• Houston

    Danny I am sorry you got bit by your dog, first off it is scary because you didn't see that coming, second it infuriates you, because "I care for you, you darned dog…". I have been bit twice in my life by dogs. The first time my Westie bit me when he was about 2 years old, we were playing and he basically took it one step further and bit me hard on my ear, blood and all was gushing...after the initial shock, I bit him back on his ear, and let me tell you I bit hard, his ear crunched in my mouth..eek, BUT it worked, I showed him I am on top not you. He never even growled at me after that, and I could come up and take his raw meaty bones and he would litteraly hand 'em to me.
    The second time I got bit, a huge lab bit half of mt hip/buttcheak off and wowser, I have never been in pain like that before...I did not bite back that time, first off, it wasn't my dog, second I didn't want dog butt in my mouth...My point, you need to be on top, never let him feel he controls you. You are leader of his pack, not the other way around. As far as hitting, I have to admit I don't like it...BUT I have done it myself in the past. It never works, the dog will not learn not to do something, rather to do it, but fear you instead. I believe that when you hit a dog you show the dog a weakness, and as a pack leader weakness looses out. I wish I had the perfect answer as to how to make sure that doesn't happen again, but I pretty sure it starts with you being in charge, that way he knows the "pecking order" in the pack .
    How old is your dog? Maybe he proved that by doing the destruction be is not "worthy" of being loose in the house, maybe crating is the way to go, not as a punishment but as a safe haven while you are not there...
    There is a saying I saw somewhere and it goes something like this, " having a basenji is like having a three year old that doesn't grow out of the 3 year old stage...would you leave a 3 year old alone in a house to roam, or would you leave them in a safe place?"
    Does that make sense?


  • Yea, I'm going to have to make him spend more time in the porch (it works like a giant crate so its awesome) I've read a lot about having a dog see you as a leader and I must say I'm pretty sure he sees me as one. He respects my bed, respects my eating time and he has never broken anything inside my room. I believe he sees it as ours, but mostly mine since I can decide when he comes in or not. I can even walk him without the leash and he always follows me. Maybe if he was a really bad dog I wouldn't feel the way I do, I feel like I've invested a lot of time trying to teach this dog manners to have to deal with this.

    Thanks for the comments.


  • Sorry Danny. I just got an 8 month old and he grabs everything. So it's stay in the crate while I'm gone. Thank God for that crate because he'd destroy the house. I was lucky with my last 2 in that they really didn't do anything when I was gone. He may have had separation anxiety when you left. My first Basenji at 9 months on Halloween night in 1975 ripped up the carpet near the door and shredded the curtains from separation anxiety.


  • I consider a 6 month old still a very young puppy… that does puppy things, like chewing up stuff!!!... In fact, even at 2yrs I would not leave anything of value within their reach. Also as already pointed out, dogs live in the moment... unless you catch them in the act to chewing something up, they really have no clue that they have do something wrong if you punish them after the fact.... The fact that you showed your displeasure with him and put him where the mess was did nothing, IMO... just like with potty training, it does no good to try and punish "after" they have gone potty in the house (like the old rub their nose in it..doesn't work)... I am sure that he didn't have a clue what you were trying to teach him... and the bit would come from being scared by you.... again IMO....


  • Pat's absolutely correct on that. When I do see him doing something he shouldn't I use a water skirt bottle and skirt him from a distance without saying anything. He immediately drops the item or stops the chewing. For all he knows the water came from God.


  • I'm pretty sure he knew what he did was wrong, because as soon as I saw him he was acting different, giving me the hint that he had done something wrong.

    I believe a dog has some memory and you don't always have to catch him in the act to discipline. That's why after the whole thing happened (he biting, me hitting) he was trying to come close to me in a very submissive way. I'm not a fan of rubbing noses into anything, but the perspective changes depending on the setting. That's why I took him close to where he did his mess and not outside for example.

    But yea, crate/porch is going to be the ultimate answer to this. It's to bad because I would love him to be inside the house at all times, guess we can't do that.


  • 6 months old is way too young to trust. Yes he has memory but I doubt he knew it was wrong as he's a puppy. He was submissive as a natural reaction because you are mad and hit him and wants to be your friend. His first natural reaction in all the anger was to bite in defense then became confused on why you're mad.


  • Danny , is your B just learning to be inside the house alone with you gone ? Maybe he was alone for a little too long and separation anxiety caused his destructive behavior . It's hard to gauge how long is " too long " when they are first learning to be left alone inside . Sometimes we learn the hard way . I've been down that road too . Our new boy , a 2 year old rescue , seemed to be doing fairly well . He was calm and gentle and doing fine alone for short durations , but one day we were gone longer than we planned and he obviously became upset . he must have tried to get out every window he could see in the house . Fortunately the damage was limited to blinds and curtains . We did not punish him because the damage was done before we got home . Those things are replaceable , your relationship with your dog is not . Don't hold this behavior against him . Just chalk it up for experience and learn from it . In all likelihood he bit you because your behavior was uncharacteristically aggressive and he was afraid and defensive . You did the right thing by secluding yourself from him until you calmed down . Because our dogs are so smart , we sometimes expect too much .


