My new brindle bundle of joy…

@eeeefarm:

What went wrong with that approach? Mine have mostly slept with me, always when I only have one, and it works well because I am a light sleeper and wake if anything is going on. And they have been very content and peaceful. I still remember bringing my first boy home. He slept with me in the spare bedroom because my girl hated him on sight. In the morning when we woke, he rolled on his back, put his front paws over his head, then yawned and said "aarrr" very contentedly, and I fell in love right there…..

Oh, that's sweet. I wish it had gone that way with Ava. She wet the bed, though that wasn't the reason I stopped. I'm a light sleeper, too, and she didn't even stir– she just went in her sleep. I put a training pad under her, so that was okay. But her breeder said that sleeping in the people bed was interferring with her crate training and that putting her in a crate by my bed would help her settle in the crate. That's what I did with Spencer, and it worked. I would get him out of the crate to take him out in the middle of the night, then put him in the bed with me until morning. After a few months, he was in the people bed full-time. He housetrained pretty quickly and wasn't destructive. She is a very different dog.

If you can stand it, sometimes the "cure" is to leave them until they give it up. Unfortunately some dogs will actually injure themselves…...a friend had one that broke teeth, trying to bite her way out of the crate. The big problem I see is that you really can't afford to let them out when they are fussing.......if you do, you have taught them that persistence pays off, and they will be even more difficult next time, as they learn being hysterical gets them what they want. (people with halter pulling horses that break ropes find this out the hard way) When I have encountered this with an animal I try to throw in a distraction that makes them cease their efforts, even momentarily, say "good" and get them out of there......on what they perceive is your terms. Good luck. Hope the vet has some answers for you.

I know; this is what her breeder says– to not give in and leave her in there until she stops screaming. But she will scream herself hoarse for four hours and then come out shaking and whimpering and just plastered with pee and poop. It just kills me to see her this miserable. And I'm afraid it's making her hate me. Now she runs when I call her (and I had clicker trained her to come and sit!) and shies away from my hand because she thinks I'm going to crate her. She did hurt herself yesterday and is limping today and holding up a front paw. She circles frantically and throws herself against the crate door, trying to break it open. I have stopped the crate time except for eating today and hope the vet can help me.

That is great advice about throwing something to distract her. I will have to try that, not just for the crate but for jumping on my cabinets, which she just will not stop. Thanks for listening and helping. This is just an unexpectedly wretched experience for both little Ava and me.

I don't know if this is helpful or not. But I used to attach Oakleys crate to his ex-pen so when I'd put him in his crate he didn't panic (as much) and destroy stuff bc he could go in the ex-pen which made him think he was winning by being outside of his crate but still confined. It didn't always work but sometimes I felt it helped. I wish I had better advice, I'm wracking my brain trying to think of what I would do but I obviously blocked it out!!

Pamela, I will say that as soon as Oakley was out of confinement and I was there it was an instant change…he could be panicking, screaming, tearing things up covered in diarrhea and the minute I unlocked the crate he would walk around like "oh, alright...I feel fine now...what a day!"...granted, I would open the door, see the destruction and cry my eyes put while I bathed him!!! You will get through this, I have so much empathy for you because it feels like such a hopeless, wearing situation (Hense why I flip flop everyday about getting a second!). My best advice is if you have to crate her, put her crate in the middle of a room, with a shower curtain underneath taped by duck tape so she can't lift it to pull it in her crate...only give her enough access to turn around (use a divider if you have to, giving more room makes us feel better but makes it worse), do not leave water, blankets or toys...empty as empty can be...turn on a radio for sound or a tv for sound and visuals...and let her cry it out. You will inevitably have to do Damage control when u get home but it will be as minimal as possible. Take her outside ASAP for potty (even if she doesn't have to go and covered in urine or poop), take inside to clean up and continue a positive routine afterwards. Treat it as a hiccup to the day and don't let the event take over the day. Oh, and pray!!!

Today Oakley is 27months and he is a gem. He will always challenge confinement, he's stubborn and strong willed.. But he has come so much farther than I could have dreamed by two...I am elated at the dog I have now...I can't even say it was me, he seemed to work put all the kinks himself.

I really feel badly for you. I don't know what your situation at home is, but if you can find a way to just not crate her for awhile and repair your relationship, that would be the way to go. When I had major crate problems, it was with older dogs and we did get through it, but we had our moments. Coming home to a distraught dog and a horrible, messy crate is not a fun experience! I was able to transition to loose in the house. I don't believe I could have continued with the crating for any length of time with either dog.

