Our 2nd basenji has mean moments


  • So we adopted a 2 year old basenji several months ago. This is our second dog, our first we had as a puppy and is the nicest sweetest dog ever. He is red and our newly adopted dog is a tri.

    Our adopted B definitely is different than our first dog. She is much more active constantly pacing.. overall she is a good dog but she has some mean moments I'm worried about.

    When she is tired or sleeping you almost can't touch her cause wakes up growling and sometimes will lunge. She also gets territorial and growls lunges at are first dog.. This is only at times though, they mostly are fine together.

    I know the previous owners used a shock collar and that leash that goes over their mouth.. not sure if this messed her up..

    Any suggestions on how we can get her to stop being mean?


  • @cognition said in Our 2nd basenji has mean moments:

    When she is tired or sleeping you almost can't touch her cause wakes up growling and sometimes will lunge. She also gets territorial and growls lunges at are first dog.

    Typical for a Basenji, IMO. Not all of course, but enough that one of the questions on BRAT's info sheet is "Wakes up badly?"
    Regardless of one's opinion of electronic collars for training, this is unlikely to be connected in any way. Best advice I can give is to avoid waking her by touch, better to finesse it by talking to her. Of my five, a couple were quite resentful of "rude" awakenings, and grouchy when awake if they thought you were going to disturb them from their comfy spot.


  • @eeeefarm

    Yeah I guess that's what I'll have to do. She did bite me a couple of times out of reaction and I was stern with her as that is unacceptable.

    Our first dog doesn't do this at all, he is sweet you can pick him up if he is sleeping and he doesn't react at all. Just wasn't used to this


  • I don't like being disturbed from a deep sleep - but I have learned not to bite or growl ! Your second Basenji probably didn't enjoy life at her first home - the electric collar by itself may not have caused problems, but the use of it (anathema to me !) suggests a not very sympathetic or understanding owner. And this could well have contributed to a sapping of confidence.

    You need to give her oodles of understanding and build up her confidence - persuade her gently that the old life is over and this one is MUCH nicer. When waking her up, talk gently to her as you approach her and let her wake up to a gentle tummy rub or something pleasant. Remember that when her back is to the wall, or she imagines it is, her instinct will be to lash out and possibly bite. So a gentle and reassuring approach is necessary.

    And of course - she is a tri ! Tris ARE 'different' - they are superior, or think they are (!) and anyway, they know they are 'special' ! Don't be too harsh with her, but be firm though. Some behaviours are not acceptable, but she should learn there are recompenses for good behaviour. Basenjis have long memories and once bitten, shy for a long, long time on occasions. Whatever went on in her first two years - she needs to know that that is done with. Confidence building. That is where you need to go.


  • @zande Thank you Sally.. I'm going to keep this in mind. I've been getting angry when this has happened but going to try and talk nice to her before touching her when she has to wake up.


  • @cognition Basenjis (as you will have learned from your first one !) are strange creatures. If you can figure out a reason for her behaviour, you are more than half-way to solving her problems. I suspect it all hinges from her early years but with patience and understanding she will come good !


  • @cognition said in Our 2nd basenji has mean moments:

    She did bite me a couple of times out of reaction and I was stern with her as that is unacceptable.

    Of course that is unacceptable, but with a dog that really resents being woken or moved from a comfy spot I find it is usually better to avoid the confrontation. Once you provoke the reaction, yes, you have to deal with it, and the most important thing is not to reinforce it by backing off and letting her have her way, even if it means getting nipped.

    My first girl would snarl furiously if I picked her up when she was comfortable, but it was all a bluff and she never followed through. My second would snark loudly but not bite. One of my boys would potentially bite, although it never came to that. Incidentally, that was my last boy, Perry. The "almost" biting incidents came early in our relationship, and interestingly enough, well before I ever used an e-collar on him for off leash security.

    I have to agree to disagree with many on here, because the collar certainly never resulted in any resentment, and in fact he was very happy to have it put on, as it always meant he would have his freedom on our walk. On the occasions that I had a "senior moment" and forgot his collar before opening the door, I simply said "Perry, you forgot your collar" and he instantly returned to have it put on. Used correctly, an e-collar is less uncomfortable than a tight leash in the hands of an insensitive owner, but of course like any restraint they can be abused.


