Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?

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  • She is incredibly cute! I don't see basenji, but DNA testing helps. The Wisdom panel seems one of the best, though a bit pricey.

    On the biting, KDD's article is a good start on fixing the problem

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  • @Gigi - She is very cute but I don't see Basenji either... Don't expect the spay to change her much, really has nothing to do with lowering energy level or correcting habits such as biting, sorry to say. Do you know when she was taken from her Mom/littermates?

  • A few years ago I would have poo-pooed the aggression/protein link, but there is some current research that indicates it. However, with a puppy, not sure that is the case.

    With had habits, you can't just try everything for a while. I can take months of consistent work to make changes. A "NO TEETH!" command, instant and total ignore does get through to them that all interaction stops. Also, a "nothing in life is free" to enforce the idea that you control food, space, attention.

    As for embark... duh... had a brain freeze obviously. Embark is better. It also has much more health testing.

    Typically, the more dogs in their testing, the more accurate. Thus far, Mars Wisdom Panel 3 has the largest group, including basenji and coyote and breeds most the others don't, making it the most affordable and most accurate UNLESS you want to pay out $200. In which case the newer Embark seems truly spectacular. Whatever you use, make sure they have basenji in their data bank. Most don't.…/…/embark-dog-dna-startup-disease-ri…

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  • @Gigi said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    @DebraDownSouth Hi again Debra. Reason I mentioned the protein is that my husband & I definitely see her become more bitey after she eats. If it's the high protein causing high energy we'really not sure? We have been consistent, calm and assertive with her biting since day one, no matter what we do she continues. I taught her that "kiss" means to lick when she was quite young. As soon as we feel teeth on skin we tell her to "kiss" and sometimes it worKS most times it doesnt. Then we crate her for 5 minutes. She is extremely head strong. We make her work for everything, she has several Kong treat feeder toys and several rubber bones and chew toys for serious chewers, plush toys she cannot have - destroys them within minutes. We also keep her busy with bully sticks, dog puzzles and she is out for walks several times a day. We don't know what else to do? People keep telling us it's teething, she'll grow out of it. I've had puppies/dogs my whole life. Our last was a Rottweiler - I don't think it's husband & I have the scars to prove it!

    Gosh ... lots to respond to.
    First, lots and lots of exercise should help.
    Second, when you feel teeth, the only response is a firm NO TEETH (or no bite, or whatever, just use the same thing), then IMMEDIATE ignore.
    Third, using a crate for punishment isn't a good idea. You want a crate to be a positive safe place.
    Fourth... be careful with bully sticks. They can cause digestive and other problems.
    Fifth... lol, at 5 mos... still teething. I have a Samoyed here going through it also. But teething isn't an excuse for putting teeth on humans.

    Sixth.. I'm laughing... Rottweiler. You are about the 6th person I have met or met online that has had both Rotties and Basenji (if she is basenji). My 2nd litter I kept out a doggy bitch that my child and (now ex) husband fell in love with. In all my life, never such a mouthy dog. She was about 9 mos old before I got her to stop putting her teeth on us.. and even though the last few months were GENTLY, it was a pain. So take hope, it just may take a while. You really seem to be doing so much good with exercise, consistency, chew toys. You'll get there.

    That all said, I have allowed only one dog ever to even play bite. Mostly because I've always had Rotties and Chows and zero teeth rule can save their lives. But my rescue Cara came with the softest mouth on earth. She can be in utter frenzy playing and she never applies any pressure. I was frothing that the rescue kept her for 12 weeks, but there is no question her time with a big pack of puppies helped her learn bite inhibition.

    I won't say all, but a great many of the bite issues I have seen in dogs come from those taken too young from their litter and dam. You are on this fast, and you'll get there. Just recognize that it's not her fault and you can stop it.. it just may take a while longer. 🙂

    Oh edited to add on spay/neuter. Yeah... don't expect it to help. People push spay/neuter as a fix for behavior issues... it isn't. Other than males around in-heat bitches, neutering just stops reproduction risks. There are some studies on aggressive bitches and neutering making it worse, a few also on timing of neutering and behaviors. But those really are rare cases.

  • @Gigi said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    actually biting, showing teeth and growling first and following through.