She may react quite differently at the vet's. Because it is a totally different environment, they may not see what you do at home.

With my own two that despised crates, they were already crate trained before I got them. In a different environment, that didn't seem to matter. Particularly with my current boy. He was crated daily for three years, but always with several other dogs also crated next to him. The first time we put him in his crate (and it was his crate, I had insisted on getting the one he was used to) and left him alone, only for a short time, he got upset. Meaty bones and various toys did not help. We were lucky, because he is good in the house on his own. We seldom have problems with him, but we don't leave him all day, either…..

Chealsie and eeeefarm– thanks for the support. Everything helps, and I'm open to any suggestions! While I was prepared for "normal" Basenji puppyhood-- and maybe even a little more than "normal"-- I was not prepared for this. I'm not sure you could ever prepare for this!

I do have to crate her some (or find some other means of restraint). She has to be able to travel (thank goodness she doesn't get carsick!), and I have to be able to leave my house and know that she's safe and that I won't come home to a destroyed house and an injured dog. I'm going to keep her out of the crate for a few days, see what the vet says and start all over again, hopefully with some new insight. I restarted the housetraining yesterday, and she is doing better on that without the crate stressor. I do believe she will grow into a good dog like Oakley did, but I'm not sure she'll be good in the house like your dogs, eeeefarm. That's my hope-- and it would make life so much better for her and me both-- but I'm not sure what her limits will be. Right now, she is highly destructive and doesn't want any boundaries at all. I get the feeling that she is definitely going to be an "outside the box" kind of dog!

Have you watched Crate Games? It's a dvd and may be helpful. My guess is it is not the complete answer, but maybe a piece of the answer.

@agilebasenji:

Have you watched Crate Games? It's a dvd and may be helpful. My guess is it is not the complete answer, but maybe a piece of the answer.

I had never heard of it. But I just ordered it. Thank you! It sounds interesting. Ironically, Ava is scheduled for puppy agility class next month. So maybe this will help with that, too?

I love getting pieces of the answer. Hopefully, they'll add up to the whole puzzle!

I seriously doubt there is a medical issue causing this, but good that you are checking. I for sure would turn to a behaviorist because they can come to your house and see first hand what it happening. Being NOT emotionally involved, maybe can see things you are not picking up on…

@ownedbyspencer:

I had never heard of it. But I just ordered it. Thank you! It sounds interesting. Ironically, Ava is scheduled for puppy agility class next month. So maybe this will help with that, too?

I love getting pieces of the answer. Hopefully, they'll add up to the whole puzzle!

well, then you may be ahead of the class! many of the pre-agility classes around here include crate games. You may also want to look into a DAP diffuser (but it sounds like she may be a little beyond that) and/or a book called Through a Dog's Ear (yea, the book with the cute little basenji on it) but again, it sounds like she's a bit beyond that. There's also a Thundershirt - works on so much more than just thunder. (It is made to fit snug, but you don't want her eatting it off) But mostly these are things that will take the edge off, but it sounds like she may be in a full blown anxiety/panic attack, which is sort of beyond these things. You also run the risk of "poisining" these things, as you've seen with her come command. She used to trust that come command, but now it means bad things (crate and you leaving) in her mind. Complicated little creatures.

At the very end of the Crate Games video, there is a short segment about dealing with a crate phobic dog, but you really need to watch all of it to that point. (No skipping ahead like I do with books!) Crate games is also clicker-training based, so if you're not familiar with that, you can google that right now and start with 101 things to do with a box. it's easy and fun.

Also, google "Dr Overall Relaxation Protocol". YES YES YES. don't know that this will have anything to do with crate anxiety, but it's a great tool for a performance dog. (Might as well go ahead and get Control Unleashed, or at least wishlist it on your amazon page.)

good luck and please let me know your outcome if you use any of these suggestions. I sort of have a running tally in my head. thanks

Have you done any leash training yet? If so, how does she respond? Some dogs that will not tolerate confinement in a crate are amenable to being tied. They may not love it, (and with a Basenji who doesn't love it, you will need to use something she can't chew through!), but usually it doesn't make them so hysterical. Some people like tethering their pup to their waist as they work around the house. At least you know where they are! 🙂

Pamela, my saying with My boy was and still is: "I was prepared for a Basenji but I wasn't prepared for an Oakley"
One day you will laugh at this, I promise. As well as control unleashed and crate games look into a behaviorist that is familiar with BOTH separation anxiety AND confinement anxiety… The two have the same panic reaction but just solving one usually won't work until both components are addressed.

