The nastyness has gone too far

  • Hi Everyone,
    I've mentioned this before on the forum but need to get some help regarding this bad situation.
    My male Chance is 2 1/2 years old and is quite a mellow guy. Lately he gets agitated if you try to move him while he is laying down. Hawk goes up and the gggrrrr's come out. He hasn't nipped at me yet but I think its coming soon. He used to never do that! One time my Aunt was visiting from out of state and Chance was laying on the couch. She attempted to move him and he about bit her! :eek: That really worries me. He is a ticking time bomb.
    That's just one issue. Now for the second.
    My neighbor has 2 Australian Sheep Dogs and Chance can't stand them. He will foam at the mouth and try to kill them. Its getting worse by the day. Now he can tell when they are outside walking by the house. The blinds can be down and he just knows they are there. He goes insane making noise and the hawk is up and he is pacing the entire house. Now anytime I try to take him for a walk he jets out the door on a locked sent for the two sheep dogs. They have never had an altercation. In fact the Sheep dogs are rather friendly. I've tried to get them to meet each other but Chance just will not have it. 😞
    I am growing really concerned. This morning while taking Chance for his early morning walk he about slipped out of my hands. My neighbor was over a block away and Chance could smell them. Thank god I was able to grab the leash and hold on tight. I am afraid of Chance getting out of my hands since he pulls like crazy. Not to mention my neighbor has his infant daughter in a stroller with him while he walks his dogs. I feel trouble and I feel like Chance is crazy sometimes. 😕
    I can't avoid my neighbor since he lives 2 doors down from me. We tend to bump into each other a lot.
    I am going to get a full panel done on him this week to rule out any health problems but other than that….why is he like this??????

  • Better get that thyroid checked ASAP.
    Go to Dr. Dodds site for info.

  • Can a Thyroid problem cause this temper issue?

  • Yes, it most definitely can. Make sure you have a complete thyroid test done, not just the T4.


  • Yes, makes him irritable.
    Here's the list of symptoms:

    Mood swings,


    Loss of energy,

    Vestibular (ear) disease,

    Poor coat, scaly skin,

    Hypo pigmentation,

    Body odor,

    Skin lesions,

    Weight gain,

    Weight loss, picky eater,



    Testicular atrophy,


    Absence of heat cycles,

    Too many heat cycles,

    Prolonged interestrus,


    Reproductive failure,

    Re-absorption of fetus,

    Joint problems,

    Slow heart rate,

    Stiff or slow movement,

    Dragging front feet,

    Head tilt,

    Tragic expression/facial paralysis,

    Balance problems,

    Frequent vomiting,




    Ruptured knee ligaments,

    Corneal ulcers,

    Dry eye syndrome,

    High cholesterol,


    Cold intolerance,

    Heat intolerance,

    Exercise intolerance,

    Chronic infections,


    Low white blood cell count,

    Bone marrow failure,

    Chronic hepatitis, etc.

  • Is he neutered? Are there girls in season around? Are the other dogs, male or female, intact?


  • He was neutered after we found out after the Fanconi test. He is a carrier.
    Yes we also have a female in the house but I don't think that is the reason. She will be going into heat in the first week of August. Chance has been exhibiting this type of behavior for quite sometime now.
    If there is something wrong with his Thyroid, is it life threatening? Can it be controlled/cured?

  • Oh yes, it can be controlled easily. He'll be put on thyroid pills which are cheap. He'll take them 2x daily. I had mine on them.

  • Houston

    The thyroid problem in dogs is actually pretty common and very "easy" to deal with. I would definitely go and have some bloodwork done, to either diagnose or rule out the thyroid bieng the problem. We had a dog, Lou (not a B, a mutt)who within the last few months gained a lot of weight(20lbs to be exact) and he also went from a real loveable guy to an agressive, unstable and not pleasent dog to be around. Lou also ended up having a brain tumor and two weeks ago we decided to let him go to sleep. Before this happened he was put on a drug to help with his thyroid(I can't think of the name right now) and he within a few weeks changed somewhat back to his normal loving ways. I think if we would have had a chance to have him on the drugs longer he would have made a 100% turn around. He is in heaven now playing with his buddy, Bogus our Westie that past away a month ago. It has been a rough month and a half. But back to Chance, if it is thyroid, rest assured there are drugs that will make him feel like normal again, and he should live his life as if nothing is wrong.
    I will keep him and you in my thoughts as the next few weeks might be filled with lots of questions and concerns.


