I am not sure that I find this endearing - nor does my lovely cleaner, much as she adores the boys !
Thanks both. I have always asked people to let her come to them with their hand out to sniff, which had previously worked well. These last two times she has done that and then growled aggressively whilst sniffing their hand, so I'm now worried about letting her say hello to any strangers at all in case she bites
I'm pretty sure she's going through a fear period, as she is showing other signs like not wanting to go down the alleyway and jumping when a jogger goes past. Her hackles have always been up when saying hello to strangers but she has still approached in her own time and enjoyed a stroke.
It's just working out how to manage it without avoiding interaction and therefore risking desocialising her, whilst making sure she doesn't bite. It's a bit easier when someone comes to the house as I can ask them to totally ignore her until she makes it really obvious she's comfortable, but there isn't time for that to happen when out and about on walks, which is where she meets the most people.
EDIT I should add that there is a possibility that she's about to come into season again (1st cycle was at Christmas) so I understand that can contribute to mood changes.
Just one comment. When she does this, don't make a big deal of it or try to reassure her, as that may make her more anxious. I would be inclined to not pursue socializing with strangers at the moment, just be matter of fact, casual, and walk past. Putting too much stress on her right now would be a mistake, and she will feel your concern that she might bite, which she could misinterpret, making her more likely to defend herself and you.
Just went out for a walk and the man that she growled at last week came out of his house with some dog biscuits for her. He put a couple on his front wall, which she ate and then came out and squatted down and she took some more from his hand. I thought that was nice of him to proactively try and help.
@eeeefarm good idea. It's hard when she's cute and stops and stares at people with an inviting look, so will have to make sure we're standing out of their way!
@JKent, I had a further thought. Dogs can take eye contact as aggression. Basenjis, more than some breeds, will look you in the eye, but with a stranger it could be perceived by the dog as threatening. Ask people she is approaching to look away, and not reach towards her. I think she is unlikely to bite in those circumstances, and once she has a good chance to sniff she may relax, as long as nobody makes a sudden move. ( I will not be opting to pay legal fees if my advice is not good! )
These last two times she has done that and then growled aggressively whilst sniffing their hand,
Maybe they need to wash their hands? Dogs smell things we don't so.... maybe these particular people are using a soap that has a stinky smell, or your dog is picking up on fear/anxiety pheromones, or... as you suggested, you are dealing with doggy PMS... I am certain that doodle gets mating season PMS, so... possible.
Kudos to the guy with the doggy biscuits!
@eeeefarm "I will not be opting to pay legal fees..."
Update - have seen blood this afternoon so looks like she's in season and hopefully explains the increased fear/anxiety.
@JKent, so just being a "bitchy" bitch. Explains a lot.
@jkent It is great when someone is aware of any problems and actively helps you. It gives you and your dog a degree of reassurance.
In the woods at the moment there are many families, struggling with 'pandemic puppies.' Probably never even imagined having a dog before they started working from home or were furloughed.
I always make a point of talking to them and to the dog, letting it get close to my two boys (who show a great deal of understanding and patience) and generally trying to encouage them.
Often the next time we meet, their pup is either running free or getting close.
I found a really excellent method which fixed this quickly. I just give house guests (esp males) a few pieces of chicken and have them freely give it to the pups when they meet them. They LOVE house guests now.