9 months and suddenly scared of everything

Our Basenji boy is 9 months and have been a breeze so far. Now suddenly he is petrified by the sound of skateboards, new people, big dogs etc.
He seems like he’s hitting puberty as he is always sniffing the female dogs pee like they are in heat.
We hope it’s something temporary

How well was he socialized and at what age. Of course first thing is make sure that his hearing is OK if sounds are bothering him.

And he is starting to hit puberty at 9 months for sure.... sniffing pee is normal and that will not change.

Have you spoken to his breeder about this?

last edited by tanza

We got him when he was 12 weeks and we have socializes him directly. We’ve done the puppy obedience training and he’s been good with other people up until now.

He comes from a quiet line with no social issues and he’s lovely and sweet.

We were away for two weeks and he stayed with my parents which worked fine but I thought that all the changes had made him insecure at the same time as his hormones are running amok.

We are starting a new course in a few week to get a better control over him as both him and us are learning.

@jesperfridolf - When he finds himself in what he thinks is a scary situation, don't react to it... just continue what you are doing and/or redirect his attention to you. Then when he is reacting to you, treat him.

Sometimes they just get weird and silly. My boy did that at about the same age. Even birds scared him. I mostly ignored him and started talking to him during our walks. He never got over skateboards though.
Try taking some treats with you on walks and every once in a while give him one- not when he us freaking out.
Sniffing will stay- it’s a dog thing.

One of mine was afraid of a lot when he was young. Patience, socializing and time corrected most of his issues. He still has somethings he’d prefer to avoid but at 3 he’s MUCH better than he was at 6ish months. We had to walk by many fire hydrants before he stopped screaming at them. He still won’t walk over manhole covers but I let that slide. Lol. The pee licking/sniffing thing is my least favorite part of owning a male dog. I keep them from doing it as much as I can.

I do agree that you should run it by your breeder. Mine helped me a lot! Even dogs from the best lines can have issues here and there.

last edited by CrazySenji

You have to build his confidence up. My puppies were always whelped in an alcove in the kitchen and became bomb-proofed by the sounds of dishes clattering, pans being dropped, the radio on constantly. Taking him out to strangers for training is one thing, but it is at home that you have to give him his confidence. Get him accustomed to as many sounds as you can - if he freaks out, use your voice (and sometime, but not always, treats) to calm him. Introduce him, using your voice, to strange people, get the postman, the milkman and everyone comes to the house, to approach him gently while you talk to him. Same thing with larger dogs, if you can persuade owners to help you. Reassurance, calm and measured, from Mom is better than formal training

I would take him to the vet to get his hearing looked at. And definitely talk to your breeder and find out how much socialising he got in weeks 3 - 6. The most important weeks for socialising a puppy.

Sniffing is what dogs do !

Being afraid of one specific thing, e.g. skateboards, can be counter conditioned. I had a boy who was scared sh*tless (literally!) of the vacuum, but I was able to work with him to the point where I could put his food dish in the middle of the vacuum coils, turn it on, and he would go and eat his meal calmly. It's a process, and you start at a distance where he can tolerate it.

However, since your boy seems suddenly scared of many things, I wonder if something traumatic may have occurred when you were away? You need to keep things matter of fact, and do not comfort him when he seems frightened. That only reinforces his perception that there is something to be afraid of....

If you were walking with someone, who you recently met, and you came to a fork in the road. Neither of you knows which is the way to go to get to your destination -
2 things can happen:

  1. The other person is obviously unsure which way to go, seems like he might even be a little scared of making the wrong decision

2 . The other person says, let's go left, and acts like he knows where he's going.

In which scenario are you going to feel more confident about trusting the other person?

IME, our basenjis are the same way. They feel more confident when you exhibit confidence. I've even used a 'happy' voice and have seen results.

Once, the vet tech was taking my dog, on leash, to the back without me. She used a quiet voice, trying to convince the dog to come with her. I showed her what he needed, he needed for HER to act like it's the most normal thing in the world for him to come with her, that she knew where she was going.
His demeanor changed immediately.

I have a dog that is very sensitive to voice tones. I never use and 'angry' voice with her, she immediately shuts down. A 'happy' voice is what she needs. I have 2 lines of basenjis, totally different. One is more sensitive and I've had to use a 'happier' tone with them - I think it's in their DNA, which determines how they react to the world around them.
Your puppy just might be a little more sensitive

@rugosa said in 9 months and suddenly scared of everything:

They feel more confident when you exhibit confidence

Very well put ! Quiet, firm, confidence - a Basenji reacts to voice, and if he/she senses uncertainty, that is what it will react to !

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.