New B added to my 4 legged family!! And a few behavior questions :)

  • So today I got a new Basenji…she was given to me by a friend of a friend. I don't know much about her heritage as she wasn't papered. She can't remember the names of her parents either. But she's a very pretty Tri. She's 1yr old. Her name WAS Zari but I re-named her Nikita 🙂

    I have a few behavior issues Id like to see if anyone can help me with.

    1: Possession issues over treats and such. If I walk by while she's chewing a bone she will snarl at me. Ive dealt with other dog issues but never any possessive behaviors.

    2: How do I go about introducing her to my pack? I have a B mix, a purebred B (Anubis) and a lab pit mix. She was snarky when they sniffed through my fence. My B mix is a puppy and is very energetic and pushy towards saying hi to other dogs. She hasn't met any of them other than through the fence when I brought her home. And I was told she is cat friendly...but my cat likes to pounce on and play with dogs...he plays with my puppy. How should I introduce her to Tigger?

    Any help is appreciated!! 🙂 Other than those 2 things I think she will be a great match.


    I introduced her to my other B Anubis…she was VERY snarky with him when he tried to sniff her rear and such. I thought given hes male shes female that they'd get along...whats some ideas to maybe get her used to him? He was okay with ridging on the back or anything.

  • Give it time. If she is only snarky and not actually attacking him, they will likely work it out. What sex are your other dogs? It isn't unusual to have same sex aggression in Basenjis. Introduction to the others might best be done on a walk, on neutral ground, away from your house.

    In regards to the food guarding, I would personally stay away from bones and things yummy enough to fight over until you have had her a bit longer and she understands that she is "your" dog. And it sounds like you had better feed her separately from the others. A fight over food could escalate and cause a lasting enmity.

  • Thanks eeeefarm! Yeah she growls at him a lot and snaps but doesn't lunge to hurt him. My lab x and my B mix are both females…so not too surprising there. She'll be having her own pen to be in so there's no fights or anything between the others (My lab pit is 80lbs and could really hurt her). They are all fed separate. When I fed everyone last night she ate inside her crate with no issues and when she was done she came out. And good idea about staying away from yummy things.

    The lady who gave her to me we think didn't socialize her much or train her when she had her. She didn't seem very B Savvy when I spoke with her about Nikita before getting her. She thinks being Snarky is just a Basenji thing in general...I had to tell her that No not all Basenji's are Snarky...some yes but not ALL of them. Anubis has never been that way and hes 4.5yrs old now. Ill probably try taking her and Anubis for a walk this evening when its much cooler (has been 100+ here in OK lately!) and see how they do walking as a small pack. She strikes me as the ALPHA dog and Anubis is def. ALPHA as well.

  • I would teach her how to sit using treats and then that way you will be in control of the goodies and not her.


  • Thanks Jennifer! She does know how to sit 🙂 And im using that to my advantage. When shes chewing a bone and you even walk by her she will growl and freeze. Im trying to break her of that

  • Does she also growl when you approach her food bowl when she is eating? I would not give her any bones until you break her of that habit. Can you exchange another bone for the one she is chewing on-like a swap or does she growl?


  • I cant swap…ive tried that she growls if I get even within 2-3ft of her when she has a bone, treat etc. She will let me stand there while she eats (only cuz shes in her crate). Ive picked all bones up and wont let her have them right now. My biggest thing im working on is getting her to stop growling when Anubis (my first 😎 tries to sniff her and such. If he comes near her face to sniff her ears and then her rear she will grumble. Im thinking the lady who gave her to me let her run the show. Luckily shes only a yr old so shes still young which will work in my favor while working with her.

  • I would definitely stay away from bones or treats that take any time to eat with this girl. Work on teaching her behaviours to replace those you don't like. I think she and Anubis will likely work things out, although it could get loud. 😉 Distraction might help here, but really, if she isn't attacking him I think I would just keep an eye out for trouble and let them sort it out. Growling at you is another matter. Best to avoid triggering that reaction, but if/when she does she needs to understand it is unacceptable. How you deal with it depends so much on reading the dog's intention that I am hesitant to suggest anything, because making a mistake could escalate the behaviour. (I would handle it a lot different with a bluffer than a dog who is serious or scared). Hope she tones it down as she gets more used to her change in ownership.

  • Thanks farm! I hope it works out. I love her already…she has a LOT of great qualities as well. She's funny as heck...she will grab the squeak toy and shake it all over and run around with her butt in the air lol. I haven't heard her Wooo yet...shes been pretty quiet. So basically as far as her and Anubis I should let them work it out on their own? I will put him on a tie out and walk her around him on a leash so that should they try to hurt each other I can easily pull them apart. She gets growly too when you use a loud voice to get onto her. Maybe her other owner yelled a lot and treated her badly? I haven't quiet figured it out yet. She's a real beauty though! Very petite too lol.

  • O.K. so I didn't realize you still had them on leash. I thought she was snarking when he approached her with both of them loose. Letting them loose together might sort things out, as leashes sometimes cause the dog to be insecure and more likely to resent or fear the other dog's approach. OTOH, if they are loose you need to have a way to break it up if things escalate. Definitely you don't want a situation where they can get tangled up with leashes or tie outs.

    How does she respond to her previous owner? Do you know if she growls at her, or if she respects her? A loud voice may be resented because of past association, or simply because she feels you are ordering her around and she may be expressing "you're not the boss of me!" I have found the dogs I adopted take a little time to realize they are not "just visiting" and that I am indeed the authority figure in this house. Once we established that, things got a lot easier. 🙂 You want to project kind but firm, use a quiet but clear voice, no yelling. I don't always practice what I preach, but I try! 😉

  • I didnt think about that…Ill try them in the back yard...or in the living room...both dogs hate water bottles so i bet that would separate them if it got outta hand. They are opposite sex so i dont THINK it would go too far but never know

  • Water bottles work well with many Basenjis. The breeder I got Perry from used a spray bottle, but I got myself a nice little squirt gun for more accuracy. I don't need it often, but it is effective. It is amazing how well he can control his urges if I simply pick it up. 🙂 However, I doubt it would break up a full blown fight, so if you think sh*t is about to happen I would get ahead of it before they are too far gone to care. If you are lucky they will just decide to play. And Anubis should prove a good influence on your new girl.

    Any chance the previous owner wanted rid of her because she had difficulties managing her? Some people don't understand Basenjis and run into problems as they start to mature. If this girl got snarky when disciplined and they didn't handle it right, they could have created a problem.

    Oh, and I'm sure you will want to get her DNA'd for Fanconi, since you don't know her background.

  • Really good clear article by my friend Debbie on food guarding. A true positive trainer.

  • Yeah im going to look into DNA for Fanconi for sure. Im hoping she doesn't have it. We're guessing thats why she gave her to me. Because she raised her wrong and didn't train her or work with her. So she gave her to me since I have a 4yr old Basenji who is very well behaved. Anubis will walk around her and ridge a bit but not snap. She growls when he sniffs her but so far I have not seen any signs of a want to fight which is good.

    Thanks for the article Debra!!!

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