Escalating Aggressive Behaviour


  • Well, coming from a pet store, he has many strikes against him, one being that he never had the opportunity to learn proper pack behavior with his littermates or his mom…. he was taken way to early from the pack and sent to the pet shop. Also coming from a pet store, that means he came from a Puppy Miller (and even if he did or did not have a seizure, his temperament is such that he should never be bred anyway)... and yes, exactly he would be put down.. if they would really even take him back. Lets face it, with no real health background information it is very hard to determine if he has a health issuse or it is very, very possible that he is so "in bred" that he has genetic defects that are causing all this...
    It is very distressing to hear of a pup at this age with these issues... pups at four months should be outgoing and love everything and everybody...


  • @pastal:

    He almost doesn't seem to hear you at that time. His eyes take on a funny, glazed look, his ears go back, just a hair, and he tends to have a totally different stance.

    I would highly recommend buying The Language of Dogs DVD and watching it. All of these signals are shown and discussed.

    I agree with Andrea he needs a structured positive training program ASAP. Also, I want to again point out that it does not have to be a toy or chew that he is guarding. If he is doing this when you are giving attention to another dog then the resource he is guarding is you.


  • So, when he goes after Rosie….where is he usually starting from?

    There is no particular place that he starts from. If Rosie is on the couch he will sometimes come from the ground, other times he will jump on the couch and go from there.

    Don't encourage the other dogs to put him in place…maybe he is destined to be the leader dog in the pack, and they don't care. But if he is drawing blood that is completely inappropriate, and you are right to wish for him to live somewhere else.

    I don't really encourage them. I would just like for them to stand up for themselves. No, thankfully he hasn't drawn blood yet. Although I think it came close yesterday. He had Rosie by the ear and pull her right to the ground.

    As far as redirecting…you are right, sounds like he can't hear you. So I might try have him dragging a house line (like a light leash), so you can grab it and reel him in to you, and get him focused.

    I wasn't sure what you meant by a house line, but now I do, thanks. I wil start to use that right now.

    Now for my response to Tanza.

    He did have a brother in the kennel with him until he was sold. His brother, at the time of being sold seemed fine. Achilles is a healthy pup, according the vet, his blood work and everything came back clear. The vet did say he may never have another seizure. I believe the pet shop had for about 6 weeks or so before we got him. The first time we spent any time with him in the bonding room, he was absolutely crazy. Throwing fits and trying to escape. He calmed down a bit and then when the hubby and kids went to see him later on he was fine. We took Honey in the next day and he was totally good with her. After the first visit I was against bringing him home, especially after talking with the vet. But since he was good with Honey, and she was good with him, and he was so much better the subsequent times, we decided to take him. He can be a very loving dog. He isn't always a terror. When I said cover him up, I meant that when we kennel him for bed we cover the kennel, not totally, as he doesn't seem to like the dark, but the front and 1/2 of each side. When we are putting him his kennel after bad behaviour should we cover his kennel or should we not cover it so he can see that he is being punished?


  • @lvoss:

    I would highly recommend buying The Language of Dogs DVD and watching it. All of these signals are shown and discussed.

    I agree with Andrea he needs a structured positive training program ASAP. Also, I want to again point out that it does not have to be a toy or chew that he is guarding. If he is doing this when you are giving attention to another dog then the resource he is guarding is you.

    I have already put a house line on him, but my oldest daughter thinks it is stupid. Too bad for her. I actually remember using it on one of the other dogs when they were pups.

    Thank you for the name of the dvd. I will certainly try to find it here.


  • I would be very surprised if he really even knows that being put in the kennel is for bad behavior… because he really doesn't understand that it what he is doing is bad... IMO.... Not sure what you mean by "see that he is being punished?"... See what, that the other dogs are still loose or not kenneled?

    And while he might have had a brother in his crate at the pet store, that is not the same as early socialization and pack order... especially with resourse guarding...


  • Another think with training… everyone has to "buy" into it... and it must be consistant from all members of the family.... otherwise all you do is confuse the dog totally....


  • When I call him a 'bad boy" he always seems to look as if he knows he was wrong. By putting him in the kennel I think he knows that he is now missing out on what is happening outside of his kennel. In other words, he is away from the fun, and family. I know that I'm not the smartest when it comes to Basenji behaviour, but I am trying my best to deal with the situation with all of your help.

    I know all about consistancy. I have three children, and you always have to be consistant and on the same page. My hubby and my oldest daughter are the hardest to convince. I will not give up on it. I will push them just as hard as I have to. When my daughter is in my house she will follow the rules with Achilles that I have set out. Once she has him at her home, then I really can't do anything about it. Her fiance seems to get it, although he has said that if Achilles bites him, he will bite him on the ear. I think I have made it clear to him that if he does that, he will be very sorry, in many ways. I have told her in no uncertain terms that she is NOT taking Rosie with her. Achilles needs their undivided attention when it comes to his training.


  • Now I'm going to go in another direction - there is something called Rage Syndrome - it is not just in basenjis. It is however neurological and it manifests itself by a dog being fine one minute and blindly attacking the next. If that's what it looks like - there really is only one outcome.

    However I think that your stress and discomfort in this whole issue is also a factor. You do have your health issues and quite honestly the basenji may not see you as a 'leader' hence his lack of compliance. I will also say that a 4 month old basenji is at least worth a chance and hopefully when he is able to move out both you and he can perhaps start over.


