I have a 20 month old male basenji. I am working with his breeders to obtain his championship in conformation showing so he is still "in-tacked". In July he started showing some aggression towards a very close friend of mine. At first I thought it was a one time thing, that maybe he (my friend) had unknowingly sent an unintended message that made my benji feel threatened. When I firmly told my benji to stop he did. I thought it was the end of it, i was wrong, it was just the beginning. but not long after I received reports from him and my mom that when he had stopped by the house on several different occasions while i was at work, that benji had repeatedly acted out to him via snarling, growling almost a roaring noise, hair on end and even some snapping. It seemed that no matter how he approached benji it set him off, and actually even if he didn't approach but simply ignored and or backed off that it made no difference to benji. My friend is very much a dog person, most dogs he comes in contact with love him instantly, he has a black lab of his own that is possibly the best behaved lab i have ever met. I wondered at first if it was merely a dominance issue because at the time benji was really just coming of age. That theory was busted with a capital 'B' when one day while at work I got a very disturbing call from another friend of mine. She was in tears because he scared her so bad and she didn't (still doesn't know what set him off) she had stopped by the house to visit with my mom. When she arrived benji greeted her and was as happy as always to see her; she greeted him in return, he even sat in her lap for a while that day. after she had been there for well over an hour chatting with my mom, actually helping her shuck corn for dinner that night. She walked across the kitchen and bent down to get a plastic bag from the drawer, benji stood in the door way relaxed one second and the next he was snarling barring his teeth and striking at her (no bit has ever made contact thus far).
this has been an on going pattern: the first friend benji can't seem to even stand the sight of (at this point in time literally the sight of him sets benji into attack mode) The second friend he happily greets and loves on one minute and the next he's "grumping" fiercely at her. By now she is terrified of him.
I have spoken to his breeders about it. they are at as much of a loss as I am. none of their other dogs including his litter-mates have had any such issues. The only commonalities between both friends that I can find is they both own dogs of their own, and they are both my friends. But several of my other friends own dogs and benji has never acted out against them. Both of these friends like all my others have been around and interacted peacefully with benji since I brought him home at the age of 9 weeks. Benji has never acted like this to myself, my boyfriend or either of my parents. He loves to meet and greet new people. I have always taken him everywhere with me since i got him. taken him on vacations, countless trips to petco, petsmart, and tractor supply, not to mention the meeting of countless new people and dogs in dog parks, dog shows and general walks down the street. The only other issue (started at the same time as the above noted issue) that has occurred and also seems to be getting worse is his ability to peacefully meet new dogs… in August after winning his second major in a row I took him to petco to celebrate and to let him pick out a new toy. (the only thing he loves more then me coming home with a surprise new toy or bone for him, is getting to go and pick it out himself) I've never been so embarrassed before in my life... while in the store we passed by another dog owner and their dog, a bichon and at first benji approached like always happy and excited to meet a new friend, the bichon was timid at first and benji was pushy and overwhelming as usual but they were both okay. did the nose to nose sniff, then did the nose to butt sniff they are both relaxed with some tail wagging going on. I'm talking calmly with the owner and then WHAM! benji is going after that poor little bichon like he was trained in a dog fighting (which is not the case, I can't stand the thought of dog fighting). No one was hurt thankfully and I apologized to the owner a million times. we ended up leaving the store without a toy or bone because every time we were in an aisle and that bichon walked by one of the ends he would start growling and his hair would stand on end, and the bichon would cower and hide behind the owner... and ever since then he has been dominate, aggressive and over powering to any and all other dogs we walk by... it makes going for walks very stressful cause i'm always worried about running into another dog now, especially one that's big enough to pull away from its owner. the big dogs dislike benji's attitude and it's obvious in their body language that if it's a fight benji wants they'll be happy to give it to him...
I'm really hoping that someone has or knows anything that could help or make sense of the drastic change (that despite my efforts seems to only be getting worse) in his temperament and behavior???? I would really like to make sense of it and start working on a remedy before it escalates. My biggest fear at this point is he is going to start being aggressive to any and everyone and not just a select few.