Crate Saga part 2: Is it possible some Basenjis just can't be crated?

Since my other post is getting long, and things aren't going well in the crate department, I thought I'd start another. Call it _"The Smitty Crate Saga Part 2"
_
Is it possible some Basenjis just can't be crated and at what age do most get to roam free?

We are going on 9 months now and still Smitty HATES his crate. HATES it. He totally freaks out. Any time I put something in his crate and latch the door, he freaks out! We've tried an Xpen and found out he can climb! And today he pooped in the crate again. Its all over him all over the crate and the house smells. Here's the quick saga:

We got Smitty at 9 mos. He was in the breeder's kennel. It was a large indoor kennel with wire cages. There were 12 or so other Basenjis and 2 to a cage. The facility was quite nice with outdoor runs, etc. Smitty was the one who screamed when we put him back in his cage (ah, a sign of what was to come). He screamed a good part of the 3 hour drive in his Petmate. We kept him in that crate the first night then moved him to a 30" wire create the next day. He screamed at night. I tried a 36" version to put him and Bonnie (same age female) in together. She started to play and he attacked her (only time ever). So back in the smaller 30". Then he started to cut his nose chewing on the wire, so I switched to the Petmate. He REALLY HATES those, but he's safe. He crewed through a cheap one in only 2 days so I had to get the Mac Daddy version. Still he screamed and paced ALL night. After a couple months we let the puppies sleep in our room (he was a total different dog after that – he had energy during the day since he could now sleep at night!) After few months, with a good nose, I thought I'd try the mesh type again during the day. Guess what -- he pulled a couple bars off! So he's back in the Petmate and won't be using the wire one again.

He's nutso in the crate. I always crate him with a treat and ignore him taking him out. Anything you put in his crate he will shred (we are now using paper towels because we ran out of towels, blankets and rags). I've tried using ComfortZone with DAP – defuser AND the spray for months. Its been almost 9 months. A couple weeks ago he pooped in his crate again (he often pees but stopped pooping months ago)... then he did it again today! So I'm starting to think there may not be any hope for the crate. I don't mind making him deal with it. He can chew and scratch all he wants and if needed I'll replace his crate every 6 months, but the pooping is NOT working. Plus that just tells me he is SO anxious that he is losing control of his functions.

Years ago we had a 1 1/2 yr old female who HATED here crate too. She would poop in her crate and started to hit herself. At the age of 2 we gave up and confined her to a bedroom. It worked. So I'm wondering about leaving him shut in a room soon. I figure he's not going to be in his crate forever. Maybe leave him loose in a bedroom but crate Bonnie in the same room (just in case)? To complicate matters, we have a 13 yr old male who picks fights with him. The old guy has free roaming (except the crate room) so we'd need to address that -- obviously the old guy needs to stay away from the room Smitty would be in.

At what age do most get to roam free? Are there just some who are wired to NOT be crate pets?

Depends on the B. Shadow from about age two was left out. Sugar from about 8 mos. as she had Shadow with her. Dimisi is not to be trusted yet but she's only 5.5 mos.

We finally have success with Keoki.

I bought a puffy cat pillow, it has a flat bottom and three puffy side; the fourth side is open. I put that in his crate atop a crate bed. He can curl up on the pillow, using the three puffy sides to snuggle up against.

I put a night light next to his crate, so he can see out a bit. I often see him peering out through the little side grates to see if Jazzy is in her crate next to him. LOL

After the last potty of the night, I toss a treat inside. I do have to give his bottom a tiny shove to get it all the way in, then latch the gate. I sit out side the door, telling him what a good boy he is and hand feeding him tiny pieces of a CarryOut. When the treats are gone, I stand there for a moment – I used to have to sit outside the door of his crate -- and in my most soothing voice tell him, "Stay" "What a good boy" over and over and over.

He sometimes will whimper a little as he settles into his pillow, but then sleeps okay.

This is at night. During the day when we crate him if I go out, I take out the puffy pillow, or he will tear and pee on it. I give him a stuffed toy and lots of paper towels to shred. During these times he still will pee in his crate.
It's really stupid because he goes in there willingly by himself to nap sometimes.

I am lucky that I never had to crate mine during the day (unless we had workmen in the house doing stuff)…. Only at night.. and "knock on wood" never had a screamer... of course the crates are in my bedroom, so it was not like I was far away and they never went in until I was ready for bed... During the day we set up the house so they have access to the yard via a doggy door and are gated to that part of the house (room over the garage, and the best room in the house...ggg)... stairs to the bath/laundry room where the doggy door is....

