"Conquering"

Okay, well, my dog Kali is 7 months old (today, actually) and she's very playful. Sometimes, when you lay flat on your stomach on the floor, Kali will run over and start walking in circles around your head with her fur standing straight up. My mom calls this "conquering", but I really want to know why she does this. Do any of your Basenji's do anything like this and what does it mean? 😕

I have a 4 yr old female and her 6 yr old father whom I recently adopted. The only time Zoey's hair goes straight up at home is if her dad plays too rough with her or if he is growling at her over sleeping spots. His hair never goes up when he's doing this–only hers--and she usually starts growling. She's never raised her hair at me. Is she making any noise when she's walking in circles around your head?

No, she doesn't make much noise at all actually. She just circles continuously around your head until you get up.

@KaliRoo:

Okay, well, my dog Kali is 7 months old (today, actually) and she's very playful. Sometimes, when you lay flat on your stomach on the floor, Kali will run over and start walking in circles around your head with her fur standing straight up. My mom calls this "conquering", but I really want to know why she does this. Do any of your Basenji's do anything like this and what does it mean? 😕

Yes! But I get a paw to the head 😃 His little hawk stands up and he goes crazy when I am laying on my stomach. Try it after you take a shower and wash your hair. My dog goes crazy and will try to roll all over my wet head :rolleyes:

Could it be that she isn't used to seeing you on the floor and she is on alert?

From what I've read, B's circle as a "hunting" instinct. They are one of the few dogs who will hunt alone and not in a pack and will circle their prey.

i know, my dad read that. That kinda worries me too, like she's circling my head is she plotting my demise?

Hair standing on the back is a warning sign. She's testing her pack order. Do not let her play this game. Be in control, stop her by getting a treat and making her sit for it.

Start enforcing your alpha at anytime, even with puppies. You do this by controlling her behavior, not her controlling yours.

@Barklessdog:

Hair standing on the back is a warning sign. She's testing her pack order. Do not let her play this game. Be in control, stop her by getting a treat and making her sit for it.

Start enforcing your alpha at anytime, even with puppies. You do this by controlling her behavior, not her controlling yours.

I don't agree. Pilo-erection (or hair standing on end, or ridgie, or whatever you call it) is a sign of arousal, not aggression. Of course an aggressive dog IS an aroused dog so you WILL see it then…but it doesn't mean the dog is feeling aggressive. You can see it when a dog is excited in play, or afraid and feeling like they might need to flee, or when a dog is deciding if a situation is dangerous.

My guess is that your dog is really confused when you lie on the ground, and she is aroused because she is trying to sort out the situation. If you do it frequently, and don't make a big deal about it she will become conditioned to it, and won't think of it as strange anymore.

Think about it this way...if you were walking down the street and saw a person lying face first on the sidewalk, you would be alarmed, right? You might wonder if you should run for help, or run away, or run to them to pick them up, most people would be conflicted in that situation, and so is your dog. Your conflicted emotions wouldn't indicate that you felt superior to the person lying on the floor, or that you were about to attack, right? But if you walked over and the person grabbed you, you might attack. Your brain is waiting for more info on how to proceed...so is hers 🙂

Ours only do it when they are on high alert, never when playing .

Ours do it when the see a strange dog or person. Mine usually do it right before attacking. They stand errect, frozen, like a stack, then if pushed they attack. Mine always do it meeting other dogs, they stand still, the fur goes up and if all goes well the fur goes down, then they sniff each other. If the other dog makes a sudden move or does not go slow, they attack.

That's been my experience.

My alpha male when he was a puppy used to run around my son with his fur up, then he would lunge in and nip him hard. It was in play, but I think domination/prey play. He became more aggressive if my son tried to play back, by trying to touch him or run. We stopped that game pronto.

again this is only my personal experience.

@Barklessdog:

My alpha male when he was a puppy used to run around my son with his fur up, then he would lunge in and nip him hard. It was in play, but I think domination/prey play. He became more aggressive if my son tried to play back, by trying to touch him or run. We stopped that game pronto.

again this is only my personal experience.

Again, this is arousal…he is aroused by the chasing. The lunging and nipping in this instance is play/practice chase/kill. I doubt he really planned on capturing, killing, and eating your son (hopefully!), but the emotions are the same, and some dogs are easily aroused, and have a hard time turning it off. Is still isn't about domination... Predators don't dominate their prey, they just kill it and eat it. Your dog may very well be dominant (from your prior descriptions, it certainly sounds like he is)...but he also has poor bite inhibition, and a low arousal threshold (in my assesment without having met him)...a dog can have each of those things, or all of those things...but they don't all have to go together.

My dogs put their hackles up in most of the situations that other breeds of dogs bark in. I have seen them up during play, when they are startled, when they are uncertain. Many people view hackles up as agressive because in other breeds they may not put their hackles up in those situations they may express their arousal level with a bark or other signal whereas in basenjis, they will hold off on barking but will put up their hackles.

Mine only do it when they're on edge, for instance I went up to my mother inlaws the other day and meeting up with 4 other basenji's and a bunch of German Shepherds after not having seen them in months all the B's fur bristles in wariness. As soon as they relax it goes away.

The breeder I got my dogs from called it something like their 'ruf' or maybe 'rough'. I really can't find anything online though about anything like that. Anybody else hear this term before?

Mine only raise their hair when trying to push the other around -not in usually in play, but sometimes -, when they see another dog, or when they are alert/uneasy about something {strange noise in the woods, etc}.

I always refer to it as their "ridge" .

I was walking Tyler and Zoey one day shortly after I had brought them home, so my neighborhood was still new to them. One of the neighbor kids rode by on a bike and said–your dog has a funny haircut. I thought--what's he talking about--they are a shorthaired dog--they don't have haircuts. Then I looked down and Zoey's hair was standing straight up down the back. I laughed and told the kid she was just nervous. I've never had a dog whose hair stood up that high and straight. On her, she actually has varying degrees of hackles raised--and you can tell how "aroused" she is by how the hair on her back looks.

Yes, but what about the circling? I understand the hair standing on end now, she's just aroused, but why does she circle my head? It's also not just me, she circles anyone who is lying on the floor.

@KaliRoo:

Yes, but what about the circling? I understand the hair standing on end now, she's just aroused, but why does she circle my head? It's also not just me, she circles anyone who is lying on the floor.

Could be trying to figure it out…could be trying to invite you to play....my dogs seem to think that humans on the floor MUST mean they are interested in playing.

I sincerely doubt, though, that she is sizing you up to eat you 😉

I agree that the ridge, or Mohawk, or ruff, goes up when mine are 'on alert', not necessarily related to aggression at all. But other people sometimes see it as aggression, and I try and gently explain that it just means they are very alert and excited, nothing more (most of the time, anyway!)
MacPack
Topper, Nicky and Eddie 🙂

I was suprised at just how each Basenji's hair differed in the pattern that bristles. Each of the guys and girls I'm around when their hair stands on end is completely different. I thought it was normal to just be a straight line down their backs, but some have all the hair on their shoulders stand up and none toward their tails bristles. I'm sure this is fairly common knowledge, yet it still intrigued me.

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