Helping our B cope with the loss of his littermate

My condolences to those who recently lost furkids.

I am guessing that KhaiPan would not be interested in a puppy because of being at work all day. Doggie daycare is a good idea, but costly (also, you have to be careful it is a good fit for Max) . Another thought would be to consider adopting an older (tolerant) adult dog (of any breed) from a shelter or rescue group to keep Max company.

I hope he's okay. So sorry for your loss.

Sometimes their grief is being fed by yours. Work on giving him a lot more attention, exercise, learning new tricks. Basically, really truly tire him out the night before and the morning prior to leaving. If possible, try to arrange so that your and/or your partner can run home for a quick lunch/play time. Get the 2 way communications devices so you can see each other and talk to him.

I understand the costs. I had to wait after my beloved Sayblee died to get another basenji. So much expense trying to save her that it simply wasn't responsible to take on a new dog yet. A blanket or something with the smells... or wrap a new blanket around some of Jimmy's toys so that it gets the smell. Leaving that in the crate may help.

I am sorry for your loss, made doubly hard by poor Max's grief. He most certainly can feel you are grieving, but playing UP, higher happy tone, and more attention should help.

Thank you sooo much for the suggestions everyone 🙂
Right now my partner leaves for work at 10-ish and I’m out the door by 630am. Max eats and walks before I leave and then sleeps by my partner until he’s out the door.
He made it 2 hours in his crate today before starting to cry...I did obtain approval to bring him with me to work so, I’m thinking that if I increase the time he is alone/in his crate (or let him roam free like usual) by a half hour each day it might help- then I come home to pick him up and walk back to work with him for an hour or two and walk home around 330/4pm.
We can deal with separation anxiety at any point in time but, right now I want him to know he isn’t alone and will never be abandoned by us.
I will update as time goes on-

Also, thank you for the suggestion but, no puppy. We prefer adopting adults and, I’m a foster for BRaT (Pittsburgh area) so that may be a possible solution if a B comes up in my area. I have to admit I really like having a single B...the time spent is so much more personal for me.

You all are great. Thank you SO much!!

...and, yes the Max was with us when we let James Dog Kibble Bones depart. He was not interested in much after a single sniff. He did run around the house looking for Jimmy when we got back home.

So today the Max has been taken to daycare to see if socialization helps at all.
He lost it when my partner left for work today. Full blown benji siren blasts.

Fingers crossed this helps- is it a big deal if he attaches himself to me right now until he adjusts to being the only dog or, is that going to slow him down with his transition?
By attaching I mean that I take him to work with me where he has his own little bed to chill in. He does not sit on my lap and I do not acknowledge him if he follows me unless someone is asking about him. He’s just ‘there’ in close proximity.
I’m struggling

Personally, I don't believe that being alone is any more difficult than having another puppy. After all, there's always a chance that he doesn't get on with the new one (little or adult). I totally agree that he'll benefit from having more attention and bonding with you. There's plenty of time later to think about having more Basenji company.

@khaipan You are lucky to be able to take Max to work with you. That will allow you to make a home alone transition when you are all ready. He will be sensitive to your feelings, so you need to be ready as much as he is. As long as you don't make a big deal about it, he will be less likely to get excessively attached. My guys are quite attached to me (and, if they are awake, will stay at the window, watching me leave even if my S.O. is here), but they are fine when I'm not here. I've not really acknowledged them when I've left, so they can think that I'm just out on one of many short errands. I can frequently 'sneak out' without them even getting up. Not a big deal.

Before trying daycare again, you might want to approach that at least as slowly as leaving him alone if he's not had the routine of getting together with other dogs. It might also be good to spend the first couple of 'retry' visits with him (hopefully the facility allows for this), letting him have a little fun before leaving. If he's not into other dogs, he will probably be happier home alone. Even if you don't plan on leaving him at daycare regularly, it doesn't hurt to help him learn to like a place just in case you have an emergency need for him to stay.

I think Max is coming out of the woods a little bit!
He’s been more mischievous when he is with me at work (I do feel very lucky that they love him as much as I do) and when I got home last night after a movie he engaged in playtime like he used to do with his brother!! It was so awesome.

He has a handful of girlfriends at daycare and today he made a new friend- Jimmy, a bull terrier. Tears- great tears at least!

You all have been so wonderful. Thank you so very much for all you suggestions and words of comfort. Thank you.