Sounds like poor Smitty will never get used to a crate. Who knows the reasons why???…Could he just be confined to a basenji-proofed room?? Like a den or unused bedroom?? Or maybe you can keep him in the living room & just gate off the rest of the house.

When we dare to leave our B's free (mainly mom is too guilty to put them in their crates) we leave them in the living room & we use an expen to blockoff the technical equipment (TV, DVD Player, Cable Box, Remotes etc.) and we gate off the kitchen & dining room. That way they don't get into trouble but they can hang out as they please.

I do hope Smitty gets better. This can't be fun for either of you 😞

I would definitely try a closed off room. Make it completely basenji proofed…unplug wire he could possibly chew on. You might make a game of it. Close him in there with a chewie, then if he is quiet for five minutes walk in with some treats. Do it for 10, do it for 20, leave the house for 20 , leave the house for 30. That is how I would do it. I think with Querk we did it where we just left him inside while we worked in the yard, then we left the house for 30 minutes, then for a few hours, then eventually for the whole day.

I hope you find something that works for you! Good luck!

@Quercus:

I would definitely try a closed off room. Make it completely basenji proofed…unplug wire he could possibly chew on. You might make a game of it. Close him in there with a chewie, then if he is quiet for five minutes walk in with some treats. Do it for 10, do it for 20, leave the house for 20 , leave the house for 30.

THis is similar to what I tried with Cleo. I closed all doors to the bedrooms & bathrooms, made sure nothing was near the edge of the kitchen counters, & unpluged any cords I thought she may be tempted to chew. Then I started leaving her loose in the house while I made short trips, only 10-15 mins, to the bank, post office, etc. One afternoon while I was working my sister came over to walk Cleo and did not latch her crate properly, so when I came home from work I was very surprised when Cleo met me at the front door!:eek: Thankfully she had not touched a thing in the house & ever since then she has not been crated & we have had no problems.

All this happened just after Cleo turned 4, but I wish I had been brave enough to try sooner, because she was always terrible with the crate too. When she was a pup she would scream all night long, so she has slept in bed with me from a very young age. She also soiled her bedding many times, and tore up everything that was put in there with her.

During the day she learned very quickly what activites we do before leaving the house, and that this meant she would be going into her crate. If we told her "kennel" she would run away so fast and find a place to hide; and if you tried to pick her up & put her in there she would growl & try to bite!! These behaviors actually got worse as she got older so finally I decided we better try something different. Ironically, the kennel is now one of her favorite places to go nap!

I think it is very possible that some dogs just can't be crated, I don't think it hurts to try something different as long as you can provide a safe environment for your dog. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised like I was!

geez our red dog we can't get her out of her crate sometimes. They love sleeping in their crates. They ALWAYS get a treat when they go in.

We trained them since puppies. At first it was like a child, you have to let them cry! They settle down quickly.

After about two years we never put our dog in crates while we are gone. we find they either just sleep somewhere in the house or sleep in their crates while we are gone. They are much more distructive when we are home- bad attention is good attention.

@JazzysMom:

We finally have success with Keoki.
QUOTE]

yeah, so turned out this was a temporary thing, which I may have mentioned before already.

Somewhere on the forum I'd said that I recently was trying the CALM DOWN, herbal/alcochol liquid, which after a short time simply no longer works. Keoki is back to freaking out in the crate. After some days now of NO sleep - not even with me sitting there next to the crate – he just SCREAMS and whines and digs at the back and the door of the crate, I took him to the vet today.

I got DRUGS. A temporary solution, but I do hope it works. I also have an appt with their behaviorist on Wednesday afternoon to see if she can figure out what his triggers really are and what we can do about them. They don't like to use drugs long-term, but acknowledged that less than two hours of sleep total each night is also unacceptable. Dh and I are walking zombies.

I mean, I've tried whatever I know. Comfy bedding, treats, soft talk, feeding in the crate, treats in the crate, access to it whenever he wants so it's not just a "separation place", etc. Hopefully I'll get some good info and tips on Wednesday. This behaviorist did spend some time working with wolves, so I'm hopeful she has a good clue on the less domestic mind-sets too.

How are things going with your dog?

She-Ra came from a pet store, so she was used to eating (and pooping) in her crate. We figured out pretty early that no crates were going to work for us. Resigned to that, we've done a pretty good job of puppy proofing our house, enforced rules as to what she can get away with and can't, and we don't mind her sleeping on the bed with us at night (hey, she's better than our cats!)

