I thought dog walkers had insurance to cover their expenses for that sort of thing; oh well, I'm lucky I don't have to trust Tyler with someone else. Not sure I could after seeing what you've been through.
VERY happy to hear Wily's recovery is moving along. I always knew it would. Hope to see you guys around soon.
Have there been any major routine changes lately? That could also be a contributing factor.
Our routine is basically the same; I don't think in his case it's needing more exercise. When he was acting up on Sunday it was after a long hike, during which he was happy as ever. But boy he did not like company. I will make an appointment for a thyroid panel and see what comes up.
Also, he's never been to a formal obedience class; until now he's been exceptionally well-behaved. But as for communication, I agree it would be a good idea. Thanks for all the advice, everyone.
Second, when people scold dogs for behavior like growling they often see an escalation in behavior since the dog learns that it is unacceptable to growl but still feels the need to increase the distance between the themselves and the person/dog so they escalate to snapping and biting. Many dogs who "bite out of nowhere" have been conditioned to skip the lower shows of distance increasing behavior and go straight to biting because they were scolded for the lower level distance increasing signals. If he is growling then it is time to leave the situation either a time out if guests are over or leave the dog park if that is where you are. Instead of scolding, remove him from the situation.
Resource guarding could be part of the problem especially if the behavior is usually precipitated by a person or dog interacting with you.
That makes sense. I guess scolding for a growl just teaches him to suppress growling. He does have the run of the house, and could retire to his own room if he wanted to, but chose to sit amongst company and try to boss them around. It's just confusing because he used to be so affectionate to everyone all the time. He had a checkup recently but I don't think they ran the full thyroid panel.
So Tyler is 2 1/2 now. He has always been the dog about which folks would say "Wow, I've never met such a friendly basenji." Until recently; in the last couple months he has occasionally (which means unpredictably) started growling and snapping at dogs at the park, and now in our or other people's homes.
His history: He has a great pedigree (all healthy, well-tempered champions), has been socialized since a very early age, and was neutered at six months. He has always been very affectionate and cuddly, loving to meet all people and other dogs. He gets 1-2 hours of dog park and/or mountain hike exercise every day.
It's just the last couple months that he has been lashing out at well-behaved dogs in the park. He has not been aggressive on leash walks. Sometimes it seems he is "guarding" me. If I sit down, he will not let other dogs come near. Also, in the home he is fine at first, but after a guest has already been here a while, he will growl or snap at them if they come near. This weekend he had to be crated while guests were over because he was snarling and biting at anyone who paid attention to him. He's fine when they first enter the home.
Also, we were at a get-together with 6 different basenjis and Tyler was having a great time for the first 3 hours, then he just changed and was like "I am done." and turned on everyone.
This is a new behavior and I don't want to take the chance of it getting worse. I keep hearing the phrase "terrible two's" but that seems like a copout to me… having an aggressive dog is not acceptable. I have been paying close attention to him, praising him each time he has a good encounter and scolding him when he acts mean. Has anyone else been through this "phase" with their basenji?