Wit's End… Please help.

Hello to all-

We have a 2 year old female basenji, 8 year old lab and now a new 3 month great dane. Our basenji, Marley, has been extremely diffcult as of late and I am in need of some advice. She has always been aggressive towards dogs except for our lab. When i take her on walks, she pulls very hard to get to other dogs and I cannot distract her. Since she was a puppy, she has been around other dogs and I thought that she was well socialized. Now, I think not. She has become extremely aggressive with the new puppy and me! She's attacked the puppy almost everyday and attacked me as well when i was petting the puppy. Also, everyday since the new one arrived, she has pooped twice each day in the house! I am at my wit's end especially since she attacked me. Any advice would be much appreciated, I don't know what else to do.

thank you so much!!!

Have you taken your basenji to any type of training? I mean obedience?
That will help you work with her to get her to understand your her owner.
Also, adult dogs often decide when a puppy is misbehaving and they will correct the pup.
Its not clear if that is the issue, or there is something else going on.
Are all your dogs fixed?

See if you can find a behaviorist or trainer. I'd want one familiar with Control Unleashed or Click to Calm. Both books would be a tremendous help! But it is a process that will take some time.

And exactly what do you mean by "attacking" you…. a more detailed description might help us understand what she is doing. Not alll are thrilled with a new pup in the house... and as Sharron said, many times they will be correcting the pup and owners think they are "attacking"....
Have you talked to her breeder? Many time too they know their dogs best and can give you ideas/solutions...

Jazzy was socialized as a puppy – went to puppy classes {hated her classmates} dog shows, public parks, etc, and still HATES other dogs. Period. That's who she is and I work with that.

With our other dogs, she will often lash out at them when she is jealous of the attention they get. Are you sure that your dog is attacking you, or telling puppy to back off?
She may just need time and space to adjust to the new dog in the house. How were they introduced? That can make a difference in how accepting they are of the new dogs.

Sharron is right, I think; maybe a little extra training work is in order.

What do you mean by "attack". Is she trying to get your attention. I have 2 Bs and both of them are always trying to get my attention and affection. If I pat one of them, the other would get jealous and start biting the former. If that don't work, they will climb over me, jump on me till I give in

Thank you all for your replies. I have taken her to obedience school so she does have training. She has never once aggressively went after the lab, it's only the puppy. For instance, on Friday morning I was sitting on the ground and the puppy came to me so I was petting her and then the basenji came running up and aggressively biting the puppy. I tried to block her from biting but she bit my hand and then she took a chunk out of my forearm. The scary thing was, she wouldn't stop.

Most of the "attacks" (not sure how to word it otherwise) are random. Sometimes the puppy will just be walking away and Marley will go into her aggressive mode and jump on her and start biting the puppy's neck. The puppy will be screaming and it's difficult to stop Marley from biting unless we physically pull her off. This happens about 10 times per day. The ones that I have seen, the puppy has not been provoking Marley.

From your last description of events, it sounds like Marley (the basenji) simply doesn't like the puppy and sees it as a threat. I would talk to your breeders.

As others have mentioned, it is normal for an adult dog to "correct" a puppy's behavior but what you have described does not sound normal. Puppies understand and accept behavior corrections from adult dogs but if the attacks from Marley truly are random with no reason to do so (such as out of jealously or hatred) then the puppy will become "jumpy" and nervous and extended living in that situation will change the pup's temperament. (How would a person feel if another person randomly and for no reason suddenly punched them? The person would become nervous wondering when the next punch would arrive.) I would highly recommend bringing in a professional canine behaviorist asap. If this is not possible, I would send the puppy back to it's breeder or rehome it and the sooner the better.

My best wishes to you and I sincerely hope that you are able to find a way to bring peace to the household.

Just a few comments on this situation. I agree with the last post that if you can't get this resolved soon then this situation will have lasting effects on the puppy's mental state. However, I do have some suggestions as well. Particularly if you are happy with 3 dogs and don't want to give any back/rehome yet.

