Growling at dogs during walk

Re: Recent Growling at Dogs During Walk

Hello,
My 1.4 year old basenji (male, not neutered) has started growling at dogs on and off his leash. His back hair stands up too! This usually happens when first meeting the dog. We use to take him to the dog park every day but not longer do because of the issue. He even growls at my brothers dogs who he sees all the time. He doesn’t bit but growls and shows his teeth most times.

I have been reading other responses to this similar topic, does anyone think neutering will help or do I just need to “train” distract” and be patient?

You have a maturing dog. Neutering might help, but don't count on it. In spite of the warm fuzzy concept of dogs being children in fur suits, dogs really aren't designed to make every other dog a playmate. The fact that he used to enjoy it, had lots of exposure, and now doesn't like it is a sign that he simply is not that into social play. I would suggest getting him enrolled in obedience classes. It gives him time around other dogs, and the opportunity for you to train him to ignore and act nice even if he doesn't want to play. Sometimes that's the best you can do.

A lot of it is his age. At 1.5-2 he's starting to mature and sometimes they act like that. Neutering is not a magical fix to the issue either. Sadly, a lot of vets and even some trainers will tell you that your dogs problem is that he is intact. Neutering won't make him want to be BFFs with every dog he meets. All it will do is reduce his hormones and make him unable to reproduce. It may lessen some undesirable behaviorists like marking and roaming but.. I know plenty of castrated dogs who do both.
What Debra said is how I feel about my dogs "making friends". They aren't going to like every dog but I expect them to behave. I can walk them though a group of other dogs and they will ignore them for the most part. That takes time and training! They have their friends and do MUCH better off leash than on leash. It will be hard to distract him when he's "in the zone" with another dog so start small. Work on his interaction with your brother's dog in a controlled environment. Remove all "high value" toys and chew bones that he could be guarding. Dog parks are the worst place to take a dog in training. You can't control what the other dogs are doing. He could be justifiably telling them off for rude behavior. I would never ever take my dogs there.

Also, make sure to talk to your breeder and see if they have any tips for you :).

last edited by CrazySenji

Though still it seems like neutering might also be a reasonable approach to managing hormones as well as reducing the instinctual behaviors which come with maturing males. Only as an adjunct to training of course.

@chrisf said in Growling at dogs during walk:

Though still it seems like neutering might also be a reasonable approach to managing hormones as well as reducing the instinctual behaviors which come with maturing males. Only as an adjunct to training of course.

There actually is research indicating pretty strongly that neutering may make dogs more reactive, not less.

This includes two studies, both of which used the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (usually abbreviated as the C-Barq), a widely used scoring list for dog behaviour where the dog is evaluated on the basis of more than 100 questions. Large groups of dogs were used in both researches, providing reliable figures.

In a study by Deborah Duffy (University of Pennsylvania) 3.600 dogs were included. The research by Farhoody (Hunter College in New York) even included 11.000 dogs. The results summarized: aggressive behaviour did not decrease, rather the opposite. The dogs were significantly more anxious. Only marking decreased significantly.

Duffy saw some striking differences between intact and neutered dogs. Neutered females prove to exhibit aggressive behaviour towards strangers as well as their owners more often, the differences were significant. Equally striking, the females were also much more anxious and sensitive to touching. Both females and males were found to be much more interested in food, begging has increased in both sexes.

Aggressive behaviour towards other dogs was breed specific. Some breeds including the Yorkshire Terrier, the Siberian Husky and the West Higland White Terrier had less dog-dog aggression. The Dachshund, the Springer Spaniel and Golden Retriever showed more targeted dog aggression. In average all breeds showed that dogs, male and female, had more aggression towards other dogs.<<

My females were good off and on leash with other dogs until about age 2 years. Then they began to growl and lunge and other behaviors. Spaying and obedience reduced it a bit but had to be always vigilant around other dogs as I could not predict if the meeting would be good or not so much.

neutering helped calm all of my Basenjis down

At 12-14 months my males started to get snarky, neutering then calmed them down and were less snarky. Additionally I find that dogs that are un-neutered are frequently the target for being jumped by other dogs who aren’t neutered.

My experience is - go to the dog park more often.
Fred had those phases and still has them every spring. He growls and is acting dominant. When we enter in the dog park, first few minutes I am yelling NO! And them he relaxes and start playing.
I would recomend more dog encounters off leash -but Fred is very playful and he is not aggresive, so that works for him. He is not biting, just growling hard.

Neutering won't help and might even make the situation worse. He is a teenager, just trying to assert himself. In any case, it can take a couple of years for the hormones to subside following castration. Firm discipline is needed, not a knife. And the last thing you want is for his confidence to take a knock so he becomes unsure of himself and more likely to be unpredictable.
Having no experience of dog park, I can't visualise the scenario. I run mine free in a nearby (large) woodland. Weekends we meet scads of dogs and if I see one approaching on a leash, I whistle mine to me and hold their attention with a treat while the tethered dog passes. They are friendly but I like to be fair to the other dog. He (or she) is obviously on a leash for a reason. Weekday mornings, sometimes I go a long walk without meeting a soul, other times we meet the same people and ours dogs know each other.
There is one border terrier called Geoffrey and when he first came to the woods about 4 years ago, my three (in those days) took an instant dislike. It was mutual. But these they they just meet and pass by with noses in the air !
Be patient and firm. Let him know YOU are the alpha and will not tolerate bad behaviour - but leave him as nature intended.

That is what basenjis and other dogs do especially if they are on a leash. I go to a dog park everyday and my 10 yr old retired show dog who is not neutered will growl at other dogs esp when they want to get close and sniff my dog out. I go off leash and hook my dog up when I get close to other dogs. My basenji always wants to take on other bigger dogs. .lol!

It infuriates me when folks bring an in season bitch into the forest. Keepurr, entire and proud of it, can tell, a couple of miles away ! Thereafter, for several days, he will sniff EVERY bitch on the off-chance it was her - but that's all he does. Hoover loves big boy dogs, but that is what dogs do - they sniff. But then they should just pass on. I wouldn't tolerate any signs of aggression and they know it -

You might want to take advanced obedience classes - "mind your manners", "bogeyman", "impulse control" etc. if they are offered in your area
(Fenzi Dog Sports Academy offers such classes online also) or even a
competitive obedience novice level class. I found these sorts of classes
really helped my Teddy work more calmly around other dogs.

@nellyja said in Growling at dogs during walk:

Read best tips for dog training is to think growing dogs

best tips? Not even close. Tie a collar and leash to pup while it eats? Beyond that, nonsense. I wonder how many sites you go to in order to spam with that site?

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