Aggressive issues
  • [ ] My dog is very friendly loves playing 24/7 with people or dogs but for some reason once in a blue moon he turns very aggressive towards other dogs. And it’s always the same dogs. There’s a dog that lives in our building and without hesitation he always growls at it and his back hairs go up. He’s done it to a couple dogs before but only a certain couple for some reason. He was in a dog park with over 10 dogs and tried to attack the same German Shepard over and over. I used to think it was because he didn’t like bigger dogs that would dominate him but now I’m starting to think he’s doing it to non neutered dogs and he is also not neutered. How can I fix this behavior. Because he can be in a dog park for an hour playing wonderfully and then a dog he does not like (or maybe is not neutered) will walk in and he is in attack mode. He never actually bites he’s a little punk but he growls and lunges a lot. Im not sure if it’s because of the other dogs not being neutered but today there was one dog intact and a girl dog and he was fine with the girl and aggressive with the boy. And that got me thinking that all the dogs he’s been aggressive with have been boys to my knowledge. How do I stop this I feel like I have to be on lookout now if a dog is neutered or not
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last edited by marcorilli

You'll need to be vigilant - any time you see an intact male, toss treats in front of your dog's nose. Not only will this be a distraction, it will also (eventually) turn your dog's attention back to you. "Hey mom, here's an intact dog, can I get my treat now". Once he starts attention back to you, keep doing the treat thing. Eventually he will learn that intact dogs mean good things (treats) happen. The aggression should stop - but it will take time and vigilance on your part

This seems a common problem in the breed but it has nothing to do with intact dogs . It is your job to socialise a pup from early on to stop it happening . To those that don’t agree look at a basenjis origins as a pack dog and all dogs were intact but they all get along. It is the odour of the other dogs they react to. I have had my dogs at club days and had every basenji growl at them because people do not do early training and except this is the basenji way .

We have the same issue with our female Basenji. She is selective with dogs (which to play with and which to attack). Usually, she attacks dogs smaller than her. She will approach them nicely, in the beginning, they will start to sniff each other, then at some moment, she will try to grab the other dog by the neck in an attacking way. Usually, the other dogs sense this, and at the same moment, they have a back reaction. In can be fear, bark, or cry. She can act this way towards bigger dogs as well if they are under 1 year old. I think they try to smell and sense the energy/confidence level of the other dog.

Recently, I found a big dog park where you can walk your dog off leash. Thre are different trails and ponds. On weekends you can see over 200 dogs there, different sizes and ages. In this circumstances, ou Basenji got confused, maybe overwhelmed, she wasn't sure how to act in the beginning. But, because she needed to sniff with many dogs at the same time and be distracted by others around her, in addition, she needed to keep an eye on us so she doesn't lose us among other people, she didn't get in one fight. At the end, she stopped paying even attention to all the dogs around her.

I think Basenji dogs overall like to dominate the world around them. If they can put someone down, they will. I guess having them socialized with multiple dogs at a time, can make them more acceptable towards other dogs. Otherwise, you can use food treat distraction or any other distraction you can ( we can say" who is there?" and she will start looking around for squirrel, a rabbit, or a bird). If you put one dog in front of a Basenji most probably the Basenji one will consider the opportunity of taking over this dog.

Our female Basenji was 10 months old when we got her from a breeder 2 years ago. We almost took her back. She was very aggressive toward my husband. After contacting the breeder for help she thought it all due to my husbands voice (loud) and his large size and the fact the she had only been around females. The breeder recommended my husband try to bond with her by lying on the floor and talking to her and give her treats. This was the answer. Now they are best of buddies.
I take her to the off leash dog park most week days. She has a regular dog pack she runs and plays with. When a new dog tries to enter their group she attempts to attack them. Any time another dog jumps on me even just for attention she will nail them as if protecting me. She is very social with all people even strangers, but seems to have this problem with new dogs in her group pack. Treats as a distraction aren’t possible since they do not allow food of any kind in the park. Any suggestions?

@bigv said in Aggressive issues:

This seems a common problem in the breed but it has nothing to do with intact dogs . It is your job to socialise a pup from early on to stop it happening . To those that don’t agree look at a basenjis origins as a pack dog and all dogs were intact but they all get along. It is the odour of the other dogs they react to. I have had my dogs at club days and had every basenji growl at them because people do not do early training and except this is the basenji way .

I think this is too much of a generalization. I've had five Basenjis. Two were dog aggressive, either sex. One was same sex aggressive, and the other two were fine with other dogs. I have seen well socialized Basenjis and also dogs of other breeds become aggressive when they matured, around 18 months to 2 years. Village pack dogs generally get along, probably because there are always many dogs to deal with and the pecking order gets sorted out. And yes, there will be squabbling that sometimes becomes serious, as you also see at dog parks.

It's not unusual to observe dogs that are aggressive on lead get along fairly well off leash, particularly when they are somewhat overwhelmed by the number of other dogs, as happens at a dog park. Because we keep dogs in an unnatural situation, it's likely that interferes with the behaviour they would exhibit in nature. Curiously, the two that I had that were dog aggressive were also the two that were "prettiest", i.e. would do well in the show ring (one had her championship). While this is far too few to be anything more than anecdotal evidence, it makes one wonder if selectively breeding for specific physical traits may also be selecting for aggression? The African dogs you see in photographs would be unlikely to place in today's show ring, and the early imports from Africa most certainly would not!

last edited by eeeefarm

Thank you for your comments regarding aggressive behavior.

