• Hi, I just got a two year old basenji. A bit of a mix she is a non barker and likes to do the meercat stand. I have one issue:

    Maddie (the dog) is fearless towards other dogs and particularly pitbulls. She is very fast and athletic and when barked at by larger dogs likes to aggressively attack them. At the local dog park she was aggressively barked and lunged at by a pitbull which resulted in her biting it in the face and and in the leg so bad the other dog had to limp away and in tears. I had to persuade the pit bull owner into taking responsibility and convince him to leave the park.

    I thought it have been the pit bull's fault but it happened again. Although not nearly as bad as she was leashed. She gets along with other dogs very well but when she encounters a large posturing dog she silently approaches and then attacks. I am able to easily hold her back but I like her being able to be unleashed at the dog park. I also do not want to be arrested or banned from the dog parks or lose her.

    Any suggestions?

  • As you research options to address her behaviour (I have no direct advice here), I would suggest putting a muzzle on her for the time being. There are soft options that allow sniffing but not biting.

  • Don't go to the dog park, period......

    1. you cannot control the other dogs there... dogs will challenge your dog
    2. your dog is dog aggressive with little provocations

    So, as tanza said, stay out of the dog park. Exercise your dog elsewhere. Or keep it muzzled. Not all dogs (in fact I think MOST dogs) do not belong in unleashed dog parks. Dogs aren't little children who need to play with other children. They need exercise, they need stable companionship (owners and humans and hopefully well behaved other family pet/pets), not a smorgasbord of dogs served up at the dog park.

    You are lucky neither owner sued you. The lightest response is you get banned. Worse, your dog will do serious damage to another dog... or she'll take on one that will kill her before you can blink. Your saying the other dog
    "had to limp away and in tears" almost sounds like a brag. Your concerns of arrested/banned/lose your dog doesn't take into the situation that YOUR DOG has harmed others. Be responsible, keep her home, or keep her muzzled and on a leash.

  • I agree with the others here: Stay away from the dog park. That's the easiest and safest solution.

    If it's really important to you that your dog can go to dog parks in the future, you can try to train your dog away from being dog aggressive (or reactive). Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) and CARE (http://careforreactivedogs.com) are both good for this. Either one will take time, but they can be helpful, especially if you're worried your dog's reactivity could manifest in other situations that you can't easily avoid, like on a walk.

    Another solution, if you've got the money, is to pay a trainer to use one of those techniques on your behalf. But for now, at least, avoid dog parks, where your dog is exposed to such a wide variety of dogs that themselves possibly shouldn't be there. Good luck!

  • Absolutely second previous comments - stay away from dog parks and get some behavior modification training. Even if on a leash, your dog could some day do harm to something other than a pit bull !

  • So, Maddy just got back from a 5 day dog camp that I found for aggressive dogs. She was a pound rescued and was pregnant before making her way to the SPCA. She was living on the street. From speaking to the vet/trainer she is therefore quite tough as she has most likely been in a place that required her to fight for food. She was also especially aggressive towards large male dogs. This is common as a result of defending the young from unknown males. The SPCA even went 50/50 with me as they said they should have divulged this beforehand.

    The Dog Camp was interesting. It had a whole bunch of toughed up dogs and going in was like walking into a prison yard. On the last day she has made numerous best friends including a new best friend dog that happens to live down the street. On the last day all the dogs were getting along. Now, she encounters dogs and the street and just plays. Really quite well

  • If they didn't tell you she lived on the street, they should have paid it ALL! Takes a while and the right training and exposure to get any handle on that. I am glad she is doing well with only 5 days, but please continue to be very vigilant! Glad that things are better.

  • Hi MaddyDog! I'm happy to hear that your dog has responded so well to this camp! I've got a friend who has a dog of 3,4 or 5 mixes, is 4 yrs. old, stands a bit taller than a b but he weighs 40 lbs. or so. His is like your dog was but, he's not just aggressive to other dogs, it's people too! When dogs growl, Ruff attacks & with people, he's not always a biter. About 4 months ago, I was at his house when Ruff got out of the kitchen & came straight for me! He wasn't able to catch him & I put my hand out so Ruff bit my hand, leaving 2 fair size holes in my palm & a couple of small poke holes in the top. He was chewing Ruff out the entire way back to the kitchen (was raining out so I told him not to put him outdoors). He kept saying he was sorry over & over but I told him to hush up! Just pour some peroxide over my hand & give me a couple sterile gauze pads. He started talking about putting Ruff down & I told him "Don't do that!" Ruff came from a shelter too but he was funny as a 1 & half yr. old, snarling at everything, even at his toys! I was wondering if you'd give me the name of the vet/trainer you used (cost too) so my friend won't put Ruff down. I think much of it is our fault for not doing some training soon after he got him plus, we'd laugh at him when he was being gruffy! I've been bitten by several dogs before Ruff but I don't want him to put him down as he's his Companion Animal. He's had all his shots & I'm up to date on my tetanus. You can post it in a private Chat Message on here if you would. Basicly, Ruff is a good dog & he shouldn't have to give up his life because we didn't get training for him! Please, send me a Chat with the info so Ruff doesn't have to die! Thanks, Nancy

  • This is who I recommend in San Diego.


    Most major metro areas have at least one center. The best is someone with some background in training military or police dogs but is not necessary. This teaches the dog to still be defensive and able to defend his or herself but will not attack and teaches them to better understand playfulness and threats and better distinguish them. The dog still might misinterpret but then again all of us people misinterpret social situations all the time too. Maddie has issues with dogs but not people so they could advise a bit deifferently.

  • Read some very alarming things about them... wouldn't go near there without a lot more searching. Some claims of puppymilling (they said only 3 or 4 litters, but haven't looked), issues of dogs being sent for extensive training who came back untrained... Yeah they seem to promise a lot and often fail to deliver.

    Honestly though, any place that claims they fixed dog aggression in 4 days is just crossing it's fingers your dog doesn't hurt another dog. You don't undo that much bad experience in 4 days.



  • @MaddyDog Thank You for answering! I'll let my friend know!!

  • @DebraDownSouth Thank You for your links also!!

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