Some baby gates to keep her out of rooms you don't want her in (those with wires or valuables) work wonders. Bitter apple spray comes in handy as well.

@torchsong:

She-Ra came from a pet store, so she was used to eating (and pooping) in her crate. We figured out pretty early that no crates were going to work for us.

My last B came from a pet store, too–and I never could crate him. But I have an extra bedroom in my house with a dog door to the backyard, so it has worked well for my last two dogs (one B and one not), and my current two (father/daughter Bs).

Keoki came from a good breeder, and was crated at their place. BUT, he was also with his siblings there. I'm sure that made a difference.

Here he is in the same room as my other two dogs – Jazz is crated right next to him.

Apparently, he simply can't live without me. 😃

@JazzysMom:

Keoki came from a good breeder, and was crated at their place. BUT, he was also with his siblings there. I'm sure that made a difference.

Here he is in the same room as my other two dogs – Jazz is crated right next to him.

Apparently, he simply can't live without me. 😃

I posted the same question on your other thread, but what does Brian say about Keoki and the problems? Is anyone else in the litter like that? … Was the sire and dam?....

I've only spoken briefly with Bryan about Keoki's crate trouble, and he did offer advice much like what is typically offered here.

I haven't gotten the impression that it's a litter problem, but I never have asked outright.
I don't know about his sire {Buka – Kathy???}, but am pretty sure his dam {Sprite} doesn't have this problem.

@JazzysMom:

I've only spoken briefly with Bryan about Keoki's crate trouble, and he did offer advice much like what is typically offered here.

I haven't gotten the impression that it's a litter problem, but I never have asked outright.
I don't know about his sire {Buka – Kathy???}, but am pretty sure his dam {Sprite} doesn't have this problem.

It is entirely possible that it "runs" in his pedigree…. I have seen it before that there are just certain dogs that have problems.. and it carries through...

My Mickii is a leash chewer.. and I mean big time... she can bite through a leash in 10 seconds or less, so could her Grandma... and all of her kids do exactly the same... and they are "sneaky" about it... one minute they are leashed... next gone... especially at a lure trial...gggg

Last night, sort of on the advice of the vet and behaviorist, I slept in our spare bedroom {which is where the dog's crates are}, with Keoki on a pillow next to the bed. I had put up an ex-pen around us so that he couldn't get out and destroy books, etc.

The dog slept like a rock. Didn't even budge when I got up to use the bathroom once, or the time I had to get up to deal with a child who wasn't feeling well. NOR the the two times I had to get up to move Gypsy's pillow because she was kicking around in her dreams and scratching the things she her pillow was next to.
This morning he waited patiently while I got up and did my normal morning routine - putting up gates, closing doors, etc – before letting him out of the pen. There was no whining, no fussing no shredding. Just a calm, relaxed dog.

I wonder have you thought about a bigger crate or maybe an ex-pen with a top (if he's a climber), also i know some people have said they can push their way out the bottom so maybe two of the ex-pen toppers (one for the bottom)?

Oops, hit send too soon.

Anyway, I have the appt w/the behaviorist today, so we'll see what she says.
I have the ex-pen still set up in case she suggests that while we work toward the crate. I'd still like to work toward crating as we like to take the dogs when I visit my mom, etc and they need to be crated there.
And frankly, the ex-pen is bulky and inhibits use of the room {we have bookcases, file cabiniet, things stored in the closet, etc in there, in addition to the guest bed.

I can't have him sleep in my room as the noises – toenails on floor, licking, sniffing, wiggling, etc -- keeps dh awake, AND he doesn't trust that Keoki won't get up and tear things up {frankly, neither do I}.

So, hopefully we'll find a way to work toward the crate eventually.

As to his pedigree -- 1/2 the dam's side is the same as Jazzy's {Sprite's her granny}, but I have no clue as to his sire's.

I think this sounds like progress. Where does Gypsy sleep? I wonder if you had Keoki in the Xpen in th spare room, would he sleep if you weren't in there with him? kwim? Is it your presence that is allowing him to relax, or just the feeling of NOT being in a crate?

I guess that is what we'll be working on finding out.

The three dogs sleep in the same room, with the Basenjis crated and Gypsy next to them on a large pillow. She's not crated because she doesn't get up at all during the night, and if she did she wouldn't be a problem in the house nor with the cats. Besides, I just don't have a crate big enough for her, nor is there space in there for a crate that large!

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.