6am Basenji Alarm...

Hi everyone,

First off, thank you for these forums. I learned so much from many topics on here and it has helped me with raising my Basenji.

Background:
I have a 2 year old Basenji named Marvel. I love him to death like if he were my own son, and nothing will make me get rid of him. He is actually a well behaved dog (for a Basenji) compared to most that I hear about - he doesn't "go" in the house, he doesn't chew things that he shouldn't, he listens as well as a Basenji can, etc. We usually keep him in the cage for ~8 hours for 4 days a week and he sleeps with us in the bed. We only ever put him in the kennel when we leave for work or go out somewhere. We take him to the park almost everyday to help get his energy out with other dogs, if not then we take him on long walks. He always seems satisfied. Also, he is not neutered.

Problem(s):
Something has changed lately as of April. He is now ALWAYS waking up whining and crying at 6 am, no matter what time we go to bed (9am, 11am, what ever). He used to wake up anywhere between 7:30-10 am, and when he does he will whine a bit to let us know that he has to go outside. But he is now getting up at 6 am everyday and whining very audibly. We are obviously forced to take him out. Not only that, but now he won't stop crying throughout the day while he is awake. We will take him out multiple times a day in hopes to get him to stop, but he doesn't. He even starts crying again as soon as he gets back inside even after he did his business and got his energy out. He eventually cries himself to sleep until he wakes up to recommence his whining. Actually, as I write this, he woke up into a whining frenzy even though I took him to the park 30 minutes ago for an hour of playtime...

I have noticed that his whining gets even more triggered when he hears a dog barking outside, and he starts pacing around and standing by the door (his sign to tell us he needs to go). The same thing happens at the dog park - sometimes he will be alone at the park and he sees a dog outside of the park (not coming into the park) and he goes into an incredible whining frenzy to try and get to the other dog.

And I get the feeling that he is constantly whining knowing that we will eventually take him outside, even if he doesn't have to go or already drained himself.

I recall him having this EXACT issue last year around the same time of the year. He eventually stopped and went back to his normal routine. Could this be a seasonal thing? Can he tell that females are in heat and he just wants to get outside because of it? Should we get him neutered? Do I sound crazy for asking these questions? Please... help...

Thank you.

Some may be he is maturing and going through terrible 2s.
Some issue may be medical. I really would get him a checkup to be sure.
It could be a bitch in heat in the neighborhood. Although this is too late in the season for most basenjis to be in heat, he's not picky about breed, lol. So ask around. If that's it, there are things you can do like pheromone sprays (doesn't seem to work for most), bengay under the nose, etc. Or... try to save your sanity by knowing this will pass.
You can change his potty signal.. train him to use a bell to potty, and use a different bell or something to go outside for play/exercise. Since whining has become an issue, stop rewarding it and perhaps you can get him to tell you more precisely what he wants.

The bottom line, if he isn't sick, he's training you to take him out anytime he wants. You have to stop rewarding the behavior. If you MUST take him out, make it short, no encouragement, no exercise... chance to potty, back in.
Work on "no whine".. treat when quiet, or play tug or something inside and convenient. I'm sure others will have more ideas..

I would get him checked with a blood panel just to rule out medical problems if you can. It does sound like there might be a dog in heat close by. Something has changed from the sound of it and it also sounds like you are doing everything right. Normally I would think lack of exercise but it doesn’t sound like that. Did the weather break? Mine will wake early if it’s a nice sunny day but you sometimes have to pry them out of bed when it’s raining lol.

If you are exercising him 3-5 miles of walks a day, he should be pretty tired and ready for nap time when he comes home. Is it possible he is bored?

Neutering is a good idea unless you intend to breed / show.

Since you can pin point that this is happening at the same time as the year before it is for sure seasonal... Here in the US, breeding season is the fall of the year. My first male would cry/whine for the entire month of October regardless if our female was in season or not.... By the way made no difference if he was in-tact or neutered. With age he did settle down. Basenjis for SURE know when it is breeding season.

last edited by tanza

I remember this exact issue with my male intact Parson Russell. He would constantly whine and almost moo like a cow. Turned out there was a female in season in our neighborhood. Apparently dogs can tell even from more than a mile away. He did it 2 times at the same time in the year. We learned this from our vet. Once he was neutered, in never happened again.

This used to be an annual occurrence with one of mine who lived in Germany with another Basenji. I'd get a phone call 'Sally they are fighting ! ' So I would say '*Look at the calendar !' - and sure enough, it was the season season !

A month or so later - another phone call. Everything was sunshine and light between the boys again. This went on for years !

Two boys, nary a Basenji bitch within many miles, but they knew that at that time of year, the very survival of the Breed depended on them ! Basenji boys DO have a rutting season and this can prevail for a couple of years after they have been castrated. There is the full story of these two on my [www.zandebasenjis.com/](link url) website. You can cut out the 'how to do it' but the desire lingers in these ancient breeds' hormones.

So I strongly suspect there is a hot bitch in the vicinity !

But check him out at the Vet anyway - that is always a wise move when things seem to go pear-shaped.

Having him neutered won't make any difference. And I would never advocate it anyway. As I said this morning, Basenji boys' rutting seasons are predictable. And they can howl this time of year without even the immediate presence of a seasonable bitch.

We get this sort of behaviour September / October ish. I'm guessing you are in the Southern Hemisphere ?

last edited by Zande

Unless he's moved, he is in the US (Missouri). I wonder if there is any other breed that has a seasonal clock?

@debradownsouth said in 6am Basenji Alarm...:

Unless he's moved, he is in the US (Missouri).

It seemed logical to me that Basenji bitches in season at this time of year would be 'Down South' - 🙃

Yeah, but I already knew he was here so I had an advantage. 🙂

Do basenji bitches that cycle twice tend to do at set time?

@debradownsouth said in 6am Basenji Alarm...:

Do basenji bitches that cycle twice tend to do at set time?

More or less, yes. I have found that bitches born in the summer have a summer season - or a Spring one. But they also have a 'token dribble' when the rest of the pack comes in in Autumn (Fall !). We tried several times to get one lady in whelp in Autumn but the Spring season succeeded and she whelped two summer litters.

She obviously only had a sympathy season with the rest of them (we had five nubile bitches for a while - along with three entire males) as did the other three or four girls in Spring. They came in season, sort of, in sympathy with her !

So over the years I have concluded that bitches probably only ovulate once but if encouraged by other canines having a proper season, they will evince the outward signs.

Having said that, Basenji bitches are so clean. . . I have never advocated spaying them unless / until it would improve quality of life in old age. Or, as in the case of Hoover, because one member of the family was in hospital and I couldn't cope.

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