• Our Basenji (2 1/2 years) shows aggression towards smaller dogs. Yesterday, a miniature poodle came into our yard and she bit it 3 times puncturing the skin and hurting it. She has attacked before when she was off leash. She plays fine with larger dogs but she HATES small ones. Does anyone have advice on how to correct this behavior. She went to puppy school and was in obedience training for the first year of her life. She is a great dog but I cannot tolerate this behavior. The owner of the poodle that came on our property says that she is a danger to the community and should not be outside. Please help me if you can!


  • First of all, the attack was on your property. Many, many dogs will be aggressive towards other dogs that trespass on their turf. She attacks smaller dogs? Let's just say she isn't stupid! 🙂 It is not at all unusual for Basenjis to be dog aggressive. Have you noticed whether it is same sex aggression (very common) or just any other dog that is smaller than her?

    It is possible, with a lot of work, to improve this situation. A better strategy, IMO, is to avoid it. There is no particular reason someone else's dog needs to be on her territory. Is your yard fenced? Or was she tied up or loose outside? You need to be proactive here and remove the likelihood of recurrence.


  • Thank you so much for your thoughts. We have an invisible fence and it has worked wonderfully thus far. She was inside her fence yesterday. She has a couple of bigger dogs that come to play often and they have a great time. The occurrence yesterday was same sex. I hope there will not be "a next time". I will make the perimeter of the fence a few more feet closer to the house and keep her inside more often.

  • First Basenji's

    I also have a girl about the same age as your B who has similar aggression issues… I'm so sorry this happened to you! I'm sure it was scary for all involved... But I find it hard to fault the Basenji for attacking in her own yard. Was the poodle off leash? If so then the owner can't really blame you for such an incident...If they brought the dog over by their own accord then they should know to be careful approaching a dog.... I do not have any answer on how to remedy/avoid situations such as this....But I would take offense to the poodle's owner claiming your B is a danger.


  • @Grace:

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. We have an invisible fence and it has worked wonderfully thus far. She was inside her fence yesterday. She has a couple of bigger dogs that come to play often and they have a great time. The occurrence yesterday was same sex. I hope there will not be "a next time". I will make the perimeter of the fence a few more feet closer to the house and keep her inside more often.

    IMO, it is not fair to her have to watch another "uninvited" dog come onto your property… and there lies the problem with invisble fences (which I am totally against).... Honestly, I don't blame her... Put yourself in her place... you get shocked if you try to pass the line... strange dogs or any critter.. NOPE.... And remember Basenjis can and will look at small fluffy dogs as prey... as they are a hunting dog


  • Yes, that is the problem with invisible fence. It does not keep other animals out. The owner of the poodle is 100% responsible for the problem, however, as it was the poodle's intrusion into your dog's space that triggered the incident. I think that you need to consider a physical fence, unless you are always going to be available to supervise and ensure that other dogs…....or people.......don't invade her territory. If an unattended child came and tormented your dog until she retaliated, you would be in a most awkward position.


  • It's great when we can figure out what is triggering our dogs to do something we don't want them to do. Grace, obviously you know now that your basenji is very protective of the yard. I have to agree with Pat (Tanza). From what I understand about the electric fences, it won't keep other dogs out of your yard. 😞 If you are legally allowed, and can affort to fencing your front yard, I would think that would be the best solution.

    Have you thought of a few classes with your basenji and just some smaller dogs? In that type of controlled situation there would be a lot of watchful eyes, and perhaps you or a trainer could pick up some visual clues as to what might be setting off your basenji. Is it just their size, being fluffy, or….?


  • The comments about children (or adults for that matter) wandering onto your property is a valid one… and regardless if your property, if they are bit, you are going to be cited.... And while you would think that the Poodle's owner was 100% responsible... that is often not the case....

    There have been a couple of people on the forums that used invisable fences... with no very good results.... in many cases.


  • You may also have inadvertently taught her aggression towards these small dogs because of the invisible fence. If every time a small dog approaches your property line she rushes out toward them and in her excitement ignores the warning that she is too close and gets zapped or even if it only ever happened once, she may have learned that small dogs cause her pain and has transferred her aggression onto them.


  • @lvoss:

    You may also have inadvertently taught her aggression towards these small dogs because of the invisible fence. If every time a small dog approaches your property line she rushes out toward them and in her excitement ignores the warning that she is too close and gets zapped or even if it only ever happened once, she may have learned that small dogs cause her pain and has transferred her aggression onto them.

    Personally I find this scenario unlikely, if the dog has been properly trained with the fence. I've had quite a bit of experience with different species of animals (horses, dogs, cattle, goats, sheep, etc.) and electric barriers. An animal that has been properly introduced has no confusion whatsoever about the source of the discomfort, or the fact that the option of getting zapped is entirely up to him/her. Some will learn to "pay the price" if it is worth it to them to go through the fence, others will never challenge it. But that is another subject. Confusion about the cause only happens with an animal that hasn't been previously exposed and truly doesn't know what "bit" him.

    That said, you may still see the kind of "fence fighting" aggression that occurs with physical fences, where dogs run up and down wanting to get at an animal on the other side. Typically, the dog inside an invisible fence will stay out of range of the "zap" zone, unless it opts to run through it. When that decision is made, usually the approach is straight on and very quick! 🙂


  • Was the other dog loose? Many communities have laws about dogs running loose and the owner could be fined. I would investigate the dog laws in your city.

    I would never have an invisible fence with a Basenji as our first rescue was one who would go past it and get shocked to chase things and that is why she was turned into rescue. In training classes, she would want to go after small fluffy dogs. She had a high prey drive.

