First signs of aggression? Should I be concerned?

  • So our guy is 18 months and has shown 0 signs of aggression since we had him, not even a growl, at the park all he wants to do is play and have a good time, he loves the rough play but has never come close to showing signs of aggression with other dogs.

    We took him to the park yesterday however and there was a new dog there that was rough playing with him, I actually stepped in at one stage because ours was yelping to try to tell the dog to back off and in the end, the dog pushed mine and he fell into the mud and got wet which resulted in him snapping and getting really angry, showing full teeth and moving in a completely different way (he didn't attack or hurt the dog he was basically telling it to piss off). Anyway someone told me that basenji's get aggressive at 2 years old so I'm paranoid now that maybe mine is starting to change, although I know the dog was really aggravating him and he hates getting wet or muddy (as I'm sure most basenji owners can appreciate).

    Should I be concerned? Is it true that Basenjis start showing signs of aggression around the age of 2? Any similar stories or advice would be grately appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • When other dogs get on doodle's nerves and she growls at them... it's a doggy warning. I tell her to "be nice", but I don't fault her for standing up for herself. Everything seems to get diffused somewhere between her growl and my comment.

    It sounds like your dog was drawing a line in the sand (figuratively) and telling the other dog, "enough!" It happens. Your boy is becoming a "man". He has chosen not to be submissive to this other dog. I would keep an eye on the two of them should they ever meet up at the dog park again. But no, I don't think you should worry. It's highly unlikely that your dog will become aggressive with every dog it comes across,

  • @lokishadjie said in First signs of aggression? Should I be concerned?:

    Should I be concerned? Is it true that Basenjis start showing signs of aggression around the age of 2? Any similar stories or advice would be grately appreciated.

    Thank you!

    This is not just a Basenji thing. As dogs mature they may become aggressive, and 18 months to 2 years is around the right time frame where a dog may decide he is no longer willing to be pushed around by adults, just like a human teenager. Whether this becomes a problem will depend on a number of factors, some inbred, some environmental. You can help by being vigilant and keeping him socialized. He may be fine. Of the five Basenjis I have owned, two were dog aggressive, two were not, and one was same sex aggressive.

  • @lokishadjie - The owner of the other dog should have stepped in and controlled their dog.... As Elbrant said, the line was drawn..... This of course is why I stay far away from dog many of the people do not control their dogs.

  • My Basenji is only one and he is my first so I cannot answer your question.. But something kind of similar has happened mine recently. Basically a much bigger dog picked on him for no reason in the field where I walk him, a couple of times within a week or so, and I think he has been a bit scared ever since. However his fear presents as defensive, letting other dogs know now that he is NOT to be messed with. He'll snarl, growl and stand tall. But I wouldn't say he's being aggressive, just sticking up for himself. He still loves to play and other dogs love to play with him. Perhaps your dog is fearful now and maybe you could do some work on that? But I am no expert!

  • Short answer is I don't see any reason you should be concerned.

    That said, I agree with @tnaza. The other owner should have been more attentive. Fact is there are many clueless owners at a dog park, which is one reason why not to be a frequent visitor. FWIW Basenjis seem to love dog parks until they are about 18-24 months, at which age they decide they're over it. So if you stop going at this point I can't see it being a big deal.

    I think our dog parks are closed BTW, which seems reasonable. If dogs get into it there will be no way to safely distance when intervening.

  • If he did not attack the dog afterwards, it is not 'aggression' it was a warning to the other dog. Did the other dog listen?
    Try to be careful who you allow him to play with . If a dog steps over the line, do not let your dog with him. We do not want your dog to think all dogs are aggressive. I know that 's hard at a dog park, but do your best. We do not want him thinking all dogs are that way so that he gets aggressive/defensive right when meeting.

  • Prince just turned 1 in December. He has started to make a "hissing" sound when one of us humans does something he doesn't like -- example: take him away from the garbage can, pick up him from the sofa, pick him up to take him outside for potty when he doesn't want to go. This has happened with my 12-year old grandson, adult son, and me. Is this aggression? I would assume something to be stopped. How do I handle it? He has been neutered.

  • @Daureen , sounds like typical Basenji snark when you do something that displeases them. If you are confident and matter of fact, I think you can ignore it and just do what you were intending to do. The one thing you want to avoid is any indication to the dog that he is "backing you off", because that is the reaction that will lead to aggression. It's best to finesse things and avoid confrontation, but if push comes to shove you are the boss of him and he needs to know that. Might be best to suggest that your 12 year old grandson just avoid doing anything that upsets the dog, since he is the one most likely to react in a manner that encourages the behaviour.

    My first Basenji used to snarl furiously when I picked her up, but she never offered to bite. Subsequent dogs have often grumbled, with the occasional more serious snark verging on a bite threat. I usually avoid being "rude" to the dog, not disturbing a comfortable resting Basenji unless necessary, and then doing it in a gentle and gradual way, or by calling them off the couch instead of grabbing at them or pushing them, but if I start to move them and encounter a grumble I continue what I was doing and ignore the snark. If it escalated to a bite I would still pick up the dog and make the point that his actions are not going to deter me, but hopefully it doesn't come to that.

