Five Basenjis over the space of 50 years, none ever crated except for early days with them. Sometimes I restricted access to only a couple of rooms in the house when I was out, most eventually had the run of the place. I won't say no destruction ever, but it was generally only at the beginning or under unusual circumstances. My last boy became 100% reliable, and wouldn't even rip up tissues. I would not be comfortable leaving any dog in a crate for more than 3 - 4 hours absolute maximum. Confining to one or two dog proof rooms is a solution I could live with if I couldn't trust the dog.
I don't crate mine when I leave. He's been trustworthy with free reign of the home since he was maybe 7 months or so. I'm careful to puppy-proof always, as in, I can't leave food out. No food on the counters, on desks, tables, etc. The trash is in a covered bin, and there's a tall baby gate blocking off a room with my cat's litter box. Oh and we have to lift all of the window blinds - he loves to destroy those. He doesn't have separation anxiety fortunately so no howling.
The worst things he's ever done when I've left before I wised up was get into the "cat candy" and leave a huge stinky mess, eat a bag of chips or something that he stole from my desk, or got into the trash and left a mess. I used the crate to potty train, and he was solid in about 6 months while I lived in an apartment. Now I just feed him in there. Since it's his space, when he goes in on his own no one can bother him.
I can leave my pure bred basenji alone in the house uncrated with no worries. She was crate trained when I received her but I DE-CRATE TRAINED her - lol. I gradually uped the time I left her alone in the house - I started w/ 10 minutes and kept increasing the time letting her know I was returning. She has never done any damage in the house and has free range of the entire house and a doggie door that goes out to a secure deck with a fenced screened-in /roofed "poop station " - to protect her from rain and snow. The entire deck also has several motion detector lights and solar lights so that she can see @ night. I personally do not like my dog to be crated - it's not that I'm against crating a dog - I understand some people must crate their dogs for their own safety. I have colleagues that I worked with that would crate their dogs for 8-10 hours a day while they are @ work - I find it to be abusive to the dog. I do feel my basenji is the exception to the rule. My brothers (who also have had Basenji's) can't believe I'm able to let her roam the house freely. They said they could never do that with their B's.
Thank you all for your input. I was becoming increasingly worried about having a Basenji because of so many stories describing something that didn't even sound like a dog. More like I would be inviting a Tasmanian Devil into my house that would be completely foreign to home behavior. As if I caught a wild coyote and released it into my house.
I met a sweet little 2 yr old neutered male on Wednesday that seemed playful yet mellow compared to the ballistic nature of the Jack's I have had. I'm not fooled by the sweetness and realize he could be difficult but he just didn't seem like the crazed wild animal some if the stories have described. I think I will try to make him happy in our house and try to increase his time outside if his crate yet still keep him used to it if it becomes necessary. Hopefully Basenji's love long hikes and car rides. I guess we'll see.
Hopefully Basenji's love long hikes
Mine get a couple of hours most mornings. They run free, so if I cover two or three miles, Heaven alone knows how many they do ! We walk with a lovely Cocker Spaniel called Benji (!) and his owner. My Basenjis get along fine with him and with the many dogs they meet on our travels.
On the other hand, on the days when they can't go to the forest because I am doing something else - I work with the visually impaired one day a week and things like that - they are just as happy sunbathing or just sleeping in front of the Aga. NO crates except en route to the woods - its about 8 miles so means the car.
We limit our B to 2 rooms in the house when he’s home alone. We close all the other doors in the house. We “basenji” proof those 2 rooms. We did try to crate train him when he was a puppy. After failed attempts, we came home after a birthday party one night to a crate completely filled with vomit, pee and poop. It had extended well into the kitchen and he was shaking and whimpering when we returned home. We had to put the crate outside to be hosed down. Clean him up. The kitchen required a massive clean up. I had to hold my shaking basenji for an hour to calm him down. I decided that crating him was just not for him, or in his best interest for that matter. Every dog is different.
The floor is dirt - I occasionally sprinkle baking soda and rake it through. I will say that my B does most of her bussiness on her walks but she is able to go out the doggie dog and use the "poop station" at any time. This station has been a godsend for me.
Most puppies or young dogs will chew up things. I think Basenjis are worse than average, but I'm not they're are that much worse than average. They may just be more inventive.
It's also an age thing. At some point, I'll say 2 years old, they grew up and you don't need to crate them.
I wouldn't think of not crating a pup or younger dog. Too many things for them to destroy. I also don't think they mind the crate. Sleeping in the crate on on the sofa, it's more o less the same.
As far as getting a companion, I think that's a good recipe for partners in crime! LOL
As a kid, my parents basenjis ate the kitchen cabinets and half a kitchen door.
Alone for 2hrs.
That's what I have ! half doors between the kitchen and the rest of the house. The Basenjis stay in the kitchen with access to a large garden, until evening when they are invited to sit on laps in the lounge.
Only trouble with that was that Deedles, when 8 months old, realised a bitch we had just rescued the day before was in season. Her previous owner hadn't told us. The Dastardly Deed was over the half door and into the bitch before you say 'knife'. (An English expression !).
He obviously knew what he was doing because we kept the resulting singleton bitch and she was Top Brood Bitch in Breed 3 years later !