  • @zande - Totally agree.... I teach my pups to not be reactive to being touched, picked up, when sleeping... but I talk to them first... (during training)... however I would agree with Zande that she doesn't understand this.. and when they are older and not raised in a good place or a good home you are dealing with issues from the previous homes... Older dogs have different issues when placed. They have "distrust"... uprooting them from the only home they know after being placed as a puppy, being placed in a home that is really not understanding, having time for a puppy, all kinds of things... While I do not agree with shock collars there seems to be many issues with this girl from the prior home. Call her when she is sleeping, don't just "grab" at her.... if needed put a leash on her so that you can use that with talking to her and when she is awake, use the leash to move her instead of touching her until she "gets it" that you are not going to hurt her... and she knows you are there. When you are trying to wake her... teach her "cookie".... they will reach to a wonderful treat and then look forward to it. Bitches are dominate in 90% of the case so she is acting out to the male.... If you see her starting to get dominate to your boy, call her off... no yelling... a stern "quit"... and then move to distract her to you and not the male... If will take time because you do not know how she was treated in her other home... she just needs to know she is in a safe place and doesn't need to protect herself. Remember this will NOT happen overnight.... it takes time... correct her if she goes to bite by telling her no in a strong voice... but then do something that she likes and tell her good girl and give her a treat... My girls have issues at times... I tell them "hey quit it"... in a strong voice... once I get their attention, I give them a command to do something like sit or down... when the both respond positive I treat them... Again older/rescues have different social issues that you need to work through. Would have to ask, do you know anything about the breeding (sire/dam) of this girl? And if not it is important if not known if DNA tested for Fanconi or PRA that you get that done. It is a swab test that you order on ofa.org... you order the test and do the cheek swab and send it in for the results...


  • @cognition said in Our 2nd basenji has mean moments:

    When she is tired or sleeping you almost can't touch her cause wakes up growling and sometimes will lunge.

    This topic has come up fairly often before. I went back to see the previous responses, and found this interesting link . I do think this is much more common in Basenjis than I have observed in other dogs, but it is not unique. Objecting to being moved when fully awake is more of an "I don't want to" response, but either way, IMO, better to finesse than confront. However, be careful using treats to get your dog off the couch. Basenjis are very smart. You don't want to train her to snark so she will receive a goodie!


  • @eeeefarm - Very true.... no treat if they snark... but if you call them and wake them up and they awake and respond to you in an appropriate manner, treat is a good reward. And also if mine were to do that (however mine don't do either)... No treat... and they need to learn that they do not own the "couch"... or where they are sleeping.... also sitting next to them, not touching and talking to them... helps too.... however in this case you have another dog in the home... so there is competition and I would venture to guess that this girl was an only dog in her prior home? Also the leash that is what you call over the mouth is called a head halter, same as type typical to a horse halter that goes over the nose. It goes around the nose, not the mouth. And can work well for training and walking...


  • @tanza said in Our 2nd basenji has mean moments:

    also sitting next to them, not touching and talking to them.

    I used to do that, it worked well. Part of "finessing" the situation. Rudely pushing them off will quite often lead a previously mild response into a snarkier one! But IMO it is a "respect" issue, as in, if you want them to respect you, you need to respect them and ask politely. When push comes to shove, however, it is your couch, not theirs!

    Of course, the ultimate solution is to not allow dogs on the furniture, which was the case with my first Basenji, since it was my parents' home and their rules, so no couches for her! Or beds. She had a dog box in my room, from which I removed her every morning to loud complaints, but I needed to walk her before I left for work. I would phone home later and my mother would report that Val was back in her bed, sleeping in! Not an early riser, that girl.


  • @zande Thanks Sally, I'm taking your advice and trying to show a lot of love. She tries my patience at times but didn't know females and Tris were different.


  • @eeeefarm thank you for sharing that experience! I guess since our male B doesn't act this way I was surprised, but I'll try a combination of the advice received here. I'll be posting some other quirks about our first B soon that could use advice with.


  • @tanza yes she was the only girl in the home.. she is very territorial. Our breeder said to avoid Cesar Milan type training as basenjis respond to positive reinforcement... Thats why I wondered if the electric collar or mouth leash was negative...


  • @cognition said in Our 2nd basenji has mean moments:

    Thats why I wondered if the electric collar or mouth leash was negative...

    VERY negative !!! Somethings to leave in the back of cupboards or on the shelves in Pet Stores.


  • @cognition - Just curious about what you are calling a mouth leash? Never heard of a mouth leash, could you explain? Or are you talking about a Halti Head Collar (https://dogsnet.com/what-is-a-halti/). These work on the same principle as a Halter used on Horses. It does not go in the mouth, goes around the nose. They are pretty effective.


  • @tanza Yes I believe that is it! But I thought punishment isn't good to use on basenjis, only positive reinforcement.. do you think shock collars are also good?


  • @cognition - a Halti is not being mean... it is aligned to a halter for a horse... however a shock collar is MEAN>>> A Halti is not punishment it is used like a collar and leash...


  • @cognition a shock collar is punishment and mean as @tanza says..It should NEVER be used on a Basenji. A halti if you must but I would advocate a Gentle Leader.


  • @zande - Head collar and Halti are pretty close to one in the same. At least the ones that I have seen used. Basically used the same.

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