Waking up Badly

Today is the third day in a row that Chloe has woke up in a very bad mood. The first time I was sitting on the couch with her asleep beside me and my husband walked up to lean on the arm of the couch. She started growling & snapping. That was another side of her that I had never seen. The next day, she was asleep by my husband with her head on his waist. The TV remote was on his chest. My 10 year old ran up to him to grab the remote and she did the same thing to my son. The last incident was this morning when we were waking up. Chloe sleeps with me & my husband. I moved across the bed to turn off the alarm and she was totally under the covers. When I moved, she started growling and snapping again.

In a few days, Chloe will turn 1 year old. Up until 3 days ago, I have had no problems at all. I am concerned b/c this mood came on so sudden and also concerned b/c of my son.

Anyone out there with any suggestions?

Others much more experienced than I will chime in, but you might find the thread below helpful, it's a similar situation.

http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?t=7768

First thing to check is anything going on physically. Do you notice anything different with Chloe physically? I would take her in for a vet visit and get a blood work up done. Then we'll go from there.

I think it is very unusual for this to have just started out of the blue…. Where there any signs before of behavior issues?

Have you talked to her breeder? Is she spayed? Any recent medical problems?

This is the same problem I've been having with my basenji Sonny & its mostly been occuring with my 1 year old nephew. From the time the baby was born up until 2 months ago Sonny loved the baby…was very protective of him & always had to be right next to him when he was in the house. then all of a sudden in October he seemed to display what we thought was jealously some growling & snapping. He did it a few times with me also. Sonny's 2 1/2 and never displayed this behavior before...2 weeks ago I did take him to the vet and found out he had a bad UTI infection and also a cholesterol level on the high end of normal that points to what could be a thyroid problem. We go tonight to have a thyroid panel done.
Since being on the antibotic to clear up the the infection his demeanor has greatly improved except for with my nephew.. Now if my nephew even crawls into the room and Sonny his laying across the way on the couch he growls. This behavior is very upsetting and if it turns out not to be relating to a thyroid problem I don't know what to do about it either.

Gemma growls and shows her teeth if I move her while she's sleeping, but I understand that she has always done this, from the man I got her from. If I keep it up, she will show her teeth and give me the snarkpuss look, but I usually stop then. This is evidently just Gemma's nature. I've heard other dogs do this as well, but the sudden onset is probably something to check with your vet. Shaye is one year old today, and we can still do anything at all we want to her while she's sleeping, including moving her from our laps to her bed, from one room to another, turn her over, mess with her feet, etc., and she hardly even opens her eyes, and settles exactly where we put her. Since Chloe just started giving you problems, you should probably talk to the vet, because it hasn't been in her nature to do that.

Anytime you have a sudden behavioral change a vet visit is in order.

Once you know where you stand from a health perspective you can then start thinking about behavior. When starting with a puppy, it is important to touch them lots during all sorts of situations. My dogs grow up being touched when they are asleep, petted, nudged, tapped, etc so it is really just routine. If you are starting with an adult or adolescent, say their name first so they are not startled even give a treat while touching them so they know that being touched means good things. You can also start hand feeding some or all of their meals where you have one hand touching them somewhere while you feed with the other hand so they start associating touch with "good things".

I agree with the advice to have Chloe checked for any medical problems especialy since the behaviour has just started. Before i read your post properly i was going to say that it is very common for Basenjis to wake up badly especialy if touched. As smeone else has said wake her up by talking to her first. I think it maybe an instinct thing as i'm sure i have read that if woken in their native country it may well be to danger.
My last Basenji was shocking if woken and he would growl and snap if we disturbed him. Due to info from forum members i now know we should have made him get down of the bed etc. Good luck with Chloe

As usual Ivoss has come up with excellent advice with which I totally agree.

Where there is such a change as this it may well be a health problem - possibly teeth?

@nobarkus:

First thing to check is anything going on physically. Do you notice anything different with Chloe physically? I would take her in for a vet visit and get a blood work up done. Then we'll go from there.

