My boyfriend and I just moved with our one and a half year old basenji, Finn, and he is having a hard time adjusting to us leaving him in our new place. We've only left him alone here for more than five minutes once and it went HORRIBLY, worse than I ever could have imagined. We don't crate him when we leave because Finn has proven to be an uncrateable dog. At our last house, we worked with him for 6 months on getting him used to a crate and tried everything but he just never stopped screaming. So finally we threw our hands up and let him have free reign of the house, with bedroom doors closed, which he did remarkably well with except for a few mishaps in the beginning with an old, already ripped couch.
He seemed to be adjusting to the move alright. He's been very calm inside our new apartment and likes to chew his bones in the cozy spot we set up for him in the living room. In the beginning, he got very upset any time either of us left, even if just to go get something from the car, but that seemed understandable because I know this has been a stressful and confusing time for him. After being here for four days, I decided to leave him to go to the store. It was evening and he was already very tired out from the dog park, so I thought he'd be fine. I left him with a frozen peanut butter kong to keep him occupied and only planned to be gone for an hour. When I got home, I immediately heard the blood curdling screaming from the stairs. I ran inside and found that he had pushed open the door I had closed that separates the living room from the rest of the house and was in the kitchen up on his hind legs with his collar caught on the electrical cord for our refrigerator. I later realized he had chewed the cord a little bit trying to free himself and must have gotten shocked! He had pooped on the floor beneath him and it was smeared all over him. He hadn't chewed anything in the house but there were things scattered and out of place near all the windows and in the weird corner where he had gotten stuck which makes me think he was running around frantically to each window trying to find a way out. Once I got him free, he ran immediately outside to the porch and refused to come back inside so I took him for a long walk to calm him down and then let him hang out on the porch while I cleaned up the mess. After about an hour, with some coaxing and petting and treats, I got him to come back inside. He paced around and whined a little at first but was okay after a little while. I have no way of knowing how long he was stuck there. I talked to all of our neighbors but none of them had heard anything. I'm SO thankful he is okay but am worried that this was a traumatic enough experience for him that now it's going to be a very long time before we can leave him alone in here.
It's been a few days since that happend and I am TERRIFIED to try leaving him again but, of course, eventually I'll have to. Of course now I'll be taking his collar off whenever I leave him alone. Fortunately I haven't started a new job yet where we've moved to so I have some time to work with him before we have to leave him for longer periods of time. Just today I've started leaving for 5 minutes at a time, going downstairs and waiting in the driveway and then coming right back. So far, no mishaps, but he certainly doesn't like it. Eventually I'll start trying it for ten.
Does anyone have any advice for us in this situation?