Questions about biting

I reciently adopted an 8 week old Basenji mix puppy from a rescue who was pretty sick and had been thrown out of a second story window when we got her. I have had her about 2 weeks and she seems to be displaying some agressive behavior towards me. Every once in a while when I pick her up and hold her she will growl at me and she has even biten me twice in the face. I am taking her to puppy classed right now to try to get her socialized. Is this normal behavior in a puppy this young? I also have a 3 yr old pit bull mix who gets along with her great, but I notice her trying to dominate my adult dog sometimes, too. She doesn't seem to be afraid of anything. Thora is my first basenji so any advice on training and behavior is definately welcome!

thanks! Maranda

Basenji Mix

she seems to be displaying some agressive behavior towards me. Every once in a while when I pick her up and hold her she will growl at me and she has even biten me twice in the face.

I don't know if it's normal, but Duke did and does use his mouth too much when excited, especially when seemingly happy for attention. It's not good, but even worse with those baby teeth.

her trying to dominate my adult dog sometimes, too. She doesn't seem to be afraid of anything.

That might be normal, because Duke does the domination thing to every dog he's meets. Even the BIG ones, male or female. There is only one dog he leaves completely alone - my brother's big Sharpei (sp?) mix. She is definately an "Alfa-female". I'm so glad she puts him in his place. Unfortunately we don't see them enough for continuous training.

I hope our experienced forum friends will comment. This is a good behavioral question.

Abbey's finally out of her nipping stage, thank goodness. I was her favorite target and she even nipped her grandma a few times. I started saying NO BITE! in a loud voice and after a while she caught on. Now when I say no bite she will give me a little kiss (lick) on the back of my hand.

@maranda:

I reciently adopted an 8 week old Basenji mix puppy from a rescue who was pretty sick and had been thrown out of a second story window when we got her.

oh dear… how could anyone do such a thing.... thanks for taking care of this little one!!!!

@maranda:

Every once in a while when I pick her up and hold her she will growl at me and she has even biten me twice in the face.

I hope you put her down (on the floor) immediately. not angrily, just firmly. be "matter of fact" or "business-like" about it. put her down, and walk away. ignore her when she's nippy/snarly/biting/etc… she must learn this will NOT get her attention. When my dog was overly wound up, he got snarly... growly & nippy... on the advice of my trainer, I used his crate as a "time out". do not say a word, just calmly scoop the pup up, place in crate, close door for 2-3 minutes. then let out, forgive & forget, and try again. a couple minutes of cool off time really worked wonders for my dog, and when done calmly, it doesn't create negativity towards the crate.

@maranda:

I am taking her to puppy classed right now to try to get her socialized. Is this normal behavior in a puppy this young? I also have a 3 yr old pit bull mix who gets along with her great, but I notice her trying to dominate my adult dog sometimes, too. She doesn't seem to be afraid of anything.

excellent that you are taking puppy class! I took one too, and my guy was a holy terror in that class. he insisted on dominating the whole class (7 pups). and when he was a bit older (but still very much a puppy), he was even kicked out of a playgroup at school for trying to dominate a full grown male great dane… so yes, I'd say it's par for the course. 😉

Thanks for the advice everyone! I am sure I will have a lot more questions comming!

Sandie is 12 weeks and still continues to bite my hands and arms when i pet her … she also bites at my face... i hope she grows out of this soon... i followed Jessi advice about ""put her down (on the floor) immediately. not angrily, just firmly. be "matter of fact" or "business-like" about it. put her down, and walk away. ignore her when she's nippy/snarly/biting/etc... she must learn this will NOT get her attention.""... this sometimes works... i think B's just have a mind of thier own....

My Sahara does the same when she wants my attention, getting up and walking away does work, and you can also spray with a water bottle, Sahara hates to get wet. Good Luck, and you are so right, they do have their own agenda, and it is not what you want to do, they are very stubborn. I love her, but she is a handful.

My Daisy Is 6 Yrs Old And She Growls And Bites . She Lunges At Us To Try To Bite Us . We Don't Know Why She Is A Spoiled Pooch And All We Want To Do Is Pet And Kiss Her .but She Turns On Us . But After She Comes To Lick Us To Say Sorry Or Woops

Has she always done this, or is it a new behavior? And what do you do when this happens?

I cannot speak to an older dog, but when Jazzy was a puppy she would occasionally try to assert her authority over me with growls and bites.
I would {firmly, but gently} force her down to her side, and with one hand at her neck/shoulder and the other on her hip I would hold her. She would snarl and fight for a while {a surprisingly long while, and with amazing strength!!}, but as she calmed down I would talk to her in a soothing voice, then begin stroking her with the hand that was on her hip.
It wasn't a violent or forceful event, just making her calm herself down, but in a position that reminded her that I was in control – even when she was out of control.
We had maybe four of these little "episodes" before she stopped completely.
Now I can do anything to her, take anything from her and she doesn't make a peep. She just had to learn that she was not the top dog with the humans in the family. And she is a very sweet, loving, cuddly family member.

I won't tolerate any dog I own even growling at me, and esp. not at my kids.

My Daisy Is 6 Yrs Old And She Growls And Bites . She Lunges At Us To Try To Bite Us . We Don't Know Why She Is A Spoiled Pooch And All We Want To Do Is Pet And Kiss Her .but She Turns On Us . But After She Comes To Lick Us To Say Sorry Or Woops

Daisy-that's awful I can't imagine having that in my house. Does she feel like you're intimidating her or maybe she just needs space. I always tell people to have the dog come to you not the other way around then it's on their own terms. Also perhaps keeping Daisy on a leash to control this behavior & teach her that this is not acceptable behavior.

