• So family is here to help with the baby…they have been here before and this never happened...Jack is viciously growling at them...esp. when they are trying to eat and tell him to stay away, or when they are trying to lay down (sleeping in our living room on the couch and sleeper) and he is on the futon, and its not a small growl its a continuous teeth bearing growling...:eek: Well i figured it was bc of all the recent changes even tho Aiden is never around when this happens..and after all they are kind of strangers (even tho i must say again, they have been here before and he NEVER has done this when any stranger was visiting) BUT THEN...i was coming down the stairs with Aiden in my arms, and Jack was at the bottom of the stairs and he bared his teeth and GROWLED at ME AND AIDEN...some of you might get angry at me for saying this, but it was right at my feet and i was HONESTLY scared he'd bite me and make me and Aiden fall, so i kicked Jack, HAD TO, not too hard i swear, but it was us or him...he ran off and then acted like it never happened...when he does this growling thing, we have to put him outside...i mean i cant risk him attacking anyone. ESP me and AIDEN...dont know what to do, but i CANT have him doing that to me and the baby...and my parents too of course...but i really have no idea what to do. nothing about his schedule has changesd either, ive been VERY strict about that. feeding times, dog park and walks are all still normal, like nothing new is happening...so, I'm very worried...and to be honest a BIT scared of Jack right now, and DH is FURIOUS!!! (and we are embarrassed for what hes doing to our family....) WTH??!!! i am soooo lost on what to do...😕

  • While others might have good suggestions, I would say you need a behaviorist ASAP… someone that can see Jack's actions in person and help you to deal with them.....
    While you say nothing has changed with his schedule, his entire household has changed, it has... you have the baby now... and he knows that.... and is confused by what is going on... and where his place is... IMO

  • I'm so sorry to hear the trouble. I joined the forum right around the time your son was born. So cute by the way..the baby and Jack. No great advice just wanted to let you know I hope it all works out. My youngest was 2 when we got our B as a puppy. They learned how to deal with other together. Good luck

  • I would assume Jack feels threatened with everyone in the house and the new baby who is taking his place in his mother's eye. You'll have to make sure you dote on him a lot to make him feel like he's still a part of the pack. Child siblings sometimes do the same thing- often they become protective of the baby or they sometimes they are incredibly jealous and angry. How many people are in your house now- a lot still? I wonder if Jack thinks they're here to stay (like the baby) and is trying to make a stand for his place in the fam. Understanding the problem is a priority- if you know WHY he is doing it, you can better solve the problem. My guess is too much stress. When you're not holding the baby, perhaps you can make an extra effort to hold Jack.

    I fear that if we ever had kids, my dogs would do the same thing. I've spoiled them rotten and if anything ever threatened that, I'm sure they would resent it. They are smart little dogs, you know. Good luck and keep us posted. I do believe there's another person on this forum who is looking for a dog in your area– not that I'm saying that's the answer, but if it comes down to that... 😞

    We actually talked about kids last night. And we said when the dogs pass, we might try. But that's another 10 years (fingers crossed) so who knows... I know you're probably tremendously tired and not wanting to deal with a dog behaving badly, but from his perspective he probably feels his whole world just turned inside out. And even though he's a dog, he feels like a REAL and legitimate family member with standing and clout. Make sure you keep his perspective in mind when dealing with him. We all know you love your dog. There's no doubt about that. In our society, baby trumps dog. And that's just that. So there are MANY B's who end up in rescue because they don't handle this exact type of adjustment well. But hey, let's be honest... if you had a good thing going, and some new kid came in town and screwed it all up, wouldn't you try to make a fight for your place too? I would. Hopefully it's just an adjustment period where he has to realize this new thing is not going away- but it's also not a threat to my place in the pack... In the meanwhile you could get a muzzle if you're really concerned that he might bite you or the baby- or one of your guests.

  • You've gotten some great suggestions so far. As Pat said, although it feels to you like nothing in his routine has changed…think of it from the perspective of several new humans in the house all at once! That is a big change...and honestly, it makes me uncomfortable and crabby when that happens to me too 😉 But seriously...he sounds totally overwhelmed, and stressed out. I would try to find a place that he can be totally away from all the hubbub. Does he have a crate in a quiet place in the house? Once your family leaves, and you and DH find a nice calm routine with the new baby, I think Jack will probably relax, but you don't want him to be able to practice that growly behavior meanwhile because it is a bad habit that may increase in frequency if he finds it work for him.

    I wouldn't baby him too much though, you don't want to make the whole world stop because Jack is having a growl....try to find some quiet time to spend with just him and the baby, but if he growls at you walk away from him..no attention for growling. If he likes the quiet time, and behaves nicely you have found out what he is missing. If he growls at you while you are trying to spend time with him, he is completely over stressed and needs to be alone.

    I think it might not be a bad idea to get basket muzzle if you think he might bite someone. My guess is he just wants everyone out of his space, and he won't bite unless pushed...but of course that is a really rough guess since I don't "know" him. Make sure you instruct all of the family to NOT push him, or move closer to him when he is growling, that is an invitation to get bitten. The dog's owners can do a lot more in that situation than strangers, IME. Personally, I wouldn't even have him around the visitors at this point, if you can arrange it.

