Daytime crate stress

My 5 month old B only puts up a fuss for about 5 minutes after he is crated in the morning. 2-4 times a week I crate him while I'm at work for about 5 hours. I have a webcam up and I see that he's wide awake the entire time -- even after he barely can stay awake before going into crate. My breeder mentioned to never put anything in his crate as it's a safety issue so he's in there on the plastic tray. I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to promote him to sleep or at least be less stressed. Would adding a chew-proof bed help? He's been doing this routine for about 2 weeks now.

Is he destructive normally, i.e. does he chew things up a lot? Something relatively indestructible, like a Kong stuffed with treats, or any heavy duty toy that he can't take apart should be O.K. If he normally doesn't chew things up you could try a blanket, use your webcam, and stay close while you observe his behaviour. Five hours, IMO, is pushing it, especially with a pup....hopefully you don't crate him at all when you are home and give him a good walk before you leave.

I should have said “up to 5 hours”. The times it’s been that long I walked home at lunch and let him outside for a bit.

He hasn’t shown any destruction to anything other than his dog bed — which I still can’t convince him isn’t a chew toy. I have done Kong with frozen treats. It works very well for keeping his attention for about 30 minutes but then he just goes back to super alert mode staring at the door. Once he gets let out he runs around for several minutes but then sleeps for most of the rest of the day. Has anyone had good results with keeping a tv or music on? I’m considering trying that next but it’s the only idea I have left.

Absent unusual circumstances I've never put a dog in a crate with a bare floor. I'd at least put in a mat. Even something like this would work: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LYA66T4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 A bare floor seems uncomfortable.

If leaving for hours I'd usually put in a Kong with some filler in the crate. So I second eeefarm's advice on this. They can spend a few minutes getting the treat out and then gnaw a bit before going to sleep. Doesn't pose a safety issue IMO.

Perhaps you took the breeder's remarks too literally? I would never give a dog a chew toy if I wasn't going to be around, but a blanket or Kong wouldn't seem to pose an issue.

PS: Dog beds make for the BEST chew toys! LOL

Question: Are you providing any exercise before you leave for work? Walk? Run? Anything?

I tend to think that dogs can be destructive when they are trying to tell you that something is wrong... and that it's often solved with exercise. Hence the old adage, "a tired dog is a good dog".

Is your pup housebroken, going potty outside? Have you thought about just leaving the dog out of the crate? Provide lots of toys during that time. Most cases, dogs usually just curl up and go to sleep. Some can be destructive. Pillows and such should be put up and out of the way if that is the case. You have a web cam, you can watch and see what he does while you're not at home. Just a thought.

At the very least - make him comfortable and give him something to do ! Poor wee man, lying on the naked tray of the crate. I line all my crates with off-cuts of a nice thick carpet. Cut to fit snugly so it stays put and can't be dislodged.

On top of that they have a vet-bed or a mat of some kind (washable) so they can move that around to make a bed to their own shape and liking.

If they have to stay in it for any length of time, a car journey mostly cos mine are never crated at home, they get a favorite bone or something to chew. And toys.

I take it there is no chance you could leave him loose, in a dog-proofed room ? Even 'up to five' hours is far longer than a puppy of that age should be caged - and with no comfort or amusement !!!

And yes, a radio on is a good idea. Voices - the dog thinks he is no longer alone.

last edited by Zande

@mnbadger said in Daytime crate stress:

Has anyone had good results with keeping a tv or music on? I’m considering trying that next but it’s the only idea I have left.

Yes, it's a good idea to leave a radio or some such on, just tuned to a station that won't have a lot of loud talk or discordant music. I always left a radio on for my dog when I was out. In a quiet house he will likely notice any noises from outside and that may be one reason he is staying awake and alert.

Thank you for all this advice!

@donc said in Daytime crate stress:

Perhaps you took the breeder's remarks too literally? I would never give a dog a chew toy if I wasn't going to be around, but a blanket or Kong wouldn't seem to pose an issue.

PS: Dog beds make for the BEST chew toys! LOL

I doubled checked and she was very serious. The concern is choking or intestinal blockage from chewed up fabric. I'm finding there are varying opinions on the danger of this... The only things he's been able to rip apart is his dog bed but maybe I just need to find a tougher one.

@elbrant said in Daytime crate stress:

Question: Are you providing any exercise before you leave for work? Walk? Run? Anything?

I tend to think that dogs can be destructive when they are trying to tell you that something is wrong... and that it's often solved with exercise. Hence the old adage, "a tired dog is a good dog".

Absolutely, I am very active with him. Before he goes into his crate he is typically hard asleep from a walk or time at dog park. A tired dog is definitely a good dog!

@basenjimom2 said in Daytime crate stress:

Is your pup housebroken, going potty outside? Have you thought about just leaving the dog out of the crate? Provide lots of toys during that time. Most cases, dogs usually just curl up and go to sleep. Some can be destructive. Pillows and such should be put up and out of the way if that is the case. You have a web cam, you can watch and see what he does while you're not at home. Just a thought.

I'm really considering this but I'm not quite there yet. I still have to tell him NO several times a day from chewing on things that I can't move like blinds. He's never actually chewed them but I can tell he's thinking about it. I've also heard of B's chewing threw doors and I'm concerned because every time I leave him out for practice he jumps and claws at the door I left from. What age did you let your B stay out? He's only 5 months old and has only been in my apartment for several weeks. Just yesterday he left the room I was in and went to sleep in his favorite corner of another room. Until then he always followed me everywhere.

