Hello everyone! First time poster but long time reader I'm a first time basenji and dog owner. I have a red/white basenji I got from a breeder and his name is Buddy. He is 7 months and I've had him for about 3 months now. He is very affectionate and smart. I've taught him basic obedience within a month and making really good progress with loose leash walking. I'm working on "watch me" command trying to prolong his attention right now. I take him for long walks in the AM and PM, and play fetch with him every day (a basenji that fetches!). About 1x to 2x a week I take him to the dog park and he is really good with other dogs and people, specially with my 9 year old son. He sleeps in his crate at bedtime and he was potty trained within a couple weeks. After saying all of these, here is my problem (or maybe I'm just venting). He is so destructive when left alone!
He digs in the backyard and its starting to look like moon craters. He has left bite marks on the couch, vertical blinds and cushions when I gave him a chance to be free inside the house for an hour when I went to the store. I leave lots of chew toys and bully stick. He knows his own toys because that's what he chews/plays with when I'm around and he leaves my stuff alone (even our my flip flops and shoes). However, when I'm not home, he is mostly outside and I put his crate inside the house against the dog door so he goes straight to the crate when he goes inside the house and he's got the entire backyard. I have a fenced in yard and lots of room to run around/explore. However, I can't supervise him when I'm not home. He has shredded my BBQ cover to pieces!
I've already talked to the breeder and she said that they typically mellow out after a year and gave me some suggestions with digging like putting his poop in it (which worked but he just digs a new hole somewhere else) or a kiddie pool with sand but I dont' have a good spot for it so I'm trying to discourage the digging instead. I'm just wondering from your experience…will this behavoir really subside? It's driving me crazy! My neighbor said he never hears a peep from Buddy when I'm gone. Is he just bored/mild separation anxiety? I've read from this forum that another basenji companion might help. Two basenjis might be too much for me to handle at this time (2x the destruction) and I am a single parent. I just hate it that I'm always afraid of what I'm going to come home to instead of looking forward to seeing my Buddy.