• Hi all,

    As I've mentioned in other posts, we have recently added another pooch to our household - another B mix. We got her from the same breeder as our first B mix. The breeder is, I'll admit, a backyard breeder, but we were thinking of getting another dog to keep Charlie company, and when we saw that he had a sister out there - the last one in her litter - it was very hard to resist.

    So, Charlie (basenji-pug) is 16 months old, and Lexi (basenji-boston terrier) is 4 months old. Some of our favourite pics so far:

    The first few days were kind of tense, with Charlie really not sure what was going on, and where he stood with us and the new pup. He was snarly a lot - guarding his space mostly. She wanted to cuddle, but he didn't. And he played pretty tough - not tough enough to hurt her, but it almost always looked like he was about to strangle her - he'd really pin her down with his mouth around her neck and make strange sounds. Trying to establish his status, I think.

    Anyway, after that first week, things evened out a little. They seemed to fall into a nice routine of playing first thing in the morning, then again after their morning nap, then again after their afternoon nap, and in the evening before bed - basically whenever they were awake and perky. Their play sessions got less fierce - still very physical, but not as noisy. He became less touchy about her cuddling up beside him, and even started to cuddle up beside her!

    So, it's been about two months since Lexi has come into our home. The past two weeks or so, I think I've noticed that Charlie is getting a bit rougher and tougher again. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it or not. But more and more, he reprimands her if she's doing something and I tell her to "get off" or "leave it" (commands he associates with 'forbidden' behaviours) - he rushes over to her, growling, to pin her down and mouth her neck. Or another example: we tell the pooches to get in their crates for meals and bedtime. Charlie goes right in, but sometimes Lexi take her time. Charlie then rushes out of his crate toward her, growling, snarling, etc. To me, it looks like he's telling her off for holding them up, or maybe even trying to herd her into her crate. Also, if Lexi gets a special treat for doing something good, or sometimes for what seems like no reason at all, he rushes over, all concerned and upset, and makes a big, ugly fuss.

    From reading other threads, I gather that intervening can sometimes do more harm than good, and that dogs need to sort things out between themselves. But I don't like seeing Lexi get so much grief from her big brother. She's already more timid and submissive than Charlie ever was, and I don't want her to become a fearful dog. Thankfully, Lexi seems to bounce back from Charlie's outbursts pretty well, and doesn't seem to hold things against him. Funny thing is, she's actually pretty feisty with him, but much more timid around other dogs. She has learned, though, when to leave him alone.

    So, after that long description, my question is: Should we let Charlie 'discipline' Lexi? Are there times when it's okay for him to reprimand her, and other times when we shouldn't allow it? How rough is too rough?
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  • First of all: I think Lexi is a very cute girl! Love the first pic! I can't really agree on keeping the BYB in business.. but that's your choice.

    About Charlie 'disciplining' Lexi… if it isn't too rough, I would let them sort it out if it is about toys or something like that. If it is about him or her getting attention (or in their eyes.. not getting as much attention as the other..) from you, I wouldn't allow it. You decide who gets the attention.. not Charlie..
    If they 'fight' over food/toys, I would make sure that those things aren't just laying around. Especially not when you're not around.

    I read in your post that Charlie tries to get Lexi when she is being disciplined by you.. I would certainly not allow that.. It looks likes he is trying to 'get' Lexi when she is 'weak'. It's not his job to discipline her in the cases that you don't agree with her behaviour..


  • @Janneke:

    First of all: I think Lexi is a very cute girl! Love the first pic!

    Thank you!

    @Janneke:

    I can't really agree on keeping the BYB in business.. but that's your choice.

    When we first got Charlie, we weren't aware of the concerns regarding BYBs. We knew about pet stores and puppy mills, and thought that BYBs were a better alternative. We joined this forum shortly after getting Charlie, and learned all about the 'cons' of BYBs through members of the forum. So we were more informed when it came time to pick our next dog. We actually intended to get him/her from the Humane Society, but finding out that Charlie had a blood sister… something about it felt like we had to bring them together. I know that sounds cheesy :o

    @Janneke:

    If it is about him or her getting attention (or in their eyes.. not getting as much attention as the other..) from you, I wouldn't allow it. You decide who gets the attention.. not Charlie..

    I read in your post that Charlie tries to get Lexi when she is being disciplined by you.. I would certainly not allow that.. It looks likes he is trying to 'get' Lexi when she is 'weak'. It's not his job to discipline her in the cases that you don't agree with her behaviour..

    So if Charlie's growling and charging at Lexi because he's unhappy that she's getting more attention (as when she gets a special treat and he doesn't), or because she's being corrected by me (as when I'm telling her 'off' or 'leave it'), then you suggest we intervene. Okay… we can try that! I guess I've just been reluctant to make Charlie feel even more insecure - not only does he have to share all his things and humans with a new pup, he has to figure out his new place in the household, and his Mama and Papa are scolding him more than usual. But maybe it's helpful for him to have Mama and Papa lay down the law. I guess I just need to remember that this is a learning experience for all of us, and we all - including Charlie - need to learn new rules and boundaries. We were in such a good 'flow' with Charlie before Lexi came along... it some ways it feels like going back to puppyhood with Charlie, too.

    Anyway, thanks again for the response!


  • Just found this other thread with some useful info: http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?t=4396

    One reply on that other thread mentioned listening to the play/fight sounds - if they hit that next octave, then it's time to intervene. It's only ever gotten to that extra intense level a few times, and then they either stopped by themselves or I sprayed them with water to split them up.

    I'd like to be as hands off as possible, but without being irresponsible or allowing bad habits to form. It seems like a tricky balance to me.

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