I am thinking about bringing a basenji into my life and am already in touch with a breeder who has 2 week old puppies that will be ready to go to their new homes in early March. I am a college student graduating in May. I'm taking minimal classes and don't plan to start working until the summer so for the first two months with my puppy, I will have pretty abundant free time. I've been reading through a few of the posts from potential owners and I have a few questions I was hoping you all could answer for me.
1. I'm concerned about my dog developing separation anxiety and was wondering how to treat my puppy to best minimize the chances. I grew up with a beagle, another breed with the tendency to develop separation anxiety, but we had a second dog in the house for her whole life so that was never really a problem. It seems like most of the basenjis with separation anxiety on this forum are rescue dogs but have any of you raised a dog from young puppyhood that developed this problem? Are some dogs just naturally inclined to develop it or is it all about the treatment they receive?
2. I am a little concerned about the fact that I also have a pet rabbit. Of course, I plan to never let them be alone together but I would like them to be able to be in the same room when I am watching them. Does anyone have any experience raising a basenji around other small animals? We had a rabbit in my house when I was a kid, which we got before we got any of our dogs. We owned a chesapeake bay retriever, a beagle, and a mixed breed dogs and all of them were fine around the rabbit without any training. They seemed to just understand that the rabbit had been there first and was therefore off limits. I think our mutt even had some sight hound in her because she chased everything that moved once she was outside the house. I am wondering, though, if a basenji might be a different story since they are so prey-driven.
3. In terms of the sleeping situation, I plan to have the dog sleep in a crate at night while he or she is a puppy and then out in the living room whenever (if ever..) we can trust him or her not to be destructive when left alone. How important is consistency? If it was up to me, the dog would sleep in the bed but I also live with my boyfriend who isn't very into the idea. I would like to have the option to let the dog sleep with me when the boyfriend is out of town (which happens often enough, he is a musician that occasionally tours) but I am worried that will be a 'if you give a mouse a cookie' situation.
4. A lot of people on here have asked the question of which sex is better to own and the responses seemed to be very mixed. Some say girls, some say boys, some say there aren't any discernable differences as long as you spay/neuter (which I plan to do). I want my dog to be as affectionate as possible and the least likely to have any aggressive tendencies because my boyfriend was attacked by a dog several times as a kid and (understandably) has some lingering fears. Anyone have an opinion about this? My breeder's vet told her that her basenjis were the most affectionate basenjis she'd ever met, so that should be a good sign regardless of sex.
5. After graduation, I will be living and working in Florida for two more years and then applying to law school. I may stay in Florida but there is also a chance I will move to New York. I've read that basenjis are very adaptable and will do just fine in an apartment as long as they get sufficient exercise. Anyone on here have experience keeping a basenji in a city environment? Or any experience taking a basenji with you when you moved across a big distance?
Sorry for the long-windedness, just trying to make as careful a decision as possible. I appreciate any/all advice!