3 yr old starting to get aggressive

It is possible something happened while you were gone. But more likely, age. My basenji was great til she turned about 3– then life became hell where other dogs, even in the home, were concerned. Dog parks are nice, but she really is okay and safer without them if she shows aggression.

Right, the dogpark isn't essential but its only a block away and it's two city blocks (I live downtown) so it's really the only viable place I can let her offleash.

While we can phase out the dogpark, I'd really like it if she could at least get along with other dogs that pass by on walks/runs… it feels like I've come home to a different dog.

I've noticed the same with my B. When he was younger, he would tolerate other dogs just fine. Now, as he approaches 5, he is very selective in the dogs he will tolerate.

I would have a complete thyroid test done. Dog parks are not always a good place as sometimes a dog can become overwhelmed by so many dogs. Is your girl spayed? Is it a certain size of dog or sex of the dog that causes the problem?

Jennifer

My girl is spayed yes, I believe at 7-8 months or so… I followed the breeders instructions on timing.

I've actually not been to the dog park with her since about a year ago, but when we went she was never aggressive or overwhelmed whether there was 1 other dog or 8, the more dogs the more she got to run...

In walking her we've only walked past a couple dogs (staying out of the city right for a few weeks) and she has gotten her haunches up and snarled both times, my family told me shes been doing this with every dog since shortly after I left so I wondered if maybe that was a trigger... my family has never been confident/pack leader with her, they are very passive whereas I am the opposite.

It sounds to me that the "why" isn't as important as what it is you need to do, re-establish your relationship with you as the leader, build trust through training exercises as trust was probably lost durin the separation, de-sensatize her through training exercises and commands around othe dogs and of possible, after all the above try slowly to reintroduce around other animals

Very good point Chealsie, I think I focused too much on the why… but I was just trying to give people an idea of how this situation may have developed and was looking for any insights on the best way to fix the problem. I can't accept that Basenji's just get this way with age, I've had friends with dangerous/power breeds that got along great with every dog so with proper training I don't see why my girl can't either.

Maybe I'll look for a local trainer.

Is it just when she is on-leash? My last B, Spencer, loved playing with other dogs at dog parks and doggie day care, but on-leash, he wasn't comfortable with other dogs approaching. I think it may have been a protection thing, because he was always totally fine off-leash. It could have been resource guarding, with me as the resource, though he never guarded anything else. Could your situation be similar? Maybe when you got your girl to an off-leash area, she would be fine.

But I would explore some of these other good suggestions first– ruling out medical issues, then retraining and re-establishing trust and comfort levels. Good luck!

I have 3 basenjis 2 females (spayed) and a male (neut) i also had a female before these three. Heres what happened to me. Every one of them when they turned 3 years of age started getting aggressive. I don't know why but they were all so lovable and sweet tempered up until three. In my case they also started fighting among the same sex at that age. I just think that as they mature they get moodier when you pick them up and they also challenge the oder dogs for authority at that age. Believe me you don't want to get between them when they are fighting. I have the most trouble with my younger females challenging the older female. And the male will usually side with one of them so i always pull him out of the fight first. I also put the two females back together as soon as possible or their anger only intensifies. Good luck i had b's for 13 years now and they are always trying to fight for alpha position.

@Cosmo:

I can't accept that Basenji's just get this way with age, I've had friends with dangerous/power breeds that got along great with every dog so with proper training I don't see why my girl can't either.

Maybe I'll look for a local trainer.

You may not accept it, but it is not uncommon at all. In many breeds, not just basenjis. As dogs mature, anywhere from 2 to 4 depending on the breed, you can go on every breed board of every dog and find that dogs who were wonderful "suddenly" developed dog to dog aggression. And if that local trainer tries to tell you that you can train dog-to-dog aggression out, run. You can teach your dog to behave. My massively male-to-male aggressive Rottweiler (only big dogs, he let the fru frus chew him up and use him as a nyla bone!) was fine at shows and in public because on a leash, he looked at ME, not them when I told him. But not for one second did I delude myself that I had done more than train his behavior and given the opportunity, fighting would ensue. When I monitored the Pit bull and other breed boards, long time members warned newbies– good the dogs get along now when at least one is young, but don't bet their lives on it continuing. Keep vigilant. And we'd have people say OHhhhh they LOOOOOOVVVVEEE each other, they'll never fight. And sure enough, that'd be the pair that they came home and found one dead or both seriously injured.

Nor can you compare your girl to your friends' dogs. While many may get along, especially with good training and owners, they get along also because they are no dog aggressive. Idiot owners can foster fighting and bad behaviors. But the best of owners cannot make a dog-aggressive dog NOT dog aggressive, they can only train, manage and avoid problems.

Is it however slimly possible that once you are settled and she gets back into a routine you can ease her back to other dogs? Maybe. But the aging from 2 to 3 is so much more likely the issue I'd be fairly surprised.

And now I'll stop, cause this is such a flashback to other tragedies I have seen unfold with people asking, then throwing aside all advice because they can't "accept" their dog is a dog and acts like a dog, where in many breeds dog aggression is more the norm than a shock.

Sherryk, why not just separate the females? Turn them out with the male only and stop the fights?

@Cosmo:

In walking her we've only walked past a couple dogs (staying out of the city right for a few weeks) and she has gotten her haunches up and snarled both times, my family told me shes been doing this with every dog since shortly after I left so I wondered if maybe that was a trigger… my family has never been confident/pack leader with her, they are very passive whereas I am the opposite.

Control Unleashed would help with some of that.

Also, some "friendly" dogs are just plain rude.
http://www.suzanneclothier.com/the-articles/he-just-wants-say-hi

Appreciate all the advice.

Debra, sorry I didn't mean to come off like that … what I should have/meant to say was that it's difficult for me to wrap my head around this situation (feels like I've come home to a different dog), not that I can't accept it. I'm hearing all the advice loud and clear and I really appreciate it, was just looking for some guidance from people who have been through this before... I was worried about taking wrong steps and making the situation even worse.

I think you're right - once we're able to move back into my house it will definitely be easier to get her in a routine and I'll go from there, I'm not sure if she was getting enough exercise while I was gone either which could explain why she's a little more on edge.

And sorry if I reacted harsh, but years of being a board monitor for aol has so many horrors in my head it is hard to erase.

And yes, lots of exercise will help chill. I hope things settle down!

but remember, you'll need mental exercise as well as physical

@agilebasenji:

but remember, you'll need mental exercise as well as physical

For sure on that!

I can wear Oakley out physically but if I don't work his mind he will still chase his tail!
Definitely a point that mental stimulation is very important , and the exercise you do to stimulate the mid will help build trust as well so that's just a bonus!

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