    Don't spend a lot of time feeling bad about the situation on the stairs. You didn't have much alternative. Next time, he most likely will move away from you when you move towards him.

    I agree that a behaviorist would be a great idea if you can manage it. I know this is a terribly busy time, and the last thing you want to do is start a training plan with the dog. I think I would probably wait until the visitors go, and then bring in a behaviorist when things calm down. Try to keep Jack safe from himself until then. Good luck!

  • <_>


    Just a word of advice….don't put off something you might want because of how your dogs might react. Your dogs are extremely well trained, and absolutely not spoiled. Spoiled is about expected behavior, not how much love they are showered with, or many clothes they have (more than me! 😉 ) You expect your dogs to behave in a certain manner, and you have trained them to meet those expectations. They also were blessed with wonderfully stable temperaments. I predict you would have no problem adding a baby to your family.

    I don't want you to feel like I am pressuring you (I am sure you have plenty of people to do that already!)..but really, I think you *might regret it if you held off having kids because you *thought your dogs might react badly. I can tell from the way that you respect, love and train your dogs that you would be AWESOME parents to a human child...and you would love it :)_

  • We do have a basket muzzle. im planning on when he is inside to have it on him, i really dont want any "accidents". and he LOVES being outside so, weather permitting he is outside for some just Jack time…only my mother and granmother are here fornow...but people are planning on coming and going for the rest of this month im sure...DH family is coming soon...oh geez Seven kids and 2 adults...OMG didnt even think about that...greeeeeeeat...i suppose ill look into a beahaviorist...you dont think its too late seeing as how we rescued him at four years old and hes five now? Im praying he'll stop this when the guests leave...but he DID bite my mom today, so the muzzle is on now...what happened was, she was eating and he was trying to get her food and when she told him to get back, he growled and then bit her...not hard, he mostly got shirt, but STILL...this is only the 2nd time Jack has ever bitten someone since we got him, (i dont know if you remember, but he were outside and our neighbor came over and walked past us and no growl or anything, Jack just jumped up and bite Steve on the arm (hard) and then sat back down next to me like nothing happened...) IDK...just a BIT worried Aiden is next, and if so, THEN we have BIG problems...

  • Does Jack know basic commands like sit and down? If so when people are eating, could they have a small cache of "jack treats" at the table also? Then they could ask him to sit and then toss a treat, even away from the table, so he starts to learn that when strangers eat at his house treats are coming but away from the table. If they can reward him before he gets to the growling stage so he can start changing his view on having people in his house it may really help while you work on getting a behaviorist.

  • I agree with most everything already said before When i had foster children here for awhile {i don't have any of my own yet ] we had 2 small babies both under 3 mths and with phoenix i knew he would be stressed cuz he was not used to all the commotion we used small pieces of treats to get him relaxed and thinking all these "new" things going on the babies all the people coming over was a good thing he knew when new people came in the house and he was a "good boy" he was going to get a little reward so he was on his best behavior to get one 🙂 at first he was VERY protective of the babies and myself when i was holden them NO ONE could even sit next to me with him around he would growl and start to pull at there legs but once i started the treats he never did that he thought all these people at the house where nice cuz if there was alot of them it meant more treats just for him lol 🙂 I did cut them small so he wasn't getting a large amount to mess up his diet but even them being little seemed to help he didn't feel like he was getting left out he was still alittle protective over the babies but just would watch people really closely when they where around them. I hope everything works out for all of you !!

  • My baby is now 17 so we dont have any of the problems that you are having but I wanted to let you know we are pulling for you and Jack,,,,,,,hope everthing can be resolved quickly!

  • Congratulations on the birth of your new baby and I'm really sorry that your joy is dampened by your problems with Jack. We had a little dog when our first child was born and he was appalled by the appearance of the little interloper in his home. He, Oscar, was fine with me if I didn't have the baby in my arms but would growl if I sat next to him while holding the baby. While the initial crush of welcoming family was with us, one person became Oscar's "port in the storm". In our case, it was my father in law. Maybe something like that would help Jack. And Oscar and the baby (and the next two babies) eventually developed a civil relationship. Oscar never became a fan of small children but did grow to appreciate the crumbs, cookies, and other little kid goodies and he never did bite them. And our children grew up knowing that you respect an animal's right to be left alone. Also, we had a mesh playpen and we put the infant seat in it when we were busy doing something and were going to be a bit distracted. We called it "protective custody". 🙂 I hope all works out for you.


  • Do you know much about Jack before you rescued him? Did he come from BRAT? And what did they say about him with children/babies? If you know something about his past, it might help to understand where his head is now….

  • @Capt_Jack_our_Basenji:

    well we got Jack the beginning of August last year, as soon as we got here. he was only in the humane soc. for about 5 hours and we picked him up! love at first site…lol

    I just found this post from you about were you got Jack from… so it is obvious that you don't know anything about his "past" life... or do you know how he wound up in the shelter?

