Puppy injured after Resource guarding towards another dog


  • Hello,
    First time poster here.

    I took in my strong stubborn little guy in November and he's 24weeks old.
    He's also my first doggo. I've gotten used to the basenji stubbornness and leash pulling (although there will probably be another post about it later).

    We (girlfriend and I) took him to basic pup training to get him more used to the basics with other dogs around. He's always distracted but thankfully basics like sit and let go and stay he's pretty good at since we've worked with him since day 1.

    We've noticed though that in the small dog run he's a bit of a bully and always hard headed when it comes to leaving a barking dog alone , and wrestling them down. He used to be nippy but now is just doing the typical basenji wrestling which still is rough with the smaller dogs we see. He's also shown signs of resource guarding when it come to ball chasing, ball stealing, drinking water and even , growling at times. He never does this with us, only with other dogs.

    We decided to take him to the adjacent larger dog run. From even 2 months of age he's held his own and hasn't been afraid to play with the big dogs. Hes able to hold his own and he was doing fine until one day his resource guarding kicked in with a larger dog who wouldnt let go of the ball...

    He was bitten and got a puncture wound on his back, and under his neck. Took him to the emergency vet and he's resting at home now.

    What can I do to prevent this behavior from happening. I know he has so much fun at the park, more fun than I can ever give him, but never again if he can't control himself. I just want my first dog to have fun and be happy but I just don't know what to work on.

    What can we do?

    [Edit]: consensus seems like leave the dog park if people dont follow the etiquette, however I want to work with him to avoid the behavior not just deprive him of something he loves the other 95% of the time he's there.


  • This is why it isn't good to have toys or treats at a dog park. Resource guarding can trigger aggression. Best to avoid situations like this with your pup. If he is already displaying bully tactics you may have to give up off leash dog parks, as you can't chance him injuring another small dog, and you don't want him getting hurt.....as obviously has happened.....in big dog areas. Just not worth the risk, IMO. It's not really something you can control, since you have no way of keeping other peoples' dogs in line. An excellent recall on your own dog that works no matter the distraction is the only thing I can think of that might keep him safe, and good luck getting that with the average Basenji!


  • @petethepig95

    Dog parks can be fun but also can be very bad places as you have found out.

    Long walks, jogs or hikes (on a leash) are just as much fun but a lot safer. I have never taken any of my dogs (three basenjis over 20 years) to a dog park. They walk around 3-5 miles a day every day except when the weather doesn't permit and they have all been very happy.


  • @petethepig95 - Totally agree with eeeefarm, dog parks are NOT the place for toys or treats.... you never know what will trigger resource guarding, that said I am not sure that I would agree that what happened with your boy was really resource guarding.... If the larger dog had the ball, that was the one that was resource guarding.


  • It is possible that your basenji is just not dog park material. It is not a reflection on you or your basenji. Some dogs are very reactive and should not go to a dog park. Since this is your first dog, it is also possible that you are not "reading" your dog and other dogs' warning signs well. It doesn't mean that you can never go to a dog park, but maybe you need to do more obedience training, more walks on leash around other dogs and let your basenji mature. Find ways to set your basenji up for positive experiences around other dogs. The fight and resulting injuries must have been very disturbing. He might be more ready to rumble after that experience and you need to reframe his mind that not all dogs want to fight. Resource guarding is not acceptable at a dog park - be it the water bowl or toys or treats. People shouldn't bring those things, but they do, so you have to deal with it. If you can't, then don't go to the dog park - end of story. We can't control other people and other dogs, but if we can't control our own basenji, then we shouldn't be there. Just my opinion.


  • I'm sorry this happened. I'll pile on and say that dog parks are not a place for toys or treats, with the possible exception of balls that are being thrown and retrieved. I don't think I've ever known anyone who went to a dog park regularly who didn't have or witness a problem encounter.

    That said, I've seen people walk into dog parks with hamburgers.

    The way to avoid this is to avoid dog parks where this happens. If possible try and find one where the people aren't clueless -- which may be difficult or impossible. If you have to go, try and go at off hours when traffic is light. Problems usually show up where there are more than just a few dogs.

    As far as playmates are concerned, yes Basenjis will be better off with larger dogs. They are rough and tough and usually too fast and strong for dogs of their size or smaller, unless those dogs are also bred for hunting.


  • @eeeefarm yes I did all my research as a first time owner and never brought toys to the park trying to do my best I never fought over him with toys.yet this behavior still just showed itself and I want to know why and what I can do.


  • @tanza agreed I don't like toys there but they were there when some owner threw a ball. I know my little guy has the issue because with any other dog he grabs the balls and keeps away even if it includes growling. Thankfully no attacking though only body language and vocalizations


  • First time posting but I have been reading the forum for the last year.

