Aggressive behaviour out of the blue


  • Hello, I'm the owner of a Male Basenji for nearly 2 years now. He was always friendly towards people and mostly friendly towards other dogs (with some exceptions). All of a sudden, since about a month he turned aggressive towards a neighbour, and it becomes worse and worse each time.
    He becomes aggressive towards other people now too( mostly men.
    But yesterday evening he started growing towards me too when I wanted to let him out for the night.
    I don't understand nothing of he's behaviour because it came out of the blue. He had no bad experience, he has never maltreated.
    I really start worrying and even feel desperate because I don't know how to handle it.
    Anyone recognize this kind of behaviour?
    Any tip is very welcome.


  • Hi, the first thing that is usually recommended when aggression comes out of nowhere is a trip to the vets to rule out physical causes. Has he recently been neutered, as that can trigger aggression in some dogs?


  • Yes, check for physical causes. Also, under what specific conditions is the aggression shown? All the time, or just in certain circumstances? If he is just two years old that is the age at which some dogs show aggression (18 months to 2 years, as they mature), sometimes towards other dogs, sometimes resentment about things they don't want to do. What exactly transpired when he growled at you? I take it you wanted him to go out, and presumably he didn't want to do that.....if so, it is a mistake to acquiesce because this will reinforce his behaviour and make it more likely to recur.


  • Yes I wanted to take him out for the night, he didn't want me to put on his leash, he turned very aggressive towards me.
    He's going to be castrated tomorrow and hope this is going to help a bit.
    I also contacted a dog trainer, but had not much result following his advise.
    I feel completely lost with his behaviour, I don't recognize my dog anymore. I admit that I have no idea how to handle this.


  • @rebel - Have you spoken to the breeder? I hate to say this but neutering will not help at least in my opinion. If at night have you had his eye checked by a certified Vet Ophth? Not just your regular vet? Is his doing this during the day if you want to put the leash on him?


  • A little more information would be helpful. Has he shown reluctance to go out at night before? Was it raining, or otherwise not to his liking? Did you manage to put the leash on and take him out? Has this recurred or was he back to "normal" the next day? And, what is your relationship like? Will he normally do what he is told, and can you handle him all over with no objection, including feet and ears? Pick him up with no grumbles? Move him off the couch without issues?


  • By any chance does your dog have one of those Seresto (flea collars) on? A facebook friend had one on her basenji (male) and his behavior changed after a few months. He would attack and bite out of the blue. One day he attacked the woman and wouldn't stop. She had to kick him away from her just to get away from him. They had to end up putting him down. Several other people had come forward with the same problems. I hope and pray for you and the sake of your dog, that this is NOT the case. But what you described, is exactly what she and her husband had gone through. There was nothing the vet could do for the dog, something snapped in his brain and he just went over the top.
    Like everybody else said, get him in to a vet and get him checked out.


  • @rebel Hi, I have a male basenji approaching two years old and I have been on this forum lots in the past asking for advice, because the older he has become, the more aggression I have seen. Mostly on-lead towards other dogs, but also off-lead at times and recently towards some people too. However, I have realised that they are a very unique breed - highly sensitive and attuned to their surroundings and other animals. I was close to getting mine castrated but decided against it and I am glad. I have learned that meeting other dogs in very closed spaces is not good; he needs (and loves!) plenty of physical and mental stimulation, so I have upped the amount of games I play with him; consistency with training is vital - any slight drop and he will pick up on it and start regressing; when he gets spoilt (my fault) he gets fiestier because he thinks he is entitled to it. It is very hard work at times with my B but I love him to bits and could not live without him. It has been a learning curve for sure, but the more work I do with him, the more results I get. I also met with his breeder and she gave me some great advice too for helping him. They are essentially teenagers at this age plus I think it is still rutting season?! So god knows what's going through his wee mind. I hope you figure it out soon but it all sounds quite typical to me. Everyone on here knows what they are talking about. Good luck.


  • @alibobo said in Aggressive behaviour out of the blue:

    consistency with training is vital - any slight drop and he will pick up on it and start regressing; when he gets spoilt (my fault) he gets fiestier because he thinks he is entitled to it.

    Very true! You need to earn and retain a Basenji's respect, and training is a good way to do this. Mental stimulation is a large part of it. More than just physical exercise is needed for these dogs to be at their best.


  • @rebel - I am always surprised that people are surprised when their Basenjis with age become aggressive to other dogs on lead that typically come into their space... this is typically for a Basenji... one reason I never go to dog parks as many people that go there have no control over their dogs. While not on lead they are better but I personally hate dog parks. And remember Basenjis are "aloof" with strangers and when people reach for them they go "on point" meaning do not reach for me. When people come to my home to meet Basenjis the first thing I tell them Do NOT reach for them.... ignore them and let them come to you...


  • @tanza said in Aggressive behaviour out of the blue:

    Do NOT reach for them.... ignore them and let them come to you...

    Absolutely! I found with my dogs if ignored they would usually approach and satisfy their curiosity about the stranger and then sometimes sit down right beside them, maybe even leaning on them. But as with all things Basenji, it has to be their idea!


  • Our male, Logan, started growling at me a several months ago. For instance if he plopped in my spot on the couch and I reached to move him... he'd growl. At first it was a bit unnerving, but I quickly realized he's just... really vocal. He's never snapped at me in anger. When I reach to moved the immovable Basenj outa my spot the growling intensifies a lot, but he never ever snaps. I just start laughing at him a move him outa my spot. I'm not mean about it. In fact, I'm pretty dang gentle. Point is... test your dog a little to see if he's actually being aggressive, or if he's just being vocal.


  • @eeeefarm - Totally agree with you eeeefarm... it needs to be their choice. When you have a litter of puppies it is totally different.... they will go to all (90%) of the time... but that changes as they mature. Again the reason I don't go to dog parks... When I had the RV and we went coursing all the hound people that also stayed on the grounds, we would "let the hounds go" in the evenings. They had fun however they were all well socialized as were their owners. Totally different then what you find in a dog park. A few years ago I had someone that was thinking about becoming a judge come to the house to meet our Basenji girls. I told her the same thing, ignore them and let them decide if they want to come to you. She sat in a chair and we chatted, next thing I knew both girls were in her lap! LOL... And another thing about Basenjis, my one girl will wag her tail at a stranger, that is NOT an invitation to reach for her... you need to watch their ears and eyes... and learn to read their body... If you were to reach for her she would snap at you... when on leash... if not on leash she would just back away. Learn to read your Basenji and understand their comfort zone especially when on leash.


  • @jengosmonkey - I mostly agree with you but you had a bit of a different situation because you got Logan as an adult.... sort of like a stranger that is now feeding that boy.... so you did the right thing for the process of taking in an adult. The result of you laughing at him and then moving him was the right thing as you didn't take him serious or freeze up... you just let him know that was your spot and he needed to share! Good job

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