  • You might want to carry a small squirt bottle and carry it with you, rather than kicking him. kicking might make him go after feet/legs.

    he needs to learn he is the bottom rung of your pack. Baby gates would help since I remember you can't crate him.

    He's probably just trying to figure out his place with the baby & all.

  • unfortunatly he jumps baby gates no problem…and all we were told about Jacks past was he was in a home with five children and the owner couldnt handle him and all the kids...but who knows how much of that is true...and, lol, i never kick him, it was justt that once bc i was honestly scared hed go for my leg and aiden and i would fall down the steps...it wasnt hard, just enough to make him go away, then he acted like it never happened...the only other thing i know about Jack was when we rescued him he had a silver/grey ring around his neck from what looked like being an outside dog...but of course i kno nothing for sure...

  • ((Hugs to you)), Having is a baby is a big adjustment for all in the household. I know you will get through this. You've been given lots of great advice from people who know dogs. Hang in there and keep us posted.

  • Ok, it will be okay. You have shown us that you posess the crazy basenji mom traits that are needed to have a great basenji.:D

    Caesar (my 5yr old basenji) never growled until I added the puppy basenji to the family. 5 years, no sounds of discontent ever. Keep in mind, that although basenjis dont bark, the do communicate through sound.

    I found that (with basenji mom attention) Caesar's growling is innocent and is just his way of screaming about his space with Cairo when Cairo is bugging him and he doesnt want to move.

    We hold his muzzle softly in our hands until he stops. We call it the growly old man sounds.

    I think putting him outside may be the wrong thing. We all know our basenjis are happiest with us. I would suggest kennel time or the muzzle so that he is still in your sight and the bad behavior is being addressed until it stops.

    I might suggest you push off your visitors a bit since Jack is expressing some serious stress. He sounds like he needs to adjust to the changes. I am sure you are not adjusted to the sleep cycles.

    Have no fear or misunderstanding. He is just trying to figure out his place in the pack and if it has changed.

    Also, keep reminding you and your husband that Jack's world is in your house. You are all he sees all day. Be patient and dont let yourselves be short and have Jack pay the price.

    Dogs get jealous, mad, grumpy, growly and experience many traits that we have ourselves. I have seen Caesar lick little Cairo's eyes like a mommy and growl so loud at him in the kennel that it sounded like blood was spilling. There are all kinds of sounds they use to communicate. You now are learning some new forms of communication.

    Determine what is okay, what is not. Address it. Always show your love. Your love for Jack is what has made him such a unique basenji. You will be fine and he will be your perfect silly boy again.

    You can do this! You can do anything you put your mind too. You just had a baby! You can do anything.:)

  • Looks like you've got lots of great advice here. As usual I'm thinking like Andrea that it also sounds like a bit of hectic household (and why not there's a new BABY & everyone wants to meet him 😃 ) so really A LOT has changed for Jack. He's definitely not used to this highly social environment & with strange things come strange B noises 🙂

    Here's what I would do:

    1-I'd get this great book by Pia Silvani on Puppies & Kids. There's lots of great advice there.

    2-Find a quiet room..away from the guests & ESPECIALLY any children guests that can be dangerous :eek: Spend some time with Jack just one on one in his new safe place. Bring him yummy treats (like a rawhide or a hamburger or a pigs ear YUM 🙂 )

    3-If he absolutely must be loose around the house then I would make sure that I am there at ALL TIMES…no if's and's or but's about it. If I'm not there then neither is Jack. It's MY responsibility to have to manage the situation & if I can't be there then the dog must be put in a safe place where he's not stressed out & afraid.

    4-If I'm with him then it would work like this:
    -When Jack approaches someone growling...the person should fold their arms look away & turn your body away from him (never stare at the dog when they're growling) & ignore him. There are lots of calming dog signals in this behavior.

    -When he stops growling..."GOOD BOY...bacon, beef, chicken treats"

    -If Jack gets anxious at people's movements then practice his sit & downs...ask Jack to SIT & if he listens then it's.."GOOD BOY..treats treats treats" and then the person can get up & move.

    -If Jack gets anxious while people are eating...then you divert his attention call him over to another place have him SIT & then it's..."GOOD BOY..treats treats treats"

    -If you have the baby & Jack gets anxious ask him to get into a DOWN & STAY..if he does it then it's..."GOOD BOY..treats treats treats"

    It's all about re-asserting yourself as his protector. It sounds to me like the situation is making him nervous & afraid. The more you work with him that there's nothing to worry about the easier it will be for him to relax & calm down.

    I realize you have a new baby & it will be hard to manage both Jack & the baby maybe DH can help or maybe your mom can help but if you can't work with Jack then your safest bet is to find Jack a safe place in your home.

    Good luck!

  • good post!

  • I still think that your best chance to work through this is to get a behaviorist into your home asap….. just my opinion... but really between everything you have going on with a new baby... someone "personally" there will be able to give you "direct" direction and help you work through the problems... as they are not just going to go away....

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