  1. How often do you walk the group of dogs together? I realize that puppies sometimes can't keep up with the stamina of older dogs so you may have to walk the old ones a bit and then join them with the puppy. Walking the group not only helps establish your leadership role but you may be able to drain some energy from the puppy, which may be annoying your b, or energy from your b who may not be getting enough exercise and is taking it out on the puppy.

  2. You now have a pack of dogs and the adults will often correct pups if they feel the pup needs correcting. However, if you are more on top of it then they are, they won't feel the need to do so. Additionally, you should not allow it as that is a role of a leader dog and you should be the "leader" dog.

  3. Do you give the puppy more leeway than you do the other two dogs? I.e. can the puppy jump up on you and you give it affection when you would normally scold the others for doing the same behavior? If you find yourself unconsciously favoring the puppy (allowing bad behavior because it is small and fuzzy and cute) then you will be creating instability in your pack and your other dogs. Give them all affection equally. Give them all discipline equally. Give them all attention equally.

  4. You mentioned that this is happening like 10 times a day. Do you crate train your dogs? Some quiet time in a crate with the dogs side by side (crate next to crate) may help. Give treats and praise for good, nonaggressive behavior in the crates next to each other. This way you can also prevent your b's attacks from resulting in injury when she's close to the pup. The crates will protect the pup. Don't however, crate the pup and let your b roam free if your b terrorizes the puppy (excessive barking and charging at the crate) inside it. Additionally, I wouldn't crate the b and let the puppy roam. That would only add to the instability as discussed above. You don't want the b to feel that the puppy's position is higher in the pack than it should be.

  5. Once they are good with each other in the crates side by side, you can move to treats and praise for quiet nonaggressive behavior outside the crates.

  6. You also should be on the lookout for pre-aggressive signals in your b. It is usually only a matter of seconds but sometimes you can catch them. If it appears that the attacks are "randomn" they may just be sending more subtle aggression or dominance signals and you aren't catching it. If your b is showing too intense a focus, maintained eye contact, or gets suddenly very still, she is probably about to charge and bite the puppy. Correct these behaviors by whatever snaps her focus back to you - her name called, a quick no if she responds to it or a command for a behavior like lay down that she does very consistantly. You will then be asking for her to pay attention to you and she can't pay attention to you and the puppy at the same time.

  7. I would say that if your b is pretty dominant, you should let her display some of those behaviors around the puppy though. She may feel her position in the pack is threatened. Typically, the middle ranking dogs in a pack are most aggressive, not the alpha dogs and not the omega dogs as they rarely have need to be. The middle dogs jostle for position amoungst themselves a lot more. She may be in this role (she never attacks your lab and the lab may be most dominant) and is attacking the puppy to make certain it doesn't try to usurp her position. Ex: Allow your b to get up on the furniture (if that's okay with you) and bark to keep the puppy off. Or allow her to push the puppy away from his food or take a toy/bone away from the puppy as long as you can make sure the puppy gets enough to eat, chew on etc. Just make sure you have enough extra toys/bones to give the puppy another one.

  8. One last suggestion is that you might want to engage your dogs including the puppy in a tug-of-war game. I know with bully breeds this is not always the best game because it brings out their fighting nature but with the hunting dogs you shouldn't have as much of a problem. Your b will most likely win against the puppy and as long as you win (more than 70% of the time) against her or the lab this shouldn't undermine your authority.

Hope these help.

oops forgot to mention one last thing. You mentioned that a lot of the attacks happen when the puppy is walking away. In terms of dominance rituals, a more dominant dog will turn its back and walk away from a less dominant dog or sit away or yawn at the dominant dog. A more submissive fearful dog will back away from a dominant dog and make sure to keep eyes on it as it backs up. Your puppy may accidentally be acting dominant, when in reality it is just being a attention-is-elsewhere puppy. I am not saying you should prevent your puppy from doing this but be aware that if your b is trying to assert dominance, this will be a situation you'll need to more carefully watch your b.

