• I have a new baby Basenji girl, Ruba, who is just about 9 weeks old. She's a real sweetheart, and overall not unlike other puppies I've been around. Occasionally she growls a bit when you try to pick her up. It's usually when she's really tired or engaged in doing something else. Also, the growling is by no means really nasty.

    Is this common to the breed? What's the best remedy?


  • I would say that it isn't *uncommon to the breed. And I would just gently continue with what you are doing when she starts to growl, and kind of baby talk her out of it 'oh, you silly puppy, I don't want to hear that'…but you gently continue with what you intended to do. It might help to announce yourself as you start to pick her up 'hey puppy, here I come' Usually a happy, fun voice makes the experience more tolerable for the puppy, and they come to learn to like it! Whatever you do, you don't want to (at this age and stage) let her growl stop you from doing what she doesn't want you to do. The rules are different for an adult that is growling at you in that situation, but this baby is just trying it out.


  • Thanks. That sounds pretty reasonable.

    As far as play biting goes, should I be careful to always say, "no" when she does it, or will she grow out of it like other breeds?


  • @RubaDad:

    Thanks. That sounds pretty reasonable.

    As far as play biting goes, should I be careful to always say, "no" when she does it, or will she grow out of it like other breeds?

    I would say you don't have to say "no"…but you should make it clear that you won't interact with puppy when she does it. I usually shreik 'ow' and pull my hand away, or walk away, or put the puppy down as soon as teeth touch skin. Pretty soon, the puppy gets it and will start licking instead...but not when they are all wound up...they best idea is to give her a time out when she is completely out of control...either you leave the room (puppyproofed) or put her in a crate or x-pen.

    And, yes, she will most likely outgrow it....but it takes awhile, so it is best to let her know you don't want to interact when she does it.


  • Who is her breeder?


  • Khani's Basenjis in Portland, OR


  • @RubaDad:

    Khani's Basenjis in Portland, OR

    Good choice 🙂


  • Kathy has nice dogs, I am sure she will be helpful with any issues you have with this pup.


  • i've had tons of conversations over email with Kathy awhile back.. she is an amazing person and listened and helped with my problems and i didnt even have a dog from her! definately one of the nicest people i've ever chatted with!


  • Our puppy Gaia (11 weeks old) felled from the stairs while she was chasing one of our cats. She had a painly chest, and when we picked her up she growled.
    We went to the vet who gave her some painkillers, but first the growling stayed. We picked her up gently several times and talked friendly words and we ignored her growling.When she was really angry, we let her know that we didn't accept that behaviour. At that moments we "bite" her in the neck with our hands and say "no".We try to feed her up by positive rewards, but sometimes she need to know that we are in charge.
    We don't accept growling followed by "teeth".
    We read a lot of dogbooks including the Basenji book from Kenworthy.
    And she also says: "If you are not an alpha person by nature, don't try to pretend that you are; your Basenji will see right through you. You need not to be a drill sergeant or a bully but you do need to be in charge".
    Constantly say "no" and punishment is the wrong way for a Basenji pup, but she must know who are the leaders of the pack.


  • Taking your dog to a gentle obedience class is a way to establish
    communication between you and your b.
    Puppy class is really a must.
    It will help, but it must be a positive class.


  • We take our puppy to a puppy class since she was 9 weeks old!
    It is a training working by positive rewarding.
    But a puppy training is just a supplement to the way you dealing with your pup. Puppy training is less then 10% of the time you spend with your dog.
    I fully agree that especially a Basenji needs positive training. But I am not convinced that only positiveness will work. In the 80's most dogtraining schools trained with negative attention. Through research men dicovered that positive rewarding was better. I agree, but I now I see that any kind of punishment is wrong. And that is something I totally disagree with.
    In nature, a leader of the pack has also his limits and does not react with positive rewarding.
    I think that the time you spend with your Basenji is the most important. My wife is a housewife and spend everyday with Gaia.
    Everyday we walk with her in the woods, beach, take her with us everywhere.
    She gets everything she wants, but she will know that we stay in charge.


  • I have 4 basenjis, all related, Nicky is Rally's uncle and Rally is mom to Rio and Sophie. I watch their interactions all the time and though all their interactions are not always positive they also do not often have to assert "who is boss". I think it is important to also realize that just using you voice can be an appropriate correction. Positive trainers focus on setting a dog up for success, not allowing the dog access to situations that it is not ready for, slowly building a relationship with your dog so you have a lot in your toolbox to work with the dog. Positive trainers focus on helping the dog to make good choices.

    Puppy kindergarten may be a small portion of time that you work with your puppy but the experience can be very important. It gives each owner a resource to turn to when they experience the challenges their puppy presents them with. It provides the puppy with valuable socializations experiences in a controlled environment. It increases your toolbox to work with your dog as you learn different approaches to training. It is important that owners then go out and use these things in their home and while they are out with their dogs but its importance is more than just the 1 hour a week that it takes to attend.


  • I took Topper to puppy class when I first got him, though he was 1 1/2. We wanted the fun, less strict class and he had a good time. We then went on to basic obedience but never had the fun time we did at puppy class. I highly recommend it to get the basics and to bond, with you as the leader.

    Anne in tampa


  • I agree that there are all kinds of "tools" you can use to establish a good relation (friendship) with your Basenji. We use, I think, 60% rewarding, 35% ingnoring en 5% correcting. Ofcourse, our human voice is the most important tool for rewarding and correcting. I only wanna make a general statement that punishment (correcting is a better word) is not totally out of the question.
    Our Gaia learned that we don't accept growling when we pick her up, and it worked. While we picking her up, we talked with a friendly voice, let her see the things outside through the windows and now she loves it.
    That are the most important tools we use.
    But when she showed her teeth we did correcting her.
    With a low voice we sayed "no" and ignored her.
    Mostly that was enough,
    But when it wasn't, we grabbed her in the neck.
    We see correcting as the last posibility but we believe that sometimes it is necessary.


  • <<we see="" correcting="" as="" the="" last="" posibility="" but="" we="" believe="" that="" sometimes="" it="" is="" necessary.="">>

    I don't think you will find anybody here that disagrees with that…at least not that has spoken up about training issues. Corrections definitely have a place...but some folks' form of correction ends up doing more damage than help. Yelling, spanking, etc don't have much meaning to a dog.

    I think corrections in the form of voice are particularly effective during puppyhood when puppies are learning all about what is acceptable. I think physical corrections with an adult dog who is showing aggression in any form is a mistake.</we>


  • You're right!
    My wife and I have animals since childhood and since we are maried, almost 25 years.
    We are really animal-lovers and we can't stand it when folks take animals, just for their own satisfaction.
    We once bought a abused Parrot for a lot of money, only to give this bird a better place.
    I am delighted to her that someone of this forum understands what we are trying to say.
    And the last thing we want, is that people think that you can establish a good relationship with your Basenji through yelling, hitting etc.
    That kind of constantly fysicaly and mentaly abusing isn't right for no animal!
    😉

    @Quercus:

    <<we see="" correcting="" as="" the="" last="" posibility="" but="" we="" believe="" that="" sometimes="" it="" is="" necessary.="">>

    I don't think you will find anybody here that disagrees with that…at least not that has spoken up about training issues. Corrections definitely have a place...but some folks' form of correction ends up doing more damage than help. Yelling, spanking, etc don't have much meaning to a dog.

    I think corrections in the form of voice are particularly effective during puppyhood when puppies are learning all about what is acceptable. I think physical corrections with an adult dog who is showing aggression in any form is a mistake.</we>

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