Really glad to hear Max is doing better. I'd love to have a good answer but I'm not sure I have one. Losing Jimmy no doubt sucked for you and it sucked for Max. It will probably take some time for everyone to get over the loss. Unfortunately I don't think there is a magic answer. Empathy for all of you.

last edited by DonC

Ok....and we are back. Sigh... full blown separation anxiety complete with panting, salivating,screaming,destruction and loss of interest in food.
I’m reading up on Patricia McConnells work for separation anxiety and general behavior issues right now. But, as of a few minutes ago we have no crate.
I’ve seen these High Anxiety crates from Impact brand crates and they sound promising for destructibility reasons...combined with training and therapy (not just throwing a dog in a dark crate) I’m hoping this might help Max.
Does anyone have any experience with these crates?
Does anyone have suggestions on de-sensitizing for separation anxiety?
Currently Max is joining me at work during the day and has been kicked out of bed to sleep in his own bed. We don’t make a big deal at departures or arrivals either.
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!!!!

We are considering bringing in a female companion around the same age.... he does well at daycare (has lotsa girlfriends) after getting over the fact that his pack member has just deserted him for a few hours.
He goes 4-6 hours at a time usually.

Also... CBD doesn’t help much. Trazodone seems to make him more hyper.

Sorry to hear this. Separation anxiety is very difficult to deal with, especially when it is accompanied by confinement anxiety. With both my separation anxiety boys they responded to having more freedom. Especially with Sunny, I did deal with some destructive behaviour at first but that passed. With Perry it was more along the lines of loss of control and involuntary defecation when he was upset, but that tended to only occur in unusual circumstances. As long as we stuck to a normal routine he coped well, and eventually I had no issues with him at all. But he was exceptional, had the run of the house, and didn't even rip up tissues!

I did find both dogs seemed to want to be able to look out. Access to windows was important, and Perry's one destructive urge was the blinds in the sun porch when I closed them to keep things cooler. He did attack them when I was out, because he wanted to see. I learned to leave them open!

I did find distraction when I was leaving was important. His roller ball with treats kept him busy until I was out of sight. If your boy is losing interest in food this may not work for you. One thing I did do was prepare the roller ball a bit before I was leaving, and locked it in his crate (the only use I was making of a crate at this point) so he couldn't get at it but could see and anticipate the reward. On leaving I would bring it out, put it down on the floor, and ask him to stay until I was about to go out the door. At that point he was very anxious to have his ball, and my "O. K." was eagerly awaited! 🙂 Good luck.

last edited by eeeefarm

Sorry to read he is having difficulties alone. I do not recommend the Impact crates, based on the experiences and conditions of one of my former fosters who was returned to me after the crate did not help in that home. He has a leg issue now. I'm not sure if it is a result of panicking in the crate. I have seen dogs damage, even bloody, themselves in crates, including soft plastic. I've also seen teeth damage and damage to some very expensive crates. There is one, a ZenCrate, that is designed to provide relief to those with separation anxiety, though the effect may be realized by leaving music on in the room with the crate. I have no experience with it. I did have one foster who was actually much calmer in his crate and very anxious (and destructive) if left outside of his crate. He was an exception...

Do you currently leave music or tv on? I find they do well when it is just loud enough to cover outside noises - not too loud. Depending on the dog's needs, I find different music or tv shows to be helpful. Happy sitcoms cover the silence with the sounds of people still in the house doing things. 'The Golden Girls' does that while also providing a soothing soundtrack that has put many of our basenjis to sleep. Soft rock has been shown to be soothing in canine studies.

How much in and out practice have you done? By that, I mean going in and out so many times starting with just a very short period of time that your boy won't know if you will be back in two seconds, two minutes, or ten minutes - starting out with just seconds, long enough to lock the door. I don't acknowledge anyone when coming or going when I'm doing this training until we are sitting down, relaxed, on my schedule. First times in and out should be so short that you are back and sitting down before he appears to react. This may mean that you pick up your keys, grab the doorknob, then go sit down. Lots of baby steps.

I prefer to have windows set so that they can watch squirrels, etc., out a back window, yet not see me going and coming out the front window. Blinds can be a safety hazard and face destruction. Our blinds on the front window are on the road side (which cuts down the solar heat load in the house while keeping the blinds out of reach), but you might need to fence off front blinds in your home. Sills may be destroyed.

Two way communication monitoring may help if there is enough noise at your work and during your commute for him to feel like he is still surrounded by life.

I've never not allowed a b to sleep with me unless he had to learn to be less defensive while sleeping first. If I can move them or have them move without being defensive, they are allowed on with everyone else. I don't make a big deal about it. Rather than keeping them out of the bed, I will block them from accompanying me to the bathroom, garage, kitchen, etc.

