Weird Behavior ???

Saba is now nearly 3 1/2 years old, an uncastrated male. He is a very dominant, confident, problem child !!!

On Friday night my 15 year old daughter had a sleep over at a friends place. She arrived home on Sat afternoon, coming home by bus, so just waltzed into the dining room. She had her clothes on, (well thank goodness for that !!!), plus a friends cardigan as well.

All the dogs in the house greeted her normally, except Saba. He was in his crate, and as Olivia put her hand into the crate, he sniffed her, then growled at her. It took her by surprise, but got her hand out VERY quickly. I got him out of the crate, (after everyone else was put away and had calmed down), to see what he was going to do. She was still in the clothes she came home in. I got her to sit on the floor and gently let him go over to her, on a lead. He certainly gave me mixed messages. He had his tail wagging, (something he NEVER does), but ears were flat on his head, raised lips, low grumbling, but pulling to get closer to her. I obviously didnt allow him too close. I got her to go and get changed into her own dirty clothes. Tried it again, no the exact same response to her. Olivia was starting to feel scared of him, so I put him away. He was fine with me, my younger daughter, my hubby, and the rest of the dogs.

This behavior has completely confused me, and I cant stop thinking about him and his behavior. I just dont know whether he would have bitten her, if he got close enough or not ??? I suspect yes, but I dont know why…

The following moning, he was back to 'normal', and before I had a chance to supervise him, Olivia had taken him out, from his crate, on a lead, for a wee/poo, with Saba behaving normally ???

Im completely stumped by his behavior... He is Probably fanconi clear, thyroid tested normal this year, by sending the bloods to Dr Jean Dodds, full thyroid panel. Other than a poor doer, and some minor rashes on his belly, which just appear and disappear as they wish, he is fine...

Anyone got any ides on this odd behavior. He is back to normal with Olivia now ????????????????????????????????????????? Fine with the rest of us too.

I may be way off base, but I have two daughters (20 and 23 now)… do you think Saba smelled something on her that we humans could not? Even if Olivia changed her clothes, since basenjis have such keen sense of smell, perhaps he could still smell "it", whatever it is.

And I don't mean to accuse your daughter of anything as mischievous as what my girls found to do when staying overnight at other homes... they've since confessed, lol... perhaps there were animals at her friend's home, and he could smell them on her? 🙂

I checked out the word 'menstuation' in our forum search and came up with nothing. But is it possible that if your daughter was menstuating that he could pick this up and react to is?

I would be curious what others think of this.

A dog living with 3 females, if ever was going to react to their cycles, would have.

The logical response is that the clothes smelled funny, the responses (drawing back and then fear scent!) reinforced to him that something was very wrong, and then on the leash what you actually did was load him (increased excitement by restraining).

Bring out the clothes, put for him to smell. Start working on his socialization. Have your kids or friends let you borrow dirty clothes, particularly with other animal scents. 🙂 Do explain why though cause we don't want to have to take up donations to get you out of the psych ward. 🙂

Is there a reason he isn't neutered? Btw, I never neutered my male Rottie. I am not a "all dogs should be spayed or neutered if not bred" type of person. But with behavior issues, it does sometimes help.

I have seen this happen with a "normal" dog reacting to someone approaching his crate also. I am not sure why…perhaps it is a variation on, this is my space..please don't crowd me?

Also, we have found that when it is dry and static-y in the air here, our dogs will flinch or not wish to be patted because of the static that discharges. They seem to be able to sense when we are "charged" and they are about to get a zap...and if we are not "charged" they don't seem to flinch prior to a touch. I don't know if this is possible where you are...but she may have given him an accidental zap in that exact same set of circumstances, and he is wary to have her touch him.

I would try not to over-react and make him more nervous about the situation. Remember a dog's growl is his only way to tell us, I am uncomfortable. So watch him, but I usually try to jolly a dog out of something like this. Say quietly and sweetly "oh, what is wrong, you silly dog...what?" and that usually helps them chill out. A three year old male is kind of starting to feel manly, but not really sure what to do about it 😉 If normally his temperamant is sound, this is probably just a passing phase.

Since he was back to "normal" that next morning, rather then the smell be only on the clothes, whatever he was smelling would have been on her skin also…. I would assume she showered either before bed or in the morning? Or even just being in her own bed might have taken any odors off her skin..... Remember dogs have a highten sense of smell and they are usually smelling things we never can.

@DebraDownSouth:

A dog living with 3 females, if ever was going to react to their cycles, would have.

Hi Debra, I enjoy everyone posting on here. Everyone has good ideas/thoughts. But sometimes, though I don't mention it (it rolls off my back), your tone in your messages come across a little condescending. I know you aren't doing it on purpose, so no offence taken. But I just thought I might let you know in a friendly way.

