This B needs an attitude adjustment!


  • Chance was a REALLY bad dog this evening.
    I came home only to hear that he growled at Alex during dinner. Alex gave him his usual meal but this time he decided to pet him. Right then Chance sharted to show teeth and snarl. I did not witness this but when I came home I decided to give it a try. I mixed up his favorite dinner and put it out for him. Within a minute he about attacked me! Now since he was 8 weeks old we would pet him and try to make him understand that we were not going to take his food. At times he would make these "eeerrrrr" sounds but he would never show teeth. Tonight he about bit me! I immediately pulled him away from the food and put him down on his side. He kept growling at me :eek:
    The rest of the evening just continued to go downhill. He about attacked me again. While I was eating I took him over to his bed to stay there so he wouldn't mooch. While I sat him down he growled and showed more teeth!
    He is getting too darn aggressive. He is a year old now and starting to show his "male tendencies" but I have about had it. If this is going to continue, he is going to take a nice trip to the vet and get "snipped"
    I really worry now. Especially if he is around kids and he decides to bite. He never did this before. Im about to bring a 10 week old pup into our house. His attitude needs to change.
    The rest of the evening he has been in the dog house with me. He knows he is in trouble. :mad:

    You know what the hardest part is…when they have been a bad dog, they will come back a few minutes later with those wrinkles and sad eyes. How the heck can I stay mad! Darn those basenji's for lookin so cute! and they know it too.


  • He is a year old now and starting to show his "male tendencies" but I have about had it. If this is going to continue, he is going to take a nice trip to the vet and get "snipped"

    We had simliar issues (not with food) and we got our dog neutered and it really made no diofference at all with him.

    For the food issue only feed him his dinner by hand. If he growls, take it away and ignore him.

    Re-establish dominance with usual stuff- no sleepiong with anyone, eats last, last through doors etcx.

    Also for couches and guarding issues I would get a squirt water bottle and any growling say no, and squirt him if he continues. Don't show any fear and be upright and firm.

    I know some dont like using the squirt water bottle, but it helped a lot in our situation. It helped establish our dominance over him, because we then no longer afraid of him and he knew if he growl he will be squirted. He really calmed down after that.

    Also any bad behavior put him in his crate for a long time out.

    Never hit him as it only will escalate the situation. Everyone in the family has to be on the same page.

    Also maybe seek a proffessional trainer to evaluate your situation.


  • Vanessa, now is the time to nip this in the bud. It sounds like he is trying guarding out to see how it will work. I strongly recommend you get the book "MINE" bye Jean Donaldson. It has a great training protocol for resource guarding.

    Personally, I would stay away from anything negative, like holding him down on his side, or squirting. Those techniques tends to make most dogs 'hide' their warning signs, and go straight for a bite…or decrease their bite inhibition to the point of doing serious damage. Kind of like using a sledge hammer, when a fly swatter would do...kwim? I totally understand the feeling of having to do *something when the dog is behaving so badly...but often the things we do reflexively as humans makes the dogs behavior worse.

    Rather than teaching the dog to supress his feelings of anger/frustration, we want to teach him to look forward to someone approaching when he has something of value, 'cause good stuff happens. That is how we have been doing it around here with the last four dogs, and it has worked GREAT! Ivy (of course @@) is a world class guarder....and we did all the wrong things with her. But since we learned better techniques, we haven't had a problem. Good luck...and btw...this doesn't mean that chance is going to bite (sounds like he has good bite inhibition), or has a nasty temperament....he is just a dog, trying to figure out how to keep his stuff 🙂 very normal.


  • Also, take him to a basic obedience class.
    Even if you have done this before, it will help him see
    you the one in control.
    I use squirt bottles.
    After a few squirts, all you have to do is reach for the bottle and the behavior
    stops.
    Good luck.


  • I'd leave a 4 or 6 foot leash on him while he's in the house. This way if you need him off the sofa you can use the leash. Make sure you PRAISE,PRAISE,PRAISE when he gets off the sofa, even if you had to use the leash. Make sure you notice the good behavior.


  • I agree with Andrea and this sounds like resource guarding. I also would not recommend a squirt bottle because you don't want him to skip the growling and escalate to a bite.