I'm sure there's much more that some of our veterans here can add 🙂

@daisydoo:

My Daisy Is 6 Yrs Old And She Growls And Bites . She Lunges At Us To Try To Bite Us . We Don't Know Why She Is A Spoiled Pooch And All We Want To Do Is Pet And Kiss Her .but She Turns On Us . But After She Comes To Lick Us To Say Sorry Or Woops

There isn't really enough info here to make a suggestion. It sounds like you might need some outside help. Dogs generally will growl and bite to make something stop happening…or sometimes to make something start happening. Some dogs will growl and bite much more easily than others.

Along the same subject line….
PetsMart offers a puppy training program and I remember they showed us how to "take control of the situation"
Basically when your puppy acts up you are supposed to put the dog on its side and put 2 fingers on its neck and your other two fingers on its back end. You are supposed to be firm but not choke them. They will squirm and try to get out of that position but your not supposed to give in. In time they will sigh and then you can let them go.
Anyone do this to their basenji when they act up and is it a successful method? The trainer at Petsmart says it will work but do they really know basenjis?

I am no expert by any means on behavior but have fostered and adopted B's that came different home situations. I came to understand what "snarky" meant quickly. What I have observed and learned is that B's respond differently to the presence and statue of a person in direct proportion to their location (do not attempt to wake, stand over and try to pick up, do not reach for them if they feel ill at ease, etc). Most of it is logical but unless you observe their interactions with other animals do you gain a sense of their true personality and how they react to interaction. I have seen my B greet his favorite playmates (dogs) with a nip and rough play. It may not be acceptable to humans but then you have to stand back and define your boundaries (as the alpha). It's very difficult NOT to make nice with them after they have shown bad behaviors as they are cute, smart and well–as humans we just seek acceptance. What you might try is not accepting the behavior as mentioned. Give a firm NO and walk away (never strike back and I'm sure you already know that and are a kind person). Be consistent and realize this could take a longggggg period of time. B's test boundaries unlike any breed of dog. They are very intelligent. The book that helped me so much was listed on a BRAT website: Cesar Milan. Good luck!

Basically when your puppy acts up you are supposed to put the dog on its side and put 2 fingers on its neck and your other two fingers on its back end. You are supposed to be firm but not choke them. They will squirm and try to get out of that position but your not supposed to give in. In time they will sigh and then you can let them go.
Anyone do this to their basenji when they act up and is it a successful method? The trainer at Petsmart says it will work but do they really know basenjis?

This worked wonderfully with Jazzy.

@Vanessa626:

Along the same subject line….
PetsMart offers a puppy training program and I remember they showed us how to "take control of the situation"
Basically when your puppy acts up you are supposed to put the dog on its side and put 2 fingers on its neck and your other two fingers on its back end. You are supposed to be firm but not choke them. They will squirm and try to get out of that position but your not supposed to give in. In time they will sigh and then you can let them go.
Anyone do this to their basenji when they act up and is it a successful method? The trainer at Petsmart says it will work but do they really know basenjis?

I have taught this before to students, but slightly differently…no fingers on neck....easing dog down. Left elbow on hip, left arm up body, left hand on shoulder, right hand under/on collar, or helping hold front end down. I was taught it was called a 'down restraint'. I think it is really useful for teaching self control. But IMO it usally needs to be taught as a puppy. I don't think I would ever try this on an adult basenji that already has a history of biting....the human would be setting themselves up for a royal battle, and probably end up getting bitten. Again, this goes back to the force issue. You can force dogs to do things as puppies that they would never allow you to do as adults, once they are conditioned to it, you can continue to do it all their lives. Once a dog has learned to use his mouth, force becomes an aversive and the battle usually escalates to a point of making the dog even more aggressive than he was before.

Even if I wanted to C3PO would be too strong for me to do this to him. He's 25 lbs of pure strong muscle. It's really incredible.

Our dog trainer did this to TOPAZ after a traning session Topaz decided to nip the trainer's leg for no reason but that she's was stressed & had enough & wanted the session to end. And it did! But not until the trainer taught her who's boss 🙂 I don't think she'll try this again.

Joey has never growled at me (I am the primary caretaker and alpha in the house, my husband may disagree 😉 tho), but has with my kids. He has never snapped at them. Is it more effective if I teach the kids to put him on his side and hold him down or is it just as effective if I do it?

Yikes, have we done something really wrong??? Joey has not been aggresive at all. When we play with him he will "bite" our arms, but not hard. If we say "ow" or "no biting" he stops immediately. Should we not encourage this behavior? or is it ok to do when we are playing which has been the only time that Joey uses his mouth?

Basenji Mix

I let Duke play with me like that. It's just fun, like arm wresling. He mainly tries to grab hold of my sleeve cuff. But to do that, my arm wrist is in there. He gets excited and we go at it. He hasn't ever hurt me, except maybe some scratching or a pinch mark. I think dogs play like this too. My thinking is it's just play. When I stop moving my hand, Duke looks at me like "What - you're done?" When he was a much younger puppy - I wouldn't think of doing this - because I think it would give him the wrong message because I was trying to discourage mouthing.

@JoeyQ:

Joey has never growled at me (I am the primary caretaker and alpha in the house, my husband may disagree 😉 tho), but has with my kids. He has never snapped at them. Is it more effective if I teach the kids to put him on his side and hold him down or is it just as effective if I do it?

I do not think this is an effective method for either you or the kids to do. Has Joey been to an obedience class? Having you kids learn how to work with Joey and train him will be good for both the kids and Joey. Having them ask him for a sit, down, or teaching him tricks he can do with them for treats can help improve their relationship.

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