Thanks everyone for the responses…

I suspected the clothes or foreign smells, hence why I got her to go up and change clothes, into some of her own 'dirty' ones that had her smell on them...

Tanza no, when she came down to take him out the next am, she hadnt had a shower. They usually take the house dogs out for a wee/poo, have b'fast, then shower prior to going out/school etc, etc...

Patty M, I hope that she had been doing what she said she had done !!!! Mmmmmmmm I wonder what she may confess to later ;)...

Kipawa, she she was mensturating, but he hasnt responded to her in this way before... She has had her periods for about 3-4 years now... No-one else in the house had their periods either...

DebraDownSouth, I wondered later about whether or not I should have put him on a lead, but I couldnt think of any other way to allow him to get close to her. I needed to be able to pull him away IF he wanted to bite her...

The reason he isnt neutered yet, is cos he was bought as a show dog. Unfortunately he cant be shown, as he has taken a HUGE dislike to being on the table, or being touched/handled by anyone other than us. All this has happened DESPITE the enormous amount of socialising/show handling classes we have done with him etc, etc, etc... I am allowing his breeder to decide whether she wants semen collected, and this will be done prior to our next breeding season, then he will be castrated :)...

Quercus, why would he be funny about just Olivia approaching his crate ??? The rest of us dont have this response from him, when we approach his crate ??? No static here, but that was a really interesting point :)...

Ok the next instalment in this saga...

Again last night, Olivia came home from work, went to say hello to all the dogs, Saba was in his crate, and he was very guarded with her. Ears back, licking his lips, low grumbling, obviously very uncomfortable with her being there, in front of his crate. He was fine with me there, just not Olivia... She did get brought home from work, by a smoker, so maybe he could smell the smoke on her ??? She says that there were cigarettes in the house that she slept over at, but she never saw anyone smoke, nor could she smell smoke in the house at all... But again why now does he react in this way to cigarette smoke ??????????

Later on, after she had been in the house a while, I got him out of the crate, and he was fine with her, jumped up had a good smell of her, breath included, she patted him, played with him for a few minutes, took him out for a wee etc, etc. No issues... Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh, this boy is doing my head in, I can tell you 😕 😕 😕 ...

@Kipawa:

Originally Posted by DebraDownSouth View Post
A dog living with 3 females, if ever was going to react to their cycles, would have.

Hi Debra, I enjoy everyone posting on here. Everyone has good ideas/thoughts. But sometimes, though I don't mention it (it rolls off my back), your tone in your messages come across a little condescending. I know you aren't doing it on purpose, so no offence taken. But I just thought I might let you know in a friendly way.

Fran, there are times when I might mean to be condescending, but I assure you that it won't be "a little" or usually any question. That you could take my comment above as condescending… I can only suggest you may simply want to block my posts because it is entirely unlikely I will write 100 words to say what I said in under 20 because SOMEONE might see my observation as insulting. Now if I had said it condescending, such as:
How could you THINK it could be that? Don't you think any dog living with females would already have reacted? How silly!

The person threw out the idea of periods, which sometimes could be it .. and btw, pregnancy hormones set some dogs off… but it hit me he had lived with them too long for that to be probably. It wasn't an insult to the OP, just a response. People contradict my ideas daily on here, doesn't make them condescending or insulting.

THEN, I could see it. I simply tossed out a quick response addressing that logically it probably wasn't that. If you read that as condescending instead of my own view, I am sorry.

One helpful rule for forums is that you look at any post and see if there is another TONE than the one you ascribed. If there is, take the other.

Like your post. I COULD think you are a jerk, not at all "friendly," addressing this here and hijacking the thread instead of sending me a private message. Instead, because I see you post a lot and like you :), I took it exactly at face value... you simply are expressing your view and trying to be helpful. So please remove any tones you might ascribe to the answer. The tone in my head is simply factual, that I am not responsible for your taking that as condescending and probably won't be able to stop you seeing other posts that way. Now if I actually say something you cannot take any way than as an insult, feel free to let me know. But the above... sorry, Fran, it was simply a logical observation.

LOL, and in fact, let me now be "condescending" to my post. (I am joking while making a point.)

SOMEONE (but it will be me, since it just hit me where I could easily be wrong...) could have responded to my post and said:
Yeah, but dds, you are wrong because maybe she has an infection or urinary tract infection also with a period, that might do it.

See?

@saba:

DebraDownSouth, I wondered later about whether or not I should have put him on a lead, but I couldnt think of any other way to allow him to get close to her. I needed to be able to pull him away IF he wanted to bite her…...

i would have had him on a leash too. Safety first! I was just explaining how it may have made it worse though.