I did not notice anything physically until you just asked. She is going through her first heat cycle. Dont know if that would have anything to do with it or not. Several others suggest a trip to the doctor. I made an appointment and we are going in the morning.

@tanza:

I think it is very unusual for this to have just started out of the blue…. Where there any signs before of behavior issues?

Have you talked to her breeder? Is she spayed? Any recent medical problems?

No behavior issues at all. She "bully's" a smaller rat terrior that we have but that has been since she was a puppy. She has not been spayed. She is going through her first heat b/c I WAS thinking about getting a male sometimes this year to breed them. Not with the way she is acting though. No medical problems. I have made an appointment for the vet tomorrow though. Hopefully he can find something in blood work or something.

I have not contacted my breeder. She moved from Tennessee right after I got Chole. She is in another state now. Good idea though. I had her email address that I can see if it is still current.

@sonnyboy:

This is the same problem I've been having with my basenji Sonny & its mostly been occuring with my 1 year old nephew. From the time the baby was born up until 2 months ago Sonny loved the baby…was very protective of him & always had to be right next to him when he was in the house. then all of a sudden in October he seemed to display what we thought was jealously some growling & snapping. He did it a few times with me also. Sonny's 2 1/2 and never displayed this behavior before...2 weeks ago I did take him to the vet and found out he had a bad UTI infection and also a cholesterol level on the high end of normal that points to what could be a thyroid problem. We go tonight to have a thyroid panel done.
Since being on the antibotic to clear up the the infection his demeanor has greatly improved except for with my nephew.. Now if my nephew even crawls into the room and Sonny his laying across the way on the couch he growls. This behavior is very upsetting and if it turns out not to be relating to a thyroid problem I don't know what to do about it either.

You would not believe how much my Chloe looks like Sonny. I have tried to upload picture but it is not working. I will keep trying so you can see for yourself.
We have a vet appointment for tomorrow. Maybe he can find something. But you are right. It is like she is jealous. I was thinking it was b/c she just woke up. Gives me something else to pay attention to.

While my B takes a while to wake up, she's adorable the whole time. She stretches into that impossibly long, whole body stretch. She yawns, she cuddles a bit if she's in the mood (rarely). Sometimes I'll turn her over on her back and rub her chest and she starts off on a flurry of yoga stretching (reach for the sky!) all over again. Then when she's good and ready, she gets her day moving.
I thought she was simply mirroring my reaction to the morning!

She has never gotten snippy though – but mine is spayed.
I highly recommend the Bob Barker route; and I agree with the general consensus here to go see the vet.
All dogs should understand that aggression is not acceptable.

I don't know about Chloe, but I remember getting cranky when I was on my periods. Also, the herky-jerky movements of children can catch them off guard sometimes. Tell your son to make sure he has her attention before reaching over her for something. It's difficult for kids to remember stuff like that because their minds are going fifteen different directions at the same time so you might have to remind him a few times. If she is becoming bed aggressive, perhaps some crate reminder for her would be in order…as long as her issue isn't being caused by something physical. Good luck with her.

@Bebedo26:

I thought she was simply mirroring my reaction to the morning!

This explains why Benji was so bad at waking up, he was just like me :D:D:D

Chloe update: We have her scheduled to be spayed next week. The vet did not do any blood work. He thinks the spaying will help and he will do the blood work-up just to make sure all is well. He says that she has taken advantage of all the love & attention that I have given her. She no longer sleeps in bed with us. I have been trying to distance myself as far as the only one giving food, treats, walks, etc. We call her name when she is asleep to try to wake her before we start moving aroung. She has still had a few episodes but we do see a little bit of a difference. A little is better than none at all. 🙂

Thank you to all of your replies. My husband & I discussed all of them and they were very helpful. THANK YOU !!

Spaying is not usually the answer so don't expect miracles! Please don't neglerct to follow advice given on the site.

@Patty:

Spaying is not usually the answer so don't expect miracles! Please don't neglerct to follow advice given on the site.

Well put Patty. While I agree that she should be spayed, it is not the end to end problem solver… the suggestions regarding training are just as important and maybe even more so. You might even want to look into a behaviorist to come to your home and work with you and her.

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