I am so sorry for your loss. I still cry over my losing very difficult but extremely devoted Basenji, Ella.
Are there any people out there who leave their Basenji Home alone uncrated during the work day? It seems as though I only hear horror stories about these dogs if left alone uncreated. I have had Parson Russell Terriers for the past 24 years and have only created them as puppies. After about six months old I would corral them in the kitchen/family room area. We never had a problem with destructive behavior.
after we lost our last girl at 16 years 8 months old our house is empty and we are considering a Basenji. We like active breed dogs and have no problem with exercising them. I'm just concerned with the lack of evidence that you can trust them at home uncrated.
If they have a companion maybe.
Mine accidentally closed a door when it went into a room while alone.
Ate a hole through the wall to get out.
Still the best dog I've ever had.
@supertwo Basenjis are unique and they bond to the owner very strongly. So although some may be ok in the house uncrated, I believe most will not be.
It is far safer to crate them as their determination is beyond a regular dogs. I tried leaving my first Basenji in a back hall area because he howled in the crate. Big mistake, he destroyed a door and the wall next to it, chewed his way through it. He was only in there for an hour as a trial and the damage was shocking at the time. All part of my Basenji learning curve.
When he chewed his way out of a metal crate we decided to get a girl to keep him company. The two of them were fine in side by side crates. However if one went to the vets and one went in the crate, then it was howl and scream time. They just don’t like being alone. Far better to crate them than come back to find they have injured or killed themselves.
If you want a dog that you can let roam the house while you are gone, there are better choices than a Basenji.
I have a 6 yr old female and a 7 yr male. They are left uncrated while we are not there. We close the door to my daughter's room, but otherwise, free access to the rest of the house along with a doggy door for access to our fenced yard. They're fine and mostly sleep or sun outside. Our girl was fine being crated, but our male never adjusted to the crate and would completely freak out, chew the bottom, and was at risk of hurting himself (his teeth got caught twice with us right there with him).
We much prefer letting them roam freely. They have plenty of toys and chews and we make sure to keep the important stuff put away. The worst they'll do is scope out some paper or tissues to shred while we're gone. We keep stuff like that which is ok for them to "steal and destroy" in case they get the urge, but even if we didn't, we wouldn't come home to a shredded couch or the like.
Our home is set up such as the Basenjis have "their" room and also have access to the backyard when we are at work. Note that their room is "their" room... so it is carefully set up as a dog room.... Doggy door is the access to the yard and we have 12' privacy fences and padlocks on the gates. Basenjis love to look out the windows, so if you set up a place for them, make sure they can see out windows (this mean raising the blinds if you want to keep them)..... I would think that your statement about "corral" them into the kitchen/family room area, just make sure it is puppy proof
I remember being in your exact situation 17 years ago. I have always had dogs and they have always had free run of our house once they grew up. I currently have 3 basenjis and I have had 6 over the last 17 years and 1 beagle. Our first one we got a big beautiful crate. And every day we came home he had peed, pooped and vomited in his crate. He was so anxious when we left, we couldn’t leave him alone for even 1 minute. Nothing helped. He would howl and scream and cry and the whole time we were gone he would never settle down. This went on for months. Then we got him a sister and put them in the crate together and he never had another issue. Left loose in the house though, those two would chew blankets, pillows, carpets, couches. You name it they would destroy it. Since then I have never had an only B, so I have never had the loneliness issue again. I do have little kids which means little kid toys and all 3 of my B’s cannot be trusted with them. We have come home to more than one Barbie massacre. So the dogs are locked in the kitchen, and crazy puppy is in her crate. They will find anything and it will be killed. For some dogs it’s paper, some anything material, others it’s plants or cords. I don’t leave them with bones to chew either as they can’t be trusted not to try and swallow it whole and we have had choking issues with all of them. They can just get really bored and destructive. You don’t know what you are going to get until you meet your B. You need to be prepared to either crate them forever or find an inescapable place for them that is tidy and clean and they can’t get into anything. Ours also don’t have access to the outside or you have to lock your gates, the gas man can easily let them out and they are gone or hit by a car as they are fast and sneaky! I have baby gates all over my house so they can’t sneak out the front door. Some B’s are more chill then others but you have to plan for the worst case scenario and hope for the best. Good luck!
I have only had 3 basenjis. Two that were never, ever okay uncrated. Whether you need to crate or not, crate training imo is not an option. Someday the dog may need it... after an injury, surgery, boarding, or some catastrophic event. Start immediately, because the younger they are, the easier to overcome anxieties.
My last basenji at about 8 mos became totally reliable. No issues, but we crated to keep the other one company. After Arwen died, we left her loose. All was fine until we moved to Israel. I was an idiot, should have crated her til she really had settled into our apartment. I didn't and she did MAJOR damage to the bedroom door, a bag with usb cords, the memory foam mattress... So she's crated again at 9. She doesn't mind, she has her boy toy (2 yr old Samoyed) in his crate near her. He'll never be free. If it will fit in his mouth, he'll swallow it. If it doesn't, he'll chew it down til he can. Sadly it's a common trait-- they are walking surgeries-waiting-to-happen. I suspect Cara would be fine at this point, but why bother?
Unlike others here, I have not left a dog with access to outside when I am not home in 40 years. I nearly lost a dog when I WAS home to a snake bite. I've always lived with trees around me so risks of a limb falling on a fence, someone throwing poison in the yard, bee stings.. whatever. Dogs sleep up to 17 hrs a day... I make sure they get exercised plenty and do not consider it worth the risk. I respect the rights of other owners to make their own decisions based on their own situation... but make it understanding the risks.
I do only because I accidentally left it unlocked one night and when I came home everything was still intact so I leave him out now.
I have had 4 rescue Basenjis and have spent thousands of dollars on things they killed.
