• First Basenji's

    I have an 8 month old puppy and he won’t stop biting at me and my family. We were thinking it’s just teething and it would be just a faze. However, the biting keeps getting more aggressive and starting to leave bruises too. This behaviour started a 2-3 weeks ago and I’m struggling to find what could be triggering it. The only change I could think of is that we got him neutered 3 weeks ago. My family and I have tried time outs, saying “No/Leave it” and walking into another room, redirecting attention with toys and rewarding with treats when he stops biting. We take him on 30-40 minute walks 2-3 times a day thinking it would burn off any excess energy. We’re at our wits end and any tips or advice is greatly appreciated.


  • Don't allow the biting! If you have been teaching him obedience, ask for an incompatible action when he begins to bite, e.g. sit or down, and if he does not comply and continues with the biting restrain him. Don't let him go until he quits trying. Rinse, repeat. And be careful about rewarding. He may think that biting is the route to a reward, since when he stops he gets reinforced. (called "chaining" when you train this way).


  • @mickey Have you spoken to his breeder? That should be your first contact. Having him neutered would not have anything to do with the biting issue. You are not going to solve the issue in a short period of time, it needs to be ongoing. Agree with eeeefarm about being careful with the treats. You need to also as suggested start working his mind, not just his body. What exactly "starts" the biting?


  • -How often is he sleeping?

    -What are you doing for the biting to start or does he randomly come and bite?

    Should have waiting till he was fully matured and developed before neutering in my opinion


  • @Micah While it is the "new" normal to wait for spay/neuter, I would NOT say this has anything to do with this biting issue... Biting like this is not something that just starts in 2 to 3wks... there are other indications that this is now Escalating, so you need to look at things that have been in the past. Also at his age, he is no longer teething.


  • Rewarding for not biting is NOT how to use rewards.

    If he's being more aggressive with the biting, that would account for it. That, and the fact that he's been rehearsing it, is only going to strengthen the behavior.

    I would recommend ceasing rewards completely, unless you hire a trainer to show you how to properly do what you're attempting.

    I've written a few posts about what to do for biting, but I'll give some brief bullet-points:

    • Don't invade the dog's space
    • Normally, I would recommend handling drills, but I think you should hire a professional.
    • Normally, I would recommend starting to teach the puppy how to lick, but I think you should hire a professional.

    I really think you'll get more out of someone showing you what to do in person, one-on-one, with your own dog, as opposed to trying to interpret written advice on a forum.


  • @mickey I was taught to grab the pups bottom jaw. Thumb under the tongue and curled index finger beneath the lower jaw. Do this when the pup starts biting you. Apply a little downward force on the jaw. They will not like it and should stop biting. If the pup continues to bite apply a little more downward force until they stop.


  • @JENGOSMonkey said in Puppy Aggressively Biting:

    @mickey I was taught to grab the pups bottom jaw. Thumb under the tongue and curled index finger beneath the lower jaw. Do this when the pup starts biting you. Apply a little downward force on the jaw. They will not like it and should stop biting. If the pup continues to bite apply a little more downward force until they stop.

    This is usually very effective when they're young and first start exhibiting biting issues. This is usually the best way to prevent it from becoming a real problem when they get older.

    However, OP's puppy is 8 months old and has been rehearsing this behavior already. If the dog has a real problem with biting, then the thumb under the tongue may amp the dog up and encourage him to be more fierce.

    Of course this depends on how relentless and tenacious the dog is, and how long they've been rehearsing the behavior and learning to enjoy it, but Basenjis (in general) are known to fit this description. A lot of times the problem dog won't bite your finger in their mouth, but when you take it out, they lunge right back at you.

    This technique is still worth a try though, but if it doesn't work or if the dog keeps biting, then you may want to stop.


  • @Scagnetti said in Puppy Aggressively Biting:

    but if it doesn't work or if the dog keeps biting, then you may want to stop.

    Agree! Nothing worse than rehearsing the wrong behaviour repeatedly. What's that quote about repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

    Sometimes something that isn't intuitive ends up being the solution.


  • Neutering is not going to help - training is. But a good trainer will train YOU to deal with the dog. If a trainer can get him to behave but you can't - there is little to be gained from paying out money. This is something you should never have allowed to happen, but since it has, I think you should deal with it and @JENGOSMonkey has given you a good idea to start you off. Withdrawing treats is a good idea, but also, get up and walk away. He could be biting to get attention and therefore you withdraw the attention at the first sign of a bite, with a firm NO.

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