• Hello everyone,

    My Dino is now 3 years old. I have been waiting patiently for his puberty to be over so he can finally calm down πŸ™‚

    He is just a wonderful dog and I spent much time on his training and he is fairly well trained.

    The only problem I have is meeting other male dogs in the street/park. 9 out of 10 ends up in an unfriendly way. My breeder told me that Basenji need to play with dogs they are familiar with and if not, they need sometime to get to know the other dog, but of course by that time this happens, it is too late. The owners of the other dogs look at him in a funny way as to say "What is wrong with you? "

    It is not a huge problem, but I would really like it very much if he could play with all dogs and not just females. I do not like castration , but I have heard about CHIP Castration which lasts for one year and then it needs to be done again. I met a lady in the park with her Basenji and she told me that since she had done that, her dog behaviour improved a lot. What are your thoughts on this?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    P.S. Apology if this thread already exists.


  • If you possibly can, avoid any form of castration. At least by 3 years he should be more mature, I scream when people neuter before hormonal and structural maturity - they have no idea what they are doing to their dog for the future and into old age.

    I think it is highly unlikely castration will materially alter your dog's behaviour.

    Your breeder is absolutely right that Basenjis can be wary of dogs they don't know but that goes for girls as well as boys. It all comes down to early socialising and that takes place most effectively long before they reach three years ! Basenji puppies need to be handled and socialised - the most effective time is 3 - 6 weeks of age, but it is not too late as soon as they leave the nest.

    If you can train him these are not enemies, stop a while and stroke the other dog, tell Dino 'hey, this is a friend of mine, he should be yours too' and get him to learn to behave. I take it he is on a leash when you meet them ? If loose in a dog park step in and don't haul him away but try to convince him that there is nothing to fear from the other dog.

    Of course, you may find that, now the rutting season is over, he calms down again. Basenjis are intensely aware September through till about Christmas that the survival of the breed depends on THEM and hormones race accordingly. But they normally settle down - till next season when you will know what primordial instincts are surging and can take care to avoid encounters.

    In any case, it can take a couple of years for these instincts to die down, they remain latent, even after castration.

    Leave him entire and work on him if you possibly can.

    Good luck !

  • Hi Sally,

    Many thanks for the message and the clarification. To answer your question, yes he is always on a leash.

    I honestly do not want to castrate him, but it pains me a little to have him avoid virtually all males. I always ask in the park Male or Female πŸ™‚ before I let him approach .

    you are absolutely right, he is not at all aggressive , he does play with other males once he gets to know them.

    My breeder who once a year brings all his puppy owners for a get together and run, told me that I was tense and Dino senses that,. He said, if you relax he will also relax. Well, I must say, I try but it is truly easier said than done πŸ™‚ . I will try some more and also try your ideas..

    Thanks again,


  • Neutering isn't going to help. The idea that neutering will decrease aggression is a long discredited myth. Quite silly when you think about it. Didn't help in the Turkish Empire with humans so it's unclear why anyone thought it would work for dogs. Neutering will, however, increase health risks.

    Agree with @Zande that male Basenjis have a hormone cycle which makes them more aggressive or on edge in the September timeframe. Even if other females are not around.

    My question would be: Is there a reason you want him to socialize with other dogs? Some dogs want to socialize and some don't. If they don't, forcing them to interact with other dogs is bound to make them unhappy. In my limited experience Basenjis also seem to care less about other dogs once they hit two. IOW your dog may be perfectly happy with you and doesn't feel it necessary to interact with other dogs.

    So my advice would be to skip the interactions and see how he responds.

  • Your breeder is absolutely right ! I'll bet that as soon as you see another dog coming towards you, you tense up. This communicates itself down the lead to Dino.

    As he is on a leash, I am not sure how much he can actually play, even with females.

    I agree with @DonC that he may be quite happy not stopping for any socialising with other dogs. You certainly have another possibility there. I hadn't thought as far back as the eunuch of ancient Turkey but that is a lovely argument against castration for aggression although you say he is not aggressive.

    First thing is for YOU to learn to relax and then you can either walk on by, talking reassuringly to Dino the while. Or stop and make friends.

