My dog snuck out the front door off leash tonight.

  • I am really upset right now, so please understand that I am communicating from an emotionally distraught place, and try not to judge me too harshly.

    I watch rogue like a hawk. My mother accuses me of being a helicopter parent, and chastised me so much for using a house line that I felt like I needed to stop using one middle of last week.

    I swear I saw rogue running the opposite way when my brother and his wife left our house last night. Then mom asked me where rogue was. I checked the bathroom where my mom had left the door open, I checked the laundry room where my mom had left the damn door open, I couldn't find her.... Then mom looked outside and saw rogue shivering out there in the dark. If this had happened in the day time I know she'd have been dead in the street. Mom seems unconcerned, said "look, she was right outside the door. She knows where to be. Its not a big deal" (How idiotic is that?) and I am just murderously furious with her, and my brother, and myself as well. I just can't believe this happened and I don't know what to do with all these negative emotions.

    So I don't feel like I can trust my mother with the dog anymore. She refuses to keep our downstairs area safe for rogue. She has a habit of piling trash up past the top of the can, which rogue just started getting into, but she refuses to stop, as she believes that doing it the right way WASTES TRASH BAGS. She finds it amusing when the dog drags her shoes around, as she is unable to grasp how the icemelt chemicals are harmful to rogue, and do accumulate on the shoes.

    I just want to take rogue outside all day in order to keep her safe, but its too cold. I can keep her in my room, as its safe in here, but there's not enough room for her to run. Its just not fair to her.

    I am a ticking timebomb, and rogue's heartbeat is the deadman switch. If something happens to her, there will be blood. It can't happen again. Not even once. No close calls. I don't know what I can do to keep her safe, but until I have a better plan, Rogue is going to have to pay the price for our negligence, because I'm not letting her anywhere near the door again unless she's in my arms, or in a case. I'm going to have to crate her when I take meals, and showers. I don't know what else to do. How can I keep my girl safe /and/ happy? any ideas?

  • @roguecoyote Welcome to parenthood. Eventually you will realize that not every single thing is a death trap and you will be able to breathe again. I'm glad that you found Rogue safe and sound waiting to come back into the house. That your pup knows which house she lives in is a really good thing! Now... try to bear with me on the rest of this.

    Rogue is your dog, not your Mom's. If you don't want Rogue digging into the trash, you can either teach her not to, or you can just take the trash out yourself. If your Mom thinks it's too expensive to buy extra trash bags, then you need to buy the bags yourself. If you are worried about Rogue getting sick from the chemicals in road salt (which seems logical), figure out a way to prevent her from gaining access to the shoes and boots. It isn't your Mother's responsibility to babysit, train, or clean up after your dog, it's yours.

    One quick and easy solution would be to put a baby gate up at your bedroom door so that Rogue stays in your room when you are gone. That prevents her from being near the shoes and the trash while allowing Rogue to see/hear what's going on in the house. Once you get home, the baby gate comes off, Rogue gets to explore and hang out with everyone, and you are there to supervise her.

    Now, please apologize to your Mother and let her know that you didn't realize how stressful it is to be responsible for someone (baby, puppy, etc.) other than yourself.

  • That's hard to hear, but I see your point. I don't think a baby gate is going to cut it though. She's going in a crate any time I can't have eyes on her, and on a leash any time she's out of my room, until she can be trusted to reliably wait at thresholds, and leave hazards alone. From what I hear about the breed, that's a tough ask for a basenji, but I refuse to loose her. I'll apologize to my mom, but for rogue's sake, this free roaming stuff is going to have to end. am I right? I'm thinking either an adjustable leash, or a 10 foot extension on a bungee leash.

  • No, @elbrant , no apologies to mum. She should realise her insouciance could have cost Rogue her life.

    Poor little mite, but the one I feel sorry for is her owner. Rogue needs training, and patience and a kiddy gate or even two around the house. But the one who needs most disciplining is mother.

    You will manage, I am sure, @RogueCoyote and don't beat yourself up too much. Heave a big sigh of relief and cuddle Rogue.

    I am assuming she was brought into the household with your mother's consent ? So she must take responsibility for the puppy and for keeping her safe.

    Good luck and warmest sympathy

  • Mom payed for rogue, but she's my dog, and my responsibility. More importantly, I'm the one who's going to self destruct if something happens to her. She's MY life. No one else's. Mine. And I'm going to have to protect her by any means necessary, and anyone who doesn't like that can just take a 14 degree weather hike I guess. I don't feel bad for me, I feel bad for Rogue. Its a lot of responsibility to put on her. I wish I didn't have to ask her to sacrifice so much, but I guess its her life on the line too.

