• Hi, I have Benji, he's almost 2 years old.

    He is a very good dog, he's lovely at home, with kids & strangers. He started growling and lunging some time ago when he sees some other dogs, mostly male. I know it's a common behavior but the problem is that one time when I tried to pull it away from the dog he wanted to "attack" he bit me pretty hard. It happened two times with me and one with my dad. It happens only when he sees a dog that he "hates" particularly.

    What should I do? Thanks in advance.

  • This is transferred aggression, and it can be hard to deal with. Best to be aware it can happen and make sure to keep him at arm's length when he is focused on a dog he hates. Distract him if you can before you allow him within biting range. The other problem you have to deal with is his dog aggression, again it is something that isn't easily erased. You might want to consult a trainer who is familiar with Basenjis and uses positive methods. I had similar problems with my Perry when we moved from the farm to town, but I chose mostly to avoid situations that would trigger this type of behavior, i.e. I kept him away from other dogs as much as possible.

  • I agree, it’s transferred aggression. He doesn’t mean to bite you as such, he just will bite anything that comes near him as if it were the dog he is focused on. Best to avoid trigger situations until you get training.

  • I concur, in normal circumstances they would not dream of biting you, but when they are in the "flee or fight" mode, they will bite anything that comes near them. I even had Mum join in and give a bite to one of her sons, but the result has not affected his manhood. I have a damaged finger that occurred when I was giving Mum her twice daily diabetes injection. They do happen, just make sure gardening gloves, hose, or a broom are handy for when dog fights are started. Always make sure that strong shoes are present to protect your feet, and do not pick them up as the other will jump up to get at the one in your arms. Good luck.

  • Back to basic training. Practice sits and downs (anything else fun to the Basenji) in a controlled environment repeatedly (5 minutes at a time).
    Go in a SLIGHTLY less controlled environment (front of the house will do for some dogs) and practice the same with better rewards (2 minutes at a time).
    Increase distractions. Eventually work just far enough from a likely instigator for 1 minute max and work towards 3 minutes. Then decrease the distance slowly. This is to show your dog that he can listen, sit, and get a reward (even while glaring at another dog). Work towards being his focus and being more interesting than the other dog. It is best if you have a very cooperative helper (owner of other dogs who knows what you are trying to do).
    If you can find a trainer that knows this approach and can help you through it, that would be great.
    Good luck and use small frequent training sessions. (...wear thick jeans when walking your dog... it hurts.)

  • Don’t take it personally I think it’s pretty normal for basenji to lock their focus onto something and then get tunnel vision; in the process forgetting about training, manners, or who they love. My basenji mix does this A LOT; I don’t train them in moment I don’t have class plate control simple because things happen so fast and I don’t want to support bad habits. My approach was training her in a controlled environment while avoiding those situations at all cost until I had basic commands trained). For example; when she see’s other dogs she wants to run over to them. So at first I trained her to follow my stay, sit, down, come, etc. commands; things you can do at home in a controlled environment. To introduce the training in uncontrolled environments I would randomly give her a command on her potty walks. Now when she see’s other dogs I command “sit”, “stay” and she listens. From there I started training her to approach slowly with me once I start moving; when she darts ahead we stop, she sits and stays. It can be a long daunting process; just be patient and don’t reinforce bad habits. The point of all this is to understand the stepping stone process of training. You want your dog to not be aggressive and not go for other dogs. Start with simple commands in a controlled environment; when you can command your dog at home, slowly start to introduce it outside a controlled environment. Once you’re Confident You have absolute control of them try introducing them to another dog but not letting them engage them with “sit” or “stay”. From there you can try introducing them. At the very least you might have more control over whether or not you engage in an encounter. The aggression however is a different story; idk if you socialized them when they were younger. It could be a territorial thing. My basenji guards our house like crazy, but step outside and she recognizes she’s no longer in a place she “needs” to protect. I hope this is helpful.

    Note: I’m not a professional trainer, I have a degree in psychology and im a teacher; a dog is like a 2-4 year old. Every dog is different though, maybe I’ve just gotten lucky, but what I’ve been doing has been working for me; maybe it will for you.

  • :::Note: I’m not a professional trainer, I have a degree in psychology and im a teacher; a dog is like a 2-4 year old. Every dog is different though, maybe I’ve just gotten lucky, but what I’ve been doing has been working for me; maybe it will for you.:::

    LOL, not luck... good common sense. We do basic training to get solid responses in controlled environments, which gives a good base for expanding it to other situations.

    Like eeeefarm, I don't thing animal aggressive dogs need to socialize with strange dogs. I keep them separated. For the unexpected, working at home on basic commands (Leave It!, "look at me" to focus on you and understand the other dog is off limits, solid 100 percent down-stay) can help you avoid your dog getting revved enough to bite. That means you have to stay on top of things, change directions if necessary, and be firm and loud in asking others to not approach with their dog.

    Training is wonderful bonding, and it exercises their brains.


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