• Hi again,

    Coming back with another, say, "issue", that I am not sure how to handle.

    I'm starting to understand that most dog related advice on the internet does not apply to a Basenji. I don't mind that, but I want to have him feel safe and more relaxed.

    Now, onto the problem. He seems to be really anxious when I close the doors. For example, if I want to cook something and I wish to have him with me, he gradually gets stressed out and starts to run around, scratching doors and whining. This happens even though I play with him or try to calm him down. The second I take my eyes off him, he is panicking. He goes in and out just fine if the doors are opened, is just when I close the living room door (where we spend most of the time) that he does it. If we sit in the living room with the door closed, no issue there.

    Crating at night is fine too, he's not that worried.

    I just don't get why he's so stressed out if I am there with him, playing and all that. Is this normal behaviour for them?


  • It's really not weird at all... for a Basenji. All three of mine are the same way. They don't like closed doors. Some doors stay closed anyway. Sorry. Others I cut them slack on. What's weird is that they'll scratch at a door and carry on about it till I open it, but they won't go in the other room. They just seem to want the option. I'd test it out. see if you can trust him. I understand you want him with you... buuuuuuut... most Basenjis aren't great cuddlers, Or they can be until they don't want to be anymore. I wouldn't let it bother you. Accept it and find a way to make a game out of it.


  • I'm not sure I'm reading you right. If he has a problem when he is inside a room with a closed door, what I would do is take him into a room, close the door, and give him a high value reward. Then I'd do it 100 more times over the course of a few days/weeks depending on how reactive he is to being in a room when the door is closed. A lick mat after the door closes might be a good option as well.


  • Yea, I've started doing that yesterday. We had him with us while preping dinner and he was busy with a frozen kong. Will continue with that and see how it goes.


  • I use baby gates, the movable expandable type. The gates seem to make mine less anxious since they can see through them.


  • @lustopher - Are there others in the house on the other side of the closed door?


  • @lustopher said in Puppy and confined spaces:

    busy with a frozen kong

    Don't forget to adjust your dogs food intake to balance out the number of calories. My girl gained far too much weight because I fed her a regular portion and failed to count the frozen kong, chew treats, dog bones, etc.


  • So not sure why you are closing doors off? Is there a reason she can't go into other rooms?


  • Based on recent experience with really little puppy guys, first thought that popped into my head was Puppy vs Power Cord. Ouch! This coming from a guy who use to stick his mom's bobby pins into electrical outlets at age three. "Hmmm. Wonder what that would do. Dunno. Better try it." For a three year old... Thirty seconds is more like an hour. In other words, trouble happens fast. 🤣


  • @elbrant I'm trying to, but I'm not completely sure how many calories he needs. From what I've gathered, it would be around 600 calories for the indoors effort he makes. He currently weights 3.8 kg (~8.3 lbs) at 10 weeks ( in 3 days). Seems about right, according to online calculators and other opinions on here.
    I feed him Royal Canin semi-moinst kibbles (what he was fed by the breeder) and I'm following the package prescription and adapt daily (I try to keep treats @10-15% of his overall intake). It's really hard to balance training/positive reinforcement with food (he eats like a machine) :D.

    @tanza Technically, we tried to dog-proof our home as much as we could, but he is obviously really curious and loves to chew and climb on thigs. I try to pay attention to this and correct in a calm manner whenever I get the chance. He seems to be getting it most of the time, but it's gonna be a work in progress for the weeks to come. So yea, I do have some cables that I cannot hide right now so I'm a little reserved to let him free roam when I can't pay attention. I tried to move in and out of the kitchen to check on him and it's really about split seconds with him.

    PS: Any advice for the first vet visit together? My parents came by the other day and he was a little curious, but also scared. I let him do his thing but I didn't push it. So not sure what to expect tomorrow.


  • @lustopher - Make sure you take treats with you to the Vet... have the staff give him some and the Vet also. And at home you need to get other strangers to come by the house.... so that he gets used to different people. Do you know how much socialization was done by the breeder?


  • @tanza I suppose none. I had my parents over twice and a friend. Treats seem to do the work rather fast. My friend was able to check him out (ears, teeth and touching all over with just some bits of chicken)


  • @lustopher - Sounds good, but I always recommend to let the pup come to them... if they are OK with sitting on the floor that is great, be at his level... and when he comes to them, treat time...pet time... but let the puppy come to them, do NOT reach for them...


  • Going to reopen this topic, as I'm looking for some "time alone" advice. We got our boy a pen and an extra crate for traveling, that we set in the pen. We've been working on getting him used to this new addition and is been pretty good so far. Now, the reason we did this was to have him there when we'd leave, so we started working on that.

    We take him for a walk, play with him a bit and then try to leave him in the pen with a stuffed kong & other chew toys. We started with short periods, 3-5 minutes, going in and out until the kong is about done. We even got to a point where he sat there and worked on it for 40 minutes.
    But today it was different, the kong no longer interested him. We came from a walk + playtime with other dogs outside, so we thought we'd take advantage and try to leave him again for a few minutes, but as soon as he heard the keys, he left the kong and started whinning and he actually managed to climb the pen after a few minutes. I am actually amazed, as the gates have no horizontal lines and are 66cm tall. We could no longer see what he's doing, we gave him a minute and went back in.

