Is my Basenji sad? New owner - any support appreciated

  • Hi - I have had herding breed dogs my entire life. This is my first Basenji, he is 7 months old currently and I love him to bits. Such an adorable, lovable, affectionate, energetic pup. Other people have commented on what a wonderful temperament he has.

    I'm just back from two weeks holiday on the coast with my family. My Basenji had the company of my Mum's two dogs for the entire trip and had an absolute blast with them. He followed them around all day and the play was non-stop. They all got along really well.

    Since I got back, my Basenji has been sleeping loads and just seems like a very different dog 😞 He has no interest in playing with me and he doesn't initiate play anymore. It seems like all he wants to do is curl up on the sofa. It's like he has completely lost his spark. I brought him to a friend's house last night who has a dog and as soon as he saw her he was jumping about with joy and wagging his tail.

    Could he be grieving for the company of the other dogs? I'm getting him back into his old routine and trying to make play fun again but is there anything else I should do?

    It doesn't help matters that he took a bad reaction to a flea tablet whilst we were on holiday also, and was off his food/water for a few days, sick etc. (I will NEVER use such medication again, complete poison and wish I had never given it to him). But I brought him to the vet and they said all vital signs were ok.

    Just really worried about him and missing his old personality. I want him to be happy.

    Many thanks in advance.

  • @alibobo I'm not sure there is anything wrong, per se. He might miss the friends he made while you visited your family. That's a normal reaction and not something I would classify as "depression". I bet he remembers them the next time they see each other though.

    And it's normal for dogs to get excited and want to play with other dogs. No matter how much we try, we don't play the same way puppies would with their litter mates. They see another dog and play reminds them of one of the happiest times in their lives, their "childhood". That said, not all dogs are going to be an appropriate playmate for your dog. Most dogs, however, go easy on the pups.

    Puppies get tired. They sleep a lot. Usually while you are off doing other things, but it just so happens that you are around and noticing that your pup is asleep and doesn't have the energy he did before your vacation. Personally, I think he was going non-stop while he was on vacation and now he's recovering. I'm sure he'll get back to himself in a few days, but if he doesn't (or if he doesn't have an interest in food)... check back with your vet.

  • @elbrant thanks so much for the support. It was definitely a very active holiday and I wondered if perhaps he is still just tired from all the exercise. If I haven't noticed any improvement by next week I will take him to the vet. But yes he is still eating as normal and loves his food thankfully!!

  • It's never easy being dumped! Only kidding of course but dogs are different. Some are more drawn to people. Some to other dogs. Herding dogs are usually very people oriented. Basenjis much less so. He may have decided you're not the perfect playmate -- too slow and a nag! LOL

    He may also not be feeling great and/or be a bit pooped after all the excitement of the vacation. You may be experiencing the same thing. I say this because a 7 month Basenji would more likely be getting into trouble of some kind than sleeping all the time. Give it a bit and see what happens. My guess is that he'll return to something resembling the old normal. My advice would be to stop trying so hard and beating yourself up. FWIW you needn't worry about keeping your Basenji happy. He'll do that for you!

    I also wouldn't worry too much about the play thing. I've had Basenjis who were wild for playing with other dogs until one day a switch turned off and they were over it. Sad but it's part of growing up.

  • Get another basenji! Double the fun!

  • I’ve found that Trigger is a much happier dog when stimulated regularly. He goes to doggie day care twice a week to play with other dogs and we go to the trail once or twice a week with a friends lab. This seems to quench his need for other K9 play and he’s very well balanced at home. It was a challenge when daycare was closed during the shelter in place and he was noticeably naughty.

  • Basenji owning is like a Chinese meal. You have one, you want another one soon after.

    Get him a live-in pal so the two of them can gang up on you -

    A second Basenji a.s.a.p. is just what the doctor ordered !

