Kipawa and anxiety

Kipawa is now 9 months old, and just recently, he has started developing anxiety - when he is in the car as we are going somewhere for a nice walk, when he is crated and is alone in the house, and when I leave the house, even though my husband is with him and he is NOT crated.

His actions are whining (high pitched), yawns and whines at the same time, and will not keep still in the car, where his crate allows him full view of what is going on. At home, with my husband there, he whines almost until I get home.

I'm trying to figure out where this is coming from? Hormones? We aren't neutering him until around 2 years of age at the earliest, and maybe never. Is it us? We love him so much and show our affections to him often. For what it's worth (I know some don't buy into this philosophy) I am definitely the pack leader. Husband is second (but in a wheelchair) and Kipawa is third.

Thanks for all of your comments.

First Basenji's

Hi Fran, just read through your thread about Kipawa's anxiety. If I may make the suggestion for the car: Get ready to get him in the car as you would normally do if you go somewhere. Watch for 'signs'! If he wants to turn and run, then this is the starting point for Counter Conditioning and Desensitizing. Go back to the house, get a high value treat, and commence to start to the car. Praise him for no anxiety. If you can get to the car, give treat, then see if you can get him in the car-he must jump in on his own accord. Coax with treat if need be. This may be the point at which you stop the session for now. The next time you may be able to get him in, turn the engine (give treats for good behavior) and then turn off the engine. THe next time you may be able to back the car up and return. Always watching him for stress. Reward with treat for no stress or just reward to associate the car with good stuff. You see where this goes? Slow steps and progress to being able to go around the block and back home. Further and further-may take months….Patience Persistence and Consistency. Also, if none of this works, but he likes the crate and you do as well for safety, then cover it. He may be stressed out with the world passing by too quickly!!! Hope this helps. Also, for your leaving the house, the same thing. Your husband should commence an Obedience session with treats or a game of hide and seek the treat in the house- (this makes Kipawa work and gets his mind off your leaving-hopefully) Do not do the same thing you always do to exit the house. Leave for 1.5 seconds, then increase the time out of sight. He will in time learn that you always return. Sounds simple, and it may not work, but I have finally learned that my Uzie likes it better out of the crate if I am gone for any length of time-he came with severe separation anxiety, and still has some degree of it. TIME! Good Luck!!!!

You can try using DAP to calm him when crated. I have used the spray to calm my whippet for travel. Most of them outgrow their separation anxiety with patience and training.

http://www.healthypets.com/ddogapph.html

@lisastewart:

You can try using DAP to calm him when crated. I have used the spray to calm my whippet for travel. Most of them outgrow their separation anxiety with patience and training.

http://www.healthypets.com/ddogapph.html

I have to agree with this suggestion.

Kananga had some bad anxiety originally when I got him. Mainly when I would leave, he would resort to chewing on a few pieces of furniture.

I tried everything, and then looked at using DAP, which surprisingly (for me at least) really calmed him down. It was the next step to allow him to outgrow this anxiety. I don't consider it a 100% solution necessarily, but it will help you work with him on getting away from the anxiety.

I think I used it for a month or two and then he started to stabilize. I plugged it in where he tends to have free roam (living room) and it seems to have good coverage. It's worth a shot IMO.

I suspect ignore may be the best response as it seems more attention getting/protesting than real anxiety. For dogs, he's sort of entering the terrible 2s stage. Doing things to CALM him actually rewards the behaviors. Sure put a toy, high value treat in the crate, but not once the behaviors start as you are then rewarding him for the behaviors.

I will add that basenji pups Kipawa's age often go through what we lovingly refer to as "puppy spooks". Kipawa had a half brother years ago named Mojo that went through this. At the age of 10 months out of the blue he suddenly became terrified of his own shadow. We luckily were aware of this kind of thing and had learned to not react to the fear or try flooding him with what frightened him. We reassured him in a very matter of fact way and only slightly changed our approach it seemed to disappear on its own over the next couple months.
If this is a stage for like puppy spooks it usually hits our kids between 9-13 months at any given time and can be anything. Just unexplained and usually not seen before and usually not over anything new. Sounds like this may fit what he is doing.
I tend to agree with Debra, ignore may be your best bet.
Therese

I like my DAP for this sort of stuff. Otherwise, you may want to get McConnell's booklet, I'll be Home Soon. As an extra bonus, tawzerdog.com has all books 1/2 off this month.

