I go to a dog park frequently and my little Finley loves to play with everyone! She's about 14 pounds now and is just 7 months old so most people are still very accepting of her even if she doesn't get that a dog doesn't want to play; shes learning to socialize properly (at least that's what everyone is telling me). Today we had a run in with a very nasty woman who screamed at me and claimed that my dog was attacking her dog when they were biting at each others necks to play. Neither of the dogs were growling or yelping and seemed to be having a good time. Other people commented that they thought that this woman was being unreasonable, but I'm not sure if they were saying that because I'm just a regular at the park and shes new. I know certain dogs love to play like this, but I'm not sure if there's a point at which it doesn't become cute, like when shes an adult dog. Has anyone else noticed that their Basenjis love to bite necks and should I be correcting her behavior, or do you think this lady may have been over reacting? I separated her since the lady was clearly uncomfortable, but I'm not sure if I should discourage this behavior in the future, or just let her play like this as long as the other owners are OK with the rough play.
Neither of the dogs were growling or yelping and seemed to be having a good time.
That sounds like the important fact. Keep taking Finley and let her play. Though we have only 2+ years of experience with Fuji, who loves her daily dog run visit (and has lots of frisky play sessions), it seems very clear when the play is too much. Usually the yelp or growl will let you know, and if a time is required, step in. Our best results are always with the regulars, both dogs and people. It is clear that both groups need to learn the rules of the run.
Good luck and best wishes that you meet more experienced owners than naive ones. And that Finley continues to be a good player at the run.
IME, basenjis often play "vampire". the only problem i've had with this was when my basenji puppy got her jaw tangled up in my adult malinois' collar. The second time it happend (i'm a slow learner), i took collars off everyone while they are in the house. Thankfully there was no damage. There is someone who posts on this forum that lost her basenji puppy because of this. Her adult basenji was playing vampire with the puppy and got his jaw tangled up on the puppy's collar. very, very sad. So that would be the biggest drawback in allowing that behavior (that and some dogs/dog owners don't like it). But i think it's normal basenji play.
oh, and CUTE baby b!
Kaiser is a neck grabber, but as he tries to do it gently it usually is more trying than doing and some people don't like it as it can look like rough play. I would be more worried if it was neck grabbing holding and shaking which we have had done to Kaiser by a few dogs that just wouldn't let up, so we are very quick to move away. He also loves ears especially long curly ears, but again if the other dog doesn't like it he is told by the dog and he changes play or finds someone else. Mostly I find well adjusted dogs will sort things out themselves and I step in when he is hassling a dog that is insecure or the owner is. Mostly he loves to run and only certain dogs get the special treatment and I have seen plenty of other dogs play neck biting and have had owners say how good it is to see their dog have it done to them as they always to it to other dogs and the odd owner who panics and says ohhh he's biting my dog, your dogs aggressive. We always watch his interactions with dogs and their owners and move away if needed.
Jolanda and Kaiser
Thanks for the feedback! It seems like Finley isn't doing anything unheard of. I always make sure to separate her if shes being too rough and I can tell the dog doesn't want any part of it, but I think this experience was just an off day or something for the owner. Hopefully I can just try to avoid this owner.
Best to avoid owners that don't appreciate your dog's play "style". Some folks are sensitive because they have had a bad experience with dogs that play that way. I have one friend who didn't used to mind the dogs roughhousing until hers ended up with several puncture wounds in the neck. It's a large, long haired dog, so she didn't even see the damage until later, at home. Her dog is stoic, so no yipes or yelps at the time. But she keeps her dog clear of dogs that like to neck bite since that incident, and I don't blame her!
Basenjis often tend to play rough, they are intrusive..more so than other breeds. They use their "hands" to bat at others, butt check and grab with their mouths…as a pup my boy did this and it was not always welcomed by the other dog and some people didn't appreciate it either. It's just a different play style (but again, not everyone gets it or agrees). Oakley is 3 1/2, and once he hit maturity he became dog aggressive so we don't get to play with other dogs anymore...but from what I've heard, read and seen- they tend to be more dominant or aggressive (whichever way u choose to look at it) with others.. I would try to curb it a little if you think it's a correctable behavior, but otherwise I wouldn't stop the visits- give her all the socialization she can before she hits maturity because that can often be a time when a basenji decides they aren't fond of
All dogs are "neck" biters… very normal... of course depends on the degree of them holding the dog down. When my girls play and to the Basenji 500, catch and roll each other... they pin the other on the ground by the neck... no harm/no foul... it is nature for any breed of dog. I do not believe in all the years I have been in Basenjis that this is different then other breeds
It sounds like you're being responsible; and so it shouldn't be abnormal. As a dog park frequenter, however, if a strange dog was all over my dog's neck 'obsessively'…. and the other person was just standing there? I wouldn't be ok with that. Same with humping. A bite here, a bite there doesn't sound so bad......as long as they aren't dragging around the dog everywhere and inhibiting other types of play. I read an article on dog body language. Apparently, a dog will play bow before they engage in 'aggressive' looking play so that the other dog doesn't misinterpret the action as an attack. With that being said...the only time I've seen obsessive neck biting is between my male dog and my 7 month old female puppy. I think it can be a control/dominance mechanism for adult dogs ...that can get out of control. It might be a familiarity thing too.....like, he thinks he can get away with a lot more because she's family.