1.5 behavioral changes

My 1.5yr old basenji over the last 4 to 5 months has changed a tremendous amount. I don’t understand what it causing this change. His dog companion past away about three months ago and since he has become aggressive. It’s like I have a different dog. He growls and bites me when I try to pick him up most of the time. He has slowed down and has much less energy then before. I have to beg him to eat in the morning and sometimes at night. We also got a new puppy about a month ago who he plays with and doesn’t seem to have any issues with. Do you think he is just maturing? Or could something be wrong with him? He has seen a vet and she did blood work which came out normal and a fecal sample which also was clear. Does anyone have any ideas or experience with this behavior?

At that age it could be that he is maturing, but I would wonder about thyroid issues. The blood work should have given you information if your vet is experienced with Basenjis. A full thyroid panel and a vet with Basenji experience could help to tell you whether that is the source of your problem, and I think that might be the place to start. A low normal reading can spell trouble in a Basenji.

My money is on maturing and jockeying for top dog position, but that wouldn't explain the not wanting to eat. While the idea of humans being the alpha has been pretty thoroughly debunked, most certainly you need to enforce that aggression isn't okay.

But first, you need to make sure nothing medical is going on. Could picking him up be hurting him? Basenji do have hip dysplasia and they can suffer from Panosteitis. Though rare, IPSID... an inflammatory bowel disease, is also a concern. Have you talked to his breeder?

How would you recommend enforcing that aggression is not okay? And I have considered that he was in pain but when I put pressure on him in different areas he doesn’t react or care so I don’t think it’s that.

@boonesmom said in 1.5 behavioral changes:

How would you recommend enforcing that aggression is not okay? And I have considered that he was in pain but when I put pressure on him in different areas he doesn’t react or care so I don’t think it’s that.

How are you responding to his aggression now? It's important that he doesn't learn he can back you off by growling or biting, as this will reinforce the behaviour. I would finesse things when you can, avoid doing the actions that are his triggers, but if push comes to shove you need to restrain him and make it clear that you will pick him up (or whatever he is objecting to), even if it means dealing with a bite. In this situation I have always "bear hugged" the dog, restricted his movement until he stops struggling/growling, then praise and release.

My boy did not like being moved from a comfortable place and would object if pushed. Better to just leave him alone when he's comfortable, or call him to me, rather than pick him up, but if I wanted to I would sit beside him, pat him, and gradually put my arm around him. Usually I got no objections when I used this approach. Basenjis generally do not like to be forced and will stand on their dignity if they perceive someone is being "rude" to them. Often a little tact is all it takes to avoid a confrontation.....

Have you spoken to his breeder?

We have had issues picking up our Basenjis in the past. They can get poked in the rib and their armpits seem to be very sensitive. We try to lift them by the waist and scoop their bums up. They are also very smart and seem to remember everything. I have had some b’s that as they got older and heavier they really hate being picked up. If they remember that they got hurt they may really not want you to do it. As for the food, most of my b’s have been fussy with food. He may really not like his food. If a b gets diarrhea they tend to go off their food and not want to eat it again. A trick I have used to get my dogs to eat is to get the liver bits and blend them to dust and sprinkle a bit on their food. Also if they turn off their food I give them some probiotics in case their tummies are upset. It seems to do the trick unless they really hate their food, then sometimes you just have to change it. If he hates his food he might be grumpy.

He may be grieving and is angry because he thinks you took his friend away.
My male started charging me and growling after we had to put our female down. He hated her but she was his security blanket. So, when she was gone he blamed me.
I tried CBD oil and extra love and spoiling. It helped but he aged very quickly and passed a few month later.

Can you get another dog?

@boonesmom

I'm with eeefarm on avoiding things I can that set2@s them off. But this is a young dog and the reality is, if he thinks he can bite he may escalate to more serious biting.

The best response is to get him evaluated by a behaviorist trainer. Aggressive behavior is really not responsible to try to diagnose over the internet. We can give general tips, but that's all. As for changing food, I rotate three brands. But switching to try to get to eat is a fast road to finicky eaters.

