• We adopted a girl puppy (Bibi, now Isis) who was wild for 3 months. She is 9 months old now & is sharing a home with a 19-months old male Basenji. Our male dog is intact and will remain so at the breeder's request for some time.

    Our male dog (a "large" 26 pound boy) is dwarfed by this girl. She is also very advanced socially. We were looking for a companion for him. His screams when we left him alone were becoming problematic. We were going to get another girl from a breeder but when we heard about her….

    She seemed to be very shy with humans at first. She knows how to behave & straiten out dogs! We love our new addition (5 days together as of now)!

    However, we do have some concerns. She started showing her attitude not only to our boy, but to us as well! Recently she started snarling and growling at us as well (over our interference in their conflicts over disputed items) We are talking bite ready snarling.
    otherwise they play together well.

    We are giving her plenty of love & attention.

  • I would recommend reading a book called Genetics and Social Behavior of the Dog by Scott and Fuller

    Scott and Fuller conducted an experiment in the 1940's involving early socialization of dogs. One of the breeds they used were Basenjis.

    You can read more about the book here:


    A very important bit of info from the book: "One of the many interesting discoveries they made was that from the age of three weeks to the age of twelve weeks, puppies bond very easily with everyone and everything around. But once a puppy reaches the age of about fourteen weeks, if that socialization has not taken place, the dog will not be able to adapt as well ever."

  • Robyn is right, early socialization in this breed is a must. Have you talked to her breeder about her, since if I am reading this right, she came from a different breeder? Did you meet that others in the litter or the Sire and/or Dam? What were they like? If she is growling over "items" then I would say she is resource guarding. There are lots of threads on the forum about resource guarding if you seach for them.

  • @tanza:

    Robyn is right, early socialization in this breed is a must. Have you talked to her breeder about her, since if I am reading this right, she came from a different breeder? Did you meet that others in the litter or the Sire and/or Dam? What were they like? If she is growling over "items" then I would say she is resource guarding. There are lots of threads on the forum about resource guarding if you seach for them.

    I think this pup is one of the Wimauma FL BRAT rescues.

  • @renaultf1:

    I think this pup is one of the Wimauma FL BRAT rescues.

    Well that makes perfect sense…. and yes, it will be a challenge for them and require, I think, lots of work to resolve the issues if it is resource guarding.

    Again there are lots of threads here about that subject.

  • Am I reading you right, she growls at you when she and your male are in dispute of an item?
    I would make sure they are seperated when there are bones/food around, and if its a toy, make sure there are 2.
    If its your lap, I would walk away and ignore until the dog sees that its not getting what they want.
    Glad you found us and we sure do want to help you.

  • They are very pretty dogs

  • I had the opportunity to work with Bibi while still at the shelter. She was a lovely, assertive, dominant little leader (at 3-4 months), all of the other 4 pups her age deferred to her. She was the first to take a bit of food from our hands, and acted like a little princess! Remember that she was feral for the first 3 months of her life so had NO human contact, hence her ability to be great with dogs but wary of humans.

    For her, any low flying bird, or a lizard, was her meal for the day…if she was lucky. Sharing meant starving. She was a real life "Survivor" and I am certain that if they had not been confiscated, she would have grown to be one of the leaders in that pack of 30-odd basenjis. She isn't your normal 'slightly dominant' basenji, and I imagine she still has some distrust of humans. I would suggest that any toys or treats be given separately, with lot of positive praise and treats for good behavior. I'm guessing that she is more food motivated than praise motivated!

    She is beautiful and a very special basenji. Try to see things from her eyes, by no means accept bad behavior, but you may get some insight into how to change or at least divert her "energy". I have not read many behavioral books, but have read a couple by Dr. Patricia McConnell and find her approach to difficult dog issues to be open and insightful and would highly recommend her. Again, Isis will likely not be motivated by the same things that motivate other dogs, you may have to work to find the groove with Isis!

    Good luck, looking forward to photos. All of this "breeders" basenjis are huge, a good 2 to 4 inches taller than most of our basenjis. Maybe we have a new "Giant" version of the basenji.

  • Glad you are working with Pam, she is excellent with these dogs. Isis may just be working herself into your household and does not want to be "low dog".

  • Anne, what lovely advice! I love to read your posts and how you spread optimism, sprinkled with common sense and love. Thank you for being here for us! 😉

  • First Basenji's

    MacPack, that was really interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    And OP, welcome and please keep us updated. We will all be cheering from the sidelines, as it were.

  • How about feeding her from the humans hands…that will teach her quickly that humans and their hands bring good things...so don't use a bowl to give her food..feed her from your hands.
    It does help bonding....