    To me that is worrisome and must stop, for her safety as well as yours. This does not sound like ordinary puppy nipping that will disappear in time. I agree with Debra, crating isn't going to fix this and can make her resent the crate. Under what circumstances does she bite? In play, or in anger because you have denied her something? If it's an attempt at play initiation, of course dogs frequently growl at each other and it isn't a threat, but if she is objecting to something or trying to get her own way, that needs to be addressed. If she is biting in play sessions, quit playing with her! You do not want to do anything that triggers the behaviour. If it is random, then it's a lot harder to address, but try to spot a pattern. If it is when you deny her something she wants, I think I would leave a leash on her so that I could gain control whenever I suspect there may be an incident. Don't allow her to keep reinforcing herself with the behaviour, i.e. it shouldn't ever get her what she wants, be that a response from you that she is looking for, or food, or a toy, or to be left alone. Whatever the motivation, she needs to learn that biting will not profit her, but gentleness will gain instant reward.

    My approach with a Basenji sized dog has always been the "bear hug", as in immobilize the animal and don't allow her freedom until she quits the unwanted behaviour. Don't hurt her, but let her know she will not be released until she stops trying to bite and stops struggling. I realize this won't work unless you are confident and prepared to take a bite or two if you must, because allowing her to go before she quits it will only intensify the behaviour. For that reason, it may be best to seek out a trainer or behaviorist to assist you, preferably someone who will come to your house and observe what is going on, because context is so important.

    If you were very lucky and knew someone with a large breed but gentle dog, sometimes letting the other dog teach discipline will work (my breeder friend has a Great Pyrenees that will basically sit on the offender until the bad behaviour ends). I agree with Debra that missing the early socialization with mom and siblings may be one reason that she isn't inhibited from biting.

    Oh, and BTW, if I ignore her ears and tail, she looks to me like she could be part Basenji, particularly if her vocalizations support it, and it sounds like they do! Best of luck to you.

  • @eeeefarm said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    @Gigi said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    actually biting, showing teeth and growling first and following through.

    To me that is worrisome and must stop, for her safety as well as yours. This does not sound like ordinary puppy nipping that will disappear in time.

    Okay, yeah, I agree with what Shirley said totally.

    It's really important to figure out what happens before the bite or showing teeth/growling/bite. The good thing is, if she shows her teeth. THAT is the point you say no teeth and walk away. Do you have gates you can block her access to you if need be?

    I am not with her on holding. Experienced trainers can do that. I spent about 20 mins lying on top of my 18 mos old male rottie. One time only incident, and luckily he had a collar on so I could pin his head down also. Had I slipped and let him up before the tantrum ended, he'd have done serious injury and set us up for a lot of issues to get it past him. He was an incredible dog, lived to almost 14, and never challenged me again.

    However, we had an insane Lhasa Apso here from rescue for rehab. The freaking dog would CHARGE and bite. After calls to some top breeders and trainers familiar with the breed, Kathy Diamond Davis had a "scathingly brilliant idea" (reference to "The Trouble With Angels"). She told me to get a heavy duty round laundry basket and when she started to charge-- also preluded by a flash of teeth-- drop it on top of her and pin her. It took about 6 or 7 times, but that was the end of it. You could SEE the wheels turning as she thought about her options, which were none. Eventually she just laid down. We were able to place her with a friend who kept her until she died. She was never going to be trust worthy with the public, but Sally was able to manage and give her a loved private life. She was, btw, about 7 years old, had been horribly abused for years before they convinced the owners they could give her up or be charged with abuse. My vet, who had sort of yelled at me to put her down, called me a couple of years into Sally having her and said "You were right. That is the dearest dog!" (She got an eye infection and had to be kept at the vet for 2 weeks.) Using some sort of light heavy duty laundry basket or even a big plastic storage box with some holes cut in it, will give you the confining like holding would, but without risking a bite.

    I think the nothing in life is free is critical to turn this around. No attention on demand, must work for food (sit, down, etc), off furniture completely, no privileges except what you grant. The author of the link I gave you (K9deb) is a friend. If you'd like to talk to her, I'd be happy to put you in touch. I have learned more from her and Mary Woodward (for full obedience training so clear you'll feel faint -- on left, problems on right.. ) and Kathy Diamond Davis ( ) over the decades than I can properly give thanks for. Mary is also available for training help. Sadly KDD had a stroke several years ago so she really is limited in helping and tries to reserve it for fearful or shy dog issues.

