What worked for me was taking my Basenji for a short walk along the road that I live on every hour until she went. After just a couple of days it made a big difference and after that I increased it to 2 hourly, 3 hourly and so on. I think it worked because she became used to going outside and it felt less familiar going inside. Going outside and waiting for her to perform with her getting stressed, wanting to go back inside and not understanding what I was asking didn't get us anywhere and this was much quicker and long lasting. Now she goes for 2 decent walks per day (morning and night) and usually asks to go into the garden once in between (she is 18 months old). My Basenji was a puppy so if you decide to try this you may not want to start at hourly. The other benefit of this is that she doesn't tend to want to poo in the garden unless she has an upset stomach.
Will not leave the house
Re: 9 months and suddenly scared of everything My boy is 7.5 years old, I got him when he was three months old. I had high hopes as he was my second Basenji - love the breed! He used to take long walks around the neighborhood but became afraid of noises. I would take him to the dog park regularly and at first, he loved it - did the B500 and people loved watching him. He would jump in the stream - just had a ball. Then he started running for the gate to leave even though he was with his friends, I could tell he was stressing. Took him a couple times thereafter, but eventually stopped as I wasn't going to force him. He has had his friends around home, they too used to do the B500 in the backyard (everyone is older now). He has a pack of three BFF's that he truly loves. (So that's background)....for some time he has been scared of outdoor noise (as mentioned above) - a kid on a skateboard, a bouncing basketball, car doors closing, sometimes just people talking loudly. When he hears these things, he BOLTS! It's a good thing I am strong as a weaker person would face-plant! Up until this past winter, he was dragging me through the woods on his deer/fox hunt - loved that walk. Now, he has digressed to barely leaving the house, I have to DRAG him to pee and it's breaking my heart. Vet suggested Prozac but I don't want a drugged-up dog, and I don't want to be forcing pills every day. I get mad at him that he will not go out and yet I feel sorry for him, never seen a dog like this -- what to do???!! It's embarrassing, people look at him like he's a freak (and I guess he is). Sometimes wonder if he is in pain as I feel enlargement in his spine - arthritis coming on. Thank you for listening.
Have you had a specialist check eye sight (board certified Ophth) or his hearing? Full medical workup including full blood panel, full Thyroid test, and full workup for the spine.
This sudden of behavior needs a serious medical check. . Pat is spot on... get his eyes checked, thyroid, and did your vet even check the spine?
Prescribing Prozac is ridiculous. Seems to me you Vet is not one I would ever use ! He should have instigated sight and hearing tests and gone to the root of the problem not try to cure the symptoms with drugs. Poor boy.
Change Vets is the first thing and go to one with better diagnostic skills - not a disinterested pill-pusher.
Sight, hearing, thyroid as Tanza says, complete blood works - and at need X-ray the spine. Loss of, or even just partial loss, of sight and hearing can cause a dog great anxiety. Don't force him to do anything he doesn't want to (I accept you'll have to get him out to pee) until you have discovered the cause behind this fear - cos fear it is. The unknown, the unseen, the unheard.
Good luck !
Thanks guys, I am at wits end for sure. Just took him out for the morning pee - or tried to - and nada, bolted right back in (short of searching under cars for cats). I mean he'll go if he has to I imagine, but he hasn't been since 5pm yesterday and it's now almost 8am. This is not like him/normal for any animal for sure - I do chalk it up to extreme fear/some sort of mental issue. He has even stopped using the back yard which he never hesitated to do (for pee). But I was chalking that up to high/wet grass with all the rain we've been having.
I had a complete senior panel done a couple months ago - all blood work was fine. Last year for some reason his liver enzymes were HIGHLY HIGHLY - off the charts - elevated, but when retested, were back to normal and have remained normal. No one can explain that except to think perhaps he got into something that was being metabolized in the liver at the time of testing (say fertilizer from someone's lawn); did liver scan. But no, haven't been to an opthamologist, or had hearing tested (that appears to be fine as he is always on high alert - ears perked) never thought of things like tha! I'll need to see if the specialist clinic near me has these doctors. And, haven't ventured back in for spine xray/discussed because it's recent I've felt this when he's sitting and I'm petting him. He gets HIGHLY stressed in any situation outside his home, and I do not want to knock him out for xrays. I'm SO sad
I agree, especially about the eye exam.
You know what I'd do if one of my dogs did this? At meal time, I'd hide a couple bowls of the yummiest meal I could and place it somewhere in the yard to be 'discovered.' Make the total his usual meal size. Have him on a leash if you think he would prefer that. See if he eats it when he finds it. If he doesn't, feed him inside as normal.
No matter the reason (get that eye check) you have to make at least the yard a safe, happy place.
I have a dog that something must have happened when he came up one set of stairs on our deck. When something happens, they remember and often will avoid whatever they were doing at the time, in case it should happen again. He uses the other set just fine, even though it's sort of out of the way to get in.
I used food and gradually got him to realize whatever happened was not going to happen.
I read something, somewhere, that it takes 40 times for a dog to learn a behavior. I have no idea if that's true or not, but it does take many, many, many times to convince a basenji that just because something bad happened in a particular spot, that doesn't mean it will happen when there is food involved. Eventually you can leave out the food. At least it worked that way here.
It is not always necessary to knock a dog out for an X-ray. They didn't put Keepurr out this week but they had to X-ray him from above and from the side to locate that cursed safety pin accurately.
Have you tried actually carrying him out to the garden, on a short lead, putting him down and staying beside him, talking to him the whole time to reassure him - just to get him to pee ?
@krazytoo100 hearing and sight tests sound like the way to go. I have a skittish boy who is very confident in his environment but freaks out easily about little things. He hates loud noises and used to be bad on July 4th, whining and shaking. We play some soothing music (supposedly dog calming cd’s) often and that helps him desensitize. Since we started doing that he is much better. But he has had problems over time, nothing sudden or drastic. I wouldn’t shy away from bloodwork again either, something may be going on. One thing you could try is carrying him outside, feel his heartbeat. If he is really stressed by it you will feel his heart racing.