Hi from PA! Need Advice on personality shift during owner pregnancy

  • Hi All -

    Our Basenji turned three this December and has been our whole world! Basenji's have always been our favorite breed. Zi (our pup) has always been very friendly with people and dogs, he is a lover - we used to be worried that he was too much of a lover and would go off with any random person who came to show him love.

    We are expecting our first child this April and as I am starting to show more, our pup has become more and more aggressive (growling and snapping) with everyone. With strangers mostly, or friends of ours he doesn't see consistently, but he has even been snappy and growly with my husband on occasion - never with me, he is always very calm, and cuddly with me and my growing belly (it's his favorite nap spot). I am not concerned about him being rough with the baby or with me, and I am comfortable crating him if I need to when friends come to visit or see the baby, but would rather not as he is such a major part of our family. I am concerned about his major personality shift with strangers we encounter on our daily walks and who come to our house. Our routine hasn't changed any over the past few weeks to trigger anything except for my physical appearance.

    We do have a vet appointment to make sure there are no physical ailments we are missing, and have an appointment to meet with a private trainer, but since this is such a unique breed I have a hard time trusting trainers who don't have specific Basenji experience (not a huge Basenji population in my area).

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Has anyone had a similar experience with this? Thanks to all!

  • First, congratulations on the new baby.

    Second, a contributing issue is simply that your dog has now hit maturity. Sometimes behaviors come out that weren't evident before. Is he neutered? If not, it may help some even at this age.

    Finally, your dog may very well be responding to pregnancy hormones and into protection mode. It isn't uncommon, but needs addressing, as you know. Some of the Nothing In Life is Free programs (K9Deb is excellent: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm ) can help reset his mentality that it is NOT his job to make decisions about who can visit, your husband's movements, etc. It would be very helpful if you can have him doing all the feeding, most of the petting/grooming/letting in and out when he is home.

    Work on the leave it command, and look at me. Practice a LOT at home, then use them when visitors come or you go out if he even thinks about acting up. Mary Woodward's training lessons are so easy to follow it will make you feel faint. http://www.clickerlessons.com/index.htm

    I am sure others will respond, but the forum was down a bit so they may not notice the new threads as you have to look in other places now.

  • Please make sure that you have a FULL thyroid panel done

  • Agree with Debra: apart from any medical issues, it looks like he is protecting the new life. Cute as it may be, it's not his job. Your husband should step up to the plate and take first position in a clear way. All the best!

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