    But no need to cut him.

  • @donc Hello Donc, thanks for the help and response. Actually I am against castration as well, but of course exploring all possibility provided they are good for the dog and me. All is I want is what is good for my first dog (ever) which I love very much.

    I have met a lady in the park once with a 5 year old basenji and she told me that she had him chipped. Chip castration that last only 1 year. She said her basenji cooled off a lot.

    In my case, Dino loves (or maybe not) other dogs. He sees them in the street/park and he immediately wants to go to them. Another lady I met in the street with a female dog, told me that Dino is not aggressive , he is simply not sure. My breeder also told me that Basenjis need time to get to know the other dogs.

    Well, I try that, but unfortunately no time to so, he immediately starts growling at other dogs (mostly male dogs big and small), dogs that he actually wants to play with. My breeder told me he tries first to assert his status as the dominant dog. But of course, by the time this happens, I am already get this look from inexperienced owners (What's wrong with your dog πŸ˜† )

    Today a dog in the part (6 months old) was scared of Dino and also me 😞 . So I would love to get Dino to stop sounding aggressive (which he is not at all) on the introduction phase .

    I was lucky to be traveling a lot by train when I first got Dino, so he was exposed to people (Many people) from day one, so he is not shy at all, he loves people and also dogs, but how on earth do I get him to do that ??

    I am thinking two options A- Keep trying and B- Stop trying and play only with dogs he already knows and avoid the rest (This is more likely and my breeder also told me that) .

    Thanks again for the help...

  • @kempel said in castrate or not:

    he immediately starts growling at other dogs

    I'm getting the impression that what you really want is to correct Dino's behavior. So.... walk us through what is happening when he starts growling. Are you walking with the leash on and passing another dog? Or, off leash at the dog park? And how are you reacting to the growling? Are you upset or anxious about the interaction before it happens? What is your response when it happens?

  • Hi,
    Dino is usually on a leash, I live in the city and I don't trust having him without. Also, I took him once to dog beach and another male almost bit him, so decided, always leash my friend .

    Usually, the other dog owners come to me, and when he starts growling, usually the other dog owners just go back with their dogs. I do also with Dino. I am a bit anxious, which is wrong I know. I know he also sense that. But really easier said that done. I try.

    Also, I am not too worried about it to be honest. I do not think it is a huge problem because I know that 1- It happens mostly with male dogs and 2- Mostly with dogs he meets for the first time.

    But in the park I said many dogs go and greet each other and I would love it if it were the same with mine. For him more than me, I want him to Enjoy.

  • @kempel - Many dogs are leash aggressive, not just Basenjis.... Keep in mind their leash indicates "their" space... and if others get to close it is an invasion of their space... And many times same sex dogs especially in-tact males will not get along.

  • Finding this thread and everyone's input very interesting thanks. My Taco does something similar, and only with dogs he doesn't know (mostly male but some females too). Once he's had a chance to assert himself and growl a bit etc, usually they can end up becoming great friends. It can be hard work and a lot of the time I'm relying on other dog walkers not being put off too easily. I hope it all works out for you both!

  • @kempel said in castrate or not:

    Dino is usually on a leash

    I want you to try something the next time you are out on your walk. When you see a dog approaching, stop. (Tell Dino to "sit" if he knows the command.) Relax the leash enough for you to be able to put your foot on it. Dino should have enough leash to sit, stand, or lay down. Not more. Relax your body. It won't take Dino long to understand that he cannot lunge at another dog with your body weight on the leash.

    As the other dog approaches, tell Dino "leave it", or "chill", or "steady". Whatever word you want to assign for this. You want to condition him to relax and let the other dog pass without incident.

    If Dino begins growling, calmly tell him "No" and repeat the "chill" or "steady" command.
    If Dino is calm and not making a scene, praise him and give him a pat on his side.

    It is ok to tell the other dog walker that Dino is in training and not ready to meet new friends just yet. Perhaps next time.
    When Dino is consistently being a polite pup as other dogs pass, you can move on to allowing the dogs to greet each other. Stay in control by standing on the leash, that way Dino knows he can only be polite (it's not playtime).

