Basenji agressigve towards crate all of the sudden

  • Hey,

    Bandit, my 11 month old Basenji has always been really good about going into his crate. When he was a puppy we worked on "crate time" alot and it payed off. In the last month or so, because he grew out of his crate in my bed room (I had 2 crates smaller crates due to hand-me-down), and he was getting older, I transitioned him to sleeping in a doggie bed in my bed room…

    The last week or so, he has become very hesitent to getting into his downstairs crate (it is a larger one). His dog-walker reported to me that she had a hard time and he was getting agressive... And I had noticed slightly harder than usual time of coaxing him in. This morning he would not listen at all, he just jumped up on the couch and got stand offish... I was running late, so I went over and tried grabbing him and he went crazy, snapping at me and getting the most agressive towards me I had ever seen... Eventually I was able to pick him up when he was off gaurd and put him in the crate w/o problems. I really don't like doing that, physically putting him in, but I was already running late for work and I didn't have time for more of it...

    Anyways when I was leaving he was howling, whimpering and pawing the cage. I hadn't heard him make such a fuss about being in his crate since he was 3 months. Part of me thinks this is just him entering into his "rebelious teenage years" but idk. Does anybody else have any experience with this, I could use any help you could provide


  • I used to tell puppy owners (Rottweilers) that I was there morning noon and night until 11 to 18 mos. Yeah it is often the rebellious stage.

    I suggest you go back to basic crate training when you are home. Put in, let out in 10 to 15 mins. Feed in the crate. But most important– and you won't like this part-- get up 20 mins early and REALLY play/walk tire him out... then with leash still on, put in the crate in no nonsense manner with a happy cheerful GOOD BOY.

  • Agree, could be the rebellious stage or perhaps something has occurred that has soured him on crates. (e.g. left longer than usual, something happened when you were absent that upset him). Best way I know to deal with aggression is to not provoke it. If he doesn't want to go into his crate voluntarily, I agree with Debra that repeating basic crate training is essential, but a trick I have used might be helpful. Ten minutes or so before leaving, put something he wants in the crate (treats, toy…....and place it at the back of the crate), and lock the door so he can't have it. By the time you open the door, he may be quite willing to go in to retrieve his prize. (do you usually give a treat when he goes into the crate? Will he go in if you toss the treat in first?)

    Don't attempt picking him up to put him in the crate unless you are prepared to do exactly that, no matter his reaction. Otherwise you are teaching him that aggression is the way to go to get what he wants, and if he is successful at avoiding that crate he will be more difficult the next time. Oh, and tell the dog walker to put him into the crate using the leash, to avoid an incident. (thread the leash through, and direct him in rather than physically pushing him in, hopefully your crate will allow this.)

  • Yes I give him a treat… Our little ritual is I would give him these chicken jerkey sticks, treats he only got when he would go in the crate.... I tried throwing them in there, but he knew better than that... I will probably just have to go back to crate training 101... Do you think trying to get him to go back to sleeping in a crate is the way to go or should I continue to let him sleep outside of the crate?

  • I don't think I would do that, especially as it just adds crate time and likely makes him less amenable to confinement. Have you ever tried clicker training? And up until now, did he usually go into the crate on his own, or did you place him there?

    Personally I would clicker train going into the crate, and remaining there, without closing the door. Then mix it up, close the door sometimes, sometimes not. Progress to doing your usual "going out" routine, but sometimes he just goes into the crate for a minute, then back out. Then "leave" but come back quickly, that sort of thing, so it is unpredictable when you will be leaving him for a time and when it is just a drill.

    How is he about other commands? Reasonably obedient, or ignores you?

  • For the longest time he was going in his crate on his own… Up until the last few days I had not had to pick him up and put him in his crate since he was a few months old... I am convinced that either something happened that spooked him, or he is just being a teenage rebel...

    I went through that whole rigamaroll when he was young to get him good with his crate, now it looks like I am going to just start over from scratch... Dog ownership is a never ending journey i guess!

  • @rockfordwhite:

    Dog ownership is a never ending journey i guess!

    Sure is! I would suspect something has happened, as behaviour usually doesn't change for no reason. You mention a dog walker. Any chance something happened there that you don't know about? (people occasionally get impatient with Basenjis, especially if they are in a hurry and the dog is teasing them!)

    Best to proceed as if teaching a new behaviour, and try to avoid forcing unless you must. Especially as you don't know why this is happening. Have you had any issues unrelated to the crate? Because I would expect to see some in another context if this is "teenage rebellion".

  • That is what I would wonder….. as said, a behavior that just "pops" up for no reason is hard to swallow. Many people think that a bad behavior just starts for no reason, however if you really think about the situation, there were 99% of the time little things are going on that many owners totally miss.

  • He has been a bit less responsive lately… Some of the tricks he used to do, he is slower at, he doesn't want to roll over anymore... Part of that I blame on myself, I had a major busy summer and the training kinda fell to the back burner... I noticed in the mornings, he is content to just stay in his bed and doesn't come downstairs when i tell him to...

    This morning, I got up earlier so I could take him for a medium long walk just to get him out. Then when we got home I kept him on his leash, and kept him in the kitchen (if he got to the living room he'd be on the couch and not want to move)... When we were in the kitchen we played a bit, did some tricks with treats (sit, high five, shake, ring hte bell, etc).. Then we moved over to the other room with the crate. I said 'crate time' and pointed to the crate, he sat down and just stared at me, i looked at him and back to the crate. He whimpered a bit, but after a bit he went into the crate. I gave him a treat and then told him to come out (I had him go out and in a few times, with treats, to hopefully make it easier on the dog walker). Once he was in, I gave him a big kong stuffed with treats, and then left. I didn't hear any whimpering when i went out the door (like the last few days), but he was also paws deep in the kong... Hopefuly he is ok and doesn' shread the new cratepad i bought on wednesday!

    I don't think we're through this, not by a long shot, but I do feel like we're moving in a positive direction

  • But you put in the time and effort to MAKE a change. That's what good owners are about. 🙂 You can also stuff a kong with a little peanut butter, or cream cheese or even canned food and put in freezer. Then the dog sitter has a long lasting treat to give him when putting him back in. 🙂

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