  • Sorry to hear about your sad and stressful morning.

    All I will say is try NOT to let it change your relationship with your dog. If you refuse to let it go, your dog will pick up on that vibe and things really never will be the same. It is totally in your control how this will effect your relationship.

    Contrary to what people on this forum write, I don't think Basenji's act out of spite or hold a grudge. They live in the moment. It is important to learn from a terrible incident like this so it will not be repeated, but you can't dwell on it. I will let others offer advice on the particulars of your situation but maybe the following story will make you feel a little less alone.

    We had Ella about two months, she was 8 months old.. She had not much bonded with us yet. She was an escape artist on the leash. She slipped her collar while I was walking her but she had not realized it yet. In an instant I decided to make a lunge for her before she could get away. I got a hold of her alright but she made a vicious lunge at my face and bit me on the lip–drawing blood. I was stunned but walked her home while using snow to stop the bleeding on my lip. At that point, if my wife had heard this story she would have shipped Ella away forever. It took a while to get past the emotion and realize the incident was my fault because of the way I reacted when she got off her leash. She just reacted out of instinct to my lunging at her. I managed to put it out of mind because I knew the circumstance was unique and I would not react the same way if the situation came up again. Although I saw a side of my dog I had never seen, it is simply a reminder that she is dog and not a small cuddly person. But that does not make her any less lovable. You still have the same lovable dog you had yesterday.


  • @bcraig:

    Sorry to hear about your sad and stressful morning.

    All I will say is try NOT to let it change your relationship with your dog. If you refuse to let it go, your dog will pick up on that vibe and things really never will be the same. It is totally in your control how this will effect your relationship.

    Contrary to what people on this forum write, I don't think Basenji's act out of spite or hold a grudge. They live in the moment. It is important to learn from a terrible incident like this so it will not be repeated, but you can't dwell on it. I will let others offer advice on the particulars of your situation but maybe the following story will make you feel a little less alone.

    We had Ella about two months, she was 8 months old.. She had not much bonded with us yet. She was an escape artist on the leash. She slipped her collar while I was walking her but she had not realized it yet. In an instant I decided to make a lunge for her before she could get away. I got a hold of her alright but she made a vicious lunge at my face and bit me on the lip–drawing blood. I was stunned but walked her home while using snow to stop the bleeding on my lip. At that point, if my wife had heard this story she would have shipped Ella away forever. It took a while to get past the emotion and realize the incident was my fault because of the way I reacted when she got off her leash. She just reacted out of instinct to my lunging at her. I managed to put it out of mind because I knew the circumstance was unique and I would not react the same way if the situation came up again. Although I saw a side of my dog I had never seen, it is simply a reminder that she is dog and not a small cuddly person. But that does not make her any less lovable. You still have the same lovable dog you had yesterday.

    I use a no slip collar from Lupine that's used on Greyhounds.

    3/4" Combo Collar -
    A dual-action collar for walking or training and the only design for greyhounds and similar dogs that back out of regular collars. Rated a Top Pick by a national canine publication. Martingale-style with an additional sewn-in D-ring so it can be used either as a limited-slip choker or as a regular flat collar.


  • @nobarkus:

    6 months old is way too young to trust. Yes he has memory but I doubt he knew it was wrong as he's a puppy. He was submissive as a natural reaction because you are mad and hit him and wants to be your friend. His first natural reaction in all the anger was to bite in defense then became confused on why you're mad.

    I totally agree…. and even an adult dog would not know... they are reacting to your anger... just like they react to you when you are happy and/or pleased with them.


  • I'm so sorry that you and your dog are not getting along right now and that you got bit. Corky had an addiction to my shoes for a couple of months. He ate every pair of my favorite shoes. I was furious at one point. But, looking back I know that I do not miss any of those shoes half as much as I would Corky.

    He has also growled at me on a couple of occations. I just picked him up by the scruff and put him in his crate. Then, I decided to teach him to submit peacefully so that I can have a 'talk' with him. I taught him to 'show me his belly' by repeatedly putting him on his back very gently saying "Show me your belly." and then giving him massive love when he did it. Now when he's bad he rolls over, gets a talking to and then he's on his way.

    It's OK to be mad for a little bit and it may take a little while for you to get over your anger. But remember, it wasn't a personal attack against you. It's just was some basenjis do. Corky is never left home alone uncrated. We barely leave him on one floor of the house alone. One good thing about this is that he has pretty good recall for a basenji. I don't think he would EVER run away unless he was chasing something.

    Good luck getting over this. I promise you will and your relationship will be back to the way it was.

    PS: Doesn't it just get your goat when your basenji wags his tail when he/she is in trouble????


