• Hi, I have two male basenjis, Taco is about 14 months old, Ghostface is 5 months. They are good pals, sun bake together, run up and down the yard, they respect each other's space at food time, they play well at parks. Both are reasonably obedient, at least, as obedient as I except a B to be.

    However, they both get snarly with the other when they are on the couch and the other approaches. Inside, they have access to a 2 seater and a 3 seater couch, plus their crates to sleep in. They prefer the couches and that's where they sleep at night.

    If Ghostie is sleeping, or awake but laying on the couch, Taco will jump up and lay down next to, or on top of Ghost. In return, Ghost will snarl and bite Taco, Taco loves the response and wags his tail, sometimes play bows and bumps Ghost with his butt before laying down and then they both settle.

    If Taco is on the couch first though, his aggression seems to be up a notch from Ghost's and instead of finding it funny, Ghost scares and often goes outside to a bed. I'm worried that Ghost is scared of Taco and that when he grows up and can fight back a bit better, they will hurt each other…. At the moment their fights are fairly noisy but light, no blood, barely ever a yelp, but I sense Ghost is sick of it and feels a bit lonely when he can't lay down with Taco. Any ideas how I can render them both calm?


  • Are these your first basenjis? As the saying goes… it works til it doesn't. That they are snarking so young is not a good sign.

    Make life easy, assign a sleeping place and make them abide by it. YOU be the one to remove the dog that goes on the wrong couch. It won't stop much, but at least you can control that issue. Sadly, not much you can do to make them get along. A female might have been a safer choice, even though that is not always so. Are they both neutered?

  • Hey Debra, thanks for the reply.

    I don't see this one issue as them not getting along, as I said, they are best buddies 99% of the time, this bed thing is the only point of tension. I understand that it only takes one serious fight to undo all that though. I think I'll attempt to implement the 1 dog per bed policy.

    I am a bit confused though, you say them snarling this young isn't good. But other threads seem to suggest that basenjis snarl a lot while playing, mine sure do make lots of noise but it's obvious they are playing and they never harm each other. Is there a distinction between playful and serious snarls?

    Yep first basenjis and I was aware that 2 boys was a risk, but the breeder of the younger one seemed to think it will work out. Ghost isn't neutered yet as he's only 5 months, Taco is.

  • In my experience, most Basenjis are not happy about being disturbed when they are comfortable, whether the disturber is human or canine. Snarking in such circumstances doesn't strike me as all that unusual. Coming to blows is worrisome, and bears watching. At this point are you just ignoring the behaviour and letting them work it out? And are they crated when you are not at home to supervise, or are they loose? I would worry about a confrontation that escalates, but otherwise I think I would just observe. If it seems to be getting more serious, I might intervene to the point of letting them know I was displeased with their squabbling.

  • I agree what's said here. What could be the case also is that Taco is the older dog, and that Ghost needs to learn to pay proper respect. When we got Lela as a pup, she was confidently strutting about in a friend's house, with an older Akita bitch. Kiko ingored her until Lela got too confident and then she let it rip! In a few intense educational sessions Lela was taught how to behave around older dogs. They have been best friends ever since, playing like mad, and the only time Lela puts her ears back horizontally, is when she meets Kiko. However, we have her older sister Binti now also with us, and occasionally there is some snarling going on, but when we see no justifiable reason (lots of space between them for instance), we let the snarler know (just using our voice) to cool it.

  • If the ONLY issue is the sleeping, that's one thing. But you said if one approaches, so the dog isn't asleep, just guarding the space. Snarky if woken or moved… common. Actively guarding place, sending a message. I would assign sleeping quarters, and just watch otherwise. Might also be safest to crate or separate when you aren't home.

    They do look fine on the pics... but sadly my 2 girls are often snuggly and then there is a fight. You just have to stay very aware.

  • Thanks for all the replies, I think my boys must be basenjiforums readers, because after posting my concerns they have settled down a lot. With Ghost approaching the date to get the snip, I'm sure it'll continue to calm.

    As to how I am dealing with it, I usually let them sort it out, which they usually do fairly quickly and like I said, without blood/squeals. I have intervened a few times when I feel it's a bit intense, fortunately they both respect me enough to let me safely put my hands between them.

    kjdonkers: What does ears back horizontally mean? Ghostface does this to us all the time, especially when we get home, he looks happy but they also do this when they're play fighting.

  • Good to hear about the changes: my experience is that when I learn more about dogs, our dogs respond also. They must have a sense of what's going on inside you. As to the ears: I interpret it as submissive behaviour or in human terms, politeness. In play or dog interaction, it is a calming sign saying: "I'm just kidding, I'm not seriously fighting". Turid Rugaas has a lot to say about calming signals, very useful. Enjoy!

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