  • Is Chance a rescue? If not, I would ask the breeder if low thyroid runs in his family. If your vet tells you that it cannot be a thyroid problem at that age, tell him/her that in Basenjis it is fairly common. In the past couple of years I have had three dogs under the age of 3 with low thyroid. Most people have the test done by either Dr. Dodds in CA or MSU-Michigan State University.

  • I took a fellow B forum members advice and will be having blood sent to Dr. Dodds for a full panel done. Looks like Dr. Dodds knows her stuff. 🙂

  • Get his thyroid tested.

    Do not move him; ask him to move and reward for complying

    Get the Control Unleashed book and/or dvd. Pay careful attention to the "Look At That" game.

    Find a good positive relationship or obedience class or better yet a control unleashed class.

    (I've taught several CU classes (sort of fell into it) and people are always amazed at how far their dog can go in a matter of weeks. If you have questions, just holler and i'll try to help where i can)

  • Has he had any basic obedience training?
    If not, get him started on that asap.
    Also, he needs to earn to get…that is, he has to sit to go for a walk, sit before he can get up on the couch, sit before he gets his food.
    Make him earn nice things.
    The obedience training will help you both.

  • Ok so the Thyroid issue has been covered, yes get it checked. Thyroid supplement will not solve a training problem. You can't just throw a pill at a dog YOU have let take control of YOUR house.
    I work for a Vet, I have Basenjis, I title my dogs in many venues.
    Besides putting Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Lure Coursing, & Advanced Agility Titles on my Basenjis, I teach Agility & obedience at my local Club. I also advise a 4H group in Obedience & Rally.
    I have a couple of questions.
    Remember what I ask is out of love for all Basenjis & is not personal. i would ask the sam of any of my students.

    #1 Have you contacted the breeder? Didn't Chance come from Kathy Britton? I can't believe she has not offered to help. My advice to any Basenji owner is CALL YOUR BREEDER for help. I am so happy that my puppy buyers respect me enoungh to call me before a problem get out of hand & they go on a public forum.

    2 How did Chance do in his obedience classes? Did he ever go to Obedience Classes?

    3 Why is he allowed on the furniture? He has NO respect for you & is owning the furniture. This is a basic principle of respect. Your dog has to earn the right to be on the furniture. At this point your dog needs to earn everything he gets.

    4 Is he crate trained?

    5 Again have you called your breeder? Are there Thyroid issuses with the parents?

    6 Have you tried a Gentle Leader? Go to their website I have seen amazing results with a Gentle Leader.

    Best of luck. Please find a good trainer who understands Basenjis. Work hard with that trainer & don't make excuses for your or your dog's lack of training.
    I wish you the best.

    Becky & the Ninjas

  • This is a wonderful breed we have, but you have to do the work to make them the right dogs for your family.
    I also, think contacting the breeder is the way to go. If its Kathy, she will be wanting to give you all the help you need.
    We so want you to have a b you can live with.

  • @Vanessa:

    He was neutered after we found out after the Fanconi test. He is a carrier.
    Yes we also have a female in the house but I don't think that is the reason. She will be going into heat in the first week of August. Chance has been exhibiting this type of behavior for quite sometime now.
    If there is something wrong with his Thyroid, is it life threatening? Can it be controlled/cured?

    Well I have to say, sorry… just because he is a Carrier is no reason to run out an neuter.... but having an intact bitch in the house sure is.. if you are not interested in showing him/breeding him....