My last 2 didn’t really like each other but did well out of the crate. Once they proved to me they could be alone and not destroy anything they were left out.Once, the male ripped a pillow and the next day he went in the crate when we went out. He was smart enough to figure out why he was crated. Each a Basenji is different and you won’t know until you get yours.
Our first female would be covered in feces and urine when crated and there was blood on the gate.
"A Basenji is a slob's best friend." If you are not tidy, the B will teach you how to be tidy. Tissues; right (foot) thongs (flip flops) - but never the left; underpants; dress uniforms; leather jackets; and anything else that they fancy. I have 4, two males (that intensely dislike each other), and two desexed females. The males are always separated, and each has a female to settle them. NO crates unless they have a trip to the vets or an outing. When we go out, they are left inside, and apart from a few shreddied tissues, that they scrounge up, there is no further damage. They sleep mainly, but will set up a chorus if they have a mind to do so. Most of mine, over nearly 50 years, settle down inside, but I came home once to a "sea of plastic pellets" as they decided to kill a bean bag. Generally they are okay inside, within bounds, and I always have two gates, and 180cm (6 foot) open mesh perimeter fence, for them to harass passers-by walking their dogs. This mesh fence is a "dog fence" that has smaller apertures down the base, and get progressively larger at the top. The escapologist female has never tried to climb the fence, and is content to go in the garden for a reconnaissance, whenever. We leave a radio on, so that they too can be bored with talk-back radio, and a constant voice seems to calm them down, and get their beauty sleep - but don't leave temptation visible. They can be trusted in familiar surrounds, and they will catch up on their sleep. Make sure they have access for their toilet needs, and I will leave them be.
Ahhh, the question, to crate or not?? You will get a varying degree of opinions here. I've owed 4 basenjis over the last 30 years. They were all crate trained, but, and this is a big BUT, they were allowed free roam of the house, bedroom & bathroom doors closed, after they proved trust worthy. This is NOT to say there was not destruction. There was on occasion. I was okay with that. When Delli chewed and destroyed my $80 earbuds, was I upset? Sure, but, hey, I left them out where she could get ahold of them, my fault, NOT hers. Crate training is great for vet visits, traveling, and when they need quiet time if they choose. Although Tim was crate trained, he did not like being left alone. When he had a bout of pancreatitis, and we had to leave him overnight, he was such a stinker, making art with the newspaper and dog food in the crate and making a huge fuss, they resorted to putting him in the clear plexiglass, iron lung so he felt less confined!! Tim was my clown, and too smart for his own good.
I guess what I'm trying to say, and what most of us say, is best they are crate trained for if the time ever comes that you need it. AND leaving them out depends on the dog, and his/her personality. Our first basenji was a dream, easy, independent, very low maintence, so much so, I decided another would be so much better an experience! Joke was on me...Tim was well, Tim. He was an imp, a monkey, he just needed the foam red nose. He put high in high maintenance!! He was so different than our female, like night and day! A tired Tim was a good Tim. And I had to backpack him on our walks to wear him out, he was so high energy. At around 8 years old we started leaving them out for short periods of time, but it was only after I had read an article about a family that last their beloved basenjis in a fire because they couldn't get out of their crates.
It's a personal choice, however, you should put your dog's needs/protection first. Some basenjis are determined chewers. This can be dangerous for the dog, as well as, expensive trips to the vet for surgery for a ripped stomach from a shard of bone. We all have horror stories, or battle stories, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Tim was a counter sufer, this meant EVERYTHING on the counter have to be pushed back exactly 11 inches, because he could work that paw like a friggin human hand determined to get whatever it was he wanted off the counter.
I'm sorry there is no standard yes/no answer here, but like I've stated best be prepared and have the dog crate trained. I can also tell you this, I've had to reupholster my couch twice, and we had to get a new living room set, 3 new living room rugs. If you value your stuff, put it away, otherwise it's fair game! And you must have a sense of humor....
None of my (many) Basenjis over the years has ever been left alone for more than 4 hours. And no - none of them has ever been crated when left.
Of course I only had just one for four days back in 1981 before we got the second puppy from VTW, two, then three, four, five, six, seven and eight. Before dropping back to six, up again to seven and gradually lowering the pack size to the current two.
I don't believe in crating except in the car - Their activities are restricted to a large farmhouse kitchen with a saloon type half door separating them from the rest of the house unless invited through to sit on laps and watch TV in the evenings. The kitchen is kept tidy (as Redial says !) and I have to take care there is nothing they can snatch and shred.
Get a companion for the Basenji - another Basenji, perhaps.
I agree it depends on the dog. My basenji girl had the police called on us when we had moved to a new house.
We had her and an older male basenji. We went out and had crated her, I think we may have had our male with us, maybe to a vet appointment? We came back and our new neighbors came over while we were getting out of the car and told us they had called the police...because our little girl was howling and screaming so much that they thought something awful had happened to her.
When the cops got there and looked in the window, there was nothing wrong, just a little dog in a crate who did not WANT to be in a crate.
When we first got her she totalled up about $1000 in damages --sunglasses, shoes, a chair--almost sent her back to the breeder, she was so different from our male basenji. She put the B in b-i-t-c-h!
We did not crate her after that unless we also crated our male with her. She was an inveterate waste basket surfer her entire life, but that was about it for any further mischief.
Whenever she was at the vet for a procedure and had to be crated after a surgery, she let them know her displeasure quite loudly. We always got prompt notification that we could come and get her!! LOL!
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.
I've had three Basenji and none was ever crated....but we DID work up to it. Left her alone for 1/2 hour, then 1 hour, then 2, etc. We have NEVER left any of them alone more than an hour past feeding time, however. That may be the secret?????
@kembe can you post a pic of the poop station you describe. I would really like to build one for my guy