castrate or not

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 ๐Ÿ˜† )

Today a dog in the part (6 months old) was scared of Dino and also me ๐Ÿ˜ž . 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?

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 ๐Ÿ˜ž . 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.

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.