Basenji girls fighting

I have a first for me and that is basenjis fighting! I have 2 eight year old basenjis a brother and sister. Maia we have had since she was 6 months old and she came into the house with an older male basenji and an older female beagle. She integrated like a dream. In the years that followed we got an adult male without any issues. When my beagle passed from cancer the breeder sent me Maia’s brother. They were 5 at the time. Again no problems. This year we got a new puppy. She’s female and now 9 months old. Maia has not really accepted the puppy but everything was ok until the puppy went into heat. The breeder wants me to keep her intact in case she wants to breed her down the road. Since Tika went into heat the girls started getting snarky with each other. This weekend they had an all out fight and both dogs got hurt and I got bitten in the process. My breeder said this is normal with a heat and to keep the girls muzzled until it’s done and spray them with water if they get snarky. This is a nightmare for us! We love our dogs and we are now sleeping separately and the girls that we are keeping muzzled so they aren’t completely separated during the day are still growling at each other. I am trying to do positive treat training while they are together and getting along. I am just so discouraged. I have never had any issues integrating dogs and I thought a puppy would be the least upsetting to my older dogs. Now everyone is upset and I’m just heart broken. The breeder says everything will be fine when the heat is done but I find that hard to believe with how aggressive they were. Any insights will be greatly appreciated.

Good luck, I have to say from my experience chances are that they will never get along. And I don't believe all will be fine after their season. And I doubt that spaying would help either. I had the same type of situation, my oldest female at the time was a very confident girl. I had 3 girls and they all got along fine. Then I kept a puppy bitch from my litter that year. All was fine until the pup was about 5/6 months old. She decided to challenge the oldest bitch at every turn, nasty bites.... The puppy bitch never bothered the other two girls, just the oldest one. There was no way of keeping them together. I tried until she was 4yrs old and then after she had a litter, placed her with one of her pups in a new home.

The breeder I got one of my girls from had a similar situation, but in her case it was two bitches who had always gotten along well, were crated together at shows, etc. All was well until the younger bitch had puppies. The older girl had a very mothering instinct and unfortunately got in with the pups, which the younger bitch resented bitterly. There was a fight and the two bitches were mortal enemies after that. (the same older bitch had mothered other younger bitches litters without incident, with bitches that were not so possessive of their pups). My friend had to keep them separate after that, and she ran two groups of Basenjis for years, one upstairs, the other downstairs, changing the order up on a regular basis. Not the easiest way to run a household, but apparently unavoidable if you want to keep both girls. My breeder also said it was more difficult with bitches that didn't get along than with males.....

Once they decide to hate each other that is permanent. They never change. Sometimes they always hate other Dogs. My B had zero use for Canines of any type or age. She preferred Wolves and Cats. Do the best that you can to keep all safe, including yourself!

An intact bitch is a big deal and I'm rather shocked your breeder says it will be okay. You ask 100 breeders if their bitches got along after a fight and I'll bet you at least 80 say no. The problem is even worse because they disrupt the entire pack, and you can end up with fights due to the tension with the other dogs. I lived 7 years with a bitch that I didn't spay until she got her championship at 2. She was incredibly dog aggressive and the only dog she didn't try to fight was my male Rottweiler. Every other spayed dog in my house were targets. It is hell and nothing I would choose to ever go through again. (She died with cancer, btw. 😞 ) I have never loved a dog as much as her, but it wasn't fair to all the other dogs. The lack of stress after she died left me with a lot of guilt over not rehoming her.

I'm also perplexed that you have to keep the bitch intact, but not required to show in case she wants to breed her? If your contract stipulates you cannot spay her, however hard it might be, you may need to consider sending her back before it damages all peace with your current dogs. 😞

Like elephants are said to - Basenjis never forget.

Once they fall out, they remember and they bear grudges.

it CAN be done to bring them back in harmony - I have done it myself. But it is a long, slow, process.

Spaying either will not make a hap'orth of difference. You may just have to live with two teams. I've had to do that too. The boys were happy in either team but the three girls were rabid - 1 against 2. So either one or two bitches was(were) crated at all times while the other(s) stayed free with the boys. Teams were swapped every couple of hours throughout the day and took it in turns to be free at night.

Eventually the 17 year old girl died and I was back to one team again !

Bliss !

But I would not have spayed any of them - a totally useless exercise in these circumstances.