@agilebasenji:

I like my DAP for this sort of stuff. Otherwise, you may want to get McConnell's booklet, I'll be Home Soon. As an extra bonus, tawzerdog.com has all books 1/2 off this month.

+1. I bought that book when Ruby was the only basenji in my house and it has some great tips. One thing discussed is no big hellos or good byes, matter of fact comings and goings and tone of voice.

Oh and one question…has the behavior started since he had the bad experience at the dog park or was it going on previously?

Sounds like Therese is right on. I have learned b's go through this and its a stage..if handled correctly. Your a great basenji mom Fran!

@Buddys:

Hi Fran, just read through your thread about Kipawa's anxiety. If I may make the suggestion for the car: Get ready to get him in the car as you would normally do if you go somewhere. Watch for 'signs'! If he wants to turn and run, then this is the starting point for Counter Conditioning and Desensitizing. Go back to the house, get a high value treat, and commence to start to the car. Praise him for no anxiety. If you can get to the car, give treat, then see if you can get him in the car-he must jump in on his own accord. Coax with treat if need be. This may be the point at which you stop the session for now. The next time you may be able to get him in, turn the engine (give treats for good behavior) and then turn off the engine. THe next time you may be able to back the car up and return. Always watching him for stress. Reward with treat for no stress or just reward to associate the car with good stuff. You see where this goes? Slow steps and progress to being able to go around the block and back home. Further and further-may take months….Patience Persistence and Consistency. Also, if none of this works, but he likes the crate and you do as well for safety, then cover it. He may be stressed out with the world passing by too quickly!!! Hope this helps. Also, for your leaving the house, the same thing. Your husband should commence an Obedience session with treats or a game of hide and seek the treat in the house- (this makes Kipawa work and gets his mind off your leaving-hopefully) Do not do the same thing you always do to exit the house. Leave for 1.5 seconds, then increase the time out of sight. He will in time learn that you always return. Sounds simple, and it may not work, but I have finally learned that my Uzie likes it better out of the crate if I am gone for any length of time-he came with severe separation anxiety, and still has some degree of it. TIME! Good Luck!!!!

Sorry, my post may have been a little confusing. Kipawa LOVES getting into the car. I just open the door and in he goes, happily. It's what happens seconds after I start the car - the whining and pacing.

As for leaving the house, I'm going to try your suggestion of mixing up things a little when I am leaving the home on my own. I'll do it quietly, not really talking to him. I'll leave for a couple of minutes and then come in, and when I do come in, I'll be very quiet as well.

Kipawa and I are very strongly bonded. Trying this will be hard, because he is around me ALL THE TIME, and I mean 'all the time'. If I am sitting somewhere in the house, and I get up and move, he will wake even from a dead sleep and follow me around. In addition to that (when he is not sleeping), as I move around the house, he always comes with me. There are rooms we don't let him in unsupervised (our bedroom) and he respects us saying DOOR and not trying to get in.

@lisastewart:

You can try using DAP to calm him when crated. I have used the spray to calm my whippet for travel. Most of them outgrow their separation anxiety with patience and training.

http://www.healthypets.com/ddogapph.html

Thank you to those of you who have suggested DAP. I was not aware of such a thing. It's certainly worth a try, along with modifying some of my OWN behaviors. 🙂

@DebraDownSouth:

I suspect ignore may be the best response as it seems more attention getting/protesting than real anxiety. For dogs, he's sort of entering the terrible 2s stage. Doing things to CALM him actually rewards the behaviors. Sure put a toy, high value treat in the crate, but not once the behaviors start as you are then rewarding him for the behaviors.

Debra, thank you. Ignoring makes sense - as you said, if we react then he is learning that this level of anxiety gets him attention. Back to the drawing board!