  • I read a review of her book here-
    http://www.kateconnick.com/library/donaldsonmine.html

    Many readers will be disappointed that she clings so strictly to a behaviorist paradigm. I, for one, do believe that behavior modification can work to varying degrees with resource guarding, especially less serious forms, but I also strongly believe that there are potent genetic tendencies towards this type of behavior that are foolish to ignore. Call it dominance aggression if you like, or call it plain foul temperament, but there are more than a few hardcore resource guarders who will play this kind of training game and learn to accept having the food bowl approached, only to opportunistically assault the owner that attempts to retrieve a fallen potato chip or pool of vomit that they hadn't expected the dog to guard. Many of these dogs really aren't so nice as pets. And many owners, after replacing a dog of this nature with a different pet (often after an ugly experience), marvel at just how different and pleasant life can be with a dog that does not have an inherent drive to aggressively defend coveted items.

    In terms of risk and prognosis, Donaldson stresses the importance of bite inhibition and asserts that bite severity cannot be changed. The dog that bites hard will bite hard if and when it actually bites. She does discuss the use of muzzles, tethers, and Kevlar gloves in maintaining safety during behavior modification exercises, and she sensibly suggests management as an often-realistic alternative or adjunct to training. Her own line in the sand relates to bite severity as she asserts, "My personal recommendation is strong management or euthanasia for dogs who inflict deep punctures and contusions."

    All in all, Donaldson covers the subject with great care, and I would recommend this book to the owner of a resource guarder. It's very useful to have a small, highly targeted book that discusses a specific behavioral issue, and I'm not aware of any other book that addresses this subject matter in the same kind of detail.


  • only to opportunistically assault the owner that attempts to retrieve a fallen potato chip or pool of vomit that they hadn't expected the dog to guard.

    This is more of my situation. We can take his food and chewies away and give them back with no problem, but if he gets something he really wants (animal, pizza etc) and he knows he is not allowed to have it, there is no substitution he will except - we have tried food that he usually will not refuse. He wont let anyone near him then.

    What would you recommend in these situations?


  • Well, honestly the description sounds like the training wasn't completed. The end goal is to be able to call the dog away from anything it is guarding. In that situation, I would want the training to be complete so that if the dog guarded something unexpected, the protocol would be the same…over here dog, and good stuff will happen.

    The longer a dog has practiced guarding, without intervention, the harder it is to retrain with any protocol. The idea is to catch it early, and change the way the dog thinks about guarding. If the dog thinks he is trading up anytime he has something he values as good...then he won't feel the need to guard.

    I know a lot of people feel this is backward; when a dog growls at you, you must correct it...but the new thinking tells us that these methods just work better.

    I agree with a lot of the critique, though....yes, it probably has a genetic component...yes, if a dog starts with little to no bite inhibition, it is unlikely that will change; however you *can make your dog bite harder, by ignoring the initial growl/snap/muzzle punch that leads up to a real bite. It is an escalation the dog uses to get it's message across. And, yes...of course I agree with strong management or euthanasia for dogs who do serious damage to family members. This is not Chance, though. He is trying it out, and using quite a lot of bite inhibition...so now is the perfect time to start the protocol.


  • And as I remember, weren't you having these problems a while back with Chance?



  • Your right I remember that now, so it's been 5 1/2 months and he reverted from the training then?

    I wish you guys could go out on "Basenji" call and work with problem owners & dogs (like myself)


  • @tanza:

    Here is a link to the thread
    http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?t=1945

    I had forgotten about that Pat. Good point. It illustrates that you have to complete any training beyond where the dog stops doing the behavior…but you have to keep up on it, and put a replacement behavior in place.

    I would really work on the end result being the ability to call Chance away from his food (and other items guarded). Vanessa, you really will need to buy one of the books, and follow the whole protocol, or find yourself a trainer/behaviorist familiar with the methods in the books I mentioned. You don't want to do this kind of training half-way, because you can end up with the problem only partially fixed. I don't mean that you would intentionally do it half-way...but it can be kind of complicated for people who are new to training.


  • Well put Andrea, and even today with my guys at their advance ages, I can still get them from their food if I need to.. (notice I don't say "call" as they are all pretty much deaf..ggg)… and I can still "exchange" for what they have. It is something that never stops.. reinforcement of the proper behavior. And Vanessa, you really need to start asap with thinking about bring another pup into the mix, especially a bitch... as they are what the name suggests!


  • It is true that a lot of people stop training once they see the behavior has stopped and do not follow through until the end. The trainer that I go to has stopped offering 8 week, 10 week, 12 week, etc classes because she felt it gave the misleading belief that after a certain period of time a group of behaviors could be mastered rather than conveying that training is an ongoing process.