    I have a 34 lb well exercised boy named Zeke that loves the dog park so much I can't imagine ever taking that away from him. The current routine is a 2-3 mile walk in the morning and then 1.5 mile walk to the dog park (stay ~45 min) then walk home. Non dog park days we do a 4-6 mile hike.

    I nick named him the instigator. He is always looking to play with German Shepards, Huskys and Pit bulls.

    I have found that sometimes when Zeke is too rested he can get a little too rough. Never biting or growling at another dog but if the other dog doesn't seem interested and he persists I give Zeke the hook and we head home. I suggest you exercise him before going next time and see how he does.

    I can't control the other dogs but I'm vigilant at all time when I'm there. Looking for signs that things might be escalating and I just leave if they are. Sometimes I'm only there for a few minutes but that's ok. It's worth it to me if you could see the look he gives me everyday about 5 pm. I swear he knows how to read a clock.

    The other thing is not all dog parks are the same. We have been to at least 30 in the past year (We have a RV) and some are much better than others as far as attentive owners.


  • I really like the first time posters! YAY! Way to go @PeteThePig95 @bsla11

    When we brought Jengo home I had to leash train him. We took him to the dog park and he avoided other dogs 90% of the time and got growly the the other 10%. If any dog ever came up behind him he wouldn't tolerate it. He would also never back down from any other dog regardless of size. I watched him put a German Shepherd on its back with his mouth around it's throat. We left quickly. Very disconcerting.

    My solution for you... leave. I had to become adept at reading not only Jengo, but the other dogs at the dog park, always. I had to learn to read the behaviors other dogs might exhibit in advance of them doing so that might set Jengo off. In some cases I could distract him. In others I just had to hook him up and leave.

    Jengo loved the dog park. Loved it. But, it was rarely relaxing for me. My head was always on a swivel constantly looking for, anticipating and trying to avoid trouble.

    I never stopped taking him until his stroke. He loved it so much. But, I tried hard to make sure he was by my side, or I was by his. And, I was never afraid or embarrassed to leave.


  • @PeteThePig95 thanks for sharing. Your boy sounds a lot like mine except for the resource guarding. It can be very disheartening on walks etc when he gets snappy with other dogs, but I genuinely don't believe it's aggression, more like extreme assertion 😂 Anyway I have always found the advice from people on this forum very helpful and reassuring, so you are in the right place.


  • I have an 11 month old female and noticed a difference in dog parks after her first season at Christmas - she's become a little selective towards
    other dogs and intolerant of annoying behaviour, at times getting aggressive in response to it

    If her recall was better I would still take her and call her back at the first hint of trouble, but she won't come back when called if distracted (despite lots of practice) so we have stopped going.

    She goes out for walks on the lead a couple of times a day and greets other dogs, occasionally getting a chance to play when on the lead and we hire a private dog walking field weekly for off lead exercise and recall practice. We also have a big garden.

    It would be nice to have been able to continue with the dog parks, as when it's going well she gets so much out of it but I don't want to be responsible for an injury when I can't reliably call her back yet.


  • I've encountered a few people (with their dogs on leash) who, upon first approach, reach down and swing their dog's butt toward my dog so he can smell. Then, I do the same for their dog. After that, the dogs are fine - it's quite nice to encounter dog savvy people!


  • @alibobo yea that's how I'd word it too actually extreme assertion because he doesn't really injure anyone but just maintains his place


  • @pawla said in Puppy injured after Resource guarding towards another dog:

    reach down and swing their dog's butt toward my dog

    seriously? the two dogs don't just do this naturally?


  • @elbrant this just sounds too funny 🤣


  • @elbrant - Pretty normal elbrant to do this when the dogs are on lead....


  • Bliss has not been to a park in a very long time.
    Park shutdowns ,then winter and now recovery.
    That said, she does enjoy the park, though more often then not, after visiting with all the people, unless the whippet is there, she just moves into the middle of the
    park, sits down and observes. There have been occasions where other dogs have been aggressive and she mostly ignores them.
    When at home and another dog is here, she shares everything.
    Her dog pals often go home her bone.

    Now, having said all that, when I took her for her first short walk after two months of confinement she growled and lunged at the first dog we encountered.
    Told her tsktsk and sit and that was that. But, I'm a bit concerned.
    Will she continue to be so magnanimous?
    Time will tell.


  • @bernadette My doodle seemed to have some slight personality disorders this spring as well. I didn't consider that it was related to getting back to normal after Covid. I do think it may have been related to the typical mating season. Now that the season has passed and all of the canine hormones have settled down, doodle has as well. I'll keep an eye out to see if the behavior pattern repeats this fall.

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