Actually my Seren Jane passed away 5 years ago. My new Basenji is Seeka (Moseeka), however I do not know how to change the name on my post.

You raised some valid points in regard to breeders mating dogs for there conformation and no regard for demeanour . This is common with show breeders . Greyhound people won't mate aggressive dogs as they can't be raced so no point continuing the line. I have used basenji,s for the past thirty years and all were intact dogs run with another dog of a different breed and none were aggressive to other dogs . I could not take a dog out if it was aggressive as most other hunters use a dog of a large size that would put a basenji in its place if it was aggressive . I repeat in saying it is the owner who must lead from day one as basenji,s will try to be boss if you let them. By accident I leant what to do to train a basenji . My boy walks off lead sits ,stays comes when called , just as any dog can do but again it is up to the family to put the time in . All I know is my method has worked for me . Once a basenji has been allowed to develope a bad habit it is very hard to break so only let them develope goods ones from the start and you are half way there. Never ever let a basenji be boss . Aggression should never be allowed and if the early work is done they will never show any . No need. If the dog starts to get aggressive let it know your feelings through your voice and physical presence and never back down . They read us like a book so you have to write it.

BigV, you will have a different relationship with your dog if you use it for hunting or other work, no question. Most Basenji owners don't do this. My first Basenji was reliable off leash, as I took her with me when I rode my horse. She learned early if she didn't come when called I could take off and lose her, since she couldn't catch the horse. It made an impression on her and she paid attention after that! I agree you have to lay down the ground rules early and be consistent in what you expect. Too many people let things go and then wonder why their dog pays no attention to them (same with kids!) If I issue a command I expect it to be obeyed, and if I don't have a chance of enforcing it if ignored, then I won't give it. (it's a terrible idea to let them think "come" is an optional command!). If I am not in a position to enforce a command I will "suggest" rather than order.

Basenjis certainly do read people well, and if one challenges your authority and you let them back you down they will be quick to take advantage. I find tact goes a long way to avoiding confrontation, but if push comes to shove, you have to be the boss.

@bigv no like I’m actually sure it’s only to intact dogs. I’ve been taking him to the dog park religiously sense he was 4 months every day. And he had no problems. Just a couple months before he turned a year and still now (he’s just turned 1 in October.) he only attacks intact dogs. It has nothing to do with not being socialized he will play with 10 dogs at a time and the second an intact dog comes in he goes after it and growls non stop. I’ve had many dogs one still alive at 16 years old. All have never been neatured and have never had this problem.

@marcorilli He is basically a teenager and behaving badly. Is he your first Basenji?

@senjisilly yes he’s our first basenji. We’ve been seeing some progress. Our neighbors have 2 huskies that’s he’s always hated and he’s finally playing with them. But I still have to ask if every dog is neutered Incase.

About Lincoln. I have been told that after desexing the hormone level ,in both dogs and bitches will spike and this may last for a few weeks before it settles down. As for aggressiveness, Basenjis are always going to be Basenjis esepecially to wards each other.

The problem is you didn't stop it when it first happened. He is trying to be top dog when that should be you. You have let him develope a very bad habit and it is always hard trying to rectify. If it was me I would put a muzzle on him and put him in with some intact dogs this is something he will hate, but he won't be able to hurt them and there is a good chance they will put him in his place. This may take awhile but he has to learn his place. You will just have to be patient and watch him closely the first time you leave the muzzle off as he may try to act up again so have the muzzle with you and show him you have it and will put it on him as you must again be the leader.

@bigv so u think I let him attack whoever he wants? Just false. As soon as I see any sign of aggression I take him away. He knows very well who the boss is. He knows over 30 commands and will never show any aggression to me or any other person. He plays with 9/10 dogs fine with no problems. Other dogs are usually the ones snapping at him because he’s too fast for them. Like I said it’s only intact dogs which are pretty rare. I agree the muzzle might work but I’m not going to walk him with a muzzle on when he only sees an intact dog once in a blue moon and every other dog he’s 100% fine with. It’s just an annoying problem because I don’t know whose intact and whose not so I don’t know if he will like the dog or attack it until I get closer.

I don't want to sound personnel but if you are in control why does he keep showing aggression to other intact dogs. By taking him away from the other dog is not teaching him not to be aggressive . He may see you as boss but he wants to be second in charge and see,s all other intact dogs as a threat to his position. Don't be to proud to use a muzzle , and as I said take out to mix with intact dogs . As he can't hurt them and will soon relize,s this you need to stand up and let him know your displeasure using voice and physical presence and a small water pistol as he will hate being squirted. You should find the water pistol works a treat. I would do this every few days until his stops the aggressive behaviour , then I would try without the muzzle but always keep the water pistol with you and let him see it as he will remember what happens when he acts up. This is a method I have used to help mates control their pig dogs . I am by far an expert and are always prepared to Liston to others thoughts as this is how I learn.

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