  • @DebraDownSouth said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    . I spent about 20 mins lying on top of my 18 mos old male rottie.

    I am still giggling from the mental image! 🙂 But seriously, I agree, going that route is not for the faint of heart (or inexperienced) and I would certainly hesitate before trying it on a large breed dog! I like the laundry basket option, but you would have to keep it handy and you might have difficulty doing it the 2nd time if the dog was paying attention. Just leaving a leash trailing can often give you the control you need, as there is something to grab, and if your arm is long enough you can prevent a bite.

    I got into the "bear hug" with my Basenjis because it worked for me, and of course with any breed it works when they are a small puppy. After the initial nippy stage, usually you don't have to go there again, although I have had a couple of adults who would get carried away with rough play (blame my husband!) but after a couple of "hug sessions" I could curtail it with "I don't think so" in that tone.

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  • @Gigi said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    . Whenever she doesn’t want to do something she shows her teeth and will bite if we persist. This can be trying to put her collar on AND taking it off. Touching her paws, ears, mouth, tail. I’ve done that since she was 9 weeks old to make sure she wouldn’t be sensitive to touch. She had an unpleasant nail trim experience, 4 people holding her, and now she wants no part of nail trims.........So, you think maybe she does have some Basenji in her. I snapped a couple more pics of her face closer up. When her ears go up she really looks it to me. She has such a sturdy well proportioned little body with long legs, people often say she looks like a little fawn. She also tries to talk to us and makes funny whiney sounds, never had a dog who did these sounds...AND she cleans herself like a cat...we have a cat too. Baileys mother was a collie, so we know that part for certain.

    O.K. that makes the picture a little more clear. Some things (like putting her collar on and taking it off) are not optional and she will have to learn to accept them. Have you ever experimented with clicker training? It might be a way in, especially if she is food motivated. You could try wearing heavy gloves when you must get her cooperation, e.g. to put her collar on, so that biting doesn't get her what she wants.

    The "unpleasant" nail trim experience. IMO, it is always a mistake to have multiple people involved in forcing an animal to do what it does not want to do. Better to work one on one and let the animal move away when it needs to. You can be persistent, as in "O.K. I won't force you but you are not doing anything else until we progress a little bit more with this". Then when you get that next step, reward and quit. Build on it and eventually you should get there with a willing participant. Again, clicker training might be a way in. But use baby steps. Ask a little bit more each time. Important to reward after you get the behaviour, and use a marker word (e.g. "yes") when she complies if you don't want to use a clicker. The marker allows you to delay the reward for a moment with her understanding what she is being rewarded for. Incidentally, if you were using the crate as a punishment, you need to mark the bad behaviour ("no" is the most common word for this), so she is clear on why she ended up being confined.

    From your description of her mannerisms, and from the difficulties you are experiencing, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some Basenji in the mix. I would like to see a side on picture of her standing, if you can manage it.

  • @Gigi said in Newbie, I think I have a Basenji Mix?:

    @DebraDownSouth ... “Scathingly Brilliant Idea” I am a Trouble With Angels fanatic, honestly thought it was a movie made of me and my HS friend...own the DVD and I don’t admit that to many people 😉

    I have watched it so many times I could probably recite it, lol.

    You sound to have had your share of unique experiences with dogs too,...
    Thank you for your generous offer to put me in touch with your friend K9Deb. might take you up on it if we can’t get this turned around. We plan to enroll Bailey at a place called Top Notch Dog Training

    Please do post their webpage. Let some of us take a look. Anything but positive training could escalate things. As for Deb McKean, she's wonderful and I still run things by her when I'm stumped.

    I have mostly owned chows (rescues) and Rotties. I bred then just moved into rescue, though proudly have my line still out there thanks to co-breeder who has had them at Westminster even. We got into the basenjis for my daughter, who was very petite and wanted a smaller breed. Then we got into Samoyeds because honestly they are her personality and she wants a therapy dog. But I did rehab work with rescues with all breeds.

    What state are you in?

  • What Shirley said.. tiny baby steps. You may need to do one nail a day. Lots of praising, lots of rewards.

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