Growling at Other Dogs

Lola has started a nasty habit of growling at dogs she meets on our walks. She didn't do this at all when we first got her, at about 1.5 years old. She used to be really sweet. She was good to every dog, even if they growled at her.

Now she crouches down when she sees another dog. Sometimes she stares and trembles, if they're far away. If they get close to say hi she growls under her breath. Today she outright growled…like louder than usual. It sounded like she was getting all frothy at the mouth. So, it seems to be slowly getting worse. I don't want her to start snapping!

How can we train her to be nice and get all worked up? I know we're supposed to be positive when other dogs approach and to try and keep the lease loose. Maybe I should be doing something else? I don't know why she's started this. I feel like we've surly done something to cause it, since she never did it before. Plus, now I'm worried, which she's probably sensing. Thanks.

I am interested what others have to say about this issue. Of our three Bella starts a trend when we see another dog on a leash. They jump and start to whine (Bella starts this and it is a chain reaction with the other two). We have tried to make them sit when we see other dogs coming and also, we have tried to just act like it is no big deal and keep going but they always freak out. I think I read somewhere that b's do better meeting dogs when they arent on a leash (although we all know we CANT have our babies off leash often). Anyway, Im interested in what everyone has to say too.

I'd look around for a good positive trainer with a Fiesty Fido or Control Unleashed class or some such. I'd go and watch the class myself as some trainers seem to have strange ideas of what positive training is. I've been reading through the Control Unleashed book for quite a while now (and when I finish, I'll start over). I read a chapter (or half) and let it sink in before reading more so it's been slow going. I'm very comfortable with this sort of training. In order to find a training program that works for you and one that you can stick with at home, you need to find something that fits in your comfort zone. I'd encourage you to read Control Unleashed (try dogwise or amazon. And get Turid Rugaas' booklet while you're there). Essentially you make looking at the other dog a game. I've been doing some of these exercises with my puppy who is not reactive, but is distractive. You can look at that, see it's nothing to worry about, then re-orient back to momma. This is a polar opposite of the old school thinking that tells the dog "don't ever look at anything but me".

I don't really have any suggestions for you, but sometimes Baroo does the same thing where he lays down when there is another dog approaching. He doesn't growl or act mean, but he will just stop in his tracks, even in the middle of the street, and lay down until the dog has passed. I hate it! I have to drag him away. It doesn't happen very often, and there doesn't seem to be a pattern with say male or female, but I just don't get it. I thought at first he was being submissive, but I don't know why he would do that considering he is an intact alpha-male. Anyone know why they do this?

Miles becomes a sled dog- he pulls with all his strength. Well, I guess Lexi does too now. They really want to meet who is coming into "their" yard. Sometimes they growl, sometimes they don't- depends on the dog. It's a leashed-thing. They don't do it at the park. I think they're just more protective and defensive when they're on the leash.

In addition to what agilebasenji said, you can also buy the book 'Feisty Fido' by Patricia McConnell PhD, and do the training yourself.

This is a really common issue with Basenjis. You are right that it is best to keep a loose leash (which is hard when your dog is straining to be at the end of the leash), and it is best if you can stay calm. I haven't read 'Control Unleashed' yet…but Feisty Fido gives you the steps on how to do it.

If you do choose to find some training help, that would be great, but as agile mentioned, make sure you find someone who uses one of the mentioned methods, as they are the most successful.

Ditto Ditto nwhat Andrea said! I actually used the Feisty Fido training on my dogs. They are tons better…not great...but much better.

Lovesmybaroo-If your dog decides to lay on the ground when another dog approaches you may want to teach him a cue that it's time to get up & go. The key is to get his attention BEFORE he gets into the down position. If you see the dog first...quickly turn in the other direction & when he turns with you TREAT TREAT TREAT...right away!

If you do this enough times he'll learn to just turn away from an approaching dog rather then lying on the ground. 🙂

And you all know that this lying "in wait" is pretty much a Basenji trait….. to drop and stalk

If EL D sees another dog some distance away he wants to investigate or at least stop and see if other dog is coming our way. He doesn't get growly but his hackles do go up when another dog comes close. I always tell him "its okay be nice" and then just watch the other dog as well to see how it is responding. My neighborhood has a number of BIG dogs and some are fairly aggressive – I really hate the neighbors who say "it's okay mine is a nice dog" and then their dog starts to attack us. So then I'll just grab EL D and carry him (sometimes on my shoulders) away.

Hackles up is also a pretty common thing for Basenjis to do…. When people who "insist" on letting their dogs close or off lead for that matter and say.."mine is a nice dog"... drives me crazy... Cause like you said, then you get attacked.... cause it is NOT a nice dog in that particular situation. Ann, who has Kobey and Crystal, when people say that to her, responds with "Mine are NOT"... works pretty much all the time...gggg
But then, she like myself, am not particularly interested in meeting and greeting every dog on the street/neighborhood

Hackles up is a sign of arousal. It doesn't necessarily have a positive or a negative connotation in dog language it just means arousal.