    Further the lessons during your walk by stopping and standing on the leash every time you approach a corner. Find the best word for you, I use "wait" (which means I'm stopping, you stop too). You can vary how long Dino is expected to wait. Five minutes, until the light turns green, until the cars are all gone, etc. You choose. As you start to move forward, give him another command, such as "heel", "with me", or "let's go", to tell him it's time to move on.

    As Dino becomes more accustomed to politely greeting other dogs and people, you will have better experiences at the dog park, better walks, and a better relationship with your pup. Good luck!

  • A dog on a leash will always feel vulnerable in the presence of unleashed dogs. His space and movement are by definition restricted.

    @elbrant has quite a good idea. It will take patience and I would still avoid letting unleashed dogs near him while he is tethered.

  • Hello Wael,
    Yes there are other threads referring to this topic and dog behavior, if you wish to research further.
    Here is a brief but very thorough booklet discussing the pros and cons of neutering/spaying, more science based than anecdotal.
    Good luck with your decision.

  • Hi all,
    Thanks again for the help on this. I would like to give an update on the situation , but before I do so, I would like to highlight that I was thinking of doing the Chip which is supposed to desolve and only lasts for 1 year and then I need to do it again. (I have very little information about that, because I am not this far YET)

    I tried everything with Dino. I came to understand that it has nothing to do with me. Many people tell me to relax and so will he, but that is not true. I am relaxed and he is not. He is not aggressive, in fact, he cries like crazy when the other dogs walk away. He wants to play , I get that, but he wants first to assert his position. It is this assertion that makes the dogs walk away along with their owners and Dino to come across as aggressive.

    One bad habit he also learned is jumping on other dogs, and pulling me like crazy to reach them. I try to restrain him but of course, he tries harder and many people think I am chocking him. I get lots of dirty looks 😞 . After all he is a Basenji, a con artist. My wife did notice that yesterday as I was explaining to a man (and his little dog) why I am restraining him like that, and told me he really is a con artist, in front of other people he puts on this "I am chocking act" .

    This puts me really in a dilemma, I meet many dogs in the street, and many people feel obliged to let the dogs greet each other, I try to avoid, but I cannot do that forever, he needs to ignore other dogs or be calm about it.

    I decided I will not avoid other dogs and Dino will have to learn to restrain himself and will only get to say hello if he does that. But how on earth do I restrain him without holding the leash firm to keep him from Jumping ? Other dog owners say give him treats etc... And of course my thoughts yes yes, you obviously do not know basenjis.. How can I restrain him without it looking cruel (as Basenji obviously do not care that they are chocking) ? He did reach his destination many times with this barging , pulling like crazy, and now I need to break this habit.

    Thanks for reading and also help and support.


  • You have the right idea entirely. Dino must learn to restrain himself.

    I forget, but has anyone ever suggested to you that you use a Gentle Leader ? @JENGOSMonkey found a wonderful clip on You Tube, and although he didn't get on with using one, I find them great as a training tool, as do many others.

    The configuration of the Leader is that it goes behind the head, so you are in full control of that, and the lead is clipped under the chin. The dog can't lunge or jump and after a few excursions, learns to trot along nicely.

    I used one on Mku for a couple of weeks and will start Kito as soon as he is big enough. Now I have a Mku who, although he runs free for 99% of the time, trots along on the lead when it is essential.

    Most Basenjis take a 'small' size. Dino won't like it at first, so you have to make it worth his while - something extra special when you put it on. Don't leave it for too long, put it on and off throughout the day and then start him walking on it.

    You should, if my experience is mirrored, find him trying to bite it off, chew the lead and fight it, but only for a short while. Because he will accept it, and learn it is a small thing, but stronger than he is and more powerful !

    You will have control and ought very quickly to be able to have the leash quite loose, falling between you, not taut.

    When you meet another dog, stand still, tighten the lead and tell him NO. Only move off again when Dino quietens.

    The Leader doesn't impede him drinking or accepting treats, just stops him pulling or jumping.

  • @kempel said in castrate or not:

    This puts me really in a dilemma, I meet many dogs in the street, and many people feel obliged to let the dogs greet each other........ He did reach his destination many times with this barging , pulling like crazy, and now I need to break this habit.

