What can I expect from muzzling my Basenji?

My partner and I adopted a Basenji-cross from our local SPCA 2 months ago. Everything went smoothly for the first month but since then he has become aggressive with other dogs. From what I can tell this is a common Basenji behavior and we are currently seeking out a suitable dog trainer and doing our best to correct him when he is agressive.

In the meantime we feel we need to muzzle him when out on walks so he is not a threat to other dogs. We live in a rural community where the majority of people do not leash their dogs and the majority of dogs do not listen to their owners. There have already been a few close calls and it's only a matter of time before some dog or person gets hurt.

Has anyone else taken this precaution ? We have researched muzzling and spoken to an experienced dog owner who has used muzzles but I'm wondering if there any basenji specific behaviors I should anticipate when we do this?

He is on a leash yes?
The other dogs are loose?


Has anyone else taken this precaution ? We have researched muzzling and spoken to an experienced dog owner who has used muzzles but I'm wondering if there any basenji specific behaviors I should anticipate when we do this?

Many dogs display a variety of distance increasing signals that are not aggression but can be mistaken as such by dog owners. These distance increasing signals are used when a dog's option to flee has been removed such as being on leash and having an unleashed dog approach, often quite rudely. Using a muzzle on a dog that is already demonstrating that is uncomfortable in these situations will probably cause escalation since they dog is still forced to remain in a situation that it feels is not safe. It may also increase the chance that your dog will be attacked by these unleashed dogs and will have its main defense removed.

Living in rural setting does not mean that the leash laws that most areas have are not still law. Look into a product like Direct Stop. When you first see an unleashed dog call out to the owner to leash their dog. You are in the right to walk you dog leashed and deserve to be able to do so safely. If it is a large problem in your area, contact your animal control department and let them know that you do not feel safe walking in your own neighborhood because there are so many people violating the leash law. You do not need to bring your dog into it, unleashed dogs create a safety hazard, they do not follow traffic laws and they cause much fear and anxiety in people who are afraid of dogs.

I would agree with lvoss…I find that a dog that is already uncomfortable will ony become more uncomfortable when muzzled. If your dog is on a leash and the other dogs and owners are not respecting leash laws, then I would hate to see you punish your dog more for others being iresponsible. Leash laws are there for a reason. I walk occasionaly in rural areas around Oregon with my dogs. If we ever get into an area with othr dogs/people I leash them back up immediatly. We have had times when we run into other dogs on our daily walks that are not on leash, both Charlie and Zaire tend to give unleashed dogs distance increasing signals (a quick growl, a sneeze, posturing). Usualy I sinply turn away from the other dogs at this point and walk my two in the opposite direction. Rather than muzzling you may want to be aware of how to read what your pup is asking, which seems to be (Please can we get some distance between me and that loose dog). But all this is just my opinion, I am rather anti muzzle unless it is for coursing.

Here is a really good article that might have some good information for you.


Thank you everyone for the good advice. We realize there are many changes going in our dog's life over the past two months. Being on a leash is probably a big one, chances are his previous owners never leashed him. Typically in the valley where he was found dogs often run around in packs.

I think maybe we'll hold off on the muzzle it may be too much for him to take. As for leash laws and irresponsible owners there isn't a darn thing we can do about it. I come from a big city and I have never seen dogs get the run of the land the way they do here, it's just the way it is. The best solution probably is to turn him around and walk away.

I'd suggest getting the book Control Unleashed. Available from dogwise.com or cleanrun.com Maybe amazon. Check around for the best deal. I've done a bit of training with my baesnjis and I've been doing the CU protocol with my youngest and I am so impressed! This is one of the best books out there on how to deal with a dog that is distractive or reactive. There's also a list (HIGH volume!) that may help you find someone in your area to do some of the CU exercises.

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