My Basenji attacked my poodle...

  • When my husband and I got married 4 years ago he had a Basenji (Shenzi) and I had Mia a poodle. They both are very bossy and have developed a good relationship where Mia set discipline rules inside the house and Shenzi sometimes agree and sometimes doesn't agree but in exchange Mis agree that Shenzi can be in the bed with us and can be closer to me when we are in the coach. Last night we had friends at home and suddenly we still don’t know why Shenzi attacked Mia, bitten her head and given her important wounds... we are devastated...Mia is hospitalized now and we don’t know what to do with Shenzi or how to continue ...O have seen over the years that Shenzi has become more jealous and aggressive with other dogs ... we need advice because we love both some much but of course Mia is in the worse position ...

  • Obviously something happened, but you and your husband may be the only ones that can figure that out.... I am sorry to hear that the poodle is at the Vet's office. You indicate that you noticed the dogs were having jealousy related aggression issues. It sounds like you let the dogs work out their issues themselves instead of letting the dogs know that you were in charge and they had to follow your rules. Now the problems have escalated and one of the dogs has actually been hurt.

    What kind of advice are you looking for?

  • You also might get a behaviorist to review her and your Poodle. Hope that your Mia is going to recover. I assume that both are spayed/neutered? And has your husband spoken to Shenzi's breeder? And what exactly was the situation that lead to the attack? Do you know?

  • @elbrant said in My Basenji attacked my poodle...:

    ... It sounds like you let the dogs work out their issues themselves instead of letting the dogs know that you were in charge and they had to follow your rules.

    That's a REALLY good point. For me, it's easy to slip into anthropomorphizing my dog. I have to remind myself that as much as I love him... he's still a dog. I can't expect him to reason like a human.

  • I am sorry this has happened to your family. I have no words of wisdom to offer, just caring from another Basenji mom.

  • @elbrant not sure what to do at this point. Mia is 11 years old and Shenzi is almost 8, not sure if they are to old to train. But I haven’t had dogs before Mia and any of us had more than one dog before...

  • @tanza a boy who was at home was teasing them we think that they were nervous because of that. Apparently everything was very fast, so we don’t know very well what’s happened

  • Certainly sorry that this happened.

    You are making the mistake of trying to "blame" one of the dogs. Who knows why it happened. Why do kids get into fights? Mia may have bitten Shenzi first for all you know. It's usually how it works -- you see the retaliation but not the initial aggression.

    I will admit that my perception of the situation is colored by my personal experience with small poodles. They seem to be clueless about figuring out how to fit in and get along with other dogs. Admittedly that's based on having a small sample -- my sister-in-law and a friend had theirs killed when their miniature poodle got overly aggressive with larger dogs -- and a know of a couple of others who are a PITA with other dogs.

    The other factor is that dogs have a much higher threshold for physical aggression than we do. Hopefully through this incident they've worked it out, though given your reaction I'm thinking this is unlikely. To wit, why don't you get rid of Mia?

    On the positive side, if Shenzi had meant to kill my guess is Mia would be dead. A Basenji intending to kill is a frightening creature and the other dog wouldn't be left with a few wounds.

    Agree that a decent trainer should help you sort this out.

  • As mentioned, consulting with a behaviorist is a good idea. Before allowing anyone to work with your dogs, watch them work with other dogs to see if their style is a good fit for your family.
    I would also make sure both are checked thoroughly by a vet, bloodwork (including thyroid testing) included, to make sure that health issues aren't making one or both uncomfortable. I know of times when a basenji sensed a terminal condition before it even showed in bloodwork. Are they both spayed? If not, going into season may be affecting either one's behavior.
    While Mia heals and you look for the right behaviorist, keep them separated. This may require two layers of fencing to make sure that they don't start fighting through the fence. I've had over 200 basenji fosters and have kept newbies behind a layer or two of fencing while they learn how to behave here. Particularly when the more challenging ones arrive, nothing is for free, including access to human furniture. They get 'their spot' in the house (in their pen where they can still see the others) where they can feel safe and not worry about others bothering them. I build up communication and confidence by starting (or going back to) basic commands with every meal (with food sitting at their feet): sit, stay, leave it (a VERY important command), look at me, eat. Go for walks together, each human holding one, keeping them separate, yet close enough to be aware of the other. The outside world can be a good distraction to keep them from focusing on hating the other. When I introduce (or reintroduce) them to other dogs in a securely fenced yard, I start at times that aren't so exciting - quiet times, nap times, etc., not around feeding time or when we have visitors. When they are relaxed, you can work on trying them in the house with both of you there, each holding one on a leash. It is important to not make a big deal about it - just sit in a room together, using the leash to remove one to her safe area if she shows any apprehension or aggression. Go very slow. Don't rush it. That is when failures happen.
    I hope Mia heals quickly.

  • If the two dogs were being taunted or teased by a child it is easy to see how this could have escalated to a fight very quickly. It will of course be important to see how the two dogs react to each other going forward but just as important as their reactions to each other, is your reaction to the two of them being together. Naturally both you and your husband are upset and likely traumatized by what happened. Both dogs will feed off your tension when you are all together again and this will make things even harder for both you and them. It's easy to forget there were two in the fight when one is badly injured. If you or your husband are going to be stressed everytime the two dogs are together, then you have a bigger problem so I hope you can find a way to forgive Shenzi and realize that situations like these aren't always clear or one sided. I wish all 4 of you the best of luck with this and I hope you can all heal from this incident and move forward together.

  • @shenzimaria said in My Basenji attacked my poodle...:

    @tanza a boy who was at home was teasing them we think that they were nervous because of that. Apparently everything was very fast, so we don’t know very well what’s happened

    This could be a case of transferred aggression. The boy upset them, and because they were inhibited about biting him they attacked each other, or perhaps only the Basenji attacked and the poodle was the recipient of transferred aggression. There is a message here: don't allow kids to tease or otherwise bother dogs, it can lead to tragedy. At least the kid didn't get bitten, which would have more serious repercussions for the dog. Your dogs may be O.K. with each other, or perhaps not. Only time will tell, but you need to be the one in charge in this household, so that is the first thing to address.

  • @shenzimaria said in My Basenji attacked my poodle...:

    a boy who was at home was teasing them

    Anytime a child approaches my B, I let them know that if my dog backs away... then she isn't ready to say "hello" to them yet. I always let my dog decide if she trusts the child and if I don't see positive behavior on her part -- then they cannot pet her (today). I let the child know that she doesn't know them yet and that maybe the next time she'll be more curious. So, when you say that a child was teasing them, I have to add a few questions:

    Did your dogs know this child?
    Are your dogs used to being around children?
    Was the child being unusually cruel with the teasing, or just trying to play with them?
    Was an adult watching the child while they interacted with the dogs? and,
    What's the time frame between being taunted by the child and the attack on the couch?

    Take some time to think about it and try to fill in the pieces from events that might have led up to the attack. Once you can understand what happened, deciding on what to do next might be easier to figure out.

  • @shenzimaria I am sure you have your reason for the fight right there -

    "a boy who was at home was teasing them we think that they were nervous because of that. Apparently everything was very fast, so we don’t know very well what’s happened"

    And I agree with DonC, it is wrong to apportion blame to either dog if you didn't actually see the fracas start. I am sorry this happened and you may have to work hard to get them to trust each other again.

    Best is to keep the two dogs crated within sight and smell of each other as soon as you get them apart but in this case, with veterinary intervention necessary, it obviously wasn't possible.

    With time and patience, I have managed to re-unite Basenjis after a humdinger of a fight but wouldn't know if the same methods would work on different breeds.

    Good luck,

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