My Basenji was "that dog" today

I took the dogs to a new Doggie Day care today, they will be getting boarded there for Christmas and I wanted to make sure that they and I are comfortable.

When I went to pick them up the women there, who is also the dog trainer, sat me down and nicely said to me "tell me about the Basenji", I knew from that moment something didn't go well today. crap. I said to her, "What do you mean?" Apparently, Zahra was a "little" aggressive with the little dogs. I am floored because she never acts like that, she has been to doggie day care once before when she was younger and she did fine. 😕

The trainer there told me that Basenji's can be aggressive and we will have to see how it goes next time.

I am so floored, all I could think about was a pit bull Hyde to my sweet Basenji Jekyll. I was also pretty embarrassed, she does well at the dog park, with the neighbor dogs, and the only thing that I can think of is that she is always the smaller dog and they are always bigger maybe that was the problem some of the dogs were smaller and she was showing dominance. 😞

<_>

Don't be embarrassed 🙂 *You didn't bite anybody 😉

Seriously though, basenjis are really, really sensitive to other dogs' body language. And they are very, very sensitive to other dogs trying to dominate them…they just don't like it. IMO, it isn't so much that they are naturally aggressive, but that they are naturally defensive...you know, growl first, ask questions later.... I tell people, my dogs aren't likely to start a fight, but they certainly won't walk away from a fight.

It could be that there was a dog there that thought Zahra should back down to him, and she disagreed.

Either way, in all the years I worked at a training center that had a doggy day school, there was never a basenji that could stay for more than a few times 😞 That is just the nature of the breed...of course there are exceptions...but I haven't personally met one yet.

It's not the end of the world. I would imagine she can still stay at the kennel without being part of the day school? And if she does great with her other doggy friends, and at the dog park, that is great!_

my dog does fine at daycare and is always welcome there. however, I know he doesn't do well w/ any small (toy) dogs. his prey drive takes over, and it's game on. so, I made sure to tell the daycare that, and they placed him in an appropriate sized group. the daycare I use also takes the time to introduce dogs to other dogs slowly, one a a time (first time is through a fence, second time is nose to nose, third time if all goes well is supervised play), and make note of interactions. so they don't put two dominant dogs together, resulting in issues.

btw - even though my dog is very well socialized, and has attended daycare without incident - he's still gotten himself kicked out of a playgroup for dominance. my sweet little boy decided to take on all the dogs for top spot in the group and would NOT give up… so he got the boot.

I tried Nala at our local doggy daycare once. When I arrived to pick her up they told me that she had a few "time outs" during her visit.
I then took her to a local trainer who does home boarding and training at her home for a hefty price. It was worth every penny. She knew all about what Andrea had to say above and had me bring her over so she could evaluate what I thought was "aggressive" behavior.
Maybe you can look for someone like that in your area for the future? I agree, do NOT be embarrassed, it is their ignorance about "doggie speak and body language". They should be embarassed!

I don't think this daycare handled the situation very well, to start off with it is her job to know about your Basenji, and how to handle them. I say she needs to study up on this breed to start with, and yes they like to be in charge, AND!!!!!! Take care and don't be embarassed, Zahara is a wonderful dog, I have seen her at the dog parks, no problem. I would definitely look elsewhere, and go and tell them about Basenjis and there dominance issues.

The last trip my husband and i went on we left Sandie with the same person as usual and had to go back next morning to pick her up… she did fine with the boxer but the 2 little dogs were toys for her...(I too felt somewhat embarrased this is a customer of mine) She was dominating them standing over them putting her feet on top of them ... Nancy was scared that Sandie would hurt one of them. Sandie did the same to my sisters papillion, so she cant go visit there again, for a while anyways. Here at home she still tries that with the cats...1 will run from her, the other 2 stand thier ground...Ive also noticed she does that to my feet... sometimes i think its play, but when she continues it, I make her stop and sit.

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I think this is really important. The intro is so important in dog interactions. I have seen day schools, and dog parks where incoming dogs enter right into the pack..it can be stressful and overwhelming for the incoming dog, and they immediately get defensive.

WOW! I didn't know Basenjis had dominance issues and issues with small dogs. I just thought my dogs were aggressive. People have asked about doggy play dates but I've declined as I'm not sure how my dogs will react. C3 is usually very defensive about other dogs & he actually nipped at my neighbor's dog (Yorkie) when he tried to be friendly & the yorkie was in his owners arms. SHOCK! Topaz will just follow what C3 does…oh brother!

Will I ever be able to go on vacation??

the daycare I use also takes the time to introduce dogs to other dogs slowly, one a a time (first time is through a fence, second time is nose to nose, third time if all goes well is supervised play), and make note of interactions. so they don't put two dominant dogs together, resulting in issues.

Jessi where is this daycare??

<_>

This might be nitpicky…but I really don't think 'dominance' is the right word here. If you think of it in terms of people interactions...if someone is an introvert, they love their family, but don't care to spend time with many other people, and they certainly don't like to be forced to interact with strangers. They can be overreactive to interacting with other people...and the very sensitive to the subtle communcation signals that humans use. That certainly doesn't mean they are trying to dominate the other person, honestly, they would rather not interact with them at all! If forced to interact, they might snap at someone who kept on pushing into their space or face....

IMO, basenjis (as a whole) are NOT dominant dogs.....most are somewhat to extremely introverted as adults. But what they really want is for other dogs to give them some space, and read their signals as well as other basenjis do!