@PhocoenaGirl:

  1. One last suggestion is that you might want to engage your dogs including the puppy in a tug-of-war game. I know with bully breeds this is not always the best game because it brings out their fighting nature but with the hunting dogs you shouldn't have as much of a problem. Your b will most likely win against the puppy and as long as you win (more than 70% of the time) against her or the lab this shouldn't undermine your authority.

Boy, I would think the last thing the owner would want to do was play any sort of tug-of-war games with the dogs/puppy in this particular situation. Nothing I've ever read about tug-of-war is about it being ok with specific breeds, but I have read that it does potentially encourage aggressive behavior…regardless of breed. I think YodelDogs hit the mark with the recommendation that either a behaviorist or the breeder should get involved ASAP.

@renaultf1:

Boy, I would think the last thing the owner would want to do was play any sort of tug-of-war games with the dogs/puppy in this particular situation. Nothing I've ever read about tug-of-war is about it being ok with specific breeds, but I have read that it does potentially encourage aggressive behavior…regardless of breed. I think YodelDogs hit the mark with the recommendation that either a behaviorist or the breeder should get involved ASAP.

I realize that tug-of-war games may promote aggressive tendencies :mad: but they are also an ecologically relevant outlet for dominance and aggression issues. Obviously, the tug toy should be completely controlled by the owner - stored where dogs don't have access, brought out and put away by the owner. Additionally, the owner should supervise the dogs with the tug toy. The aggressive dog can't bite/attack the puppy with a tug toy in its mouth (as the owner should present the toy to that dog first). The aggression could ensue if the puppy gets the toy first, that is why the owner must strictly control the toy.

I was only providing a few ideas and suggestions. 🙂 Although not all of my suggestions may work in every situation, a behavioralist would provide a variety of suggestions as well and not every one will be effective. If the original poster doesn't feel comfortable with any suggestion from a fellow owner or from a behavioralist, then they definitely shouldn't try it.

@PhocoenaGirl:

  1. I would say that if your b is pretty dominant, you should let her display some of those behaviors around the puppy though. She may feel her position in the pack is threatened. Typically, the middle ranking dogs in a pack are most aggressive, not the alpha dogs and not the omega dogs as they rarely have need to be. The middle dogs jostle for position amoungst themselves a lot more. She may be in this role (she never attacks your lab and the lab may be most dominant) and is attacking the puppy to make certain it doesn't try to usurp her position. Ex: Allow your b to get up on the furniture (if that's okay with you) and bark to keep the puppy off. Or allow her to push the puppy away from his food or take a toy/bone away from the puppy as long as you can make sure the puppy gets enough to eat, chew on etc. Just make sure you have enough extra toys/bones to give the puppy another one.

Um yeah.. not.
You should NOT give her the freedom to display her dominance. There should be only ONE alpha in your house and that is YOU. All those dogs should get along. I could see if it were two basenji girls going at it, but Basenjis generally get along well with other breeds. They just tend to be more territorial around other basenjis.
Training is a must, but if you cannot get this under control, like yesterday, then perhaps sending back the Dane pup would put your circle back to normal without instilling any fear in the Dane puppy…. that is the last thing you'd want to happen to it.
AND if there were no ''attacking'' prior to the introduction of the Dane puppy, I'd venture to say your B pup will go ''back to how she was'' HOPEFULLY!
Good luck with this!!

@khanis:

Um yeah.. not.
You should NOT give her the freedom to display her dominance. There should be only ONE alpha in your house and that is YOU. All those dogs should get along.

I am sorry if I was confusing in my original post as the above post obviously indicates that I was. I agree with the above post in that you should be the only one alpha in your house. You should have control over the dominance displays and any other behaviors of all members of your pack. However, between pack members displays also occur and you have the final say over what is tolerable and what is not. Your b should never be allowed to display dominance over you or other humans in the household however even the behavior where adults growl/bark etc at pups to correct them is a dominance behavior - just not dominant over you.

I hope that clears up what I was saying. If not, please ask again.

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