  • Hi Danny,
    sorry to hear your Pup bit you, it gives you a nasty shock and is upsetting. When i got my Basenji as a rescue i didn't fully understand what the breed were like, i had read books but that is only half of the story. Soon after i'd got him he refused to get off my bed and growled at me when i tried to lift him off. I gave him a tap on his behind whilst saying NO! He then went to bite me and my next plan was the water pistol, however the next minuit he was clinging to my jumper with his teeth.
    After speaking to several Basenji people i was told that Basenjis can over react and the best way to deal with them is to talk them down. This did work but you do have to be patient, i found he would do what i wanted eventualy. I'm sure that because your pup is so young you stand a better chance of training him.
    Although Benji was hard work and could be a bit scary if crossed i will never forget him and will be getting another Basenji, Shelley


  • I agree with Pat and Nobarkus, he is still a pup, he got into stuff and though he may have acted "different" it was probably from your reaction. 6 months old is still a teenager, pushing limits but not spiteful, just very likely to follow their nose. And to react to protect themselves from your anger…with a bite. Forget it, praise the good and ignore the bad as best you can, give him lots of exercise and don't take it personally, though he loves you he is still a dog. They can't talk and don't have hands so use their mouths to protect themselves. And he is submissive because you were angry and hit him and I'll bet he really doesn't have a clue why so he has a lot of anxiety too. An anxious, fearful dog acts submissive, it doesn't mean he realizes he was wrong. And basenjis are smart, but when they are playing hard, their brain seems to shrink to the size of a pea and they seem very hardheaded!

    Try and remember it isn't personal, he was not deliberately destroying your stuff, he was bored, or anxious, and got carried away. Then "the best defense is a good offense" so he bit to protect himself, again, not our of anger. Though he does tricks and is smart he is still a puppy. Good luck to you!


  • Okay so I think probably everyone went through something similar - the dog did a nasty thing and you get really angry. I admit - I've never hit my dogs but I have yelled at them and then feel real bad for yelling at them. Your pup is still a pup and will occasionally forgets his training (just think how well trained the average human teenagers is 🙂 and you'll get the picture). Discipline is effective only if done when the action is done. Now you just have to move on. Dog ownership is as much about training yourself as training the dog.

  • Houston

    @wizard:

    Dog ownership is as much about training yourself as training the dog.

    Wow, that is so true, and maybe especially true because of B's being very different/stubborn.


  • I think the dog is being submissive because your still angry and he is reading your body laungague.
    I would suggest you take him for MORE walks, more exercise and get into an obedience class.
    This will help work his mind as well as his body.
    A tired basenji is a good basenji.
    Good luck…sorry you got hurt.


  • I agree with what everyone else has said, he is pup, you made a mistake by allowing him access to things that you value. Live and learn…

    As for the biting...Basenjis will match your reaction, if you react to him with aggression and anger, he will do the same. To hit a dog for biting, will just increase the chances of him doing it again. I am not saying 'bad dog' is appropriate, but hitting is meaningless and frightening to a dog. It certainly doesn't teach the dog that you are the leader, if that is your goal...more than likely it teaches the dog that you are not to be trusted. If you feel you must use a physical correction there are more appropriate ones for dogs...and that doesn't not include alpha rolls.


  • @wizard:

    Dog ownership is as much about training yourself as training the dog.

    So very true.

    Whenever my B acts up, he does sense immediately that I am unhappy. I have found it's best to not make a big deal about it. Be firm and quick about correction (in a non-violent way of course). Few situations where I got frustrated with my B he almost instantly picked up on the negative feeling and got offense. His hair would stick up (on his neck and back) and he would growl or try to bite. I think it's perhaps a natural instinct to be offense, they are of course nearly a wild animal (in my mind going off of statistics). Their instincts can differ from your average dog.

    So if he acts up, he will try to be offensive, but I pick him up by his scruff, tell him "no" and put him in his crate for a time out. He is not crated during day so unfortunately, the crate is used for time outs. Only use I have for it. If he still growls, a quick spray of water lets him know that type of behavior is unacceptable. After he does his time (not long, 15 mins usually), he comes out a different dog. He expresses his apology and is happy again. It has been very effective and he seems to understand.

    The tough part is keeping the frustration under control. I think that really triggers this offensive behavior in basenjis. It seems like they are wired to react to such feelings. If I can suppress the frustration and be a bit more neutral, he doesn't growl. He does know instantly when he has made a mistake. Few times he has had accidents he immediately will turn offensive if I recognize the spot(s). Again, best thing to do is grab him by his scruff, tell him "no" and isolate him while it is cleaned up. That has been my experience. 99.99999% of the time he is a complete angel. His tolerance shows that considering he does not wake badly, is very accepting of being picked up, etc.

  • First Basenji's

    How sad. It always concerns me when my B is acting like spoiled brat. My husband tends to react worse then me but we have not gotten bit. When my son wanted to name him Donkey, I told him no we would give him that as a middle name, but little did I know how appropriate it actually is. Don't let it get you down, he young and doesn't realize your the Alpha

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