Dog agression?

She will go in and sniff them..then she will raise her hackles and growl at them. I want to nip this behavior in the bud ASAp. I realize that she did not have any boundaries in her previous home and no one taught her anything…not even a single obedience command. She is very smart though and already knows an arry of things like her name, Come, Sit, Kennel Up, Inside, outside, Go potty, and off. What is the best way to gently discourage her rude dog to dog behavior?

This is not rude behavior. Basenjis are a pack dog. I often recommend reading up on the social order of wolves.

It's very hard for me to evaluate the situation, but you need to realize dog's have a language of their own. It's a very subtle body language; the growling is like only six words in an entire dictionary. Dogs pick up on very slight movements including your own, and tonal qualities of the voice or growl. It takes a keen eye to recognize what the dog maybe responding to.

This could be her way of confronting a situation which she unsure of. Basenjis tend use a good offence as their defense. A basenji which runs from a dangerous situation in the jungle often becomes diner, thus, the stand your ground tactics. She can easily be picking up on your discomfort of the situation along with signals from the dog she greeting, this maybe giving her mixed signals, conveying an uneasy situation.

The other issue is she maybe asserting her position in the pack order.

These two issues are handled differently. If this response of uncertainness; then your response should be as one of bewilderment, it’s a “what’s all this about” in a very positive voice, followed by a distraction to get her attention away from the uncertainness, ie treat for responding positively to your voice, no treat if she continues. You must convey a sense of no concern, or danger exists. Never use an “it’s ok, you be just fine”. This is a reassuring voice, which only confirms that something is wrong.

If this is a pecking order challenge, then it’s a stern voice,”knock that off, I’m the pack leader and I set the pecking order”. Again follow with a reward for responding to your voice and stopping the behavior.

These are the two most likely scenarios, but other possibilities exist, including out right aggression, territorial.

The tone of your voice is key. Suggest you get help from a good professional dog behaviorist. Read lots of books on the subject. Basenjis are not the easiest dogs to understand, misunderstanding them can lead to a lot of problems. The basenji is still considered a primitive breed, with very strong inherited behavior traits.

Thank you for your responseses…I forgot to add previously that this is not my first encounter with dog agression...when I first adopted my Keoke he was very agressive to other dogs, which is unfortunatley very common in Pitt Bulls and Pitt Mixes...and I have constantley been training him over the past two years that I have had him...agression does not go away, and neither do a dogs natural instincts as pack animals and as predators but appropriate behavior can be taught and rewarded to teach a dog a more appropriate way to vent his natural insticts and to interact with other dogs. If my training with him was not succesfull I would not have Kiora today as I would never put an animal in a dangerous or unfair environment. With Keoke his behavior was much worse literally wanting to fight and kill any dog he saw...and it just blows me away every time I watch him play with tiny Kiora (Or any other dog)so gently and carefully and so tolerant letting her chew and jump all over over him with a huge smile on his face. Well I'm not sure if anyone understands it but when I see that I just want to cry for joy that my dog can have that as a part of his life...somehing which I think is as essential for many dogs as food and water and air is...that social interaction.

However I realize that Basenjis are different from other breeds of dog and that they are very primative...that is why I am asking for advice. In the situation where she became growly with other dog the other dog was being polite and following canine ettiquite nicely...No hard eyes, no dominant leaning, no hard mouth corners, no stiffness...If anything the other dogs were greeying her in a submissive mannerism...and I was calm and relaxed....my work with Keoke taught me that long ago the hard way. In both the cases she aproached the other dog they had a casual sniff ...then her mouth corners went hard and a second later she went off. The first time I thought is was something the other dog had done that I missed since she had previously shown no agression to other dogs. The second time i was watching them both very closely and my trainer who has worked with Basenjis before was present and observed the same thing I did. Which would be the second scenario you mentioned...a challenge for dominance. And you have set my mind at ease because your advice echo's the same sentiment as my trainer. I do trust my trainer and she has done fabulously with my other two dogs but since like you said Basenji's are so different...I also wanted the advice of more experienced Basenji owners.

What it was that I considered "rude" was her unprovoked response to the other dog. In many situations with my Alpha bitch Ananda she has growled and shown dominance to dogs she just met. Do I consider her behavior rude? no. Because each and every time the other dog greeted her in an unuducated mannerism such as rushing up and jumping all over her, slapping their paws over her neck, running around her in circles...jumping up on her and chewing...etc. behavior she does not tolerate in a puppy over four moths old from a strange dog, nor behavior that I would expect her to tolerate. In these situations often the other dog owner is bewildered and doesn't realize that it is not my dog that has overstepped the social boundaries but theirs, I don't blame their dogs, Ananda was the same when she was young and older dogs put her in her place as she does now if they had not she could very be the same way now. I just calmly explain to them that many adult dogs are less tolerant with an energetic juvenile, and that my dog is one of them.