However, how about trying this. When she comes home, and as often as possible, have her go toward his crate saying TREAT and toss him one. A lot. Til you see him HAPPY to see her.

We do this in the park with dogs who hate men, people with umbrellas, hats, whatever. It is amazing how fast you can retrain thinking. Because right now what is getting reinforced is the aversion.

Yummy treats. Heck cut back on food so a little hungry if possible. Did I mention yummy treats?

DDS that sounds like a really good idea, I hadnt thought of it at all. Try to retrain his thinking that her approaching the crate with SUPER YUMMY treats is something for him to look forward to… Hes not a very food motivated young man, but still going to give it a try... Thank you 🙂

@saba:

DDS that sounds like a really good idea, I hadnt thought of it at all. Try to retrain his thinking that her approaching the crate with SUPER YUMMY treats is something for him to look forward to… Hes not a very food motivated young man, but still going to give it a try... Thank you 🙂

I agree with Debra's suggestion with one small change. I would have her approach the crate saying nothing, and just slipping treat in to him without making a commotion. EVERY time she passes his crate. find a treat that he adores, and that is the only treat she gives him, and only SHE gives it to him. We want to make it really simple for him. He is in your crate, he sees her, great things happen. No extra variables like greeting, or anything else. She can add that in later. It doesn't matter what he is doing, she gives the treat every time she walks by for a good number of weeks.

Andrea, would you have her do it out of the crate too, or just work on crate behavior?

Thanks guys,

On order is one BBQ'd chook !!! Olivia has read the thread, and replies, and is more than happy to do this. Thank goodness school holidays are coming soon, so she can do it a little more during the day…

I cant help wondering if this is a crate issue, but what doesnt make sense, is why its just Olivia, and why has it just started ???

Ahhhhhh Basenji's, only dedicated, definately slightly mentally disturbed people can be owners !!! I think this boy has worried me more than any other dogs Ive ever owned, all rolled into one, but, I LOVE him with all my heart... Just wish I could work out how his brain functions, tis all 😃

Yeah, in the crate or outside as well ???

I have to agree that giving treats is the way to go. Make Olivia his favorite person. Have her give him treats in different places throughout the day. She could start giving him fewer when his behavior changes for the better. If possible, it would be good if she is the one who gives him his meals too.

If he starts getting snarky with others they can give him treats too.

I keep treats by the door because I didn't like the way some of my dogs acted when people came over. Now they know to sit a few feet from the door when someone comes in and guests are always welcome.

We don't know, and won't know why just Olivia 🙂 Is he fine with her when he is outside the crate? My understanding is that he is fine. So, yup, if the behavior you want to change is when he is in the crate…this conditioning should only be associated with the crate. Of course, it would never hurt for her to do some training/bonding with him at other times....but that alone probably won't change his behavior in the crate.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

I do want to add, that if you even think he might bite her fingers if she gives him something in the crate, make sure she knows to use a long treat and hold it at the end...or try to find some thing that she could use to hand it to him, like tongs.

@DebraDownSouth:

Fran, there are times when I might mean to be condescending, but I assure you that it won't be "a little" or usually any question. That you could take my comment above as condescending… I can only suggest you may simply want to block my posts because it is entirely unlikely I will write 100 words to say what I said in under 20 because SOMEONE might see my observation as insulting. Now if I had said it condescending, such as:
How could you THINK it could be that? Don't you think any dog living with females would already have reacted? How silly!

The person threw out the idea of periods, which sometimes could be it .. and btw, pregnancy hormones set some dogs off… but it hit me he had lived with them too long for that to be probably. It wasn't an insult to the OP, just a response. People contradict my ideas daily on here, doesn't make them condescending or insulting.

THEN, I could see it. I simply tossed out a quick response addressing that logically it probably wasn't that. If you read that as condescending instead of my own view, I am sorry.

One helpful rule for forums is that you look at any post and see if there is another TONE than the one you ascribed. If there is, take the other.

Like your post. I COULD think you are a jerk, not at all "friendly," addressing this here and hijacking the thread instead of sending me a private message. Instead, because I see you post a lot and like you :), I took it exactly at face value... you simply are expressing your view and trying to be helpful. So please remove any tones you might ascribe to the answer. The tone in my head is simply factual, that I am not responsible for your taking that as condescending and probably won't be able to stop you seeing other posts that way. Now if I actually say something you cannot take any way than as an insult, feel free to let me know. But the above... sorry, Fran, it was simply a logical observation.

LOL, and in fact, let me now be "condescending" to my post. (I am joking while making a point.)

SOMEONE (but it will be me, since it just hit me where I could easily be wrong...) could have responded to my post and said:
Yeah, but dds, you are wrong because maybe she has an infection or urinary tract infection also with a period, that might do it.

See?

Debra, not a problem. Thank you.

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