Escalating Aggressive Behaviour


  • Hi, me again. I started a new thread because I wanted to make sure it was seen. On the good side, Achilles now waits patiently while I put his food in his crate before he goes in and eats, same with his water. He does this with me, hubby, and daughter Paige. My daughter and her fiance have found a place to live that allows dogs, and they should be moving in by the end of next week. Thank god!!! They are going to look into a trainer at that time. I am incredibly happy that they will be taking him soon. It is getting to the point that I can no longer deal with him is some areas. I have condition called Fibromyalgia, which causes weakness and pain. I was doing well for quite some time, but all the climbing over the gate and stress of Achilles has brought on a flare up. My hands are almost useless from having to continuously open and close the gate, and my legs are causing me pain too.

    Now his aggressive behaviour seems to be escalating. He now goes after Rosie all the time too. It doesn't seem to just happen once in a while, sometimes it happens over and over again within a short time period. I know that we aren't supposed to react to the behaviour, but it is getting to the point where letting the dogs deal with it isn't working. Neither one of the older dogs will put him in his place. If it gets to be too much I simply crate him. I can usually see it in his eyes before he does anything. But I can't always come between him and the other dogs. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  • Is this dog neutered? And are there still toys/chews involved? If that is the case than you need keep all toys/chews from all the dogs if they are in the same room… The fact that you can see it in his eyes would totally bother me that this is part of this dogs temperament and that he means business, but it you see it that is the time to react and try to redirect his attention to some thing else... That is not reacting to the behavoir of attacking the other dogs, it is redirecting before it happens. Try things like a very loud noice when you see that look to get his attention and then redirect him to something else.
    Again, I would urge your daughter to get a trainer... I would be very concerned that this agressive behavior that you are seeing to the other dogs will become directed to humans in short order.


  • He is only four months old. There are no chew toys etc.. involved. It usually happens when we are paying attention to the other dogs. I am sorry, but I am not going to give up my living room so that he doesn't get territorial. Right now him and Rosie are playing and everything is just fine. I do usually say "no" in a firm voice when I notice the look, and if I don't get there in time, he goes for it. Last night he was going at Rosie, and I put my foot up and gently, yes, gently, pushed him away from Rosie, and said no. I don't know if I mentioned previously, but he may have Epilepsy as he had one seizure before we ever got him. All his tests came back negative, but the vet said that he could also have encaphalitis. The vet strongly urged us NOT to get the dog, but we thought we could deal with it. He only seems to be aggressive at certain times of the day or night too. I notice it more in the late evening. We are also trying our best to keep him off of the couch. That is a hard one, because our dogs have always been allowed up on the couch to cuddle with us. We tried to watch a movie last night, but missed quite a bit of it dealing with him. When I got up this morning, there he was sleeping on the couch with my daughter, as my hubby got tired of getting up and constantly taking him off of the couch. He is way more work than I thought or prepared myself for. Thankfully, he really likes his kennel and doesn't usually mind being put in it. When he has attacked the dogs once too many times I put him in there. I usually cover him, but wonder if I should or not.


  • If you are seeing signals that he is going to react that is when you need to redirect. Redirection does not necessarily mean you need to physically intervene. Use your voice to get his attention and direct him somewhere like to come to you or to take a break outside or follow you to a different room. You want to break the chain of the behavior. Also, if you can catch it at a look and redirect the behavior into a positive outlet you can start building a positive association between Rosie being in the room and good things happening for Achilles.


  • I don't remember, did you say where he came from? And epilepsy would have no bearing on his going after the other dogs, IMO…. And did you mean "Encephalitis"? And why would your Vet think he had this? I think that one think you must do is rule out health issues... As far as neuter, 4 months is not too early, especially with his obvious signs of aggression, again IMO. And how did you know that he had a seizure before you got him? And dogs really have no idea of time of day... if he is aggressive it has nothing to do with the time of day, again IMO.... except unless he is overtired, that can happen that they become cranky, but should not be aggressive.... and if he is doing this when you are paying attention to the other dogs, then you have become to object of the resourse guarding. Being on the couch is OK, provided "YOU" have invited him, not that he has taken it over as his...
    Not sure what you mean by covering him... I cover mine, but that is at night...
    Again, I would urge a trainer, however first rule out any health issues...


  • 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 really just noticed it yesterday, and I said to whoever was in the house, "watch, I think he is going to go after Rosie". Sure enough he did, and now I notice it all the time. So far nothing has happened yet today. Him and Rosie and Honey were all three playing quite nicely and noisely. I am trying to figure out a way for me to encourage the other two dogs to put him in his place, but they both look so damn forlorn when it happens. They have never had to deal with anything like this before. Rosie is 8 and has always been a nurturer. She has mothered several dogs in the neighbourhood, and Honey is simply sweet. The both seem to be totally stunned by the behaviour. We have always told them "gentle" when they are around smaller dogs or puppies. Neither one of them has ever hurt another animal.


  • Rather then call him, use something else to try and get his attention, something that makes a very loud noise that might "snap" his attention off the other dogs…
    And NO you should never encourage your other dogs to try and put him in his place...
    Again, where/who did he come from?... do you have any contact with his breeder?


  • @tanza:

    I don't remember, did you say where he came from? And epilepsy would have no bearing on his going after the other dogs, IMO…. And did you mean "Encephalitis"? And why would your Vet think he had this? I think that one think you must do is rule out health issues... As far as neuter, 4 months is not too early, especially with his obvious signs of aggression, again IMO. And how did you know that he had a seizure before you got him? And dogs really have no idea of time of day... if he is aggressive it has nothing to do with the time of day, again IMO.... except unless he is overtired, that can happen that they become cranky, but should not be aggressive.... and if he is doing this when you are paying attention to the other dogs, then you have become to object of the resourse guarding. Being on the couch is OK, provided "YOU" have invited him, not that he has taken it over as his...
    Not sure what you mean by covering him... I cover mine, but that is at night...
    Again, I would urge a trainer, however first rule out any health issues...

    He came from a pet store that my daughter works for, which is how I know he had had a seizure. Yes, I meant encephalitis, I guess my spelling was wrong. I know the vet who examined him after his seizure, as he is our personal vet for 15 or so years. I called him when we were offered the dog. He said that the tests they did on him for epilepsy came back negative, so it isn't certain he has that. He mentioned that he had spoken with someone and they had suggested it could be encephalitis. He also said he was a strange dog, and that he would be a great challenge to deal with. He suggested we NOT get him, as he knows our two dogs quite well, and their personalities and such. At the time we took Achilles, Rosie was in the vets after having minor surgery. We took him because we were told that if he was sent back to the breeder they would put him down, as he couldn't be used for breeding due to his seizure. I personally don't mind him on the couch, but my future son in law doesn't want him on the couch when he moves in with them.


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

    When he gets to her, does he attack and draw blood? What happens when he gets to her?

    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.

    This dog needs some positive reinforcement training ASAP, whether or not he stays with you, or your family or somewhere else.

    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.

    He really needs and intensive, structured training program so that he will be able to focus on human leadership.


  • 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.

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