    He is 4 months now and I really want to get him used to being left alone for 2-4 hours (there's always one of us home, but we miss working out together or doing other things we used to). The fact that he managed to climb out of the pen is probably self rewarding for him so I see him doing it from now on. Should I take it back a step and work harder on reinforcing the pen without leaving or give up on it and give his "normal" crate a try? Did I start the leaving too early/late (relative to his age)?


  • @lustopher said in Puppy and confined spaces:

    I am actually amazed, as the gates have no horizontal lines and are 66cm tall

    If you didn't see him and it looks hard to climb, he probably just jumped it. A couple of feet is no big deal for a Basenji, even a young one. You will likely have to confine him to the crate or else get a higher fence. Five feet unclimbable does for most adults. Another thing that will work is to put a scat mat inside the fence....


  • This post is deleted!

  • @lustopher said in Puppy and confined spaces:

    I really want to get him used to being left alone for 2-4 hours (there's always one of us home

    Are you actually leaving him alone? If one of you is always home, then your exercise leans more to expecting him to leave you alone and entertain himself. That requires an entirely different approach.

    If you want the pup to entertain himself, then ditch the cage inside the cage. Leave the crate in it's assigned location and put a comfy doggy bed in the room you will be working in. Allow the pup to choose where they will hang out while you are occupied doing other things, but do not isolate the pup in a different section of your home. Your dog will learn to just "chill" without the anxiety of wondering why they cannot be with you while you are home.

    If you want the pup to be alone at home without supervision: consider putting baby gates up to block off the kitchen. This will be your pups designated area while you are gone. (Kitchen floors offer easier "oops" cleanup, plus it's typically where the pups water/food dishes are. So, the kitchen will satisfy two issues.) The next step is to get the pup used to being in that room while you are gone. Create a routine, let the pup watch you get your keys, put on your shoes, set up the baby gates, fill his water bowl, etc., etc. The pup will associate the actions with the idea that he will be alone. It provides him an outcome expectation and relieves stress. Then you actually both need to leave. Scruff his head, tell him you will be right back, and leave. Walk to the end of the sidewalk or street, start the car and drive around the block. But actually leave. Standing on the other side of the door won't work because your dog can hear and smell you. Do it over and over again for an afternoon. Your pup will get it and begin to understand that you come back.

    Now you need to teach your pup what to watch for as an indication that he gets to go with you.... that's easy. If you pick up the leash, he gets to go. If you are not taking him, do not touch the leash.

    I hope this makes life with your pup a little easier. 🙂


  • @elbrant most of the time yes, one of us or both are home, but when we'd exercise leaving him alone, we'd both leave the house. The "ritual" would be similar to what you said: set up the camera, give him his favorite stuff, pet him a little and then just leave with no big fuss.

    I have ditched the pen and though of a new plan, which implies the kitched too. I have just put turf in our balcony and he just loves it there. He lays in the sun all day. So I am going to get a baby gate and use the kitchen and the door to the balcony. Have his second crate in a corner, in case he wants to sleep in there. This was the initial plan with the pen, was set up in the livingroom with opening to the balcony, but oh well.

    Funnily, yesterday I left him with his kong for about 10 minutes (wasn't frozen enough) and he was fine. I actually left him extra 5 mins to see what he does after he's done, and he just sat there. I am guessing this is a good sign.

    Thanks for the idea, I'll see how it goes. Technically, next week will be the last with bad weather so his favorite new place, the balcony, will be all his.


  • @lustopher - Note with x-pens and especially for a Basenji as they say "put a lid on it"..... if you were still using a x-pen, put a top on it.... but since you have a new plan..... that seems to be working


  • Back with some visuals to see what I am dealing with.
    So, until we get the baby gate, we figured we'd keep trying with the crate.

    We took all the necessary steps: we fed him, we took him out aftewards for a walk + play with and other dogs (about 1h in total), we got home and stayed for a bit, then we got his kong + bully stick and said we d leave for a few minutes. He didn't react at first, but after 1 min he started.
    He lost all interest in his favorite kong filling, peed a little after a few minutes (although we made sure he pottied before). At some point I turned on the TV to see what he does and he eventually settled down a bit, so I took advantage and came back in. Unfortunately, he kept at it afterwards so I had to ignore him until he layed down

    This was already about 10 mins in:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zimrovpO4vw&feature=youtu.be

    This is where he calmed down a bit:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i2EluiP7Q9U&feature=youtu.be

    I figured that the cage is kinda mandatory, as we plan on taking him with us on vacations and leaving him free in other people's homes is not always an option. The baby gate is on the way, however.

    I just find it weird that he sometimes is fine and focuses on the kong, sometimes he goes mad right away.

    He was also a little distant too afterwards

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