B's with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Aggression

Just wanted some input on this situation and so does my mother.

I am currently living with my two boys (Beegin is a basenji and Brady is a beagle mix) at my mom's house. Unemployed in Michigan surprise surprise… Anyhow, she just adopted a 3 year old cavalier king charles spaniel named Rowan. She agreed to take him cuz the original owner couldn't keep him anymore. We've had him about 2 months now.

This makes the current pack Tovah (german shepherd female, definite alpha), Beegin, Brady and Rowan. Brady is submissive to anything, including my pet rat (not kidding) so he and Beegin have always gotten along great. Tovah keeps Beegin inline and they have done well together also. Most of the time Rowan is the ideal lap dog. He is almost a doormat. But he and Beegin get into fights...

Beegin and Rowan get in fights over food bowls (we free feed cuz that's how my mom wants it - can't change it:mad:) every once in a while, and over chewies (rawhide chews or sticks) and treats especially. I almost feel like Rowan can't read Beegin's signals and I don't know what to do about this. Their fights occur in two ways.

Way 1: As an example, tonight we cut small bits off our steaks for super special treats and after dinner, I was feeding these to the 4 dogs in the corner away from the table and from their food bowl area. I feed them Tovah first, Beegin 2nd, then Brady and Rowan (left hand and right hand). Tonight, Rowan got excited and scooted until he was next to Beegin. Beegin flipped his ears back but Rowan didn't seem to care. Beegin was good until I went to give Ro his next treat then Beegin growled and snipped at Ro. Ro growled and snapped back. They fought for a bit and then Ro gave up and walked away. I have even seen Beegin flip his ears and raise his lip at Ro and Ro will continue with whatever he was doing kinda like obliviously.

Way 2: I give chewies to all 4 dogs. If Beegin gets near to Rowan, even if both of them already have chewies in their mouths, Ro growls and charges Beegin. Sometimes Ro will even chase Beegin from the room. By near I mean within 6 feet.

The fights usually only last 10-15 seconds and one or the other will run/walk away. There has not been any blood or injury in any fight so far. I am almost thinking that Beegin and Ro are working out their positions and just need more time to figure this out. More time to learn how to read each other's signals too? My mother however (she dislikes Beegin to begin with), thinks it is all Beegin's fault and he is becoming more aggressive.

I've also been wondering if it is because Ro was an intact male up until about 9 months ago. Beegin has been neutered since 7 months old and he is now 2 and a half. Would this still be a factor?

I'd welcome any input anyone has as I want to do everything on our end to stop these. I am a little afraid of escalation although I haven't seen it yet.

Well, I am not sure why your Mom is asking for input.
Her desire to free feed is a big part of the problem.
Try to taste something off my plate, I will stab you with my fork.
I think the Basenji is guarding his food.
The Basenji was already a part of the pack and the NEW dog has come in
and it trying to be the boss of the Basenji.
Basenji is NOT happy.

Seriously, why not just crate them when feeding or giving bones?
This can alleviate those issues.

Don't put the blame on the dogs.
I would put it on the human(s) setting them up for failure.

Sorry… but this is the best advice I can give.

I agree with Kathy. Free feeding in a house of multiple dogs is asking for trouble. Your 10-15 second fights are going to escalate, IMO. The neutering has nothing to do with it, again IMO, but giving them treats and food will. I have seven right now, and none are free fed or given treats freely. It causes jealousy and fighting.

And IMO, I agree with Kathy also, the problem is free feeding, period…. and totally agree that your (your Mom) have set the dogs up to fail

I think you need to sit down and tell your mom how important Beegin is to you and how you really want to make things work for all the dogs in the house. Free feeding is a huge problem and it's not very healthy for the dogs anyway. Google for some information (or look in dog books at your local library) and present her with the information. I'd also try to keep the dogs separated if possible especially if you are in the process of moving out sometime soon. AND practice lots of obedience with all the pups. Otherwise, sadly, I'd say someone needs to be re-homed. The longer the aggression goes on, the harder it will be to solve the problem.

I agree with the previous 'posters' about free feeding.

I think it's time to take this action - at present you say one gives in after a scrap. Scraps can so easily escalate into real fights where both can get badly damaged. It is extremely difficult because normally once a Basenji really sets to they don't forgive or forget. Please persuade your mother to take this advice given re free feeding!. Why not explain to her that you too could get hurt if there is a serious fight?

Thanks all.

I have been trying to do chewies in their houses (somehow that's what I started called crates).

I also found a local place where I could do some agility with Beegin - I know he is less interested in scraping if he is tired so I'm hoping to do that soon.

Thanks to the one person who posted about telling my mom I could be hurt too in breaking up a scrap. That she might listen to. She's very type A and my way or the highway but she's still a caring mom… I'll try this tact.

@khanis:

Well, I am not sure why your Mom is asking for input.
Her desire to free feed is a big part of the problem.
Try to taste something off my plate, I will stab you with my fork.
I think the Basenji is guarding his food.
The Basenji was already a part of the pack and the NEW dog has come in
and it trying to be the boss of the Basenji.
Basenji is NOT happy.

Seriously, why not just crate them when feeding or giving bones?
This can alleviate those issues.

Don't put the blame on the dogs.
I would put it on the human(s) setting them up for failure.

Sorry… but this is the best advice I can give.

Mom really isn't asking for input. I told her about the forum that I check on it and such and she said "why don't you ask them what's wrong with Beegin?" I think I will take the tact of telling that Beegin is my buddy not just my dog and the other bit about no more free feeding - maybe I can get my way then.

She's just a bit set in her ways. "Never had to pick up dog dishes with any of my dogs before so why should I have to do it now?"

Ack - the hassle of being a grown up child unemployed and stuck back at home…:(

First Basenji's

I completely understand. I'm in the same situation. My mom insists on free feeding and refuses to listen to most of what I say when it comes to my B, especially in regards to training. She has the same feelings too: It worked for her other dogs, so it will work for this one too… even if it isn't really working. Like your mom, she thinks there's something wrong with Cody instead of the problem being with her particular methods. I just have to work extra hard with him to offset the problem. I did get lucky though, because although food is available all day, he still keeps to his feeding schedule himself (for the most part).

I can sympathize though, while I'm grateful to be here, it isn't always fun being an adult in your parents' house.

Well, I would also suggest you get these dogs out and just exercise the He** out of them.
Get them walked until they are tired…each one of them...they will be less willing to expend energy if they are dog tired....

I totally agree with Sharron about walking exercising and also give plenty of mental exercise as well.

@Patty:

I totally agree with Sharron about walking exercising and also give plenty of mental exercise as well.

Should be starting an intro agility training class next week with Beegin and I can't wait.:) I'm sure it will help.

Thanks for the continued thoughts.

oh, you're going to have soooo much fun! (and probably some frustration, but it's all good)

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.