New puppy... Crate anxiety!

Hi everyone,

We brought home our 11 week basenji pup yesterday. His name is Benji.

He has had a few incidents in his Vari Kennel crate. So far, boiling it down to 2 issues...

#1 It seems as though he gets pretty anxious quickly when the door locks and/or if we leave him alone in there for a few minutes. Daytime/Nighttime. He will nervous pee and poo during these scenarios and we are almost certain he is eating his poop right after.

#2 We've been feeding him food/water in there to create a positive and safe space (+ blankets, toys, bullystick during daytime etc.) however he pees immediately after chowing down his meal. I don't even have a chance to do anything because it's instantaneous.

There were some positives however... He did manage to fall asleep twice last night in between potty breaks outside, both with the help of the Snuggle Puppy and background soothing music. Lots of screaming nonetheless. Poor guy.

Any advice on #1 and #2 would be greatly appreciated!

Where is the crate located at night? Should be right beside your bed so you can reach out and reassure him. He's a baby in a strange place. He's used to the company of mother and/or siblings. Basenjis do best with their people. When you are home he should be where you are, not locked away in another room. He needs to spend time with you. Taking him outside as soon as he wakes up from a nap or any time he seems restless will facilitate house breaking. I would have him out before he eats, and I would feed him outside of the crate and see what happens. If the crate is making him anxious that is why he is peeing right after eating. If you want to create a positive association, you could feed him treats in his crate without closing the door. It's the confinement that typically makes them anxious, and it is very early days with this pup. You need to give him a chance to adjust to his new situation.

@eeeefarm The crate is located right beside our bed (not facing us though, because I wanted to try parallel to the bed first. I will turn it to face us as a plan B if we really need to). Feeding outside of the crate is a good idea, I will keep that in mind - thank you! However......We just fed him dinner in his crate, this time with the door open, and he didn't pee right away! We made sure to immediately pick him up and put him on a pee pad and he peed on the pad which brought him a reward of course. Good call on giving him treats/food without closing the door. Baby steps for sure...

I think the reason many Basenjis hate these Varikennels is that they restrict vision - the puppy can't see what is going on and feels vulnerable. I only ever used one when shipping a puppy (accompanied by its new owner) by air.

Open wire crates allow the pup (or adult dog) to see around him/her.

If only breeders would help in this respect. I took a wire cage to the breeder of my new puppy with the request he become accustomed to it. The crate was left, open, with the puppies from the age of about 6 weeks. The whole litter played in it, slept in it from time to time, were individually fed in it on occasions and I have a lovely photo, sent by the breeder, of my boy curled up on his own, fast asleep in the crate. Now all six puppies have benefitted from this early crate training, at least one breeder will repeat the exercise for all future litters !

It doesn't involve the breeder in extra time, just a bit of extra space in the general play area. I always did it - so even if the puppy was taken away by car, a crate held no fears.

In the present case, I suggest binning the Varikennel and getting a Basenji-sized wire folding crate that you can put away and get out at need. Put it at first where the puppy plays, leave it open, put toys in it and encourage him to come and go as he wants. You could even put all his toys in it so he has to go and collect them when he wants to play. Use it like a toy-box. Be patient, make going into the crate a game, get down on the floor with him and play, throwing his toys into it to get him to follow them. Don't shut it at first but then when he is used to going in and out you can shut it for short periods and eventually for longer if / when he actually goes to sleep in it. (make sure it has a lovely comfy blanket in it !).

Also, PLEASE tell us his name and the names of his parents and date of birth so I can add him to the database of Basenji pedigrees on line - the address is in my signature block - so you can have fun seeing who his great great grandparents are

I too only use wire crates, as noted by Zande, the Vari Kennel restricts vision... and using a wire crate, you can put the crate parallel to the bed if you want and still be able to reach down and comfort the pup. I cover part of the crate with a blanket to make it more of a den. You should have the pup checked for a UTI by taking a pee sample to the vet... many a young pup will get a minor UTI even from responsible breeders. Have you spoken to his breeder about the issues?

@zande @tanza that's awesome and good to know - we took your advice and bought him a wire crate to see how he would fare with the added visibility. And... ta-da! He would go in voluntarily to check out his toys, chew on his bully stick, nap, etc. I was able to shut the crate door during these times (I spent the day building up to this) and when it was time for bedtime he wasn't bothered WHATSOEVER. Not a peep! I want to shout at the rooftops in happiness! We are such proud parents πŸ˜„ This was a complete change from the prior 2 nights where he was squealing at the top of his lungs throughout the entire night and the neighbours even banged on the wall 2 times in 1 night (we live in a condo).

First vet appointment today so we will bring up the UTI check πŸ™‚ Our little boy is named Benji and here's a photo!

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last edited by yaleezaforeva

That is wonderful news ! I couldn't be more pleased - and many thanks for sending his pedigree data for the base. He will be added later today and you can send photos (I can't get to the promised one so don't know if he is red/white or black/white) as he grows.

@zande We are very pleased as well! Sounds good - trying to figure out how to upload an image as the one I am uploading is showing as file too large. Once I get this sorted, you'll have a photo! Thanks again πŸ™‚

Just tell me Benji's color and he will be listed on the database before this evening !

For the database, I wouldn't dare take pics from the Forum - they insist on copyright staying with them and I don't pay to use the pics in the base. As and when, email me one privately to my email address (which is on the d/b)

@zande sounds good! we'll send over the pic shortly and he's a red and white boy. πŸ™‚

@yaleezaforeva said in New puppy... Crate anxiety!:

Our little boy is named Benji

OMGosh! I'm in love!!

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