@tanza:

I seriously doubt there is a medical issue causing this, but good that you are checking. I for sure would turn to a behaviorist because they can come to your house and see first hand what it happening. Being NOT emotionally involved, maybe can see things you are not picking up on…

I don't really think it's medical, either, but there are a few other issues so best to be sure. I'm sure a behaviorist is in our future. Sigh.

@agilebasenji:

good luck and please let me know your outcome if you use any of these suggestions. I sort of have a running tally in my head. thanks

All good suggestions– thanks so much! I have tried both the DAP diffuser and Thundershirt, and they didn't help her. Ditto soft music and other calming oils, like lavender. Whatever is at the root of her panic is, unfortunately, beyond those. I have "Control Unleashed" and will get "Through a Dog's Ear." And we have been doing clicker training since Day 1, and it's working pretty well since she is food-motivated. She was well on the way to being house trained, and I was feeling good about that, until this crate panic made her break it. Now, we're back at the beginning, and she goes everywhere and anywhere.

I'll check out "Dr Overall Relaxation Protocol", too. I'm really looking forward to getting "Crate Games," and if I find anything else that works, I'll let you know. She is, indeed, a complicated little creature... though a lovable one.

@eeeefarm:

Have you done any leash training yet? If so, how does she respond? Some dogs that will not tolerate confinement in a crate are amenable to being tied. They may not love it, (and with a Basenji who doesn't love it, you will need to use something she can't chew through!), but usually it doesn't make them so hysterical. Some people like tethering their pup to their waist as they work around the house. At least you know where they are! 🙂

She hates her collar and leash, too. She will buck like a bronco to try and slip out and away, and I have to tighten her collar more than I would like to keep her in them. I did try the umbilical cord leashing around the house (which I used successfully with Spencer), but she gave me such fits that I abandoned it for now. I feel like she hates everything I try to do with her… probably because she doesn't want restraints or boundaries of any kind. Of course, I can't let her have that.

Martingale collar will help if she's bucking the collar, and the only time it'll tighten is when she resists… So perhaps since it'll fit looser then she won't object as much..but will give you the control of it tightening when she pulls away

@Chealsie508:

Pamela, my saying with My boy was and still is: "I was prepared for a Basenji but I wasn't prepared for an Oakley"
One day you will laugh at this, I promise. As well as control unleashed and crate games look into a behaviorist that is familiar with BOTH separation anxiety AND confinement anxiety… The two have the same panic reaction but just solving one usually won't work until both components are addressed.

Yes, unfortunately, I suspect that she has both separation and confinement anxiety. I have no idea how we're going to get her through this, but maybe a good behaviorist will help. I hope you're right, but I don't think I will ever be able to laugh about this. I like your saying, though– I can so relate!

@Chealsie508:

Martingale collar will help if she's bucking the collar, and the only time it'll tighten is when she resists… So perhaps since it'll fit looser then she won't object as much..but will give you the control of it tightening when she pulls away

I forget– is the Martingale like the Halti-- a harness-type?

Ah, no, I Googled it and yes, I've seen those, but do not have one. Thanks for the tip! The online shopping sites are loving me today!

I LOVE my white pine outfitters martingales. I've had them for years and years. so nice, soft and colors do not run. Those are my "go to" walking collar/leash.

Bummer that the thundershirt did not work. I just got one (about a month ago) for Zest! and our Q rate in agility has, literally, spiked.

I doubt the Dog's Ear book will help, but it's sort of interesting reading and has a cute basenji on the cover. you could always check your local library, that's where i think i first found it. again, maybe a piece of the puzzle.

I know Zest! did go throught a period where she hated her crate, but not to the extreme you've described. And of course once she slept in our bed, she never looked back. (that was not planned, but due to a late spring snow storm that killed power for 24+ hours. I did not think her freezing in her crate was going to help her like the crate.) And I do have other dogs, so she was never really "alone". We did do crate games. We did more of Overall's RP. (And boy were those conformation people impressed with me sending her to her mat! easily amused, those people)

Oh, and congratulations - your learning curve is about to seriously increase! (I know that may or may not make you feel better now, but someday . . . )

So the 9/16" SoftSlip for the collar? And maybe the thundershirt will work if she develops any other fears (God help me!), but this crate thing is just too extreme. I will try all these things and maybe something will stick.

I feel like the mom at the park whose kid won't go down the slide. Everybody else's kids are having a big time, and I'm feeling like "Wow, what's wrong with us?"

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