    First of all, other people should not dictate what you do with your dog. Just say, "no" to the greeting thing if you don't want it. Don't worry about what they think, it is your decision. I have never been in favour of "letting them say hello" because if I don't know the other dog (yeah, "he's friendly", sometimes not so much!), I don't know whether he might have some contagious bug to pass on to my dog, and frankly I have no interest in letting my dog "meet and greet" every dog in the neighbourhood.

    The second point is that since he has been able to overrule your decision by pulling and reaching his goal, it will be harder to correct this behaviour. He has learned that if he persists, victory (and reinforcement of the behaviour) will be his. A Basenji typically weighs 22 - 24 pounds. Stand still, don't loosen the leash, and he will not get what he wants! If you resist but don't pull back, he is choking himself, you are not choking him! Eventually the penny will drop when he finds his behaviour isn't getting him to his goal. But do make life easier for yourself. Zande's suggestion of a gentle leader is a good one, or a martingale collar, or whatever it takes for "power brakes", but the bottom line is behaviour modification, which will happen when he figures out it will not profit him to pull. You need to stop worrying about how things look to other people. Dogs (and kids!) learn they can get away with things when others are present if you behave differently in those circumstances. Consistency is key. Pulling never, ever gets him what he wants. It's the only way I know to convince a dog to quit doing it. The lesson is "we only move forward or toward something you want when the leash is slack" Period. Full stop.

    You will need patience, but if you are consistent you will get there. Good luck.

  • You might find great training tips on Susan Garret’s website:


  • Hi @kempel just wondering how you are getting on?

    Recently my Taco has been displaying more aggression towards other dogs ☹️ He is 15 months.
    I've been trying to work out a pattern and I am now certain it is just towards other males, intact or not. The aggression is definitely worse when he is on the lead, but today I took him to a play park to burn off some energy (usually fine) but he got into quite a scrap with a bulldog and then a collie. And for the remainder of the time he was seeking the collie out to finish what had been started, so I had to bring him to another area. I am starting to wonder if Taco is a dominant dog because he really shows no signs of backing down until he gets what he wants, unfortunately he may get himself killed or seriously injured because many of the dogs that he challenges are larger than him.

    I really am not a fan of neutering but it mentioned in that article someone posted, in cases where male-to-male aggression is a problem then it could be helpful. I'm still not ready to go down that route but I am becoming worried about this increase in aggression. 3 owners in the last week have been unhappy with me because of Taco trying to start a fight with their dogs. I think he is trying to let them know in advance "hey, don't mess with me!"

    I have been following advice previously posted from @elbrant and @Zande, in that I wait for Taco to stop reacting then give lots of praise and reward. Sometimes it works but many times he just gets himself worked up into even more of a frenzy because he isn't getting what he wants. So then he is left with all this stress and frustration. I genuinely feel at the minute that he is only interested in asserting his dominance and looking for opportunities to do so. I love him with all my heart but I am starting to worry ☹️

  • If your dog is being aggressive at the dog park you need to stop taking him there. It is unfair to other dog owners, and against the rules at most parks. Some Basenjis become dog aggressive as they mature. I have had some, male and female, that were and some that were not, also some same sex aggressive, for others, just any dog, male or female. My one bitch loved intact males, hated females and neutered males. I guess they didn't smell right to her. She was very flirtatious with any intact male!

  • @alibobo - Neutering will not change the fact that he is getting older and now wants to dominate other males, neutered or in tact... and especially on lead. I agree with eeeefarm, don't go to the dog park.... most dog parks do not let intact males or females in the park (as part of dog park rules, at least in the US)? Especially if there happens to be a bitch in season and the owners don't know or realize that. I would never take an intact male to a dog park. All of my Basenji got along just fine with other breeds (sighthounds) when we were at lure trials, many of us have RV's and would camp overnight on the grounds. We used to always let the "hounds" out to play in the evening. And if one was a bit aggressive, he/she lost those priviledges. But these were all people that know dogs, know their own dogs, big difference then at a dog park.

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