Help….What do I do...

I have a 5 month old who is showing aggressive behavior. It started when she was really young. She was sleeping on the patio and it was fixing to come a down pour so I said Anabel lets go potty and slowly went to pick her up and she growled at me. The growling got worse as I continued to say no mam and go to pick her up. She went on to bite me. I have noticed that she does this when she is laying down or sleeping that she does not want you to move her. What should I do?? Again I have noticed that scolding her makes it worse. It is like she turns into this different dog. She is a very good dog. Not destructive, housebroken, calm, and sweet. 🙂

@paulajean:

I have a 5 month old who is showing aggressive behavior. It started when she was really young. She was sleeping on the patio and it was fixing to come a down pour so I said Anabel lets go potty and slowly went to pick her up and she growled at me. The growling got worse as I continued to say no mam and go to pick her up. She went on to bite me. I have noticed that she does this when she is laying down or sleeping that she does not want you to move her. What should I do?? Again I have noticed that scolding her makes it worse. It is like she turns into this different dog. She is a very good dog. Not destructive, housebroken, calm, and sweet. 🙂

Have you talked to her breeder? And there are many Basenjis that can "become" unglued when they are sleeping and are disturbed. You need to wake her up first before touching her… using an high happy voice and tone, call her to you... reward when she responds... by continuing to try and pick her up, you are only entering into a battle of wills, one that you will not win, ever..... You can also leave a leash attached to her.... when you want to wake her up to move, use the leash along with calling her to you and rewarding when she does so....

This sounds more serious to me than 'waking up badly'…mainly because it started with a warning growl, and escalated to a bite when you pressed the issue. IMO seeing this behavior at 5 mos is a BIG red flag that you need to get some help before things get worse. You should find a trainer in your area who uses positive reinforcement methods, and has experience with aggression and preferably independent-minded breeds.

check here: http://www.apdt.com/

@Quercus:

This sounds more serious to me than 'waking up badly'…mainly because it started with a warning growl, and escalated to a bite when you pressed the issue. IMO seeing this behavior at 5 mos is a BIG red flag that you need to get some help before things get worse. You should find a trainer in your area who uses positive reinforcement methods, and has experience with aggression and preferably independent-minded breeds.

check here: http://www.apdt.com/

what she said. once bites are involved, you really need something more than internet help. we can't see everything going on and in-person help from an expert would be invaluable. good luck and please keep us updated.

Yes, in re-reading it… Quercus is right.... however in the time between when you get some professional help, I would not try to physically move her without either having a leash on her or making sure that you get her up by calling her.

Again, however I would ask, have you talked to her breeder?

Also, just wondering if this is ONLY when laying down. First order, even before a behaviorist, is a thorough physical exam and blood work to rule out pain or disease, hip dysplasia, thyroid, etc. That it only seems when laying down makes me wonder if she is really hurting.

@DebraDownSouth:

Also, just wondering if this is ONLY when laying down. First order, even before a behaviorist, is a thorough physical exam and blood work to rule out pain or disease, hip dysplasia, thyroid, etc. That it only seems when laying down makes me wonder if she is really hurting.

It couldn't hurt to have her medically checked, but since she is only 5 mos, she has probably seen the vet fairly recently…and while she may have any of the above problems, it unlikely that she would express any behavioral symptoms related to health at this point.

IMO she is simply pissed off that someone is forcing her to do something. She is being a dog, with poor bite inhibition...some dogs bite when they don't want to do something, and as we know (having basenjis) trying to force them to do anything the don't want to do is, at best, fruitless, and at worst, dangerous.

If the OP got the dog from a responsible breeder, hopefully he or she can help, but not every breeder is knowledgable about changing undesirable behaviors. But either way, the breeder will want to know if the dog is having behavior problems.

@Quercus:

It couldn't hurt to have her medically checked, but since she is only 5 mos, she has probably seen the vet fairly recently…and while she may have any of the above problems, it unlikely that she would express any behavioral symptoms related to health at this point.