So here’s an update. We are still deep into Tika’s heat. I am keeping her kennelled a lot of the time to mostly keep her from getting pregnant. When everyone is out she has to wear her chastity belt, her muzzle and be supervised 100% of the time, i even take her to the bathroom with me. I have a lot of gates in my house so I can separate the dogs without having to keep them like this all the time. The dogs don’t seem to want to kill each other all the time, right now they are sleeping on the couch with me. Tika is trying to lick Maia despite the muzzle and Maia seems very obsessed with Tika’s girl parts. If my male gets in the mix they start to get growls. I have been distracting them with basic commands and treats if they will sit nicely with each other. The game plan is to get my male fixed once this heat is done, I just don’t want him in pain with all this going on. He doesn’t need to be vulnerable until I can focus 100% on him. Then I will assess if spaying Tika will benefit the situation. If they really will not get back on track the breeder wants her intact so rushing to fix her seems like a bad idea. Advise me if I am wrong. I am hoping since they seem to have good moments together that once the heat calms down we may with patience and time get back to normal. I may be unrealistically optimistic but I am hoping I don’t have to rehome my Tika girl, that being said I am prepared to do it if I have to and I won’t take any chances with any of them until I am 100% certain. Any advice on anything I can do that I am not doing that can help is greatly appreciated! Thanks to all of you who are responding!

@sass7656 said in Basenji girls fighting:

once the heat calms down we may with patience and time get back to normal

Once the season is over things will indeed calm down and that will be the time to work with the girls to get them totally accepting each other again.

I am always against neutering of boys and girls. I just don't think it is any use whatsoever in calming - either temperament or rivalry. In any case, it can take a couple of years post-surgery for the hormones to subside. You can cut out the 'how to' but you can't cut out the primordial instincts.

Much better to work with the antagonists and get them back together. I've already explained somewhere on these forums how I did it - and how it worked. Not sure if that post can be found in some archive or other. If not I will spell it out again.

**We rescued a female from CBR. Due to her being severely abused, it has taken a long time to acclimate her to her new environment. She has been with us for eight (8) years now. She was rescued with a Male from a different part of Africa, so she was used to being with another dog. When it appeared she was lonely, I checked the CBR website and found an adorable girl I thought would be a good match for Bakagi. When I contacted the head of CBR, she immediately told me what a horrible mistake it would be to bring two female Basenji together. She said females are EXTREMELY territorial and can NEVER be placed together; that they will try to kill each other. There is a Breeder close to me who uses them to keep the Basenji packs in order. There will be one for each pack. Therefore, if we are to find a companion for Bakagi, it absolutely MUST be a male.I realize this is not what you wanted to hear, but it appears you have been given some mis-information concerning placing two femals together.

She said females are EXTREMELY territorial and can NEVER be placed together;

I don't know who your breeder is, or what CBR is - but it is perfectly possible to have girls together !

I have had 5 nubile lovelies living in total harmony with 3 entire boys for years. No fights, everyone free in the house and garden. I have also reintegrated fighting girls successfully ! It is all a question of who is the Alpha.

In my household, that is ME !

Agree with Zande, while the rule of thumb is that opp sexes typically do better, you can have same sex in a household. I have two females and they get alone perfect (now going on 8yrs, intact, and one has had litters). Before them I had 3 girls, two of which had litters. That said, as I noted I did have one girl that for whatever reason just hated my oldest female and I did have to place her.

As it is said...."it works till it doesn't"

@zande CBR is Colorado Basenji Rescue in the USA.

Thanks - I guessed it was some kind of rescue and rehoming organisation. Shame they don't know girls can live in Basenji harmony !

@zande @tanza Thank you both! I have thoughts, in the back of my mind, that another little girl (in the not too distant future) would be nice. I'm assuming that if I brought home a pup, 3 months old or so, that the puppy would fall in line and accept 'bug' without a fuss. The pup would be spayed when age appropriate. Is this a pipedream, or do you think it would 'work'?

@mvdperez said in Basenji girls fighting:

When I contacted the head of CBR, she immediately told me what a horrible mistake it would be to bring two female Basenji together. She said females are EXTREMELY territorial and can NEVER be placed together; that they will try to kill each other. There is a Breeder close to me who uses them to keep the Basenji packs in order. There will be one for each pack. Therefore, if we are to find a companion for Bakagi, it absolutely MUST be a male.*I realize this is not what you wanted to hear, but it appears you have been given some mis-information concerning placing two femals together.

