Socializing Question

I was walking (recently adopted) Alani this morning and ran into a girl who was walking her lab puppy. The puppy really wanted to say hi and Alani was pulling but I'm not sure it was to say hi (her tail wasn't wagging and she was tufting her spine fur). The girl asked if they could say hi and I was a little reluctant so we slowly walked a little closer and I kept her collar real tight until I could read her body language a little better. They got a little closer and Alani and the puppy were just smelling each other. Then the puppy was wanting to play and was jumping up and Alani started to growl like she was going to attack her. So of course we decided to leave. My question now is, how should I keep her socialized with dogs if she acts like she's going to attack them? I don't want either dog getting bit because I know how detrimental this can be. Would greatly appreciate any feedback.

Meeting and greeting on leash can be a real problem. The tension created by the collar tightening on the dog's neck can cause a normal dog to act defensively/aggressively. But, of course, doing intros off lead is stressful for everyone, and not practical as well. The best solution, is to try to keep your lead loose, and stay calm. If your dog doesn't look like they want to meet the other dog, just say 'my dog isn't comfortable meeting dogs while on lead' or something similar.

That is kind of a quick answer. There is a lot more you could do as far as intervention and training with positive reinforcement. But it is a long and complicated process. The best resource I have found is "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons.

Also, see the *that dog thread. A lot of basenjis don't care to meet other dogs, or puppies no matter how cute! The puppy was in need of reprimand according to Alani…whether or not she would have hurt her we don't know (and can't risk finding out).

I guess I would have done just what you did, and as soon as the interaction turned bad, off we go...

I definately agree that she thought the puppy needed repremanding and is not a big fan of puppy behavior. We went to my nephews football game on Sunday and there was a Saint Bernard where we were sitting…huge. The owner said he wouldn't mind her because again I was a little aprehensive. She sniffed him and then was fine..he, of course, didn't budge at all. Then a guy sat by the both of us with a turkey leg (which I though was really stupid) and she smelled it first and then saw that the Bernard was inching torward him as well. She decided that if any one was getting that leg it should be her. She put up her fur and started growling at him furociously (he again didn't seem to even acknoledge her). The guy with the turkey leg decided it was time to move on (good thinking).

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Ha, I can just envision this in my mind! Especially the St. Bernard going 'whatever'....

There are two articles that I highly recommend for this situation.

Handling On-Lead Aggression

He Just Wants to Say "Hi"

I read both of those articles this morning and they were very helpful. I thought that the reason for the growling was because she just didn't like the way the puppy was behaving (I didn't really like it either) and seems to be true. It brought up another question that I'm going to post in a different section on how to treat dominance (am i to sit back and let her do her thing? or is she being rude and is there an action I need to be taking?). Thank you very much for those links I greatly appreciate it.

I too read the articles and more (because I need to). Lots of good stuff there. Thanks for the referral. I actually am dealing with these issues right now as I have a house guest…Apolo, a retriever mix!

HI, i take my basenji to the dog park where there are over 30 dogs in a fence in area and the only problem i have with him is pit bulls and dobermans!. but he does growl everytime i take him there but i just talk to him and change my attitude to thanking there will be no fightin and it's a nice day to play!! and it does help but , give the basenji 5 mins to introduce them to each other. and he always puts his hair up at the entrance.

Laika is a 6 year old resque. We use a martingale collar on her. She pulls all the time, specially when she sees a squirrel. She will try to get to other dogs as fast as she can. Then it is a sniff or growl. We never know if it will turn in to a fight. In the small dog park we go too, she loves to run with all the dogs. Most are small. Another thing she will try to follow any car and we have to be aware of it all the time. She loves people and likes to sit on our lap. We have tried all kinds of collars. The Easy Leader, the one that goes over the nose, works better, but she hates it. Still pulls to get to a dog.

