Early morning aggression

Our basenji, Macie, is now 10 months old. She sleeps in the bed with my boyfriend and myself, lately when my boyfriend leaves early for work in the morning on Mondays (he works away during the week) Macie becomes very aggressive, growls, and raises her hair on her back. He does nothing to disturb her when she is sleeping since we already know to leave her alone while she is sleeping.

Just wondering why she may have developed this problem and any tips to help us with it.

Overall she is a good dog but still has some learning to do.

Thanks,

At what point does she show the aggression? When he gets out of bed? When he is about to leave? Is she still in the bed and does she get up when she becomes aggressive? Does it seem that she is annoyed at being disturbed, or does it feel more like she thinks she has "run him off"?

If she is getting aggressive while still in bed, leave a leash on her and make it plain that bed privileges are revoked at the first sign of rude behaviour on her part. Sleeping with humans is a privilege, not a right!

She shows aggression when he is leaving, he will come to my side of the bed to say good-bye, and thats when Macie will wake up and get upset. We don't do anything to disturb her, she just always wakes up by herself during this time. Yes, she is still on the bed, she will come up from under the sheets and look at him and growl… but when he gets up to get ready for work she doesn't do anything and doesn't even wake up. This problem only happens on Monday morning when he is leaving :S I'm unsure how this behaviour has developed, she never cared before and didn't wake up, nothing has changed in our routine. In the meantime I think she is starting to think this behaviour is working for whatever she has in mind, as if she is winning, since we have not been doing much to help this problem other than saying "No".

This has only happened twice, we will see what happens this weekend, but i will take your advice and bring her leash to bed - good idea.

I guess I should pick up a bed and make her lay in it for a few minutes if this behaviour happens again. (she torn up her old one when she was a puppy)

Thanks.

I am wondering if she is still a bit groggy from sleep and misinterpreting what is happening. I know Basenjis do seem to sleep through things when they are warm and comfortable, and I might be inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt until I was sure what was going on. Does she get over the aggression quickly when you say "no", or does it continue? Perhaps she is afraid he is going to remove her from her warm comfy bed? If so, she indeed thinks she has "won" when he leaves!

You could try getting up yourself to say goodbye to him, and see what her reaction is to that. But the leash is a good idea and will give you a way of removing her without risking a nip. If you do remove her from the bed, don't let her get back in without "earning it" in some way. (can be as simple as obeying a command to sit, but she needs to do something and you need to make it plain it is the "price of admission" and that it is you who is in control, not her.)

What is your usual routine in the morning when he isn't leaving early? Does Macy get up before or after you do? You mentioned that you know not to disturb her when she is sleeping. Including in bed? Does she react if you try to move her over when she is sleeping? (I just shove mine out of the way when his leaning on me becomes uncomfortable, and he does not resent this…...but he does try to sneak back). 🙂

@eeeefarm:

At what point does she show the aggression? When he gets out of bed? When he is about to leave? Is she still in the bed and does she get up when she becomes aggressive? Does it seem that she is annoyed at being disturbed, or does it feel more like she thinks she has "run him off"?

If she is getting aggressive while still in bed, leave a leash on her and make it plain that bed privileges are revoked at the first sign of rude behaviour on her part. Sleeping with humans is a privilege, not a right!

Excellent advise, period…. and I don't agree with "no touch business" when sleeping.... Mine have never do this, never put up with any thinking they could... All rights lost if they tried.

My suggestion is one that actually is a good idea even if she doesn't show aggression to him. You said she isn't good about being woke up also.

So, you teach a new command. I call it "hit the floor". We do it with Cara who is, sadly, a bed nazi with Arwen. So I taught "hit the floor". She has learned if she doesn't get on the floor fast, I put her on it faster. Hit the floor fast on her on, she gets praised. (I began with treats, but phased those out fast as I generally need to give it when Arwen gets up at night for water and Cara won't let her back under the covers.

Once she knows the command, have him (preferably!) or you tell her to hit the floor when he is ready to leave. I am pretty sure at that point she will be wide awake and no aggression from floor level. Keep the command as simply a command, not a punishment. Though I have to tell you they are pretty smart. Cara has learned to be very quiet and snuggle close to me most the time without challenging Arwen– she knows her behavior is what gets the command given and she'd like to not get up.

No, she doesn't get over the aggression when we say "no" she will keep it up till he leaves. Normally during the week it is only myself in the house, I will wake up and start getting ready for work while Macie is still sleeping in the bed. I will call her and get her up out of the bed before I leave for work so she can go outside. She isn't pleased when I wake her up, but she is not aggressive like on Mondays, normally she will growl and thats all. Macie never wakes up before me, she loves to sleep and I enjoy waking up early.

We have posted before regarding her attitude when she is sleeping, that's why I do not disturb her while she is sleeping. As she gets older she seems to be losing the attitude, slowly, but she is getting better.

Thanks for all the comments, I will try the suggested ideas.

It is not unusual for Basenjis to enjoy sleeping in. Pretty much all of the five I have owned have been like that! One question: do you feed her breakfast when she gets up? I find a meal is a good incentive for them. Usually my boy shows up shortly after I prepare his breakfast.

I am wondering about how your current problem began? Just out of the blue, or did something happen that upset her? In any event, it is important that she realize bed is an option, not a right, and that bad behaviour will not get her what she wants. I think I would start requiring some sort of "work" before she is allowed on the bed, and as Debra suggested, a key word that means "get off", and enforce it if she does not comply. Stay cheerful, but use the leash when you must to get compliance. Try to head off any aggression by distraction. "Oh, Macie, look at that!" and throw a toy or something. Let us know how you get on.

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