Hi, I'm Mack's Grandmom

Hi, my name is Ingrid and my husband and I are the proud grandparents of our daughters Basenji-mix, Mack. Due to a nipping issue, Mack is currently living with us. He's a great dog, sweet, loveable, playful, energetic, determined...and though we've had dogs in the past, we were far from ready for this great adventure!

last edited by Mack's Grandmom

I'm curious... How are you addressing the "nipping issue"?

I haven't decided yet. I read something about yelping but I need to learn more about it. Until now we've attempted to keep him out of situations that would lead to nipping. Unfortunately, a situation arose on Thursday when he got loose with a dog we had recently adopted (an escape artist apparently) and he started nipping at our neighbor. I know it's all in play, but even a dog the size of a Basenji can be quite intimidating.

@mack-s-grandmom said in Hi, I'm Mack's Grandmom:

he got loose with a dog we had recently adopted (an escape artist apparently) and he started nipping at our neighbor

Did Mack start nipping at the neighbor, or the escape artist you adopted?
I know when I take 'doodle' to the dog park, the dogs can be a little "mouthy". They aren't biting eachother. No agression, no blood, no anger. They look like big kids playing the way they did with their littermates. Is that what you are referring to?

he started nipping at our neighbor's pant legs. He's done that to us as well, but only when excited in play.

@mack-s-grandmom said in Hi, I'm Mack's Grandmom:

I haven't decided yet. I read something about yelping but I need to learn more about it.

You have to be careful with this approach. Many Basenjis enjoy it, think "squeaky toy"!

What you have been doing is good, keep him away from situations that evoke a nipping response and don't reward the behaviour in any way. When he starts, the fun stops and you ignore him. It's possible this behaviour began from play. People rough house with their pup and what's fun escalates into nipping and biting. The dog thinks it's all in fun.

Thank you! Yes, we have started with the play ceasing when he gets too rough or starts nipping. Hopefully with time and consistency, he'll stop altogether. He's gotten into major trouble because of it. Someone where my daughter lives reported him for biting, he doesn't bite at all

Unfortunately people don't discriminate between a young dog's attempts at play and actual biting, so the only way to keep your dog safe from accusations is to teach him that mouthing humans is strictly off limits. And play nipping and sleeve pulling can turn into actual biting with some dogs. IMO, allowing it at all is asking for trouble. Better to make clear to the dog that your mouth on my flesh or clothing is never going to be acceptable.

And how old was this pup taken from its Mom and littermates? And how old is he now? Dogs speak with their mouth... and time with the littermates and Mom and/or other adults in the litter will teach them much more that we humans can. Yelping when they nip at you... and then replacing your human parts with something else to play will... and you can NOT expect them to learn this behavior in one or two times... it needs to happen EVER time nipping happens.

@tanza thanks for the info and I have no idea when he was removed from his mother or who his first owner was (before my daughter who had him for a year.) According to Dallas County, he will be three in April.

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@eeeefarm thank you, that does make sense to me. Good advice

@mack-s-grandmom It upsets me that a dog so young should have such an unstable history. Right now, he's sick, he's got a chest cold that we are treating through our vet so my mind/thoughts are all consumed with that. Also searching for a clicker for training. Difficult to find a good one. Thanks again for your help!

last edited by Mack's Grandmom

@mack-s-grandmom said in Hi, I'm Mack's Grandmom:

@mack-s-grandmom Also searching for a clicker for training. Difficult to find a good one. Thanks again for your help!

You should be able to find a clicker at most pet stores, but in absence of one it's easy to use a marker word or a click from your tongue. The advantage of a physical clicker is that there is not intonation as there may be with the voice, so the sound is neutral, the disadvantage is that you need to have it in your hand, which isn't always convenient.

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