Since he has been good with just one one companion, adding a new one to the pack may do the trick. You could foster or 'borrow' a friend's dog for a couple of days first to see if this might work before committing to another companion. I do have one basenji who has not been happy when left home alone even if there is another b in the house. He is fine here, though, where there is a pack. One is not enough for him. He needs lots of company..

I hope you find the magic he needs!

@khaipan A few additional thoughts after yesterday's reply:

I've found that CBD oil is very dose-dependent and may require gradual increases to find an effective amount. I put it in the inside of lips when I give it. Some information I've seen online suggests that it is not as effective if given in treats or on food.

Former fosters have become much more anxious when given the usual sedatives. Benadryl seemed to provide a better response. One of those fosters was extremely anxious because one of her humans was ill. Max could be more anxious if one of his humans is ill - take care of yourselves!

What kind of mental stimulation are you providing? A routine that includes more obedience-type time (more frequent, very short sessions) can help to generally calm Max while building more confidence. Our guys go through a series of commands before every meal. Max may benefit from that communication more frequently.

Another thing to consider is that your stress over Max's behaviour may exacerbate Max's anxiety. Not something you can easily control, however. Something that surprised me, when we moved from the farm into town, our new house had large windows and Perry was able to see out without climbing on furniture. It seemed to calm him to be able to see what was going on outside all the time. I agree with leaving the TV or the radio on, if it is habitually on when you are home. Or perhaps a recording that is soothing to him.

@khaipan I am all for altenative modalities but CBD Oil or Cream has not been tested on Domestic Animals. Having said that I would not put the stuff IN your Dog's mouth. It is for Topical use only. I think that the more experienced humans who have been owned by their B's will provide good advice.

I hope you find a solution!

🙂

A

First, a nod to eeeefarm. Sometimes over the last 9 years I have called Pam to tell her an issue I'm having suddenly with Cara and most times her response is "I don't know. What's upsetting you?" And she's right. She feeds on my feelings.

I am sorry for what you are going through, and hope you find the right balance. I have never had a dog with generalized separation anxiety. We had a rescue poodle that fixated on Leora for about 6 mos but got over it once he realized she left and came back every time.

The super crates that can prevent escape or injury are sometimes necessary, especially if the dog is likely to hurt itself or risk damage while demolishing the house. In times when crating is critical, they can buy you time to sort out the problem.

One thing I didn't notice anyone suggest is a thundershirt. I laughed at them, then began researching, bought ones for Cara and Arwen. They really can help some dogs.

Not separation related, but still anxiety...Cara used to worry about rain to the level of obsession, refusing food or water, holding her bowels til they exploded. We put her on prozac and a lot of her fearful behaviors subsided. I don't recommend any drug long term for a situational problem. We are working on scaling Cara's dosage back, but at some point, quality of life counts.

If Prozac stopped working, I would certainly try cbd with research/vet guided dosage. It's something only the owner can decide on.

Tested on animals, including dogs, given internally. Yes, research has been delayed due to archaic laws but fortunately, there are studies and many more coming.

As for experience, 1 basenji vs around one hundred basenjis.. hmmm. I don't always agree with Pam, but I darn sure always ask for her input.

But, read for yourself if you believed not for ingestion and no testing on domesticated animals. <eye roll>

. https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/180801a.aspx <--- why the delay and early research on dogs

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476 <--- fda approved for children, push for vet use of animals with seizures

Dr. Joe Wakshlag of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine tested CBD oil to see if it could help dogs who are experiencing pain from osteoarthritis. His results were "significant, according to the researchers with over 80% of the dogs taking the CBD oil showing “significant improvement in pain levels and quality of life” without discernible side-effects."

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2018.00165/full

@khaipan “We are considering bringing in a female companion around the same age.... he does well at daycare (has lotsa girlfriends) after getting over the fact that his pack member has just deserted him for a few hours.
He goes 4-6 hours at a time usually.”

Both my first two had problems alone. In fact my first male hated the crate no matter what I did, so I got my second to keep him company. It worked and as long as she was in the crate next to him (two crates side by side), he didn’t scream and would walk In the crate himself. Basenjis just don’t like to be alone for the most part. My first boy chewed his way out of a metal 2”x1” crate, which is when I decided get him a companion. They used to make a kennel air crate which was 1” mesh but I don’t think they make them now. I was lucky he did not hurt himself.

When my second passed recently, we hooked up a phone with Skype and put my third B in his cage, then went and drove down the road. We parked up and watched him for 20 mins and he was fine, just sat and looked at the door, no doubt he was still stressed.

I am all for medication but only as a last resort, there is always a side effect.

last edited by Dagodingo

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