6 months old - jumping on furniture, agitated at 3 am

  • Hi!

    We have a basenji mutt named Lola who is 6 months old. She spent her first 6 months with family, about 3 other dogs. We adopted her a few weeks ago and her behavior has just shifted from high separation anxiety to jumping on furniture, waking up at night and digging at the door, trying to steal our food. We do not allow her on any furniture, never feed her from our plates or the table, and always giveve her two walks and about an hour of high energy play time a day. We even have done the same nightly ritual every night to set precedent for ‘calm time’. We taught her to lightly scratch at the door to be let out or in, so when she started digging at the door, we let her out, but she never goes to relieve herself... she just runs around the house and barks. For the furniture, we don’t have a great bed for her, so we thought that was the problem... but now we’ve made a good, comfy spot she likes and she’s jumping on tables and on our bed (never has been allowed!). We are digging deep into our wells of patience, focusing on praise for good behavior and going hoarse with repeated commands for ‘off’/ lots of praise for the times she is calm/playing off furniture/gives appropriate signals. What is going on here? Is she going into heat (she’s also licking a lot)? I feel like she’s too young to be an adolescent.

    Thanks so much in advance. We live in Burkina Faso where pet culture is more ‘leave them outside’ and less ‘train and understand’.

  • She's at the high energy, testing limits stage. New home, and it's going to take a while for routine to set it.

    As an aside, my 8 yr old basenji's fave play time is 2 to 3 am. It always has been. We just moved from the US to Israel and it's still 2 to 3 am. If we're awake, we just let them do the zoomies and rock and roll. If not, we tell her no, get under the covers and she gives us THE LOOK, but she will. I do always share what I eat, btw. But they know to stay back and when I'm ready the get the last few bites. Moose backs up til his butt hits a wall or furniture to wait. 🙂

    You are doing great. One critical thing you might want to consider is a crate. If you potty her before bed and you know she's okay... let her scream. It won't be fun for a few days, but she will get over it. If you forgot late potty and she may need to go, put her on a leash, take her out, right back in, potty or not, no play, no rewards, just business. But it really will help if you don't mess up and forget to potty her before bed so she understands once in the crate, that's it.

    At 6 mos old and a mix, she could be going into heat. Do you plan to spay? Using a crate helps with heats also... I do let mine on the bed, and furniture, but after one intact bitch and pads under her, I never want to do it again. Of course, before basenjis I said I'd never have a dog in my bed.

    Concentrate on one bahavior that is making you most crazy, focus on that one. If you have to leash her to you during the day to keep her under control, that can help. You can have her in control while showing her to lie down by your feet next to the sofa. You can also easily keep her OFF the furniture.

    Doing things to keep her mind busy also helps a lot. What is she mixed with? Try scent training, and obviously teaching tricks mixed in with obedience. Tired body and tired mind makes for a good dog of any breed.

  • I found when our basenji was young that the more high energy playing she did, the more wound up she got. She was a handful. I used to actually get ahold of her and hold her tight (not tight enough to hurt her) and she would squirm and want down but I would hold her and sit calmly with her and actually sang to her which seemed to calm her down.

  • I would try crating your dog at night. I have a basenji that is 1 yr and 2 months old. I have had her since she was a puppy. When I first got her I put her in her crate at night and she would cry....a lot. After a few weeks she was use to going in her crate. Now she runs and gets in her crate when I say “it’s time for bed”. In the morning, when I let her out she usually lays there until she is ready to get up. Also, to get her use to her crate, I give her a dog training treat when she gets in and have made sure the bedding is comfortable. I hope this helps.

  • Another option to crate training is room confinement with a tall gate. I did crate Piper for the first year. She complied and was quiet, but everyday she would drag her crate pad out of the crate and would happily take naps on it. I decided to give her the laundry room as her "crate" by installing a tall gate. (The room does have a door but I was afraid she would scratch it and it also makes her feel more confined if door closed) She has been happier. But I also have a bed for her in the living room so she can be with us when we are home and awake. She is on it at this moment at my feet chewing her yak cheese. I will say that we have not made her joining us on the couch off limits. I love it when she snuggles in after dinner. I have purchased blankets that match our sofa so I can pull them off and wash them regularly. She loves to be up high, And often perches on the back of the couch as well. I choose my battles, she does not eat my furniture, so we share it.

  • I have a Basenji and I guess I would be wondering what you are feeding? Many times some have allergies ...mine did. Once I got that straightened out he calmed down quite a bit.

  • @branch That's an interesting perception... what was your B allergic to?