  • It's not easy having your own dog but not your own house. One reason it's important to have everyone on board when a decision is made to bring a dog into a household, so you can all agree on what precautions need to be taken. With a pup of any breed it's important to make sure they don't accidentally get out the door, but with some breeds, including Basenjis, it isn't only in puppyhood that this is a problem. Work on recalls with Rogue, they are very important going forward. Try to enlist the rest of the family in helping keep her safe, but as you have noted, the ultimate responsibility is yours. Finding a solution that works without being overly restrictive with her may be challenging. I had my first Basenji when I was still living in my parents' home, but I was lucky and had no issues and Val was a young dog, not a pup, when I got her. She was also the only 100% reliable off leash Basenji I have ever owned!

  • @roguecoyote - I will remark that they "don't" sneak out the door, open doors are an invitation to go... period... and in my honest opinion, unless you are standing right there, open door they are gone... and even if you are right there, if there is something to chase (remember they are hounds and what they see they chase) they would be gone. We have gates (NOT baby gates) we had them made.. and before anyone exits or enters the house, the gate is shut, period... Of course we have an entry way that we could do this with.
    In regards to the trash... I defy anyone to teach any breed/mix to not root in the trash... will not happen... reason we have a trash compactor. Solved that issue. So all that said, was all this discussed and agreed with your Mom before you got your pup? Was everyone in agreement before you brought the pup home? Bring a pup home has to be agreed by "all" family members in the home... not just one. Oh and with a trash can, even with a lid, trust me... they can open that regardless! And it is not fair to the pup to place the blame and restrictions on her, she was only doing what a dog does. And not like you can watch her 24/7... you need to have the family on board

  • @tanza Well, my mom paid for the puppy, drove me to pick her up... but neither of us understood what it was going to be like raising a basenji puppy in below freezing temperatures. It was my intention to bundle myself and the dog up, pack a lawn chair, and go sit in the field outside my house all day till she got her shots, and then go sit in other fields, fenced in areas, hike trails, etc... all the things dogs love to do, all day long, every day for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the weather just isn't permitting right now.

    As for my mom's expectations, when we had dogs previously, (never puppies) my father (who she divorced in the 80s and moved out of state in the 90s) trained the dogs, and my mom spoiled them.

    At the end of the day, she's just not as invested in the long term training and consequential wellbeing of my dog. If rogue turns out amazing, she'll have to admit that I'm not totally useless, and that would utterly destroy her worldview. If rogue gets hit by a car, not only does she get to stay in her comfort zone, but she gets to hold it over me for the rest of my brief miserable life.

    I don't think any of this ever actually enters her surface thoughts. She's my mom, and she loves me, so much so that she bought me rogue. That's a big deal. What i'm talking about is the result of the deep compartmentalized shame that anyone living in our sick sad world is totally entitled to. I'd like to think she's completely unaware of it.

  • @RogueCoyote , I have to ask, how old are you? To me it seems you have unrealistic expectations, both of dogs and people. You need to have a conversation with your mother, without judgement, and figure out how to make this work for you and your pup and your mom. You've taken on a responsibility and yes, so has she, but perhaps not knowing exactly what she was signing on for. When I lived with my parents and had my first Basenji it was understood that training was my problem, that they would help me out a bit when I had to be absent, but exercising and feeding and taking care of my girl was up to me. Mind you, I wasn't a teenager anymore at that point, just hadn't left the nest yet. When I was at work and if my parents didn't want to have her underfoot, she was put into my room and the door closed. Mind you, I was lucky in that my mother enjoyed dogs, and even took Val with her for Humane Society tag days. Bottom line, it really is necessary that other family members have bought in to having a dog in the household.

    I feel I should add, on a practical level you need to establish a routine and stick to it, around what happens when people come and go, when the door will be open, how to keep your pup safe. You might consider having a leash on her whenever people may be arriving or leaving. You could try tethering her to you when you're likely to be busy or distracted. Very important to teach her the basics, come, stay, "place" or kennel, so that you have some verbal control. You might also work on door manners, teaching her to sit by the door and waiting until permission is given before going through it. Once a routine is ingrained it may save you when something unexpected happens if she has learned to wait....

