I am from Georgia and recently broke up with my boyfriend and decided to move into a apartment of my own. I found out quickly that apartment life as a single woman can be lonely and so went searching for a little puppy companion. I did find a basenji but it wasn't really a puppy, it was about four or five years old. I found a Basenji in my local area from a guy who had just broke up with his girlfriend and was kicking her out and planning to move into an house and wanted to put the basenji down, so I offered to take it. I found out their just cute as a button but I dont know how to train him. It seems like the original owner didnt do a real good job of training him. He seems to be somewhat destructive and can be violent. I invited a friend over recently and upon trying to take food out of his mouth that he'd taken from the garbage can, he snapped at her and bit her hand. The injury wasn't bad but he just sat their growling at her and it was kind of scary. Does anyone know where I even start?
Oh boy. First of all, nobody who is just visiting and has no history with the dog should be trying to take food away from the resident dog…....any dog! That is just asking for trouble. Basenjis are not easily trained and are not known for obedience, but this can be overcome. Think of a cat disguised as a dog. You have to persuade them that the thing you want them to do is the thing they want to do. Basenjis respond well to clicker training (google it, lots of good info on line) and other positive methods. They don't respond well to positive punishment unless you really know what you are doing and have excellent timing. You may want to consult a Basenji savvy trainer if there is one in your area. These dogs are wonderful companions but they are not for everyone!
I think it is wonderful that you have rescued this dog from being put down, but you now need to do research on the breed, and this forum is a good place to start. Also, you may find this link useful:
Lots of Basenji information, and also if you find the dog is too much for you, perhaps you may want to rehome him. (BTW, do you know whose dog the Basenji was? I mean, did the girlfriend abandon the dog, or does she even know boyfriend was planning to get rid of him?)
You might also consider a behaviorist to evaluate him. And if you have the contact information for the previous owner, you should contact them about his behavior… and find out who the breeder is....
I also agree with eeeefarm, a stranger should never try and take something out of a dog's mouth (any dog).... How long had you had him when that happened? Had you ever tried to take something from him? Something you need to work with him on.... as in teach "trade"... if he has something that you want or he should not have, trade it for something better. Use the leave it command and then as soon as he leaves it, give him the trade item. Make him work for his food, instead of just putting the food down, hand feed him while asking him to sit, down, stay, etc... work his mind. We teach our Basenjis (or any dog) to let us take their food while eating (of course giving it back)... same with toys or chewy items.
Food aggression in dogs is normal. You have to train them to not be, and no stranger should try to take. Heck you shouldn't unless it is something dangerous. Do you have any idea where the guy got the dog from? Perhaps its breeder might help you with training. Do you know if perhaps the exgirlfriend wanted the dog and he took it for spite?