Most people's dogs who the owner says "are nice" are actually rude. They tend to approach straight on and invade the other dogs' space. It is not surprising then when a dog who is very appropriate reacts with a verbal "get out of my space". I think most of us would say the same thing if not a bit stronger if some stranger ran up to us and tried to hug us.

@tanza:

Hackles up is also a pretty common thing for Basenjis to do…. When people who "insist" on letting their dogs close or off lead for that matter and say.."mine is a nice dog"... drives me crazy... Cause like you said, then you get attacked.... cause it is NOT a nice dog in that particular situation. Ann, who has Kobey and Crystal, when people say that to her, responds with "Mine are NOT"... works pretty much all the time...gggg
But then, she like myself, am not particularly interested in meeting and greeting every dog on the street/neighborhood

That's what I do too. Even though, for the most part, mine are friendly…I don't want to get in that situation that lets either of the dogs practice less than good manners. Many dogs respond poorly to Basenjis because of their natural assertiveness, and unwillingness to be immediately submissive. And many Basenjis respond poorly to overfriendly, in your face kinda dogs...so it just isn't a good mix.

And you all know that this lying "in wait" is pretty much a Basenji trait….. to drop and stalk

Mine does this on walks and then pounces if they walk by. Getting them in a sitting position works best, being relaxed and ignoring the person or dog walking by. I find this has worked the best for our dogs.

I don't want to get in that situation that lets either of the dogs practice less than good manners. Many dogs respond poorly to Basenjis because of their natural assertiveness, and unwillingness to be immediately submissive. And many Basenjis respond poorly to over-friendly, in your face kinda dogs…so it just isn't a good mix.

Agreed, to many times mine attacks the other dog and the owner gives you this awful look. Other times he gets along well. I find mine tend to far better with opposite sex short hair hound type dogs, than any long haired beast. They know some dogs in the neighborhood they do great with, others not so much.

One time I was walking my dogs and a lady across the street was walking a little long hair dog thing and started to bark and pull towards our dogs accross the street, somehow the leash slipped out of my hand (winter & slippery gloves).

My dog was just a year or two old, started to circle the prey, ducking & bobbing really fast - then lunging in and attacking the other dog. He probabbly nipped the other dog twice before I could get his leash. The lady screamed at me "Whats wrong with your dog?"

It happened so fast and the basenji's was going super fast around the dog. It's actually pretty cool, the agility these dogs have, but not in this situation.

I appoligized and left. It seemed more like he was testing the other dog rather than really attacking, he had a big smile on his face, like it was a game.

Instead of saying "My dog isn't friendly" or something of that ilk, which can perpetuate that myth that basenjis are vicious, biting dogs (and I have encountered those people in non-dog areas of life), you may want to say something like "My dog is recovering from mange" or another contageous disease. (or just "my dog is ill") That usually gets people's attention real quick. 😉

@agilebasenji:

Instead of saying "My dog isn't friendly" or something of that ilk, which can perpetuate that myth that basenjis are vicious, biting dogs (and I have encountered those people in non-dog areas of life), you may want to say something like "My dog is recovering from mange" or another contageous disease. (or just "my dog is ill") That usually gets people's attention real quick. 😉

I think it is important that people learn to think twice before they let their dogs get in another dog's face because 'their dog is friendly'. I don't really care what they think of the breed, or my own dogs. If I know the person, or have reason to talk with them beyond trying to keep them from letting their dogs irritate mine, I will explain that my dogs aren't nasty, they just have very clear rules about how dogs should approach each other.

It isn't a myth that basenjis on lead are often likely to growl or snap at dogs that approach in a reckless fashion. And, as Lisa said, usually dogs that approach like that aren't 'really' friendly, they are rude.

Personally, I would rather have someone think my dog is an introvert than sick 😉

My husband's response to people when they use the "my dog is friendly" line is often "I am not". Which is pretty true when someone is allowing their dogs to invade the space of the dog he is walking. He walks to the other side of the street, tells people to give him space, etc but every so often he runs across someone who is a rude as their dog and just doesn't take the more subtle cues.

That is what I tell a lot of people Lisa. I have people roaming my property with their dogs loose. I tell them I have dogs and they always say the same thing-My dog is friendly! to which I reply, Well, mine are not!

@Quercus:

I think it is important that people learn to think twice before they let their dogs get in another dog's face because 'their dog is friendly'. I don't really care what they think of the breed, or my own dogs. If I know the person, or have reason to talk with them beyond trying to keep them from letting their dogs irritate mine, I will explain that my dogs aren't nasty, they just have very clear rules about how dogs should approach each other.

It isn't a myth that basenjis on lead are often likely to growl or snap at dogs that approach in a reckless fashion. And, as Lisa said, usually dogs that approach like that aren't 'really' friendly, they are rude.

Personally, I would rather have someone think my dog is an introvert than sick 😉

I have to say, I totally agree with you Andrea… I don't really care what people think... and yes, most dogs that approach are "rude"....

Ditto!! I had someone respond to me once…"well why is he out in public?!!!" :mad: to which I quickly responded..."same reason why YOU are!" :mad:

Yeah..I'm just the wrong person to be nasty to..especially when it comes to my dogs 😃

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