  • @roguecoyote - Not sure I understand about what you mean by "raising a puppy in below freezing temperatures?"... Basenjis are not outdoor dogs, they are house dogs, yes they like outdoors but not as you are describing, Basenji need to be part of the family and they need to be where the humans are.... You can't raise a Basenji outdoors, regardless of the weather? You can't in reality just take her outdoors all day? I am really confused by your comments. Was it your thoughts to raise that pup outdoors all day? What about night time? Again, maybe I am not just understanding your comments or what your expectations are?

  • Hey everybody, I just want to reiterate, rogue is fine.

    My breeder just called me saying that several people contacted her, worried about Rogue's wellbeing. She was only out for a few seconds, and she didn't run away. I don't blame rogue for what happened, I blame myself. I would never hurt her, or use harsh training methods on her.

    Rogue had slipped out the door last night when my brother and his wife left, and everybody there was watching out to make sure that didn't happen. She's just too sneaky.

    I should have known, as I have seen her running behind the couch and doubling back when I try to head her off. I've heard the breed being referred to as escape artists, and she really fits the bill, and honestly, inconveniences aside, I love that about her. I just had to adjust things in order to account for her being quicker than the eye can see.

    I'm a very big, very straight, very masculine man with autism. I know that frightens a lot of people, but that's my identity, and I'm not going to change, but you all need to understand, Rogue is my emotional support animal, and I don't just love her, I also need her. If she ran into the street and got hit by a car... She is my medicine, but I can't just go get a refill at CVS. I would be inconsolable.

    She is my most precious possession. Can you even fathom what it would be like to come out of a 30 year depression? When she came into my life I went from listening to dethklok's briefcase full of guts to ELO's Mr, blue sky over night. Can you imagine what that's like? Its like feeling the sun on your skin for the first time.

    So, please understand, that rogue is my blue sky. I was simply lamenting the need to keep her on a leash in doors, but it's become clear that doing so is the only way I can make sure this doesn't happen again, and it will never happen again. Sorry for being overly dramatic about it. I was upset. I really should have saved it for my therapist, but the nature of my disability sometimes makes that difficult.

  • @tanza I feel like if I continue this conversation with you, the mods will step in, and I don't want to loose this site as a resource. I will consult my breeder about further advice regarding outdoor activities with my dog. I appreciate your concern for rogue, and I can relate to your adoration for the breed. I hope we can put this behind us in the future.

  • Hi there! I have a couple of ideas that might help. For the garbage, if you can get a taller can like the type in cafeterias with a rounded lid and a flap door in the top part, that solves that. Boots can go in a box by the door; maybe a wooden box or something with a lid, or tall enough that she can't see them. Shoes in general can go in a plastic box under the bed or in the closet.
    If you get a pressure gate, they're adjustable to fit the doorway and low enough for people to step over. Sometimes dogs are content to look outside and not necessarily go out. Maybe Rogue though everyone was going to go, so followed them out.
    It's been my experience that a harness while in the house doesn't work. My dog chewed right through her first harness in a matter of 30 minutes. When I came back in, she was sitting right next to it, like "thanks for the weird chew toy but don't put it on me". So that's something I'm still dealing with too. I want to have something on her at all times with a reflector and tags. My neighbors opened my back gate once and didn't close it. I'm putting a spring on it so it closes itself. Cinny was out in the front yard when I noticed, but she came back when I called her even though she usually doesn't. She needs training and I haven't been successful with that yet. I might try bacon. Try whatever Rogue's favorite is. I'm going to get a book so I'm consistent. Otherwise I get distracted when I'm trying to teach her and we just end up playing.
    So, those are my thoughts. Tall kitchen garbage can with a lid/flap; shoes and boots inside boxes, a gate that people can step over but will let Rogue know that's the barrier. Maybe screen doors with springs so they close themselves. It's like with little kids - if they can't see it or reach it they can't get into it. They really have no concept of the danger outside. And most of all, she really, really wants to please you. You are her person and she loves you too.

