• This is my first post. I have had a male and female Basenji for the last 13 + years. They were 6 months different in age with the female being older. The male was always alpha and the two of them did get into some aggressive moments over the years. Most of it was just loud growling and showing of teeth. The female passed away about one month ago. The male then suffered extreme separation anxiety and it was very difficult to leave him by himself during the day or any other time. The two of them were always in a pen during the day.
    We decided to introduce a 14 week old male into the house. The older male demonstrated his dominance immediately. It has been one week and the older male periodically goes after the younger male. Today I had to lift up the male and he still had the puppy in his mouth. I have tried extra attention to the older male; I take him for long runs whenever he demonstrates aggression to wear down some of his energy. That appears to work and then he will surprise us by going after the little guy again.
    Does anyone have any advice they can share. I am afraid not only of physical injury, but of behavioral problems as the puppy gets older.

  • 90% of the time, with 2 dogs opposite sex works better. In some cases a pack of males can get along just fine as long as everyone knows and understands his place in the pack. But I would actually venture to say that is the exception rather than the rule.

    Is your older boy intact and do you plan on neutering the puppy?
    What made you decide to get a male pup? I would expect that most breeders would advise against having two males for this reason. Was that discussed at all?

    Best of luck, that is certainly a difficult situation.

    Edit: One more thought. I don't know if your older boy deserves to be labeled as aggresive for this behavior. He is feeling challenged as alpha male and it's not something he can just get past easily. He's programmed to be very pack-conscious.

  • Hi and first off, welcome to the forum and sorry for the loss of your senior b girl.

    I have a couple of questions. When you say you picked up the male and he still had the puppy in his mouth, do you mean the the puppy also came off the floor. Is the older male actually biting the puppy with force and has there been blood drawn?

    Also, can you describe what you mean by the older male showing his dominance when the pup first came home…what actually happened. How were the 2 introduced to each other?

  • The older male was neutered a long time ago. When we first got the Basenjis the female was first and we wanted to get another female. The breeder advised us to get a male. This time we went to the breeder and brought the male with us to introduce him to the young male and to see how they interacted. The puppy immediately came over to our male and rolled over in submission. The breeder said that two males should not make a difference. We will have the new male altered at the appropriate age.

  • What does your breeder say about these recent developments?

  • The older male Teimo has not drawn blood, but I think he could if it was not stopped. I know puppies make a lot of noise and sound like it is the end, so it is hard to gauge. The dogs were first introduced at the breeders on two separate occasions several days apart. At the end of the second visit they both rode home in the back of our SUV laying side by side for over 5 hours. Some growling when the puppy got too frisky, but nothing major.

    Once home the two of them played and when we felt it was too rough we separated them. The little guy keeps on going back for more although he seemed apprehensive after today?s encounter.

  • Speaking from experience, they may never get along… and IMO, you just might have problems with behavior on the baby pup.... Sometimes, old is too old... to accept a puppy... especially since the puppy doesn't know any better other then he wants to play and his natural selection would be to the other Basenji....

    However, that said... could be once the puppy teeth are gone, things might get better... that and has your old boy had a full medical check up recently including a full thyroid panel?

    Remember "visiting" with the pup was one thing... once your older boy figured out that this pup was staying... he could really be resenting it.... especially if he is still missing his long time friend

  • See to me, this sounds pretty normal…and I say that because I'm going thru something similar with a pup that is also 14wks old. I have a 4yo male (and 4yo female) and the new female pup, Liyah. Brando was rough with Liyah right off the bat and the only time I interfered was when Liyah would yelp uncontrollably and then I would only pick her up to see that she wasn't in fact injured. I've now had her 3 weeks and Brando is noticeably improved, but he still will let her have it every now and then. He hasn't ever bitten her with force...but he does play bite and give her serious corrections that aren't for the faint of heart. It sounds like your introduction went well.

    You should read this thread there is some great info in here:

    It took about a week for Liyah to start even paying attention to Brando's warnings and for her to actually watch him when he started making noise. Lately it seems that there is eye contact going on between Liyah and Brando that can sometimes cause Brando to go off.

  • Sometimes with elders there are more serious problems then younger dogs in trying to introduce a puppy… you still have the "roaring" and stuff... but sometimes an elder just will not accept a puppy.... Many elders have lost their hearing, some eye sight, etc... and they can not cope with a "bouncey" puppy...

  • Thanks Pat,

    When we first got our basenjis they were only 6 months different in age and the female used to harass the younger male until he out grew her and the kingdom became his. Even when he asserted himself, she always held her ground and could out maneuver him.

    It just didn't seem as bad with two adults growling, but when one is a puppy yelping you wonder if you did the right thing by taking away a part of the kingdom of the older dogs and also introducing a puppy that just left a playful father and brother that he spent the first 14 weeks of his life with.