    In the 3 years that I have been taking classes with her, we have had the opportunity to try different methods to work on the same behaviors to help develop reliable behavior. Some things the dogs have picked up much quicker than others and we still find some situations where everything seems to fall apart. The days when my 10 year old suddenly forgets how to sit even though that is one of his default behaviors.

    I use trading up in my house and we also have worked with the dogs on Levels method of teaching leave it though we are sort of stuck between Level 2 and 3. Some of that is also that stay is a concept that my basenjis really struggle with and Leave It is related to Stay since both are about self control. We have also done hand feeding with all our dogs which I think has also helped a lot with all of our training endeavors.


  • Your absolutely right. A while back Chance exhibited the same behavior and we immediately started to hand feed him and sit next to him while he ate. He slowely turned around…(now this is where I made the mistake) We stopped the training. We thought he was a good pup and all was well. Guess not! Our B outsmarted us again! This time now he is getting more vicious. He never gave me the evil eye. Really, the look is quite scarry. Its not just food though that makes him nasty. I leaned down to take him over to his bed and he about snapped at me.
    A HUGE concern though is when we go to put him in his crate. He hates his crate. He knows our routine and right before crate time he runs and hides in the corner. Its quite sad. He will cowl in the corner looking up at us with those big brown eyes giving us every sad look he can give. Lately he growls when we lean down to pick him up. We have tried to "trick" him by making him think he isn't going to the crate but he knows. We have used treats, food and toys to try to lure him in but he is stubborn.

    Lastly...do you think adding a "bitch" to the mix is such a good idea? Now im really worried!
    I will go back to the training and will get the book. We are just so surprised that he is exhibiting this behavior. He has always been so loving and friendly. Is like he has warped into this beast at times!


  • @lvoss:

    I use trading up in my house and we also have worked with the dogs on Levels method of teaching leave it though we are sort of stuck between Level 2 and 3. Some of that is also that stay is a concept that my basenjis really struggle with and Leave It is related to Stay since both are about self control.

    When do you think these two commands should begin to be taught to a pup? I already have Dallas learning sit, look, & down but everytime I try leave it or stay he just doesn't comprehend AT ALL. He is only 11 weeks today so is that too young to expect him to even understand these or should I just keep at it?


  • @Ninabeana26:

    When do you think these two commands should begin to be taught to a pup? I already have Dallas learning sit, look, & down but everytime I try leave it or stay he just doesn't comprehend AT ALL. He is only 11 weeks today so is that too young to expect him to even understand these or should I just keep at it?

    The leave it command, IMO, should be started immediately, they are never too young to learn… while their attention spam is pretty short... still it should be started right away.
    Think of it this way, when your pup "chews" on something that is not appropriate, what do you do? You tell them no and give them something that they can chew on... no different then the "leave it" command...

    And everyone with a new puppy should be working with their pup as far as being able to take that food away...


  • Also the key to any training is being consistent… and not giving in.... If you ask for the leave it command, don't stop till they did it... look for the first sign that they are "getting" the idea and then praise, praise and mor praise. And it doesn't always have to be food motived... again as always IMO...

    For Vanessa, I think that the "leash" idea is a great one, then you do not have to try and put your hands on him... you can use the leash and then you don't give him the opportunity to even try to "bite". How much time is Chance spending in a crate? Can you try and xpen instead?


  • You can begin immediately with both trading up and Leave It. Anytime your pup is chewing on something you don't want them to chew on, trade them for something they should chew on. Also when they are chewing on those really good things trade them something really yummy for that thing so they learn that you give really good things for them to give you what they already have.

    As for Leave It, we just start with a treat in my hand, I make a fist around the treat show them my fist and as soon as they stop nosing, pawing, trying to get the treat and back off, I then say take it and give them the treat. This will progress to them seeing a treat on my open hand and not taking it without permission, to seeing food on a table or on the ground and not taking it without permisssion (this is the place we are stuck at).

    For Stay, I have used many different techniques and have found that my dogs "get" 300 hundred peck method best. We start with a sit, click treat, then sit count 1, click treat, sit count 1,2, click treat, and just build time. If they break position what sit, down, stand, whatever you are working on then just go back to the beginning. For pups holding still is really hard so make sure the training sessions are short and they are rewarded with a chance to move at the end.

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