Dog to dog greeting aggression question

  • When I first adopted my bboy, he was so timid and scared of people that he just lit up with delighted tail wags everytime there was another dog - any dog. As he's grown more confident with people, he's grown more dominant in his relationship with my bgirl and, unfortunately, other dogs. In particular, we like to go walking down at the beach in the evenings, when there are up to 20 other dogs (an ever-changing population) milling about with their owners. My boy immediately gets along with about half of them, but the other half, watch out. The initial greeting is a sniff and a tail wag, but within 30 seconds my boy will start growling and trying to start a fight to assert his dominance. I'm nearly positive that this is what he's trying to do, because as soon as the other dog shows submissive body language, the growling stops and they start to play. He does the same thing with a few dogs at the dog park, both of which situations have unfortunately led me to stop taking him to either place. We do still have a weekly play-date with another male basenji, and interestingly enough both males let my female dominate them in this situation. I understand that dominance shows are a natural part of doggy socialization and that as soon as they "work it out" the dogs would be friends, but I can't have him growling and fighting with every dog at the beach or dog park while they figure out who's boss. Not only that, but unless they see the same dog over and over again, they seem to forget who was boss last time and have to re-work it out every time they see each other. Needless to say, this plan is just not feasible for either of these two group-doggie situations. I really just want to get my dogs some healthy socialization time – any thoughts on how we might overcome this?

  • Sorry, not much to say about it but I have seen dogs displaying "worse" type of behaviour than yours. Some owners can't even let a dog approach or sniff their dogs for fear of a fight. I took mine to a beach last week-end for the first time and I kept her on the leash because when I let her loose, I was told off by some owners -one in particular- that told me their dogs could start a fight and believe me they were much smaller dogs than my Basenji and much more nasty looking and sounding. Keep him on the leash for a while but please, don't deprive him of the joy of sniffing others and playing at "who is the boss this time"! I think they like doing that and it's true, the dominant one may change from day to day! my old cat dominates my dog sometimes and other times, she has to hide from her!!!

  • Have you done any basic obediences classes with your dog?
    It will help.

  • Well, I have the same problem with my Basenji girls. I read on the Net that Basenji females are usually the dominant ones. Whenever I bring them out for walks, I have to be wary of dogs that come to close bacause my girls will sniff then bare their fangs, tuck the ears and growl. There was once one of my girls suddenly attacked a terrier while I was trying to drag them away and carry my beach stuff at the same time.

  • Jazz starts growling on sighting another dog, doesn't matter how far away they are nor how large. She often say there's a reason the AKC calls her a "Champion Bitch".

    Keoki is more willing to meet and greet. He'll always greet with hackles raised but otherwise friendly enough.

  • There's a reason they call them "Bitches", hehehe.

    Anne in Tampa

  • I have 2 basenjis. One male and one female. They both have their moments of aggression, but for very different reasons. She is great with people and other dogs. She loves when people pay attention to her and she loves to run and play with other dogs. However, if you try to take her chewy away when she is not eating it or try and get her to move from a comfortable spot on our couch or her bed (like when it's time for her to go to her crate when we leave the house)…she will growl and possibly nip at you.

    My boy, on the other hand, has grown over the past couple years more territorial and possessive of me and my husband. If he is lying with me or my husband and she comes into the room, he will growl and jump up immediately to ward her off and sometimes has bitten us simply by mistake trying to get to her. (To be fair she does the same thing...the are so jealous of one another when it come to our affection) He also will snip at strangers who come to our home. We have to constantly tell people to ignore him and show him no attention and eventually he accepts them and goes on with his business. If they try to show attention to him, he will snip and has bitten them. He also feels the need to show his dominance around other dogs and can be aggressive as well. He was not like that a few years ago so we are not sure why the behavor change has occurred.

  • I can share info on trading with you…when you dog has something he shouldn't, don't try to grab it, get a dog chew and "trade" the dog for the item they shouldn't have.
    Do it calmly and make this something you do always...rather than "grabbing" the item.
    I use a happy voice, and Trade as the word...after working with the dogs, often they will give you the item and then you go into the kitchen and give them a 2 are good with that.
    So, work on when they get something that will make them sick, it won't result in a bite to you...
    Also, the dogs "protecting you" is called resource guarding and you should not let this go on...
    But then, you didn't ask for my if you want to know more, let me know.

  • Thanks for the information. My female dog "Senji" is not food or treat motivated. It's hard to find something to trade with her on. The only reason I have to sometimes take her chewy is because she won't eat it when it given to her. I will give both of them a chewy. My Boy "Kink" who IS food motivated will eat his immediately. She on the other hand, lays it next to her near her bed and uses it to taunt him when he finishes his. He just sits looking at he so pitiful like and she just sits there growling back at him and showing her teeth, but won't eat the chewy. So I often times just take it away to avoid all the comotion. I have gone to distraction techniques as she is motivated by going outside (AND SHE HAS TO BE THE FIRST ONE OUT THE DOOR) So if I say "want to go outside?" she then will go and I can remove the chewy. But then I feel bad when she comes back in and is looking for it and often gets snippy with Kink as she thinks he ate it. I feel deceiptful by doing it that way, but she's not motivated by food or any toys.

    Also feel free to give me advice on their behavior with respect to "guarding" us.


  • Resource guarding is something that dogs shouldn't really do.
    YOUR the ones who tell them that they can be by you, and they should respect that.
    So, say your on the couch and one b comes up and you snuggle with them, as we all do, then the other b comes over and the one by you growls.
    What you do is just get up and move to the other room.
    Don't say anything, just leave.
    For the first few days, you wil fill like a pogo stick…but it really does work and the b's will get the idea that you are not to be guarded.
    Also, once they are both on the floor,looking to come up next to you, YOU invite them, and tell them what side you want them on.
    DON'T let one get up and then stand on you, its trying to claim you. If one does, you should stand up, letting the dog be dumped on the floor and leave.
    Make them learn that they are to be invited up next to you and they have to have manners when they are.
    It will keep you from being the center of a dog fight. Which will happen when one feels the other "owns" you more...
    Really, its to me pretty important.
    This should be something both adult humans do, it does help the dogs to get to the mental place they should be.

  • Very good advice. Thank you I will try that. I have actually done that on a few occasions as they have irriated me so much with this behavior, but I have not been consistent since I wasn't sure it would help or not. I will proceed as you suggest and perhaps I can finally stop this madness this occurs almost every evening as we lay on the couch watching TV. Thanks again!

  • I will take a bit of time, but it does work.
    Please let us know how it goes.

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