IMO she is simply pissed off that someone is forcing her to do something. She is being a dog, with poor bite inhibition...some dogs bite when they don't want to do something, and as we know (having basenjis) trying to force them to do anything the don't want to do is, at best, fruitless, and at worst, dangerous.

If the OP got the dog from a responsible breeder, hopefully he or she can help, but not every breeder is knowledgable about changing undesirable behaviors. But either way, the breeder will want to know if the dog is having behavior problems.

Hopefully the Breeder "will" want to know… and use that information, evaluate the breeding dogs and offspring for temperament issues.....

All of the advice offered is good and should be followed up–check her health, talk to the breeder, get a trainer's opinion.

I will say that we have pretty much taken it for granted that Ella does not like to be picked up and in most cases we simply find a way to avoid it. She has never bitten us, but she will growl and her whole demeanor changes and it is obvious it is because she does not like to be physically forced to do something she does not want to do. And that is exactly what picking up a small dog is. Given what everybody says about Basenji independence and not physically bullying your Basenji, I never thought it was an unreasonable request by Ella. And you say that scolding makes it worse. I think most people on this forum will tell you that is typical Basenji bahvoir. They just do not respond well to punishment. You have to be a bit more patient and creative with a Basenji. I know you might feel like you have to stand your ground to show dominance but think about why you have to pick her up and figure out another way to accomplish what you want. That is the sign of true leader. For us, the use treats and toys and commands usually keeps us all happy.

All that being said, Ella let's us pick her up to get into the car (which for some reason she does not like to jump into) and she seems to understand when some rare unexpected emergency comes up that it is OK.

@bcraig:

All of the advice offered is good and should be followed up–check her health, talk to the breeder, get a trainer's opinion.

I will say that we have pretty much taken it for granted that Ella does not like to be picked up and in most cases we simply find a way to avoid it. She has never bitten us, but she will growl and her whole demeanor changes and it is obvious it is because she does not like to be physically forced to do something she does not want to do. And that is exactly what picking up a small dog is. Given what everybody says about Basenji independence and not physically bullying your Basenji, I never thought it was an unreasonable request by Ella. And you say that scolding makes it worse. I think most people on this forum will tell you that is typical Basenji bahvoir. They just do not respond well to punishment. You have to be a bit more patient and creative with a Basenji. I know you might feel like you have to stand your ground to show dominance but think about why you have to pick her up and figure out another way to accomplish what you want. That is the sign of true leader. For us, the use treats and toys and commands usually keeps us all happy.

All that being said, Ella let's us pick her up to get into the car (which for some reason she does not like to jump into) and she seems to understand when some rare unexpected emergency comes up that it is OK.

Personally, and I really do mean for ME…it is important that I be able to pick up my dog, and move my dog...because things happen in life, ya know? But it isn't too hard to desensitize dogs to being moved around, even Basenjis...you just change their association from 'person coming...going to make me do something' to 'person coming....going to do something to get a treat' It takes time, and effort...but not a whole lot of skill, once somebody shows the student the timing aspect 🙂

I agree Andrea, all good points

I too agree with Andrea and Pat.

Does she wear her collar indoors? - I would put a short length of cord on it and use it gently to get her to move. She shouldn't be allowed to get away with being able to do as she wants just because she growls or even bites. But NEVER use any form of punishment. Patience and firm gentleness is the essential in my opinion. I'd be interested to know what response you get from her breeder.

In early days in the UK many Basenjis were known as aggressive but they weren't, it was just that their owners really had no idea about a Basenji's psyche.

Thanks everyone for the input! I have talked to the breeder and they said that the mother has growled in the past , but has not bitten. The father has no signs of aggresion. She has been to the vet a lot of times. I feel very comfortable in saying that she acts this way when we are asking her to do something she does not want to do. One of the problems is that she sleeps with us and she had got where she wanted to sleep right on me. So I put her bed at the foot of our bed. She is fine starting out there but on in to the night she wants to get next to me. I am wandering if she is cold. We cover her up in her bed. I had thought about letting her wear a sweater to sleep in. I will check into finding someone to help me with this. It is really hard to find people who are familiar with basenjis here. I live in Grapevine, Texas. This is in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. THANKS AGAIN!!!

