We've got a biter…
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  • R

    We adopted a basenji a two months or so ago after our first basenji died just a couple of days after Christmas. We just love the little guy…but he will run after our little grandchildren & bite them. He's never drawn blood...but it's causing some real problems for us.

    My son has been suggesting a shock collar. I am pretty resistant to that idea but I am willing to try it if it would keep him from biting the kids.

    Has anyone had a dog (not a puppy) exhibit this type of behavior and how did you correct it? I've watched the "Training Your Adopted Dog" DVD and the problem is not biting my husband or me so it's a difficult problem to fix.

    I'd really appreciate any help or suggestions. We really love him and I'd hate to give him up...but this behavior is not acceptable.

    Thanks!:(

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  • I would recommend two things, a training class so that you can start building a vocabulary between you and your dog and second a quiet place for dog while your grandkids are over so he has someplace to be away from them. For the training class you should get a good positive reinforcement trainer. If you need a place to start looking try http://www.apdt.com For the quiet place it could be a bedroom, crate, or x-pen but should be a way to keep the dog separated from the kids until you have had a chance to start working with a trainer. Since this is an adult dog he may not have had any previous experience with children or could have had bad experiences with children. Keeping him in a safe place when they visit will help keep everyone safe.

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  • A really simple, and quick fix solution is that he is never allowed to chase your grandchildren. I am envisioning that he is chasing in play? Not actually attacking them?

    If the kids are old enough, explain 'no running when you are around the dog'. If they aren't old enough to be reliable with that, he can wear a leash whenever they visit…that will allow you to be able to control him until you train him. If that sounds like too much, then definitely, as Lisa described, keep him in a quiet, safe place when they grandkids visit, until you train him.

    I would say ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO SHOCK COLLARS in this situation. You will teach him to associate children with the shock, and I am sure that is not what you want; it could very well make him fearful and aggressive with kids.

    As Lisa suggested, find a good positive reinforcement trainer in your area. I know some folks in Indiana I can suggest, if you let me know whereabouts you are.

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  • Do you know anything about this Basenji that you adopted?… Any history? on why he was placed? Is there anyway you can find out the history, this would help both you and a trainer understand the problem. And until you have this problem under control, you really need to keep him away from your grandchildren to make sure that you don't have a real bite happen. I would also agree, shock collar will not help ...

    This is what can happen and what many of us were trying to get Cdcdarter to understand about the rough play with his Basenji and the nipping/biting problem when he got him so excited... And after that you find the Basenji needs to be re-homed because they are then considered nasty.....

    Also if you do decide that you need to have him re-homed, please contact BRAT.. as they will understand the situation and make sure the next home has no children....

    This is a perfect example why many of us made the comments we did to the person with the Basenji that was biting during play and

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  • R

    Thanks for all of your positive, helpful comments.

    I was really leery of the shock collar…seems harsh to me...but it never occurred to me that he might associate the shock with the kids and make him aggressive.

    He actually nipped at our 18 month old grand-daughter. She wasn't playing with him...she was walking into another room to see her mom and he chased her and nipped her on the back. I don't think he meant to hurt her...I think that's how he plays. He doesn't draw blood...but it left a welt. We just want to curtail this behavior before one of the kids gets hurt or they become fearful of dogs.

    We got him from BRAT and he was one that was found wandering and taken to a shelter in Kansas. We got him with very little info...it just wasn't available. He is very sweet and re-homing him will be our very last option.

    We will try the leash and crate or other safe-place while the children are present. He's a very loving dog...I really think he was treated roughly in his former home and that is where this behavior comes from.

    We are in Greencastle, Indiana...I know one trainer who works out of our vets office, I'm going to contact her.

    I really appreciate all of your comments...I am taking notes and we'll put them into practice. You just fall in love with this little guys and they become part of your family....but you just can't have one family member biting another! Behavior must change!

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  • I am sort of surprised that BRAT didn't test him with Children?…. Was he in a foster home before you got him?... Of course it is possible that maybe they were notified and not totally evaluated before placement?...

    And without information on why he ended up in a shelter... you are really starting from scratch with his behavior.... Best idea is to get a trainer that understands the breed and can give you ideas/solutions for changing the behavior.....

    And I would totally agree with you that most likely he was not socialized with Children...and possible rough treatment was/is the reason that he is trying to play with your grandchildren the way he is now....

    Good luck and keep us up to date on his progress.... and you are totally correct... the grand kids need to come first.... as it is for their safely... along with his and yours too...

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  • Does he seem to bite/nip when someone is turned away from him? Does it happen when he is in a heightened state of arousal? By that I mean does he just wake up and do it or does he do it when he is active around the house and excited. Please make sure your trainer know's Basenji's. I've had a lot of people who know dogs come to me and say You can train any dog. While it's true Basenji's need specific training. Not with someone who thinks they're just like "any other dog". I even had to put in a complaint to the humane society about one of their agents because she didn't want to listen to me and she kept doing things she shouldn't have been doing. B's require a little different training that other dogs because they think. Please just be careful-you could inadverantly make this a worse situation. He may just want attention and this is how he gets it.

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  • Dash did that too. When Greggy or his friends would run off in the other direction he would bite their butt or grab their shorts. I honestly think he was just trying to get in to the play too.

    Greggy is 6 so I had him smack dash in the nose and tell him no when he did it and Dash eventually stopped.

    All the suggestions are great and I applaud you for taking the initiative to work through the issue than look for a "quick fix"

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  • Please be careful in encouraging people, especially young children to "hit" the dog…. a smack in the nose can really turn ugly.... of course any "hitting" of the dog can turn ugly.... That is really not a great way to train a dog... and while it may have worked fine for you... could be a disaster for others....

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  • My daughter has started a new method with our B..Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't but I know it takes time and consistancy is key. When he starts nipping her (she is 12 our B is 1) she makes the shoosh sound like when you are trying to calm a crying baby and puts her hand up until he calms down a bit. I do think it's a case of hyper and wanting to play. I close his mouth a bit tight (when I can catch him) and he stops. The craziness is when we will be attending a children's party next month (his human cousins have requested his presence) I thin khe will mostly be on the leash.

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  • I think that I would really think long and hard about him attending a childrens party… even on a leash you are honestly (IMO) setting him up for failure....

    and you are correct "consistancy" is the key.....

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  • Well we has experience already at a party 2 weeks ago. He was O.k but the kids (not babies 5+)enjoyed him and want him back. It will be outside so I can have him run around supervised. His two human cousins love him and want him around. I'm hoping for a miracle and that he will wake up not wanting to nip anymore. I don't mind hauling him around on the leash.

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  • Even with all his nipping and jumping all that meet him love him, do u blame them?

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