    Only time will tell. Just hope we bring as much stability and love to their lives as they bring to ours.:)

  • I agree with those who said there could be an underlying medical problem that could be causing the older dog to be cranky so I would recommend a thorough check up, blood panel, urinalysis, and complete thyroid panel.

    While it is perfectly normal for an adult dog to "correct" a young puppy for bad manners it is not normal if the correction becomes painful or for an extended length of time. Some puppies can be real "drama queens" during or right after a correction so you will have to observe very closely if the pup was just scared or actually hurt. If the older dog punctures or injures the puppy then he is trying to tell you he doesn't want that puppy in his home and for the safety and well being of the puppy, and the happiness of the older dog, it would be a good idea to return the puppy to the breeder.

  • I would try to distraction when you feel the 2 males are getting to rough.
    Hopefully, it will work out.
    But until your sure they are buddies, I would make sure they both get lots of exercise and distract when they get grumpy.

  • Thanks for your response. I would like to update all. This is going on the second week of Teimo (adult) and Elzaer (puppy) episode. Teimo does make a lot of noise, but he has not hurt Elzaer. The last two days were more my worries then their rousing. They have been laying side by side on the bed and the couch, they walk outside together and Elzaer can do anything he wants to Teimo with no more than a corrective growl. I think Teimo wants to play as is evidenced by him slapping the puppy if the puppy is resting, but he just isn't used to all of the energy. Also Elzaer is a tad bit dramatic.


  • Sharron,

    That is exactly what we are doing and it seems to be working. We have defused the situation and have been running with Teimo. He thinks it is a special treat when he gets to run with me. It's also good for me.


  • There is the part of being an old dog where they don't think they have to deal with puppies any more - and are less tolerant. I personally never place a pup with an elderly dog but I also never place same gender either regardless of the age. I do think though that you would have had the same issue with a pup of either gender - might have had some better luck with say a submissive - 5 or 6 year old. A puppy might start out submissive but that can change rapidly - with adult dogs what you see is what you get.

    I am going to share a strange thing though that my elderly parents did to get some cranky old cats to accept a new cat and then a rescue small dog. The magic word is feather duster. If you can imagine 2 'very mature' adults having feather dusters at the ready and at the first sign of getting too close or hissing or growling - the offender got tickled in the face. It too weeks - but all did get to live quite nicely together - my folks always seemed to be taking in strays and they used this time and again - I've never tried it - but heck - might be worth a tickle.

  • I often worry that the young dog, once settled into the home, will try to hurt the senior dog.
    I have heard many stories of this, with the families having to keep the 2 pet seperate.
    I think getting a pet closer to the age of the one you have is a smarter way to go.

  • Hello & welcome from Canada. Sorry about the loss of your girl B. From your posts, it sounds like the 2 dogs needed to establish their own relationship. Good for you to enforce positive correction when things get too wild. Hopefully both boys will have an enjoyable future together.


  • Hello,

    I'm definitely a newbie to the site, but I have a few thoughts. First, my condolences on the loss of Skylar, sharing time with these dogs is such a joy! In the photo, is she the one behind or in front?
    Second, there has been some really useful advice here as I see it. A tired B. is a good B. Having special time running with you is probably what Teimo needs.
    Teimo has suffered a major loss and Alzear has no idea about the past. With Teimo getting into the golden years it will be important to reinforce his role as wise old sage and leader.
    Who do you feed first? It might not be a bad idea to feed Teimo first, and if he is not too old, make him sit before feeding him. Then feed Alzear, after making him sit before he gets his food. B.s do respond to the nothing is free approach, and this will reinforce that Teimo is ahead of Alzear but you are ahead of both of them.



  • To all who responded. Thanks for helping to soften my anxiety. I would like to update.

    As I mentioned Teimo and Skylar were mates for 13+ years and they were both puppies at the same time. Other than that they had very little exposure to other dogs, young or old. They had their moments, but don't we all, and as I mentioned in a previous post Skylar was always able to hold her own. Basenji's deal with their own problems in their own way and sometime the verbal sounds sound like living in a close Italian family (last name is Suraci).

    Now as I look back over the last couple of weeks I realize a couple of things, Teimo still misses Skylar and he does not know how rough he is when he plays but is quickly learning. Elzear does not know about Skylar, but did come from a house with 1 brother and 3 adult B's to play with in a very savvy Basenji house. In the last 72 hours they have become almost inseparable and Teimo has rediscovered the B-500, something that Skylar wasn't able to do for several months. They still rough house, and we still run to make sure everyone is ok. We usually get there just in time to see Elzear swatting Teimo in the face or running back in there to attack again (Teimo's neck is always wet and Elzear's teeth are sharp). In the end they exhaust each other and end up sleeping for the next hour or so, robbing us of our play time with them.

    As far as the running and exercising with Teimo, it is good for me and he just waits for me to say the word run when we are out on a walk.

    Thanks to all who took the time to share. I hope you continue so that I may provide you with updates.:)

  • Great to hear that it is going better in your house!!! Yes, please keep us updated. 😃

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