put him on a NILIF program and crate him when the caregivers are in the house.

    http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

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  • @agilebasenji:

    In the meantime, I'd put him on a NILIF program and crate him when the caregivers are in the house.

    I would definitely crate him when you can't supervise…...or keep him with you if you leave the room where the caregivers are. Without actually seeing what transpired it is hard to know why it happened. I wouldn't be too quick to assume the dog bit for no reason. Maybe someone inadvertently stepped on him or put a foot down a little bit close to him when he was asleep? It would be useful to know if he growled or just silently nipped the person.....

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    Fran please rule out anything medical before you chalk it all up to a behavioral problem….The 1st indication I ever had that there was something wrong with Sonny was when he started nipping at my nephew..who up until then he had done nothing but love from the minute he was born. After numerous vet visits and a full thyroid panel we were still so confused why my loving boy suddenly was behaving this way...little did I know until this past winter Sonny had been slowly loosing his vision..and looking back on it the sudden movements of my nephew when he started walking at a year old were spooking Sonny because he couldn't always see him.....Not that in anyway do I think this is related to Kipawa's problem.....but just stressing the need to rule out all the medical possibilities...wishing you the best and hoping for some answers for you!

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  • +1 on Sonnyboy's suggestion. Most of the time I could find some physical problem going on related to a sudden onset of a behavior.

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  • @Quercus:

    Did he growl before he bit?

    Andrea, the first time it happened, my husband was at the table, but there was no growl.

    The second time it happened, my husband was not at the table, but he DID growl. I have no way of knowing how much time transpired between the growl and the bite.

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    Fran, Call Therese and discuss this with her. What I would do in the mean time is keep him with you when your not in the room with him..get some baby gates, and when your in the shower, put them up on the door, I am assuming its a bedroom shower and keep him with you. You need those folks to care for your husband, and preventing the issue until you can figure what is happening, should work.

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  • @agilebasenji:

    Hopefully a behaviorist can shed some light on what is going on. In the meantime, I'd put him on a NILIF program and crate him when the caregivers are in the house.

    http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

    Thank you so much for an excellent article.We practice NILIF consistently. Feeding time requires sit, stay and then 'okay'. Getting in to the car is getting him to sit in the garage near the door before I tell him 'okay'. For getting out of the car, he must sit and then I use the command 'door' to tell him he has to stay away from the open door until I tell him 'okay'. Then he can come out. He is excellent with the command 'door'. He pretty well freezes until I tell him to come in.

    But, I AM guilty of the following -
    1. paying attention to him when he touches my hand with his nose
    2. Letting him jump on the bed without having him sit first.

    So I will work on those and will work on ignoring his 'requests' when they CAN be ignored.

    The comment in the article about extinction bursts is interesting. I was not aware of this. Kipawa is on his second set of training classes (obedience) and this trainer is excellent, and very firm. As I employ the techniques, perhaps Kipawa is feeling that he is losing his strength in the pack.

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    is he around 2ish? Don't b's often show a bit of "bad" behavior around that age?

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  • @sonnyboy:

    Fran please rule out anything medical before you chalk it all up to a behavioral problem….The 1st indication I ever had that there was something wrong with Sonny was when he started nipping at my nephew..who up until then he had done nothing but love from the minute he was born. After numerous vet visits and a full thyroid panel we were still so confused why my loving boy suddenly was behaving this way...little did I know until this past winter Sonny had been slowly loosing his vision..and looking back on it the sudden movements of my nephew when he started walking at a year old were spooking Sonny because he couldn't always see him.....Not that in anyway do I think this is related to Kipawa's problem.....but just stressing the need to rule out all the medical possibilities...wishing you the best and hoping for some answers for you!

    I definitely will do a full medical check up on him, including his eyes. I will talk to Therese - if I remember correctly he has minor PPM in one eye. I can get my vet to arrange an eye check up for Kipawa.

    Today I visited a friend and I mentioned what happened. She could tell I was concerned and she reminded me that I will have Kipawa's breeders and numerous basenji people to speak with this weekend.

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  • hi Sharron,

    I will have time this weekend to discuss this with Therese and Kevin in person. And they will have a chance to see what his behavior is like and how we work together. I plan on having Kipawa until his last days on the face of this earth. He is really a very sweet dog. I have never given up on a pet and I never will.

    We do use baby gates and I will get one more for my the bathroom. And tonight I will keep Kipawa in the living room/with me from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. while Darrel's evening care worker is here. We usually take our last walk of the day around 9:30 p.m, so that gets us out of the house right up until she leaves.

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  • I'm glad that article was helpful. It's easy to get lax about rules and sometimes you need to re-read somethings and go "Oh, yea, I should be doing that." Yep, I'm sort of at that point myself.

    I'm also happy to read that your breeders will be able to observe him first hand. Diagnosing over the internet can be a little dicey just b/c we're NOT there. Someone not as emotionally involved with the expertise to offer some good suggestions is invaluable.

    One more thing, I would be sure that if K is with you, to make sure you're not in the same room with your husband AND caregivers. (I have no idea what the routine is) I almost mentioned you should teather him OR crate him, but upon reflection, I wasn't sure that would make K more inclined to guard/protect YOU and that's why I said crate him. So, please keep that in mind and don't accidently put him in the postition where he might feel like he needs to take things into his own paws.