Just rambling out loud ;)_

jys1011 - it's in massachusetts.

andrea, good clarification! (not nitpicky!).

with small dogs, it's not 'dominance', it's more like an overactive-prey drive, at least, that's how it is w/ my dog. basically anything small & furry (except HIS own 2 cats) = toy. a toy to be jumped on, squashed, chased, smacked around, and ultimately ends up in his mouth.

I whole heartedly agree Andrea. My obedience instructor refers to my basenjis and her own border terrier as "reactive". They do not like rude dogs in their space and react to having that personal space invaded. Her border terrier actually gets along pretty well with my basenjis because they all respect each others' need for space.

I will again put in a plug for The Language of Dogs DVD, it gives some good examples of what polite dog language is and the cues dogs give each other to say "back off" or "please leave me alone" and how they say "play with me" or "come closer"

@Quercus:

<_>

This might be nitpicky…but I really don't think 'dominance' is the right word here. If you think of it in terms of people interactions...if someone is an introvert, they love their family, but don't care to spend time with many other people, and they certainly don't like to be forced to interact with strangers. They can be overreactive to interacting with other people...and the very sensitive to the subtle communcation signals that humans use. That certainly doesn't mean they are trying to dominate the other person, honestly, they would rather not interact with them at all! If forced to interact, they might snap at someone who kept on pushing into their space or face....

IMO, basenjis (as a whole) are NOT dominant dogs.....most are somewhat to extremely introverted as adults. But what they really want is for other dogs to give them some space, and read their signals as well as other basenjis do!

Just rambling out loud ;)_

_
I was trying really hard to come up with this response – and then you did it for me. Quoting the whole thing so that it will be on page 2, as well. :)_

This morning I put an emergency call in to the really good doggie day care that I use to take Chase to when it was just him. Zahra has been there once so I know that she was able to go there. The place is wonderful, it is a farm and they live for the dogs there, they have a few pastures that are fenced in with the dog friendly fencing and they run in groups and play.

I told them about Zahra's incident yesterday so they gave me a report card when I picked her up, it read as follows:

Your dog socialized with other dogs: Very Good
At snack time your dog ate her snakc: Yes
At rest time your dog: Barked continuously (that part was a check block, they should have crossed out the word bark and put Baroooooo) but soon settled down for a quick nap
Overall your dog's behavior was: Excellent

When I picked her up the girl who brought her up told me that Zahra renewed her liking in the breed, she had been biten by a Basenji at the Pet Hotel (This place also has an amazing pet hotel) and had been a little hesitant because she had not seen another one besides that Basenji. Zahra was a complete sweetheart and wanted to be petted and followed her around.

Thank goodness today was a better day, I knew that my Zahra was not "aggressive" you just have to know how to deal with a Basenji. I am curious how much running they did at the other day care yesterday, at this place they run all day and come home exhausted. In fact they are both passed out on the couch behind me!

The only bummer about this place is that it is $42.00 for both of them for the day. I can do a package deal and it would be a little cheaper and I know it would be worth it because they are in a good spot. With my husband away for a while this is such a treat for me because they are getting extra attention and I am getting a night off from tiring them out!

Thanks for listening guys!

In the last few days, I have been able to experience Basenji-to-dog interaction as a friend who has a golden is staying with me. Sunny, the golden, is happy go lucky and doesn't seem to figure out that my Joey needs his space. She is always in his face and doesn't remember the "gentle reminders" (e.g. snaps!) that Joey gives her. The comment about Bs not liking rude dogs is, I think, an appropriate description. Interestingly, when Sunny was put in her crate, he settled in right next to her crate with no problems. I did not scold Joey for snapping because this is his house and she is a "visitor" for the first time. Did I do the right thing?

@JoeyQ:

In the last few days, I have been able to experience Basenji-to-dog interaction as a friend who has a golden is staying with me. Sunny, the golden, is happy go lucky and doesn't seem to figure out that my Joey needs his space. She is always in his face and doesn't remember the "gentle reminders" (e.g. snaps!) that Joey gives her. The comment about Bs not liking rude dogs is, I think, an appropriate description. Interestingly, when Sunny was put in her crate, he settled in right next to her crate with no problems. I did not scold Joey for snapping because this is his house and she is a "visitor" for the first time. Did I do the right thing?

IMO, I think Joey is just letting Sunny know, hey this is my house and these are the rules. A growl or grumble is just Basenji speak to let Sunny know who lives there and who's visiting.

I think you did the right thing.:)

As usual, Andrea great perspective!! I might have to communicate this to my trainer as well who Topaz is not quite fond of interacting with 🙂 HA!

Ok please send me the names & locations of these doggy day care/hotels??!!

We would not mind at all having to travel for a great place to leaver our pets on future vacations. The doggy farm sounds incredible & looks like smart people running the place too.

Lots to learn on Basenjis…this place is chocked full of info!

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Awww, thanks...blushing....I am just glad I can help 🙂

<_>

I also think you did the right thing. One problem with scolding for growling, or snapping, is that dogs will learn to go straight to an attack if they are not allowed to give the first level of warning (usually a growl). I made this mistake with one our basenjis when we were starting out. I reprimanded her for giving a warning growl, and it didn't take very long before she went straight to a silent attack. Luckily, when I stopped reprimanding her, and started managing the situation, she went back to warning with a growl.

I will tell my dogs to knock it off, and then distract them if they keep going, but I don't reprimand them anymore._

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