Showing aggression towards the husband?!?!?!


  • Now that we have had Queen Zola for 7 months, she has become a complete member of our family. However, over the late couple of days she has shown serious aggression towards my husband, resulting in biting him! Mind you, my husband was the one that originally brought her home and bonded with her first. He is more of the authoritative figure when it comes to disciplining her, although we both do. We share responsibilities when it comes to walks, feedings, baths, etc. Now during playtime, he likes to "roughhouse" with her more than I do.

    During one of their last roughhousing sessions she got really loud with him. She does not do that when I play with her. The icing on the cake happened just yesterday. My husband was pulling on her back legs (which he does a lot) and she bit him. She has NEVER bit anybody!!!!!! Ever!!!!!! And again this morning, he attempted to pick her up off of the bed to take her downstairs for her morning walk (again, this is routine) and she attempted to bite him again!!!!!

    What the heck is going on????? I suggested that he stop playing rough with her, because apparently she is not into that anymore. But, really?????? Also, just a note: due to the nature of my husband's job, he is away for days at a time. So I am with her daily.

    Any suggestions for stopping this before it gets out of hand? Normally Zola is an extremely sweet girl. And it's only been like this for the past two days.


  • My first thought is that she has an "ouch" somewhere and it hurt when he handled her. My second thought was "stop the rough play"!!

    My husband also plays rougher than I do with Perry, which has sometimes escalated to hard nips and sleeve pulling. I stepped in and toned it down. A wound up Basenji may play entirely too aggressively, and it can become a habit.


  • We agree with eeeefarm here. We also think you are correct that your husband has been playing too rough with her. Zola might have something bothering her leg or at some time in the past when your husband was playing with her maybe her hurt her and was not aware of it. Of course he needs to stop pulling on her back legs because she is letting him know she does not like it.

    Either way, what you do not want happening is humans or human touch being associated with fear. This almost sounds like what is happening.

    Is Zola aggressive toward you in any way? Are you able to walk her?


  • We agree with eeeefarm here. We also think you are correct that your husband has been playing too rough with her. Zola might have something bothering her leg or at some time in the past when your husband was playing with her maybe her hurt her and was not aware of it. Of course he needs to stop pulling on her back legs because she is letting him know she does not like it.

    Either way, what you do not want happening is humans or human touch being associated with fear. This almost sounds like what is happening.

    Is Zola aggressive toward you in any way? Are you able to walk her? Does she growl at your husband first or give any kind of warning sign?


  • Hello again. To answer the questions: Zola is NOT aggressive in any way towards me or anyone else that she come in contact with. So is a sweet sweet sweet girl. I am able to walk her just fine….. no issues there. Now that I think of it, she would growl at him during their "play" but I think we just thought it was a part of her play, and not a warning of anything..... we may have dropped the ball with the growling???


  • Growling can be just in fun. Playing dogs often growl, but when it gets serious the tone changes. You should be able to recognize the difference. In any case, with the situation you are describing I would lay off the rough play, and also your husband should probably be careful to handle her gently in case he has inadvertently hurt her. My own dog will yipe if I accidentally hurt him while playing, and I always make a point of apologizing to him. He seems to understand that the hurt was unintentional and doesn't hold a grudge. All my dogs have been like this. When I must do something that I know will cause discomfort, e.g. expressing anal glands, my dogs have always been tolerant, as they know any pain caused is unintentional.


  • Zola sounds like she might have been giving warning signs to your husband during play. So now Zola is protecting herself when he comes near her. Do you think that is whats happening? If it is then might take some time for Zola to get over it and patience on your husband's part for her to learn to be comfortable with him again.

    If Zola has a special treat she likes, your husband might start there. Zola need to associate something good when he is around instead of fear. We would also keep a close watch on her around other people. It also will not hurt to take her to the vet to get checked out to make sure she has no injury or anything else that might be bothering her.


  • Had an adopted rescue dog many years ago become aggressive over rough play-playing tug of war. It was also only one person in the family playing with him this way. Once it was stopped the dog did not display the aggression again.

    Jennifer


  • I'm just not a fan of any game that can be perceived by a basenji as aggressive, and I really don't like tugging games. I think you husband definitely has to stop pulling her legs. Can your husband play less aggressively with her and still have both of them enjoy play time? They both have to re-learn what is acceptable play.


  • Tugging games have a bad rap but actually can be really good. Here is a good blog post of some of the positives that tug has to offer, http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2012/04/improve-your-dog-training-by-playing-like-a-dog/

    Hand games like what many teenagers and men like to play with dogs are not good and can often lead to problems.

    I would agree with what everyone else is saying, quit the rough games. Maybe a training class or a fun class like Tricks or Nosework would be good for Zola and your husband so they can learn better ways to interact with one another.

  • First Basenji's

    [QUOTE=ZolasMommy;158593 Now during playtime, he likes to "roughhouse" with her more than I do.

    During one of their last roughhousing sessions she got really loud with him. She does not do that when I play with her. My husband was pulling on her back legs (which he does a lot) and she bit him. he attempted to pick her up off of the bed to take her downstairs for her morning walk (again, this is routine) and she attempted to bite him again!!!!!

    What the heck is going on????? I suggested that he stop playing rough with her, because apparently she is not into that anymore. But, really?????? Also, just a note: due to the nature of my husband's job, he is away for days at a time. So I am with her daily.

    Any suggestions for stopping this before it gets out of hand? Normally Zola is an extremely sweet girl. And it's only been like this for the past two days.

    Well, first, husband should not pull on legs or do any rough housing….......really!??? Just don't!!! The bite occurred because she does not have a hand to push him away-she just didn't like that!!!! He gets into her space when he pulls her legs and goes to her to pick her up, no respect for her. He does not have a STRONG enough bond to do this. He should ignore her when he comes home from his long absence. Let her go to him-----on her time and terms. As a dog and as a Basenji- let her show the interest to allow him pet and play(NO HARSH STUFF!!!)....The leadership and bond will get there, it just takes time for mutual respect to occur. He can be the one to feed her when he is home and do so by hand feeding during a session of 'training'. lIke "come!" handful of food dispensed, sit, down, "good girl!!!" food dispensed….FUN! FUN! FUN!= BONDING TIME.


  • @lvoss:

    Tugging games have a bad rap but actually can be really good. Here is a good blog post of some of the positives that tug has to offer, http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2012/04/improve-your-dog-training-by-playing-like-a-dog/

    Pat, that was a good read. Thank's for posting it. Though I don't feel comfortable with all that was said, some points made sense to me, especially tugging with puppies or agility dogs to help with their balance. It was good to get more background on how to look at tugging in a different way.


  • Thanks for all of the feedback everyone. Zola is our first dog (for both of us) so we have a lot to learn… but the feedback that I get from these forums is awesome. During the hubby's last visit home there was NO rough play, and they did well together. I am having him feed her and give her treats when he is home. He also does her walks. I know it will take time to get her to bond with him as she has with me, but they are on their way. Thanks again!!!!! 🙂

  • First Basenji's

    Yeah! Glad to hear Zola and hubby's relationship is on the mend. Uzie growled at my husband once when (dog) he and I were cuddling and Uzie did NOT want him near. This happened just after we adopted him, to this day, Uzie will put his butt up to Hubby for a favorite scratch, and will finally get in his lap to watch TV. There is hope!!!


  • lvoss, thank you very much for that link. It was very informative and lots of good advice. I got carried away and read and watched other of her training hints. What a super site!

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