I might add that a friend of mine has her sister and she has had no issues what so ever with aggression. I am a little concerned that I have spoilt her. I am with her all day long and do a lot with her. I pet and baby her a lot. My friend does not have the time to do this. I have no children at home and my husband is gone a lot so it is me and her. I have never had this breed before and everyone always says they are different. I have never had a dog that would bite me or that I was scared of. So this is very different. Like I said earlier though…she has been a great dog. House trained, very calm, not destructive, loves everyone and all animals. This has been our only hurdle so far.

I just wanted to add that now that I think about it more, we can pick up Ella on quite a few occasions, but the common thread when she shows some aggression is trying getting her to do something she doesn't want to do.

I have to say again from reading this forum for a couple of years, much of this behavior seems pretty typical. That doesn't mean don't try to change it. I just mean, you are not alone and I am sure you will work it. Basenjis sleep deeply. Many do not like to be woken up. I use a treat each morning to wake Ella up to get her out the door for the morning walk–she has to shake both paws on command to get it. Basenjis do not respond well to punishment. And Basenjis like to sleep under the covers with their owners! I agree it is both endearing and a hassle. But itis very common. One of the most entertaining threads on this site is the one called Where Does Your Basenji Sleep. Look it up.

I agree that sleeping with a Basenji that is a bed hog and then grumpy/aggressive about it, is a situation that has to be worked out.
It sounds like she is basically a sweet dog.

I'm concerned that you said you are scared of her. You really need to find some local help and get some one-on-one consultation. I'd bet it won't take long to get your relationship with your pup on track. Afterwards, I'd encourage you to try to find a good postive trainer and take a class. I think it would do wonders for your relationship with your dog. Seems like Family dog or Relationship classes are becoming popular and that's the sort of class I'd suggest. Once you start clicker training it can be a LOT of fun to see what you can train your basenji to do. And the dog will LOVE training time.

Oh, and if you're worried about her being cold sleeping by herself, google "snuggle safe". I have several and have used them for years.

@paulajean:

I might add that a friend of mine has her sister and she has had no issues what so ever with aggression. I am a little concerned that I have spoilt her. I am with her all day long and do a lot with her. I pet and baby her a lot. My friend does not have the time to do this. I have no children at home and my husband is gone a lot so it is me and her. I have never had this breed before and everyone always says they are different. I have never had a dog that would bite me or that I was scared of. So this is very different. Like I said earlier though…she has been a great dog. House trained, very calm, not destructive, loves everyone and all animals. This has been our only hurdle so far.

And this hurdle will only get worse if you don't stop it now… and yes if you pet and baby her all the time, you have opened the door for her to think she needs to take control and has.... This is really no different then any other breed when they feel they need to take control and be the "alpha" .... you need professional help to help you to understand how to take back the control and NOT by force. And I would only add, that if you are afraid of her, she KNOWS it... and will use that to her advantage

I normally think a basenji's place is in the bed. But not with dominance issues. It may be time for some gentle 'nothing in life is free" training which includes not sleeping in bed, not being fed without sitting and doing commands, no allowing her to demand attention– she gets it when you are ready.

Deb is a friend of mine, has a pretty basic NILIF description for attention:
http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

This is an old one, before the word "alpha" got to be so negative. Please notice she uses the term alpha but does not advocate EVER using physical force. I know Vicki did another version but can't find it. However, it's a good read. In so many ways chows and basenji are similar… they think independently and they like to be in control and they respond horribly to physical punishment (as do all dogs but these breeds it is path to destruction!) and force.

http://www.chowwelfare.com/cciw/alpha.htm

I agree with Debra…dogs who feel it is okay to growl and snap at their owners to get their way should not be sleeping in the bed. Paulajean, you can work this out...just get some good advice from a good trainer...she is not a bad dog, you just need a way to communicate to her that you are the leader 🙂 Check out Patricia McConnell's book "How to Be the Leader of the Pack (and have your dog love you for it)" you can google it and find it at several different vendors.

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