• Hello,

    I have a Basenji mix, and he is brand new to me. He was a stray who just showed up on our street last week. Vet's guess is 2 years old and we do not know his history. He is super sweet and loving, gets along well with my dog, but got very aggressive towards my male roommate when he came home last night. The two had been introduced on two occasions, on the street and in our yard (and got on fine). But this was their first meeting after Joey (Basenji) had come in and had a full day in the house. This morning we coordinated so my roommate could be the one to feed Joey before he left for work, but it was one loud, aggressive, hair-raising ordeal.

    He barks non-stop, and very pointedly at my roommate. The hair on his back stands up. And this morning he even made some lunging movements towards my roommates feet/ankles - but did not make contact.

    Ideas? Suggestions?

    Thoughts on whether this is a settling-in issue, that will go away when he feels safe/secure? Or is this a more long-term issue?

    Thanks for your help!

  • First Basenji's

    When my rescued basenji grew old, she seemed to think she had to protect me from anybody, which I never asked. Constantly telling her I didn't agree with this behaviour (talking to her deep voice but not shouting), she changed little by little, even if today she keeps an eye on me when somebody she doesn't know comes too close. I think basenjis are so sensitive they can decide there's a danger only from their past experience or their instinct, and the most different situations you will show them, the best they'll be in everyday life. But truly, I'm not sure it goes trough feeding, as far as they are very proud dogs, and they are not necessarily waiting for you to provide them what they need ! (my Tosca feeds herself in the wild with mice and birds and chestnuts and corn if she has decided we don't give her what she wants… and she's in perfect health, vet says).

  • That this arose at home but not on the street sounds like property protectiveness, and should dissipate once your dog figures out he lives there too, but you need to work on it if you want to avoid issues with other visitors.

    Can you remove yourself from the equation and allow the roommate to just "be" there, ignoring the dog until things settle down? Then, treats and food can reward more settled behaviour. IMO it would be a mistake to try to force the relationship in any way. A calm, matter of fact attitude should facilitate things. Definitely no approaching the dog or pushing attention on him. Let the dog set the pace. When he stops feeling threatened he will likely approach on his own. Any aggressive approach should be ignored if possible as long as it doesn't turn into an outright attack. (maybe leave a trailing leash on the dog as a way to take control if things really deteriorate, but I doubt that they will).

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