Sometimes it helps to start fresh...basic obedience for a few mins at least 3 times a day. Make sit for treats. Any display of aggression gets a firm NO and totally ignore.

I really hope you get a bit more health testing done. Teeth checked, thyroid full panel, etc. Because at this point, if it's medical, you're still looking at a dog who is developing behaviors that are not safe.

http://www.clickerlessons.com. solid clear training lessons.

@2baroos
Not sure how you knew the dog " blamed" you. Simply such a huge change could be the simple reason. Btw, the person said they got a new puppy.

@sass7656
If a b gets diarrhea they tend to go off their food and not want to eat it again.""

I may be misunderstanding this quote. In my entire life I have never had a dog who never wanted to eat again after a bout of diarrhea. I'm sorry about your experiences, but that doesn't make it a usual basenji trait. Many dogs will stop eating when they are sick...but if that is ongoing, that's a pretty critical reason to see a vet.

If you mean that particular food, that sounds more logical...though most of my dogs haven't seemed to connect their kibble or anything with diarrhea. I wish.

A lot of people ha e good luck with adding stuff. I honestly never thought of powdered liver. Thanks! I will try it. Unfortunately I suspect she'll do her usual...take one kibble at a time, lick off the additive and spit it out.

Debra Downsouth.
Thank you for your opinion.
Since he was my dog and I have owned and rescued Basenjis for over 50 years I will decide what my dog felt.

@2baroos
Certainly, you can choose to believe anything.

@eeeefarm said in 1.5 behavioral changes:

How would you recommend enforcing that aggression is not okay? And I have considered that he was in pain but when I put pressure on him in different areas he doesn’t react or care so I don’t think it’s that.

That is often the way of it. Stroking, direct pressure, is OK, but picking up and changing the angle of pressure can jip something inside.

He is probably still pining. Donner never did get over the loss of his soul-mate. She was run over when they were both two - and although he was and remained the pack alpha (under me !) for the rest of his 14 years, he was never a pack animal. He slept apart in his box and never joined in games with his seven underlings. Life went out of him when she died.

@debradownsouth
Know it alls like you have ruined these forums.
Your opinion is not the only one.
I for one am done with people like you who think you are the expert on everything.
Those poles must be uncomfortable

@2baroos
"" He may be grieving and is angry because he thinks you took his friend away.""

Let's examine your theory of who is a "know it all."

The op has a young maturing dog who is showing aggression and biting. Other than you, not one person declared that, sight unseen, they knew exactly what the issue is (blaming owner and mad.) This is an escalating dangerous problem. So I will say it again.

The only "know it all" is the person using their omnipotent power to declare as a FACT that their dog blamed them and that is the problem. Your response is reckless. It endangers the dog in the off chance something medical is going on, and wastes the op's time....precious time should this dog bite someone who registers a complaint. No rescue will touch him and the owners can be sued.

If you can't handle someone mildly disagreeing before, this one may send you over the edge. Let me point out, since I am sure you're missing it-- I'm still not telling the op I know what her dog needs.

@2baroos “Know it alls like you have ruined these forums.
Your opinion is not the only one.
I for one am done with people like you who think you are the expert on everything.
Those poles must be uncomfortable”

#1 these forums are not ruined. They are a good place for people who have issues with their basenjis to begin to try and figure out / understand them. They are not idle chit chat for the nurturing of people feelings, they are about the dog.

#2 everyone has an opinion, rightly so. The people who post here can try the suggestions given and figure out what works for them. What works with one dog, does not necessarily work with another. So the more opinions given, the better chance of success. Again, it’s about the dog.

#3 I really don’t care what you are “done” with. Someone comes here for help and advice. People with good intentions try to help as best they can. If you don’t like it, then go elsewhere rather than attacking and criticizing others. This isn’t about you, it’s about helping basenjis.

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