No offense but these categorical statements veer into BS territory. Plenty of breeders have females that run together. I have a very good friend who placed four females this year. Three of the homes had at least one other (Basenji) female, and none have had any problems at all. The females get along great. I understand why someone might say you're better off with two males than two females, or better off with a male and a female than with two females, but whether two females work out will turn on personality and environment. IOW this is one of those "what is, is possible" situations.

That said, I understand why CBR might want to discourage you from getting another female. The last thing they want is a failed placement.

@sass7656 said in Basenji girls fighting:

So here’s an update. We are still deep into Tika’s heat. I am keeping her kennelled a lot of the time to mostly keep her from getting pregnant. When everyone is out she has to wear her chastity belt, her muzzle and be supervised 100% of the time, i even take her to the bathroom with me. I have a lot of gates in my house so I can separate the dogs without having to keep them like this all the time. The dogs don’t seem to want to kill each other all the time, right now they are sleeping on the couch with me. Tika is trying to lick Maia despite the muzzle and Maia seems very obsessed with Tika’s girl parts. If my male gets in the mix they start to get growls. I have been distracting them with basic commands and treats if they will sit nicely with each other. The game plan is to get my male fixed once this heat is done, I just don’t want him in pain with all this going on. He doesn’t need to be vulnerable until I can focus 100% on him. Then I will assess if spaying Tika will benefit the situation. If they really will not get back on track the breeder wants her intact so rushing to fix her seems like a bad idea. Advise me if I am wrong. I am hoping since they seem to have good moments together that once the heat calms down we may with patience and time get back to normal. I may be unrealistically optimistic but I am hoping I don’t have to rehome my Tika girl, that being said I am prepared to do it if I have to and I won’t take any chances with any of them until I am 100% certain. Any advice on anything I can do that I am not doing that can help is greatly appreciated! Thanks to all of you who are responding!

I think the breeder is being too cavalier. Even sisters who have been raised together can be hard to reintegrate once they've moved beyond the snarky stage. However, the behavior you're describing seems quite positive. The licking and genital grooming seem very much in line with what you might see from a mother/daughter.

That said, I can't see running a male Basenji with two female Basenjs when one is in season. Seems crazy. And trying to reintegrate in these circumstances seems even crazier. I'd see if you could have the boy go on vacation for a week or so. Maybe to the breeder? That would greatly simplify things and improve your chances.

The science says that spaying won't change anything per se. So yes, it's a bad idea at the moment.

As previously said and a fact that is known.... IT WORKS TILL IT DOESN'T... It is very difficult to get females back together after they have a "war".... and very often it seems like they are fine together till they are NOT... that is why breeders recommend that opposite sexes work best. Note that they may get along as babies (worst in my opinion are littermates, even opposite sexes at times).. keep in mind as littermates they were always competing with their littermates for food and attention....
That said I have two bitches that get along great... but then one of the bitches is very confident (not to be confused with dominate) and does not need to push the envelope. The other bitch is not as confident and will try and push the limits. The one bitch has no need to push her so they get along. However this does not always work.

New update: Tika is no longer in heat! Yay! Remy got neutered and is doing great! We got a dog trainer to come in assess the situation and she thinks it is starting to improve compared to how I described it when I booked her to come. Only Maia seems to need the muzzle, she seems to be very unsure of the puppy. We are working with her to build her confidence. The puppy doesn’t seem to have any stress with Maia around and won’t start anything. The muzzle is on just in case when I am home alone as I don’t want anything bad to happen when if I can’t separate them. The puppy is getting lots of training time to help her learn how to behave properly. With 2 people here we can have the girls on short leashes and they are fine together. They did have a small altercation of snarling but no biting and no one got hurt. The older female backed down and walked away. As much as I want her to be the top dog it seems that the puppy has a much more dominant personality. If they figure out the pack hierchy hopefully everything will settle down. The trainer says there are no pack instincts in domesticated dogs, but after having 6 basenjis I can’t agree with that in regards to basenjis. We can walk the girls together without muzzles now so I think things are more positive and they seem to be improving every day. When Remy is healed from his neuter I will get the puppy spayed and hope that calms things down even further. So far there is a lot more peace in the house. Please anyone let me know if there is anything else I should be doing to keep these girls on track. Thank you for all your advice and guidance! I am so grateful for this forum as what is normal for other dogs is not so much with these guys!

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