  • So very sorry. I seldom log in and reply on any post because I find many regular contributors to be brutally honest. But that said, I am very very sorry and I understand your issue. My husband was on board with getting a basenji, but i later learned for mostly the wrong reasons. No barking, little shedding, intelligient etc. Those are great traits and my princess Piper possesses them all. She was such a terribly difficult puppy to train I thought we were surely going to end up in divorce over this dog. He loves her - but only recently (3 years in) has gained the same level of protectiveness over her. So my advice is to stick with it. Being mad at others for having less vested interest is wasted energy. Love Rogue, protect Rogue, you will figure out what works and the good thing is that you already have good eyes on all the dangers. My Piper does not like cold, rain, water etc and she can be a pain - but she is my darling and I get it. Training can't be understated - but avoiding the need to scold works much better from my experience. So finding options for shoes, garbage etc will help. We have a tall closing trash can that she has never gotten into - also stainless steel so it is heavy. The other advice is make sure even in the cold that you are getting Rogue outside and walking and running off energy. A tired Basenji has a happy owner. Routine is also key. Piper knows we walk a mile at 9 am and a mile at 4 pm every day and sometimes I sneak in an extra mile at noon. She will go out for our walk in the cold as long as it is not pouring rain. But the snow sends her into an energy rush and she is hysterical! We have snow rarely in my state so it is a fun distraction when it occurs. If it is at all feasible you could consider a new living arrangement - but I am not certain that is a reasonable option.
    Make peace with your family, protect Rogue and enjoy your pup. The one time Piper got out and was gone for 24 hours it was totally my fault (I underestimated her). It happens and I did not sleep that night. We built a fence around our backyard after that.

  • I think every Basenji we've had has gotten out. One forced his way out a second story window, climbed onto the roof, and jumped off. Another zipped past me when I opened the garage door literally a crack and she went after a cat. And one literally took off as the garage door was closing, slid on his side to get under it, and then took off. Then there was the one who darted through the slats on a deck and jumped 15 feet in pursuit of a cat. He also got out when the maintenance man opened the door to our temporary apartment without knocking. And oh, the one who jumped the fence in the park with a partner in crime and ended up at a Mercedes dealership.

    All of these ended up without incidence. A neighbor collected the one who jumped off the roof -- at 16 BTW -- and came over, range our bell, and told us she had our dog. And we were ???????. LOL The one out the garage chased the cat into our neighbor's house where I collected her. And the one who skidded out the garage door ran around the road which circled our neighborhood -- with me shortly behind in a car being directed by everyone on the street -- until he came back home where he waited for me in the driveway.

    The point being it's virtually impossible to ensure these guys don't get out 100% of the time. This is why it's best to practice recall before you need it. And if in doubt remember that running in the opposite direction and starting a game of chase is a good way to have them come back pronto.

  • @roguecoyote - That is a good plan RogueCoyote, talking to your breeder is best.. for sure.

  • We made a lot of changes in our home when we got our Basenji , we have a heavy wood trash container that can not be knocked over, we have 4 dog gates in our house, one about four feet from the front door which keeps him from making mad dashes out the door. We keep all small breakable things out of reach, cause he will break what he can get to. Having our basenji is like having a never ending 2 or 3 year old child , but that is just what you do when you cherish something. You take care of it as best you can.

  • @RogueCoyote I'm glad you clarified a few things for us. It's early days and I'm sure you will find solutions that work for you. Rogue will settle down and get used to your routine, and in turn you and your family will become accustomed to looking out for her. Yes, as DonC says, it isn't unusual for a Basenji to slip out the door. A short lapse in attention is all it takes, although some will look for the opportunity and others are never a problem. It's encouraging that she didn't take off. When one of ours got out at the farm, they headed to the barn to eat horse poop! At least that was more attractive than the road.

    People on this forum will be a good resource as you settle into Basenji ownership, and believe me when I say we all want you to be successful. Enjoy your girl, try not to worry too much, and all our best wishes and support are yours when you need it.

  • Hi, Yes, basenjis are fascinating, aren't they? And that's why we love them. I am writing to comment about basenjis and inclement weather/snow. We must never forget that on the whole they are very adaptable. We lived in Stockholm for 12 years. That is where I got my first two basenjis. In November and December and part of January, the sun rises at 9 AM and sets of 3 PM in Stockholm. Further north, the days are even shorter. Sweden is home to many basenjis. I can assure you that the dogs adapt to the dark AND the cold, with the appropriate outerwear, just as they adapt to hours and hours of sunshine in the summer. They may not look like a hearty breed, but they are. I have Swedish friends who take mile-long hikes in the hills and in the woods with their basenjis. these dogs are tireless if there enjoying what they're doing. I've never known a basenji that didn't enjoy snow. Rain is something else altogether. However there too, one cannot generalize. Two of my basenjis went out in the rain to do their business. The third one= no way!

    I guess my point is that we can't generalize about all basenjis doing X and never doing Y. I also think that with a little bit of patience from their guardians ( I live in Boulder; that's what were supposed to call ourselves :-), they can be taught just about anything. Note that I said "just about". 🙂

    Good luck, roguecoyote

  • Wow. Such a difficult place to be when you don't have full cooperation of others within the house hold. So sorry...

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