    And most importantly, Fran, you are a GOOD dog mom. Try not to panic and get too worked up about this. It is that time of the year for girl AND boy basenjis.

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  • I was just thinking that exact thing, Kim..it is that time of year…..I agree with all of the above...and don't panic Fran :)

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    @Kipawa:

    hi folks,
    The oddity is that he LOVES the care worker that got nipped today. She gives him massages in the morning, sings to him and she loves to pet him while she works. He also is very affectionate with him.

    Not so very odd that he would nip the person he "loves", who showers him with such daily (and free) affection, while he does not (I assume) nip you or your husband who makes him work for his affection via the Nothing in Life Is Free protocol.

    If the daily workers are the same workers who will be caring for your husband long term, they need to be exercising the same NILIF protocol that you both follow. He needs to be reminded he is not the top banana who gets daily massages, a personal aria and constant petting while they are working. All with supervision of course until such time he realizes they (caretakers) are at the high end of the pack along with you and your husband and that you all are constistent in how he is treated.

    Good luck.

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  • CongaMama could be onto something there, might be asserting his dominance to his "slaves" - who knows :)
    hope you all can work something out :) i know you can.

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  • @Kipawa:

    Thank you so much for an excellent article.We practice NILIF consistently.

    k9deb is a friend of mine and simply wonderful. Glad to give you her email if you want to chat with her about any questions.

    I would suggest, on top of the other suggestions, that you make the kitchen totally, absolutely completely off limits. When I do NILIF, anything they guard is GONE, including food bowls. (Yeah means I have to feed by hand til they GET it). I also would not stress–- it's that time of year, he's recently neutered, and he's entering that stage. It concerns me he broke skin, but then they have razor blades in their tiny little mouths.

    I do want to say--- whew. So often you read posts and you know the owner is clueless and the situation only going to get worse. People on this board, mostly, are such good dog owners. They'll go the mile. I see a post and I know the person is here to fix it, get help, and things will be okay. Theresa was as lucky to find you for Kipewa as you were to find her. :)

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  • Just a quick note Fran, PPM would have no bearing on his eye sight. Even heavy PPM (which my OJ had) never caused any vision problems and he was 17+ when he passed

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  • My Buddy has some PPM too and his eye sight is excellent. He can see a crumb on the carpet!:)

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  • You guys are the best! I am drinking in all of the comments and totally appreciate them.

    Sharron - Kipawa will be 1 on September 25. So he really is still a little whippersnapper.

    Agilebasenji and Andrea - I wasn't thinking that at his age he would be so clued into the fact that it is 'THAT time of the year". I think it will be interesting to see how he interacts with other basenjis this weekend. I'd be lying if I told you that I wasn't a little worried. He has only growled quietly when coming into contact with other intact males. This seems to be on the downswing. Two days ago he acted very submissively with an intact male - he rolled onto his back while the other dog stood over him.

    CongoMama - yes! We all have to get on the same page, because the care workers are going to be around for the rest of Kipawa's life. One of the care workers does not like dogs. She is ambivalent towards Kipawa, but I do have to ask her to ignore him calmly. She is quite a hyper person. For her, I will have to tell her that she can give him commands like "door" or "off" or "sit", but she needs to do it without freaking out. The other lady LOVES Kipawa. She is the singer, massager, dance partner for Kipawa. She is also much easier to talk to than the lady that comes in the evenings. I will tell her that she can give Kipawa love and attention and massages, but that he must sit for her, stay in that position and THEN give him bits of love. She really pampers him, and I think you are right on when you are saying that Kipawa does not view them higher than him in the pack. Kipawa needs to go back to earning her attention.

    Debra - I love getting all the info I can get, so yes, if you could give me your friend's email, that would be lovely. I see how it would be good to block off the kitchen, but it is not feasible, as my husband has to be able to get into the kitchen and he would not be able to open and close a gate (he has limited hand function). However, when I am preparing dinner, I can put Kipawa in his crate. I don't like the idea of putting him outside - it seems like a punishment to me? Putting him in the cage would show him I am allowing him to have that space until food is cooked and eaten.

    Pat and Dan - thanks for the info on PPM. I'm glad this would not be a problem. Do you think it is still valuable to get an eye exam?

    This weekend will be a fun one for Kipawa and I. It will also be the time that he will be totally out of his home environment. Even the mode of transportation will be different (I rented an SUV). And he has never been in a hotel yet. And the crate will be different, as the one we have for the house is too big for the SUV. I think he will be overly clingy to me, but I won't baby him. If he needs reassurance I will do that, but he will have to give me something first, for example, sit or stay. I don't want to come back with a bigger problem! :)

    Again, big thanks to all of you and I will let you know how the weekend goes when we get back. And yes, we will have pictures!!

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  • And just as an another perspective…I instruct all visitors to our house to ignore the dogs...because although the human may LOVE dogs, or be great with dogs, or whatever, they are still strangers to my dogs. And my dogs (or any dog) may not appreciate a stranger singing to them, or massaging them, or whatever. I understand that the home health care staff is different than strangers, per se...but still...the dog may wish to have some boundaries with non-family humans. That being said, it is unacceptable for the dog to show his displeasure about strangers,or their behaviors by biting them ;)

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