  • I agree with Sharron - hand feeding is a method I've used when having dominant adopted dogs. Having read the background of these Wimauma Basenjis I can understand her feelings and actions.

    I am so thankful that there are people like yourself who are caring for these dogs now.

    I also agree that Patricia McConnel's books are very helpful and I always now recommend them to friends who are interested in behavioural issues.

  • With these b's they need to learn that hands only bring good things.
    So, food is the way to most b's hearts.
    Do let us know how it goes.

  • Where in Florida are you? We have a group that meets up on Sundays here in Tampa, would love to meet Isis, all grown up!

  • Good morning! I am the owner of Kizzie which is Isis's (previously Bibi) sister . I sure am sorry to hear you are having some behavior issues with Isis. However I think that is extremely typical Basenji fashion for the Alpha dog. It sounds like she is just trying to set the pecking order. I agree with all the other post's to seperate them for food/treats/toys. At least until she gets more comfortable. Kizzie is on the opposite side, her personality is very shy and timid. She is doing great with our older basenji Pikachu. Pikachu is the alpha dog here and does not hesitate to let Kizzie know. The other part of the equation is that this herd survived because of the "survival of the fittest" that is also why they are larger dogs. They weeded out the smaller ones. If you haven't already talked to her foster "Mom" , Susan - I would do so. She fostered both Isis and Kizzie since February. We were lucky enough to meet and spend time with her. I know for sure that they were around other basenjis during the foster period. She may be able to suggest some ideas and give you some insight. I know she said Isis was more socialized than Kizzie. However I do not think Isis was the alpha dog at the foster home. She is trying to see how far she can push you and what she can get away with. Just make sure she knows you are the alpha of the herd and she has to respect your boundaries! *(easier said than done!) when dealing with a "B".
    We have settled into a nice routine with Kizzie, including am and pm walks. She has not had an "accident" since arriving in our home and today is a week. (great job and thank-you Susan!) Each day is a tiny step towards her becoming more comfortable with us, our home and Pikachu. Oh did I mention I have 3 cats? The funny thing with these "B"'s is that they take to other animals (including the cats) quicker than they take to humans. We also have stairs and that was a first for Kizzie. She is doing great, is a quick learner and is very smart (in my humble opinion). She is just starting to "play" with her toys and she enjoys being brushed. She has slept in our bed since the first night. Pikachu does not mind letting her know that she intends to take the "best" spot in the bed, but they have worked it out nicely. Patience,baby steps, and lots of TLC will lead to a happy ending for all!
    Trish and Joe

  • Kizzie and her sister Isis. Isis has the black on her face.
    First picture is Kizzie with her new "sister" Pikachu.

  • Hi! Thanks for all the advice. We need all we can get now:-) It took us til midnight to get Isis in the house (with a nice cheese rind)! But we did. She stayed inside at night ever since we got her (a week now). During the day she still prefers to hang outside in the fenced back yard. We bring her in to cool off from time to time.
    Unfortunately, we are very far from you guys, about 3,5 hours from Tampa. Getting Isis last Sunday was a whole day ordeal.
    Thanks for the advice. I will post the pictures of Isis as soon as I figure out my new phone where the pix are.

  • I took Kizzie and Pikachu to a small local dog park today and Kizzie had a blast. She played with all the other dogs and ran around like her tail was on fire. She is one very fast Basenji!! The only problem was when I went to leave, she did not want to be put on her leash. So, Pikachu and I just walked toward the gate and she followed. When we got to the "staging" area, she decided that she wanted to come with us and allowed me to put her leash on and get her loaded in the truck. We had a great time at the park. Maybe next week, we will try a bigger dog park with more dogs. This park only had 5 or 6 other dogs for the 2 hours we were there.
    Kizzie doesnt seem to have the growling issues that Isis has, she is very gentle with food and toys. We can move her or take them from her without any problems. The only problem she has is being really shy with people, but she is taking small steps everyday.

    Joe and Trish

  • As you are having such a time getting Isis into the house (again, the outdoors is normal and comfortable for her), you might try leaving a thin leash or rope attached to her collar, it makes it much easier to catch a wild beastie to be able to get 5 or 6 feet behind her and have a leash to step on or gently grab.

    A friend who took in a semi-feral basenji almost 2 years ago left a 30 ft training lead on her at the dog park for quite a while. It didn't bother her at all, she could run with the pack but her mom could get her. She graduated to a 6-ft leash for a few weeks, then was used to coming when they were ready to leave. All this with supervision of course, might get tangled if unattended.

    Sorry you are having a hard time, sometimes it is several weeks before dogs settle in together.

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