  • Rickie cannot have, as most B's...corn, wheat,soy,dairy and gluten. He was miserable, so now I bake chicken breast or turkey breast ( clean with nothing on them) except water. & use a complete grain free dry. He only gets the same with treats. Also, he gets eye goobers and ear infections during the allergy seasons...WOW...poor guy. But thank gosh for my vet that has me give him Hydroxyzine HCL 25 mg each morning.
    Rickie understands how this helps and really does walk into the kitchen when I shake the bottle . He is so much happier now. So, keep a look out at your B's tummy...if it's hot and pink he/she may have allergies too..:)

  • @branch said in 6 months old - jumping on furniture, agitated at 3 am:

    Rickie cannot have, as most B's...corn, wheat,soy,dairy and gluten. ...
    So, keep a look out at your B's tummy...if it's hot and pink he/she may have allergies too..:)<<<

    Glad you found what works for your dog. Generally, a hot pink stomach is nothing more than being hot or having a temp. Next most common is contact allergy. But some, as you know, it appears with food allergies.

    Neither of my two dogs with severe allergies had pink hot stomachs. They also had mostly protein allergies...no issue at all with wheat, soy or oats, which are common.. I feed grain-free anyway. Sad part is one of them whose fave treat was peanuts...highly reactive to them. 😞

    dogs and people share the same food allergens: beef, dairy, wheat, lamb, egg, chicken, soy, oats, and pork<<

    I am not aware that most basenjis have food allergies. None of mine have any...just my chows and Rottweilers. And gluten is extremely rare.

    Gluten allergies seem to be extremely rare in pets, having been clearly documented only in Irish Setter dogs, possibly in Border Terrier dogs, and never in cats.<<

    Did you do blood tests to determine allergies? I used them to help while doing an elimination diet. For the Rottweiler, adding in peanut treats indeed had her ears flowing black tarry stuff. The blood work said allergic to pork. Nope, no issues and it became one of her 2 protein rotation options.

    This is a really great article on allergies. I was really surprised to find out a main allergy for cats is fish...though it makes sense as they are fed it so often.

  • @branch BUG seems to handle small amounts of lactose (a bit of milk, cottage cheese) well, but I took her off corn (i.e.; from mixed veggies) because it was obvious that she wasn't "digesting" it properly. Lots of other veggies out there - she doesn't need to fill up her belly with something she can't process properly. (I appologize for being so graphic.) I avoid soy (since I have no asian ancestry). And, so far... no indication that gluten or wheat is an issue - although I will keep an eye out for possible signs (just in case). Thanks for the heads up!

  • @elbrant Lots of veggies and fruits will come out pretty much how they go in. So in home prepared, if you grind them up, they are able to process them better. It has to do with breaking the something walls so the food is available for them. I had an article from one of the raw food writers but since it's been 20 years, no idea if still valid info. I do know when I ground the veggies, the poop didn't have chunks of the stuff in it. Feed whole.. yep, there's corn, there's even carrot chunks.

  • Carrot chunks for sure! I used small pieces of carrot for rewards, and Perry also stole carrots from my horses. Definitely saw the results in the poop!

  • @debradownsouth @lizann @roffutt1 @ChrisF Thanks for all the advice and encouragement! So glad to hear those stories about your pups. We are trying to find a crate, but as you can imagine, Burkina Faso doesn't have much in terms of pet supplies... most dogs in the city are strays and having a pet isn't quite the same in this culture. Nonetheless, we heard that we can order a dog crate through AirFrance that can double as the travel crate when we leave in 2 years... it's $250 or so (wild!).

    She's a mix, but maybe just slightly so. Her ears don't stand up and she's a bit taller than other pure Basenji's I've seen in the States. In West Africa, though, she looks like all the other dogs! Sometimes I do a double take with the strays when I'm driving home from work!

    We've decided to let her on the couch, but no chairs nor the bed. After ignoring her for a few days, she no longer digs or chews (!!) the door at 2:30 am. Now we are training her to not jump on the bed (which she loves to do in the middle of the night).

    My husband and I are doing steady training sessions with her, and now I've started doing walk/jogs in the mornings. Slowly but surely, she's trusting us! And then she comes out of left field with some crazy stuff... like she somehow pulled my wedding ring off the chest of drawers and chewed it up! All is well but... omg!

  • Oh NO! I am sorry about your wedding ring, but it sounds like things are improving.
    That's pretty high for a crate, but we paid about $150 for the airline crates to move here (I use wire crates at home).. so they'll just be stored or sold.

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