I am the same way Jazzy's Mom, I do not like to introduce my dogs to another I do not know. The first dog she was agressive with was my managers Shih tzu and the second one was a border collie that Has been in clesses with my other dogs previously. And I sure wish there were other Basenji's for Kiora to interact with where I live ...there is one in town that I know of for sure...but I have never met her....and there was another one that my trainer was handling in conformation but him and his owner moved away.

anyways Kiora and I are starting Basic Obedience class tonight with the same trainer...so I will keep everyone updated...and thank you for the advice!

All my dogs have done something similar at one time or another. Rather than try to figure out why, or what happened, I just teach them a "watch" command, that means 'look at me' when they see another dog. Some of my dogs are more responsive to the "watch" than others, and I could be more consistant about training it than I am. But it is a REALLy useful tool, and I recommend it to anybody having any issues with their dog. It takes the pressure off the dog to make a decision about how to greet another dog.

A great resource is Emma Parson's book 'Click to Calm'.

Jumoke said:

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I think this is so perceptive and accurate it needs to be repeated :)</this>

Hi! You received some excellent information and advice. I thought I'd tell my Chaco's story. He's always been a bossy, dominant dog who never backed down from a disagreement. When I started training him in obedience using the clicker, I came upon the "touch" command. You teach the dog to touch your finger, a target stick, toys, everything. I thought I'd see if he would quietly and gently touch another dog for a treat. I started with dogs he knew. And it worked! So I proceeded to dogs in his training class. After that, when we went to a show, Chaco would immediately start looking for dogs to touch (without any snarking or growling) for his cheese! Last week he even touched his "mortal enemy" in class, a Sheltie whom he loves to torment! I've also found that a quick touch to my dogs' back will bring their attention back to me and lets them know in a non-aggressive way that I won't accept that behavior. Good Luck! And let us know how things go.
Senjimom aka Mary Wilson

Does anyone have the problem I'm having with my 2 year old female basenji? When we are out walking and she spots another dog even a block away she plops down on the sidewalk and refuses to move until the dog gets close to her when she can jump at them. Sometimes she does this with people too. I have to pick her up on her feet and make her stand up. I've never seen any other dog do this, and I realize that it's some kind of aggressive behaviour but I don't know what to do about it. Abbey has been carried back home under my arm many a time. Thank God basenjis are portable! She occasionally meets a dog she is not aggressive with though, and she has two good dog friends, a dalmation and a rotweiller. Does anybody know what I can do?

Bump…thank you everyone for you replies....I hope that someone can help Lenora as well.

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That *is strange 😉 The lying down part would suggest to me that she is not acting aggressively...usually an aggressive dog tries to look as large as possible....but perhaps in play, kind of a stalking behavior. Sounds like she doesn't know how to follow through on the invitation to play though. It is really hard to evaluate without seeing it in action.
Again, though, regardless of WHY she does it, you can fix it by teaching her an attention or "watch" command. When you see another dog approaching you would tell her "watch" and keep her attention until the other dog is past. You can find the steps to do that in any book by Patricia McConnell or Emma Parsons (and many others); and/or find a positive reinforcement type training class near you to help you find some other techniques.
Good luck 🙂

I too have a problem with Talker and other dogs. He wants to dominate and show his dominance by lunging and snarking and then he wants to be friends. Unfortunately, not all dogs tolerate this behavior. A good balance dog who is not aggressive is what I need in my neighborhood. Talker has lost his ability to socialize with other dogs and greet with easy smelling of each other.

I've been working with him for 3 years now and we still have not master the "watch me" command "treats" for watching me or just walking by without him reacting in some way. I've learned to keep my body relaxed, calm and even projected my voice in a casual manner "oh there goes Smokie, or there go Billy". There are only a few dogs we've met that are behind fences that Talker can go up to and greet and smell thru the fence. But even with the fence he has to first growl and get nasty. He does this twice and then he's fine to visit after that.
I truly believe that where many of the training tips offered do work on other dogs. I just think that basenjis are more difficult.

I haven't given up and sometimes we do fine on our walks and Talker doesn't react. He gets lots of praise and treats when he's good. But I still haven't been able to get him up close to another dog and have them meet. He needs to be around other dogs before he loses his social skills entirely.

Keep positive!
P.S. Talker loves other basenjis and we have basenji playdates as often as I can. He has fun and is able to meet and greet and there are no problems.

my dog plop herself down when she sees another dog or person. I believe she does this in play.

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