@mnbadger - As far as blinds, keep them open and pulled up.... they like to see out and watch the world go by.... I learned that 30+ years ago with my first Basenjis.... if you don't they will "open" them!

@tanza said in Daytime crate stress:

@mnbadger - As far as blinds, keep them open and pulled up.... they like to see out and watch the world go by.... I learned that 30+ years ago with my first Basenjis.... if you don't they will "open" them!

They are nearly always open but are the vertical ones that move to the sides so they bottoms are always accessible to mischievous activities.

@mnbadger - can you pull back the vertical blinds? We tried them and they still will chew/attacked them so to see out the window....

@mnbadger said in Daytime crate stress:

. I've also heard of B's chewing threw doors and I'm concerned because every time I leave him out for practice he jumps and claws at the door I left from. What age did you let your B stay out? He's only 5 months old and has only been in my apartment for several weeks. Just yesterday he left the room I was in and went to sleep in his favorite corner of another room. Until then he always followed me everywhere.

A lot will depend on the dog as well as the age. Some easily become trustworthy and are not destructive, others will always have the tendency and you must be careful. Introducing "liberty" is a process. A web cam is a definite advantage that I never had! As far as attacking doors, that is definitely a concern. A frantic Basenji (or any dog, especially a large one) can do a lot of damage if they set their sights on getting out. One thing you can try that works is a "scat mat" in front of the door (or anywhere you don't want them to be, including on kitchen counters!). But I would try leaving for brief periods of time and monitoring the web cam, so you can see what is happening. Some dogs just have a few moments of anxiety, when they may be destructive, but then settle down. With this type of reaction, you can usually find something to occupy them for that crucial few moments when you leave, e.g. a puzzle toy with treats in it, a stuffed Kong, or similar. A roller ball filled with kibble always worked for my boys. By the time it was empty the dog was over the "she's leaving me alone" anxiety. I set the stage by loading the ball before I was going out, and putting it where he could see it but couldn't get at it, to build desire. By the time I left, his full attention was on getting that ball! Worked for me with two separation anxiety dogs.

Well I just left him home for 45 minutes without being confined to a crate. I watched most of the time through webcams. He just kept bouncing from sitting at the door I left from and all his favorite spots to lay down. Going to keep extending the time and see how that goes. Very good signs so far.

Sounds good. Another key to "normalizing" your absence is to not make a big deal of it on your return. Be as "matter of fact" as you can, no emotional greetings, in fact it is best to ignore him for a few minutes when you return. We all love to have our dogs fawn all over us, but for dogs that show separation anxiety reciprocating is the worst thing you can do. You want to emphasize that your comings and goings are normal and nothing to be excited about. After all, if your spouse went out to run an errand you wouldn't rush to his or her side on the return and smother him/her with kisses (well, maybe on your honeymoon 😉 ), so why do that with your dog? What you aim for is a dog that is so relaxed that he stays on the couch, maybe just raises his head to indicate he knows you are back.

Update! Still cautious with keeping Max uncrated while home alone since he’s only 5 months. However, he’s been amazing and hasn’t done anything wrong. Wonder how long it’ll take me to trust him fully. Right now I’m checking the cameras pretty regularly. I also got a robot camera that can scoot around the apartment looking for him. It also tosses treats so Max approves.

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I love the way he is guarding the drinks cupboard - and I applaud your choice of Whiskeys ! (That is Jameson, isn't it ?)

last edited by Zande

@mnbadger
When my B was young she also hated to be in the crate when I left home. She would cry and whine when I put her in the crate - it broke my heart and I didn’t like seeing her “caged-up”. So I gradually left her alone increasing the time increments. I have never had any issues of destructive behavior and she is happy to have her freedom. I’m happy to hear the situation seems to be working out for you. Love the photo of Max and the robot - also nice collection of liquors- lol!

This sounds very positive but don't get too relaxed yet. He is still adjusting to this situation, and sometimes something happens that can set things back. My Perry attacked a lampshade for no known reason, but I suspect there could have been a fly buzzing around in it. He also attacked my blinds when I left them down to keep the sun porch from getting too hot. He liked to look out and they were blocking the view! Other than that he was never destructive. Someone coming to the door or unfamiliar sounds outside can also cause problems, but as time goes by you will likely be able to trust him as he settles into the routine. Staying away a lot longer than he is used to can sometimes trigger an issue, so be careful not to push his limits too far.

Zak was 4 months old when I "rescued" him from a family who bought him from a backyard breeder. He was crate phobic at that time as the children (1 high school age and 1 middle school) left him in the crate after the first month (newness wore off). Dad got home and pup sat in his own pee and poop for anywhere from 10 to 12 hours! Which is how I got him. He has never been in a crate with me. Course when he came to me I already had a 5 year old (neutered male) and and 3 year old (spayed) female. At first it was like a mommy and daddy and baby. A few months later, all hell broke loose as Zak tried to "take" Dannii out! Another story for another time. However, Zak learned from watching the other 2 b's as to when to go outside to do his business. He wasn't destructive as far as furniture goes and such. Anything paper he would ripped to shreds.
Try leaving Max out. Be sure blinds are opened, pillows and such put up high and out of the way. Lots of toys to chew or shred. Find some toys that you can fill up with treats that he can roll around and the treats fall out. At 5 months, I'm pretty sure he will sleep quite a bit. Do make sure he gets plenty of exercise, long walks or something before you leave for work. He is one adorable pup! Sometimes they do real well if they have a companion. Nobody likes to be alone. Just a thought for down the road.

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