  • I would be a little concerned that he could have picked up something on vacation. If he doesn't perk up I think a vet check is in order. Dogs live "in the moment". I doubt a two week change of pace would have a lasting effect. I agree that Basenjis may be happier with company, right up until they mature at which time their relationship may change. If/when that happens it can cause problems. I also find that a solo dog will rely on you a lot more and your relationship is likely to be closer. Teaching new things is a great way to engage a Basenji and keep them interested, and you can invent games and puzzles for them to solve. OTOH, if the dog must be left alone a lot, then a canine companion is definitely a plus.

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  • Thank you everyone, this is all very helpful. I have to say, he has been a lot more like himself in the last two days. He has been playing fetch again and we've been revising his tricks. Haha we have talked about getting another Basenji! They're a fantastic breed, I am learning so much from my pup everyday.

  • @zande I'm so happy you suggested this! Getting a permanent playmate was the first thing I thought, remembering my first basenji, and then second.
    Sugar was a sweetie, but ornery. I had to be aware of where she was, and what she was doing, all the time, Luckily the crate was ok, when we were gone or in bed, but not when home. So we got another because I thought, maybe she just needs a dog to keep her busy.
    We welcome a male pup into our home, and it the best thing for Sugar. Some one to keep her occupied, and someone to boss around who really didn't care!

  • @rugosab When Keepurr died last year, Hoover was miserable. She has never been the only dog in the house - starting life as one of 5 or 6 who gradually passed, over time.

    A house is not a home without a Basenji and Hoover is now 12 so I had to have a puppy. She has bonded well with Mku and is teaching him all kinds of naughty tricks - like creeping into the greenhouse and stealing cucumbers.

    In turn he is helping her become a new dog, the years are falling away, she is playful again, puppyish. Its wonderful.

    These are pack animals and while I am the Alpha they need each other. They work as a team. She picks pockets for paper hankies and gives them to him. He jumps up and hits the low hanging bird feeds and she eats the peanuts. . .

    When she finally crosses the Bridge, Mku will be the lone dog - but only until another puppy comes along, I guess !

  • @zande said in Is my Basenji sad? New owner - any support appreciated:

    She has bonded well with Mku and is teaching him all kinds of naughty tricks - like creeping into the greenhouse and stealing cucumbers.

    Love this! LOL It sounds like they are keeping you on your toes!

  • @elbrant said in Is my Basenji sad? New owner - any support appreciated:

    Love this! LOL It sounds like they are keeping you on your toes!

    If only they were ! I am waiting for a knee replacement and while I can just about struggle across my own kitchen on a couple of canes, get to the greenhouse and to some parts of the garden, I have to rely on neighbors to take them for proper walks.

    Sue is taking them tomorrow, and Paul gave them very long free runs in the woods over the weekend. They know Sue and will come when she calls - we walked with her and Maisie, a Border Terrier, before I become crook.

  • @zande Hopefully, the medical community will allow us to get those things they consider elective (and we do not) very soon. You will be in my thoughts, heal well.

  • I agree about dogs liking the company of dogs and being depressed when the fun times end. Any time we take our dog down to visit my brother's dog (the whole point of the trip, don't you know...) both dogs get really bummed when it's time to leave. And the next day he just sighs and looks at us under his brows to let us know he wanted to stay longer.

    The post-fun "recovery period depends on how long we've been gone and how long he's been with another dog.

    I heartily recommend doggie day care visits to keep a dog happy just being a dog.

    Not sure about a second basenji--double the fun and double the trouble ! LOL

  • @b5004ever said in Is my Basenji sad? New owner - any support appreciated:

    Not sure about a second basenji--double the fun and double the trouble ! LOL

    Wait until you have had eight at a time - two, which I am now down to, will seem like an empty house LOL

  • Thanks everyone. He is definitely back to his old self this week thank goodness!!! Playing with me again, trying to steal my dinner haha! His coat is even shinier. It must have been a rough few days for him trying to adjust to his holidays ending. I'm just so happy and thanks for all of the reassurance. We have enrolled in puppy classes, which start in two weeks. Sadly we never got to do them because of the covid lockdown. So that is something to look forward to!

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