    Also if the poodle was white, small, and fluffy, a Basenji could get it confused with prey. Was the dog running in your yard? My Arnie was confused at a dog park when he first saw one. I had him on leash at the time and he looked at the dog and then looked at me. I told him that was a puppy-a poochie and he understood once I took him up to the dog and it barked. I rarely took him to the small dog area of the dog park since Bs can play too rough.

    Jennifer


  • I totally agree about the electric fence. It will not always keep a Basenji in if it has a strong prey drive. I'm not sure what sort of a fence you mean though - ours for stock are at chest height and small animals can go through without feeling a shock. I assume the one you're talking about is under the ground/ does it have its own power supply? If you are allowed to put up a normal fence I think it would be better so that the problem doesn't reoccur. Also small dog training would seem to be appropriate. As has been said small dogs are sometimes regarded as prey by Basenjis especially fluffy ones.


  • It sounds like you have many neighbors who allow their dogs to run loose – you like the visiting big ones, your dog hates the little ones. What happens when a big on that hates little ones kills YOUR dog? I am sorry, but imho the only valid use for an invisible fence it INSIDE a real fence to enforce the no climbing digging needs. Laws almost always look at "reasonable care" and if a person gets bit, you are sued and your dog likely destroyed if your poodle-owning neighbor chimes in about past history. Please invest in a real fence, a large kennel, or take your dog out with a leash and supervised only.


  • Best electric fence, bar none, is "predator" fence, but you wouldn't be allowed to put it up in the city. Basically you run alternate hot and ground wires. Nothing gets through without getting zapped, so it is a great deterrent to coyotes, etc. It's high voltage but low current, so won't do permanent damage, but you wouldn't want to repeat the experience, which is why it works. Physical electric fences aren't allowed in most built up areas, only on farms, and supposedly not for line fences unless your neighbour agrees. (around here that is also supposed to be the rule with barbed wire, but not everyone respects their neighbour enough to ask permission). I agree with Debra that because of its limitations, the best use of invisible fence is as a back up to a physical fence if you have a climber or a digger.

    Back in the day when I lived in a quiet area, I used to tie my Basenji out on a chain, until my lawyer brother in law informed me that if a trespasser tormented her and was bitten, I could be sued and my dog put down. Funny world we live in! After that I left her on the sun deck. Safer for her, and she still got to enjoy basking in the sun on nice days…..


  • Thanks for the replies! Our B has been great with the Dogwatch invisible fence. However, We have taken a proactive stance and changed the boundaries so her curb access is diminished. The neighbors dog was on a leash but unfortunately lurched 4' into our yard out of the hands of the elder walker. :(. Tyllie (our 😎 went to puppy socialization class 2 sessions but she was never keen there either. She liked some and not others. I love this forum and again- very thankful for your help and suggestions. Tyllie loves people and she is a funny and loving B. B's are certainly peculiar and I have loved being entertained by her. Thanks again.


  • In my opinion, if she is to be out unsupervised at any time, you are taking a chance on her safety, even with the boundaries "diminished". As stated, invisible fence does not prevent trespassers from encroaching on her space. At a minimum I think some sort of physical boundary to prevent this is in order unless you will be with her whenever she is outside.


  • Sometimes eeeefarm, you just cannot get the message through. 😞


  • I think she also could be territorial-protecting her space. I know dogs that are chained often develop this but I am not familiar with dogs using an invisible fence developing this problem.

    Jennifer


  • @Grace:

    Thanks for the replies! Our B has been great with the Dogwatch invisible fence. However, We have taken a proactive stance and changed the boundaries so her curb access is diminished. The neighbors dog was on a leash but unfortunately lurched 4' into our yard out of the hands of the elder walker. :(. Tyllie (our 😎 went to puppy socialization class 2 sessions but she was never keen there either. She liked some and not others. I love this forum and again- very thankful for your help and suggestions. Tyllie loves people and she is a funny and loving B. B's are certainly peculiar and I have loved being entertained by her. Thanks again.

    Grace, welcome to the forum! The good thing about this forum is you can take the good advice and ignore the barbs….

    My family used the invisible fence with our first basenji, and she definitely outsmarted us. Lucy would listen for the beep-beep-beep cautionary signal, and lay in the yard until it stopped. When it stopped, she knew that she could run around in the neighborhood! We were very fortunate that we lived on a sleepy country road. When the collar battery was good, if there was something outside of the barrier that she wanted, like a little squirrel, she would run through the invisible barrier, yelp, and continue on her way. We were certainly lucky that she wasn't hit, and she didn't see little dogs as vermin. However, one of my basenjis now, Lola, will get snarky with her "sister", Becca, and while it sounds vicious, it doesn't escalate to a raging level.

    Have you had your girl her entire life? So if she's 2 and 1/2, she's still a pup at heart. What is your reaction when she gets aggressive? Does she snark first or give any other warning signs (like hackles along the spine, or showing teeth)? Do you have time to get her disengaged?

    When she's outside in the yard, I know the collar does the trick (normally), but perhaps during the day, another thought would be to keep a leash on her when she's running around (assuming there isn't any safety concerns with letting the leash be loose)... my thought is that if a little dog runs into the yard, you can step on the leash to get control of your girl.

    If you have 2 1/2 years of experience with her, you know here pretty well. 🙂 If we can help, let us know.


  • Well Patty, your advice seems to ignore that she isn't OUT THERE WITH THE DOG to step on a leash. I am glad that even though your dog continually got out, she didn't get killed but sorry after a couple of times your family continued to risk her life with it. Now you can feel free to ignore that barb. 🙂

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