@Therese:

I will add that basenji pups Kipawa's age often go through what we lovingly refer to as "puppy spooks". Kipawa had a half brother years ago named Mojo that went through this. At the age of 10 months out of the blue he suddenly became terrified of his own shadow. We luckily were aware of this kind of thing and had learned to not react to the fear or try flooding him with what frightened him. We reassured him in a very matter of fact way and only slightly changed our approach it seemed to disappear on its own over the next couple months.
If this is a stage for like puppy spooks it usually hits our kids between 9-13 months at any given time and can be anything. Just unexplained and usually not seen before and usually not over anything new. Sounds like this may fit what he is doing.
I tend to agree with Debra, ignore may be your best bet.
Therese

Wow… interesting. Thanks Therese! I'll work on ignoring and also calm reassurance with him when necessary. I know if we have a late night walk where it is darker, he has been apprehensive about shadows.

@agilebasenji:

I like my DAP for this sort of stuff. Otherwise, you may want to get McConnell's booklet, I'll be Home Soon. As an extra bonus, tawzerdog.com has all books 1/2 off this month.

Thanks, I will have a look at the books. 1/2 off is a significant savings. 🙂

@renaultf1:

Oh, and one question…has the behavior started since he had the bad experience at the dog park or was it going on previously?

Well, actually yes, as far as his behavior in the car. Prior to 'the incident', he was displaying some anxiety actions in the car, but I would call them mild at the most. On the day of 'the incident', Kipawa was out of my vision for a few seconds, as the path we were on was curved, and he ran back to see the Weimeraner. So, I basically don't know whether or not the dog OR THE MAN did something to scare him. But we have been back there, and Kipawa plays happily with other dogs. I now only go to this park when I can tell there are two other cars at the most (there is only one way into and out of the park).

I am hoping what Therese said is what is going on. She is like an encyclopedia when it comes to knowing the physicality and minds of her dogs.

@lisastewart:

You can try using DAP to calm him when crated. I have used the spray to calm my whippet for travel. Most of them outgrow their separation anxiety with patience and training.

http://www.healthypets.com/ddogapph.html

Thanks - ordering this as we speak!

I walk Buddy when I get up in the am for about 30 minutes, then we eat breakfast and as I'm getting the kitchen clean and me ready to leave, he's curled up in the chair. When it's time to leave I just walk out and he could care less.

Houston

Fran,

the DAP really worked wonders on Otis when he was in the car..he had a slight case of anxiety, but the DAP would calm him down to the point that he could fall asleep, as supposed to pace and whine..I used the spray for him, would spray his bed in the crate or blanket and it seemed to work great.

On Pippi, nothing works…besides letting him be in teh car uncrated, he is in teh very back for the car with a barrier between us and him, he doesn't like it but settles down and sleeps after a while..if crated he screams the entire trip wether 20 min. or 4 hours..miserable and in my opinion, highly unsafe as it makes me a nervous nelly driver..

I know leaving a dog uncrated in the car is not good, but our options are nil...so that is how he travels.
Moses crates ok, and I could maybe leave Pippin in Moses crate with him, except Moses gets carsick and I rather wash one dog off than two..if you know what I mean. 🙂

Fran…if you go to comfort zone's website and sign up for their newsletter (in the Contact Us section), they send you coupons. I think it $15 off for the defuser and $5 and $10 off for refills. Quite a good deal. Also your vet may carry it - mine does and the refills are discounted there (marketed as D.A.P - not comfort zone - but still by Farnam).

http://www.petcomfortzone.com/

@renaultf1:

Fran…if you go to comfort zone's website and sign up for their newsletter (in the Contact Us section), they send you coupons. I think it $15 off for the defuser and $5 and $10 off for refills. Quite a good deal. Also your vet may carry it - mine does and the refills are discounted there (marketed as D.A.P - not comfort zone - but still by Farnam).

http://www.petcomfortzone.com/

Ack! I ordered already. Oh well, will sign up for the newsletter now. 🙂

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