Zumi, my 3 y/o red B boy is highly dog aggressive, to the point of being dangerous. (i nearly have to muzzle him just to go for a walk now, god forbid he see another dog)
Meeting dogs is very stressful for everyone involved. On-leash meetings are almost impossible. However, i have found a way around this for the most part.
we just have to Walk it Out. i will give a wonderful example from last month:

I had decided to spend the thanksgiving holiday with the family of a friend across the state. The only problem being, Zumi had to come with, and the family owned a Shar-pei. She is not a very active dog, and i had not met her before, but had heard she was very friendly and laid back.
We had a major whoopsie mistake as i was bringing in my bags into the house. The dogs met inside face to face. the pei was showing no aggression signals at all, but Zumi immediately lunged and attacked her neck. (thank the lord she has rolls of skin, she was not injured). We immediately separated them, dropped the bags, and i told my friend to put the dog on a leash. I met them across the street, to walk to the park. we kept the leashes loose, no tension on them to stress Zumi further.
We for the most part walked with us between the dogs, but did let them walk out front of us to sniff each other, if there was a growl or any hair-raising we would separate them and walk more briskly until they calmed down, then let them meet again, and have them walk side by side. We went maybe a mile, with lots of praise. by then the tension had ebbed, and the pei was starting to bow a bit to play, and Zumi would bounce at her and away, also to play. Our route back to the house was full of play, all tension gone. and we were all happily able to walk into the house together.

We have done this "Walk -it-Out" with quite a few dogs now, both male and female, spayed and unspayed.

I think the aggression here, and even with your girl is the way the dogs had first met. it was a head-on meeting, head on with both dogs straining on their leads is a challenge to our B's. What i suggest if you meet that girl again is if she would walk side by side with you for a bit to get the dogs acclimated to each other. have the leads loose but in your firm control should you need to separate them quickly. that way the dogs are meeting in a non-threatening way. you have to watch the dogs closely, and avoid any bad behaviors by seeing them coming, and separating the dogs without reprimand, just steer them apart maybe walk a little faster? talk to each other, and to the dogs in calm tones during the walk, create a calm and relaxed walk for them. praise them quietly. if they are walking near each other and behaving in a talking voice tell them they are being such good dogs. positive and CALM praise works wonders on my boy. no high pitched happy praise, that gets him riled.
Another thing that caught my attention was that you said you tightened the leash when approaching the dog. That is a signal to your dog that you are unsure, and makes her upset and as such will react in a more aggressive manner. If you are unsure, she is unsure. You have to remember that your dog feels and reacts to your feelings and body language too.

i hope this helps! I would hate to see your girl turn into an always defensive or aggressive dog. I know how horrible it can be.

~Char and Zumi

Very good suggestions, and yes, the tight leash can indicate to a dog that you are not in command of the situation, therefore they need to be.

Thank you, Char, for your reply. Except we have a lot of dogs walking by here, small and large. We have a large Patio door facing the street. When ever she sees another dog walking by, she goes crazy and jumps up the glass. Runs around the house trying to get to that dog. At the park she is fine with most dogs. I just came back walking her and we met 3 older ladies picking up their mail. Everyone petted her and she was such a good girl. But trying to get to other dogs puzzels me.

@marli:

Thank you, Char, for your reply. Except we have a lot of dogs walking by here, small and large. We have a large Patio door facing the street. When ever she sees another dog walking by, she goes crazy and jumps up the glass. Runs around the house trying to get to that dog. At the park she is fine with most dogs. I just came back walking her and we met 3 older ladies picking up their mail. Everyone petted her and she was such a good girl. But trying to get to other dogs puzzels me.

Believe me.. that is totally a Basenji reaction to someone walking by the house. Our dog room is over the garage and has 4 almost floor to ceiling windows that the girls watch out over "their" world in the front of the house…. and they go nuts when another dogs walks by.... they "pound" the windows with their front feet.... at the dogs... and of course people have to stop to stare and point..gggg. But the girls are fine on lead, at shows, at lure trials...

And my kids that are now over the rainbow bridge did exactly the same thing... all 6 of them!

I think it is like protecting their domaine.... "Our house, you can't walk on the sidewalk"......

@YodelDogs:

There are two articles that I highly recommend for this situation.

Handling On-Lead Aggression

He Just Wants to Say "Hi"

Thanks for these links, Robyn. I really like the way she gives examples from the human world…makes it much more understandable.

@LindaH:

Thanks for these links, Robyn. I really like the way she gives examples from the human world…makes it much more understandable.

The pages in the links are no longer up 😞

@Kipawa:

The pages in the links are no longer up 😞

Go to the "Articles" hyperlink, accept the terms, and you will find the referenced articles there.

Fran, I wasn't able to go to the articles directly from Robyn's links…probably because you have to accept the TERMS before viewing them.

However, if you go to http://flyingdogpress.com/, click on "Articles" at the top of the page, and agree to their Terms and Conditions, you'll be taken to the list of articles.

Thanks Linda and Nemo - got it! Lots of great info there.

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