    Thyroid is NOT life threatening... it is easily maintained with daily meds.. and not very expensive... (don't use the generic.... however..)... But not everything is linked to thyroid... it can... be a problem however.... but remember.. dogs will make instant choices about other dogs in their general area.... and because we are NOT dogs... you have no idea what those other dogs are telling him... regardless of what they seem....

  • I agree Pat… no reason to neuter just because a dog is a Fanconi Carrier.
    I am sure everyone would like to know about the health-testing behind him, so I'll take the liberty of posting it, as Chance's breeder:
    His littermate's entry shows their dam's health info… as it was omitted from Chance's entry:

    I'd have been happy to help out the best that I could at any time there has been an issue with Chance, if given the opportunity. To learn about his issues here, from others, was rather hurtful as his breeder.

    Chance was the mellowest of his litter, and I never would have pegged with having any territorial or behavioral issues.. another dog here or there yes, but not him.

    I agree with Becky, he is in severe need of training. Even the adults that I bring into the house [we are talking 4-5 year old kennel dogs that are NOT house-wise] learn instantly that I am in charge, as is any other human that graces this earth… and they behave appropriately if they so desire to have house time [as opposed to crate or dog-run time].

    Feel free to contact me via email or telephone [both are still the same and on my website] and I can do my best to help you with Chance at any time.

    Thanks Becky for filling me in on Chance.

  • Actully I have a puppy right now out of Carrirer. If you throw out all of the Carriers, we have very few dogs left & will back ourselves into another corner healthwise.
    Having worked in the Vertrienary profession for over 20 years & most of that doing purchasing of products (which invloves comparing ingredients effect & cost effect) I have found little difference in generic Thyroid & Solixine. Except PRICE. Soloxine is 2-3 times more expensive than L-thyroid. We have used in on all kinds of problems from aggression to infertility. The only people who claim a real difference are the upper level obedience trainers. Most of whom have Golden Retreives & over 70% of them have thyroid issues. Use generic if you can. The problem is that if the thyroid comes back normal, most Vets won't script out Thyroid for a temperment problem.
    Good Luck & Save money where you can.

    Becky & the Ninjas

  • I just wanted to weigh in on this matter. Vanessa, I think it would be wise to read the book that Kim suggested, also "Fiesty Fido", by Patricia McConnell would be a good idea. I also think you may want to consider having a behaviorist come to the house, and give you some suggestions on how to control Chance's reactivity. But, I would suggest ONLY using a behaviorist who uses methods similar the those in the above mentioned books. Chance is behaving as a 'reactive dog'…which means he has turned a normal 'interested' response to other dogs into an over the top, habitual, reaction to other dogs. You can't correct this out of him, because his reaction is not at a rational, thinking have to recondition him, and it will take very specific steps, and a considerable amount of time and effort...but it is definitely possible. I have had lots of clients with dogs who react exactly the same way, and they have successfully changed their dogs' behavior so that the dog is no longer reactive to the activities of other dogs in their lives.

    That being said, I don't think that people should HAVE to consult their breeder about training issues. It would be nice, particularly if you are close to the breeder...but not everybody agrees with their breeder's training methods, and not all breeders have any experience with behavioral training. Chance's behavior problems are not based in bad temperament..they are most likely a learned and practiced response to being over stimulated....not really an obedience problem....but something that can be changed with specific training.

    As breeders we need to give people MORE than 'teach your dog who is in charge, or get control of your dog.' That means so many different things to different people and isn't very instructive.

    Off my soapbox 🙂

    Oh...and Vanessa....just because you THINK she won't come in until August doesn't mean that is for sure. Chance definitely could be overreacting because she is coming in. The dogs' behavior usually starts to change several weeks before humans can detect estrous is beginning 🙂

  • @Quercus:

    ..they are most likely a learned and practiced response to being over stimulated….not really an obedience problem....but something that can be changed with specific training.

    Just curious, is the growling at someone who is trying to move him on furniture an obedience/lack of training/lack of respect problem…he thinks the furniture is his because he has had his way? Or is it one in the same...just a practiced and learned behaviour. I'm confused.

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