• Hello all,

    It has been a while since I posted here. I have been with my pure breed Basenji "Marvel" for 5 years. Plenty of ups and downs that make life interesting and fun. This page has helped us a lot during his upbringing, so I decided to come back for more guidance.

    My wife and I are planning to try having kids soon, but we are extremely concerned with how our basenji will behave with our child and vice versa. The three of us operate in a tight pack and we all love each other dearly. We recently bought a house with a big backyard just for him, and it has helped a lot, but he is pretty stubborn and his attitude has up and downs. He's not friendly with strangers, including kids, and it's a hit or miss with other dogs. He is sometimes "okay" to be touched by a stranger IF they let Marvel approach them. He is also not neutered. His behavior changes during mating season - mounting, more aggression, possesive, etc. I'm extremely concerned about the possibility of Marvel biting our future child.

    Today, he surprisingly bit my wife really hard while protecting his food when we were trying to give him meds; he recently had a GI issue that we are addressing with medication. Drew blood and bruise on her hand. This triggered us to really talk future plans and impacts to bringing a child in with Marvel.

    We decided to get him into training courses asap, something we never considered before. I dont care how much is costs, we are going all in with training. I only hope that he is not set in his ways... We are also probably going to consider neutering him.

    Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

  • I have to wonder if Marvel feels comfortable in his new home and neighborhood. My advice is to make daily family/pack walks a priority so that he has a chance to explore, smell/sniff, and learn where the other doggies live.

    It's totally okay to ask the new neighbors to let Marvel decide if he wants to interact with them. That's how I handle it. And I tell other dog owners that I prefer to introduce the dogs off-leash, then let them know about our favorite dog park. (I try to limit on leash interactions because I am handicapped and Doodle can be "protective" when I'm having an off day.)

    As for doggie and baby... probably going to be okay. Points for recognizing that you need to reinforce his training. Monitor his progress and take appropriate actions as necessary.

  • @PeterPdeC - Best thing right now is to hire a behaviorist that has experience with humans and possible new babies..... and also his resource guarding as indicated by the fact that he bit your wife. If you read the Basenji standard, clearly states that they are aloof with strangers... so it is pretty normal that they do not want strangers petting/reaching for them.

  • It would be useful to know more about this dog. Has resource guarding been an issue in the past? Has he bitten either you or your wife before? (a real bite, not playful nipping). Or anyone else? A dog that isn't used to children may be fearful of their loudness or quick movements. Perhaps you could do some socialization work with him, e.g. hanging around places where young kids congregate to accustom him to their noise and activity. Obviously not allowing any interaction as you are unsure of his behaviour. Dogs react differently to newborns. In my experience bitches are more likely than dogs to be tolerant, but it is very much the individual dog's reaction that counts. People have been blindsided when their supposedly tolerant and gentle dog turns out to be hostile to a young child. Bottom line, no dog should be left unsupervised around young kids, so in any event you would have to monitor his behaviour carefully once your baby arrives.

    On a personal note, of the five Basenjis I have owned, two bitches were entirely reliable with kids, the other was tolerant as long as they respected her space. One of the males adored children and was curious about them, the other curious but uncertain and would react to fast movements. I did not trust him and controlled any interaction closely. IMO, he would have bitten had he felt threatened. And kids, especially babies, tend to grab and pinch, ears, tails, whatever. Caution is always the safest route.

Suggested Topics