  • @daureen - This is resource guarding... and you need to put a stop to this asap... My suggestion is that you find a behaviorist that has worked with sighthounds or Basenjis and uses positive reinforcement. He needs to know that the "human" is the top dog... and that there is no free lunch. He needs to learn "leave it" and to do so, use the "trade".... if in the trash, tell him to leave it and have a yummy treat to exchange. This is something that I do with all pups at a very early age.

  • @lokishadjie
    Although basenjis are thought of as "barkless" they are definitely not silent. Your guy found his "voice" and had every right to defend himself - the thing is, you don't want him to feel like he has to defend himself. It could turn into a problem that you don't want.
    I detest "box" dog parks where the area is fenced, but there's nothing else to do but stand around and watch your dog sniff other dogs and hope fights don't break out. I'd rather go on a nice long leashed hike than be in a "box" dog park. If I have no other option, I'll walk the perimeter of the box park to keep my dog(s) moving and therefore less likely to get into a snarkfest. It's also a great time to practice recall and walking off leash. Leave immediately if another dog is playing too rough or stop going if you keep having a bad experience - it's not worth your dog learning to be dog aggressive/defensive.

    This is a whole different conversation. I agree with @tanza that this is resource guarding and needs to be handled carefully not to escalate or encourage the wrong behavior. The first thing that popped into my head is the word "respect." You (and definitely the 12 yr old grandchild) should approach your basenji with respect AND you should require respect from your basenji. The b should not get his way if he snarks, but you need to do your best not to set him up. Any training should definitely include everyone who has been snarked at so you all learn the same thing the same way. You definitely don't want your basenji to find out he can control you with his teeth.

  • Something I learned very early in my basenji pack:
    I must be considered ALPHA, as are all my family.
    When they were little, they learned that I could touch them where ever, whenever. I did this by touching them, gently, while giving a treat now and then, while talking to them gently, soothingly. Doesn't matter what I said, the tone of voice is what mattered. I eventually touched their legs, back, lifting the 'lips'??? and touching each toenail. This all came in handy for various examinations, even at the vets. If I had my hand on them, they knew they were being taken care of.
    When they were little, every 3 days or so, at eating time, I'd take one with me to another room, just us two. Then I would feed one kibble to the pup, me being in control of what they were getting, and when, until their bowl was almost empty - then they'd get to lick the sauce I usually put in.. All while talking soothingly, using a happy voice. Again, words didn't matter, just the tone of my voice.
    When they got older, once a week, and then once a month, forever.
    It must have worked, I had control of those dogs, with no harshness being used.

    I was told using a treat with an older dog to get it to do something, means the owner failed. In basenjis, expect to use treats their whole life, it's not a failure. The last 10 years I used regular dry dog food, but one of those tasty, new brands.

    But, when I needed to do something quickly, I got into my 'good dog treats' I kept in the freezer. All the others the dogs knew as 'treats' but the ones I kept in the freezer, usually some kind of meat, they knew as extra tasty because they were called 'biscuits.'

    I always like to share the story of when someone, who shall remain nameless, opened the garage dog without checking the dogs in the backyard - because the second garage door, in the back of the garage was already opened. So Spicer led 3 or 4 of them on a walk down the sidewalk. I earned my 'Crazy Dog Lady' label because I walked toward them, yelling "Biscuit" They were about 6 houses down, Spicer heard me, turned around, they all followed him, and they all got a 'biscuit' and "Good" To be honest, it was the cutest thing - Spicer pranced down the sidewalk, each one followed him in single file, and when he turned around, that's how they came back, in single file. He had such a proud look about him, like he was the Boss!
    And NO ONE got in trouble, well, none of the dogs. They came when called, that deserved a reward.

    You have to teach them YOU are alpha, and good things come from you.

    Any snarking, growling, snarling, was not tolerated. I think usually I just grabbed their neck, again, not roughly, but firm, with a stern louder NO, and they were removed from the situation.

    Except - Captain growled to have his nails trimmed all the time. He didn't try to bite me, but the growls sounded bad. Ok, I'm going to tell the rest, be warned it's kind of, I don't even know what word to use. He was on the grooming table with the noose around his neck, so we figured it would be best if my husband held him too. Firmly. He figured out the best way was to, I can't believe I'm telling this, and these are the words he used he'd 'rub his bxxxs.' When Captain was neutered he still rubbed him. No growling after that. I guess sometimes you just have to think creatively.

  • Re: Crazy Dog Lady: I used to tell new adoptive parents if your basenji ever got loose accidentally, drop to the ground on all fours and pretend you are throwing up. If you are convincing enough, they almost always return to see what the heck you are doing. The neighbors find it extremely entertaining too.

    @RugosaB - Thank you for the vision of Spicer prancing down the sidewalk leading the pack. I can just picture it.

    Good advice: YOU are the alpha and good things come from you.

  • @rugosab said in First signs of aggression? Should I be concerned?:

    must be considered ALPHA, as are all my family.

    Exactly !!! The only way to run a pack is to be the Alpha at all times.

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