There was a little dog…

There was a little dog
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of his tail.
And when he was good,
He was very very good,
But when he was bad,
He was horrid.

Rowdy nipped me the other day when I took something away from him. I thought it was just an accident, but then today when I told him no, and started to pick up some cardboard he had chewed, he nipped my arm and it hurt! I felt very depressed afterwards, but have been reading the forum about nipping and know it to be a B trait, I guess. Rowdy is so friendly and gentle in other ways, why the nip? Though I'm an experienced dog owner, most of my dogs have been the working/herding breeds who want to do what I want them to do. Basenji is different! He is so appealing, but I'm at a loss with the nipping and other bad boy stuff.😕

Uh, I hate to tell you this, but, ummm, welcome to the world of the thinking, not so domesticated Basenji. Don't forget they are predators-you took away the prey! I'm lucky, mine don't nip at all. The only one who started was Shadow-and then only men-when I got Sugar. (It's a male thing) After a few stern-in the crate with you-he learned this was not acceptable to me. He doesn't do it anymore. Try distracting him with something else he can chew, or eat. It may be a trait, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable.

Basenji Mix

JeepJeep - My little guy Duke was a nasty nipper when he was a pup until I took a different approach. Whenever he was doing something he shouldn't, I would call him with a happy voice - so inviting that he'd stop and come to me. (reverse psychology of sorts) I noticed that if I called him in a mad, mean voice - he'd get more aggressive with his behavior. I also rewarded him for coming to me with more happy talk / treat if I had one. Once he began to trust me, I could then begin to discourage unwanted behaviors with a "no". If I got no response from him, I'd roll up a newspaper and smack my hand or table with it. It makes a loud noise that Duke responded to and got the heck away from it. I never hit Duke with the paper though, just my hand or couch or table, somewhere near him. Can't hurt to try something else, there is bound to be something that will do the trick for you.

Happy voices usually work, you're right abut that Jill. It didn't work for me cause Shadow was always my baby. When I don't talk to him or I ignore him that bothers him more than anything!

@Duke:

JeepJeep - My little guy Duke was a nasty nipper when he was a pup until I took a different approach. Whenever he was doing something he shouldn't, I would call him with a happy voice - so inviting that he'd stop and come to me. (reverse psychology of sorts) I noticed that if I called him in a mad, mean voice - he'd get more aggressive with his behavior. I also rewarded him for coming to me with more happy talk / treat if I had one. Once he began to trust me, I could then begin to discourage unwanted behaviors with a "no". If I got no response from him, I'd roll up a newspaper and smack my hand or table with it. It makes a loud noise that Duke responded to and got the heck away from it. I never hit Duke with the paper though, just my hand or couch or table, somewhere near him. Can't hurt to try something else, there is bound to be something that will do the trick for you.

Exactly… the loud noise distracted him so that you could direct his behavior to something else...

Resourse guarding is common in our breed.... and to just try and take it away, they are going to look at you with "I don't think so"... You need to try the "exchange" approach... and the "leave it" command. But doing so, you need to make sure it is a reward situation. With the leave it... get his attention with "leave it" and if necessay a loud single noise to get his attention... then as you take the object he has, give him something in it place.. as in a treat... he will soon learn that giving something up means he gets something better in its place.

@Duke:

JeepJeep - My little guy Duke was a nasty nipper when he was a pup until I took a different approach. Whenever he was doing something he shouldn't, I would call him with a happy voice - so inviting that he'd stop and come to me. (reverse psychology of sorts) I noticed that if I called him in a mad, mean voice - he'd get more aggressive with his behavior. I also rewarded him for coming to me with more happy talk / treat if I had one. Once he began to trust me, I could then begin to discourage unwanted behaviors with a "no". If I got no response from him, I'd roll up a newspaper and smack my hand or table with it. It makes a loud noise that Duke responded to and got the heck away from it. I never hit Duke with the paper though, just my hand or couch or table, somewhere near him. Can't hurt to try something else, there is bound to be something that will do the trick for you.

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! :D….great answer Jill! That is what I do as well. Or if a puppy has something they shouldn't, I walk up and say 'oh, you silly puppy....what do you have there...and I gently take away the item, then we do a tickle, gentle wrestle session';

Before I learned about better training methods, I found that after several times of say "NOOOOO" and ripping away what they had, it wasn't long before my approach caused the dog to get defensive right away.

I also would want to clarify what nipping means. If you take something away, and the dog gives you a little pinch with his teeth, IMO that is a doggy invitation to play. Now, if you go to get something they have, and they freeze, growl, eye-roll (some of you know exactly what I mean) and snap...that is not a nip...that is resource guarding, and needs some intervention. Nipping is to get your attention, and interaction....guarding is to say 'back off this is mine'....

That is true Andrea, but many times "play" nipping… leads quite quickly to "back off this is mine".....

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The kind of nipping I am thinking of hasn't at our house. Guarding has always had a very clear sequence of escalating steps...and either a dog will escalate to a lunge and bite, or not.
Querk has always liked to put his mouth on us...and we had to teach him "gentle" as a puppy...but he has NEVER EVER guarded anything. And even when he has snarked at different things he has never made contact with his mouth.
His daughter, Luna does a play nibble...and it looks really, REALLY different than aggression. She only uses it during a play session, or if she really, really wants to get you to play...and she is the LEAST likely to bite in aggression of all of our dogs. She just doesn't have any intent to guard or aggress. It is just a pinch with her very front teeth.
So I might want to see what this dog is doing, before I diagnose the dog as being aggressive or not.

Thanks for your replies. I guess in the spontanaity of the moment I did as I do with my other dogs, a no and then a quick taking the thing away since I'm boss and I'm the owner of everything ultimately. I do believe Rowdy was not being the bad growling type bite – he took his front teeth and nipped at my arm, pinching it, but it hurt!

I will try to work on the "leave it" command, since I taught that to my mom's poodle and it worked well. Rowdy is smart and is finally getting some of the house rules down. Though he's sneaky when he isn't resting beside you and you forget to watch him... 🙂

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