  • Exactly, Diana… I was thinking the same thing, and I have known Basenjis with this... hopefully it is just a case of needed socialization and training...
    My fear is that when your daughter moves out with her boyfriend that if they don't get a trainer or continue with positive reinforcement training (and especially if he bites him back, the worst thing he can do)... someone will be hurt....


  • @pastal:

    Thank you for the name of the dvd. I will certainly try to find it here.

    Here is a link to where you can purchase the video, http://bluedogtraining.com/videos-dvds.html


  • Happy Mother's Day to all mothers on the board. I took a break for dinner. I was thinking it was more more of a rage issue myself. But since I really don't know Basenji's all that well I wasn't sure. He does seem fine one moment, and then boom, it happens. Thank you for the link for the video.


  • It is not a common thing in Basenjis like some breeds, but it can happen…


  • Achilles now sits and stays until I let him into his kennel to eat. Even when I fill his water bowl he sits beside me and he stays till I tell him okay. He is getting better with the rest of the family in doing this also.


  • Hi Pastal,
    I think you're a very alert person, it sounds like you will be very good working with Achilles until he goes to his new home. Keep up the good work having him work to earn his dinner, this is a very important lesson for a 4 month old boy who's trying to figure out his place in this home.

    I find dogs who are a little tightly wound calm substantially when they understand their place, and when they understand what to do to get what they want. For example, he sits and stays to get his dinner. You can have him earn other things: from now on he has to sit before going out the door, sit before coming out of the crate, sit before playing with a toy. And you will praise praise praise him every time he does that, which will reinforce that you are leader of the pack and he doesn't have to try to be.

    Another great thing you can do is in addition to using the house line for safety, you can start to teach him "come" and reward with cookies … make him start to think that you are the source of all things good and he'll hopefully pay less and less attention to the other dogs at all.

    Any other lessons / tricks will give him a positive outlet for his energy.


  • You know, I thought of something else, flower essences. Last year when I was having some fights between my girls, two well bred, well trained basenjis, a consultant started making me a special blend that I put in their water or directly on their tongues. It might have nothing to do with it, but I think it's working. I went without it for about three weeks and Lucy started getting edgy again.
    You can probably find Bach's Rescue Remedy in a health food store near you tomorrow until you can get more first-hand, professional help.


  • He is basically a pretty well behaved dog, except for his outbursts. I stemmed one just a few minutes ago. He just came in from a walk, Rosie was on the couch with me, and he came right up to her. I heard the low growl from Achilles and I picked up the water bottle, and banged it on the table. He stopped and walked away. Although, if he is doing anything he shouldn't be doing, no usually works well enough. I used to spray him with the water bottle, and after a couple of times I just had to pick it up and he would stop what he was doing. Sometimes I just have to touch it and he stops.


  • @ciarasmom:

    You know, I thought of something else, flower essences. Last year when I was having some fights between my girls, two well bred, well trained basenjis, a consultant started making me a special blend that I put in their water or directly on their tongues. It might have nothing to do with it, but I think it's working. I went without it for about three weeks and Lucy started getting edgy again.
    You can probably find Bach's Rescue Remedy in a health food store near you tomorrow until you can get more first-hand, professional help.

    Thanks I will look for that, if not tomorrow, then the next.


  • @pastal:

    I heard the low growl from Achilles and I picked up the water bottle, and banged it on the table. He stopped and walked away.

    I'm glad to hear that it's working. Whew! Now that you are having some success, I'd suggest you (or anyone in this situation) could go one step further: when he stops but before he walks away have him perform an easy behavior, like sit, then praise him. Better yet, when he comes in from the walk make eye contact with him before he approaches another dog, and whoo-hoo, praise for ignoring the other dog and looking at you.

    I guess I'm just a praising nut, but I like to find opportunities to praise all the time. (my cell phone even rings a happy song!)


  • Tonight when my husband needed to take the other two dogs out for their evening pee, he had to take down the gate and get Honey from upstairs (Honey is afraid of the gate and even though she could, she won't jump over it). I called Achilles to the couch and the whole time he sat there, somewhat unhappily, I might add, I petted him telling him what a good boy he was. We all praise him alot. He really can be a very lovable little guy.


  • Sounds like you're doing a really good job all things considered. Your experience with the dogs sounds like you're spot on with little Achilles. Dogs are dogs..and Basenjis are extra special dogs 😃 as you can see!

    In my experience these dogs NEED & WANT rules & direction. They're happy when someone else calls the shots. My little girls tends to get a little crazy with my male dog so I know what you're going through & while I can't "fix" her mood swings I do try to manage as best we can. When she gets "that look" I'll get her attention or throw a treat at her & she quickly goes into "ooh gotta find the treat" mood…sometimes I'll just pick her up & put her in my lap with her back towards the dog & lots of good praises for being good.

    I'm afraid that your daughter & her fiance may not keep up with all the work that you've been doing with Achilles & that could be disasterous for him. He's only 4 months & they really need A LOT of structure at this young age (kinda like kids 🙂 right?) to be well behaved adult dogs. I really hope she follows your lead & what you've been doing. LOTS of pups need to be on a house line for a few months so that they learn the rules & learn how to behave.

    Good luck & hang in there...I promise you for all the work you put into this little guy you will get back 100 times over in love & respect.

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