xylitol, a sugar substitute, is deadly to dogs
Thank you for the reminder! I don't do "sugar free" products (which would be obvious if you met me), but I often forget to mention this. Very important warning. Thank you!
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:
This is where he calmed down a bit:
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
He was also a little distant too afterwards
Well, this part is his way of telling you that he isn't happy about what you did. The Basenji shun: Bad doggy dad!
You will have to leave and return several times before he understands that you come back. I have found that if you do it several times on the same day, the pup will accept it faster. You don't have to walk him every time on training day, but having the afternoon off is critical. I wouldn't think it would be necessary to bribe him with the kong and bully stick each time either. But do make sure he has access to water with one of those bowls that bolt onto the cage wall.
He will get the idea. Keep practicing.
@elbrant Starting tomorrow I'll make that our priority, as we've been postponing this for too long. 3-5 minutes every 30-60 or more often when possible. But I suspect he'll start crying at some point, I suppose I wait it out just I like I've been doing, right? Do I let him out first thing when I get inside, or do my 'i'm back' routine and then greet him?
@lustopher - I can honestly say that having Basenjis and raising Basenjis for over 30+ years... baby gates will not contain them... sorry to say... we built many years ago wooden gates that are over 4' high and do NOT have anything they can latch their feet onto to pull themselves up to climb over. Trying to keep a dog in a kennel when you are home is next to impossible... sorry to say... They are going to complain because they want to be with you...
I have seen my boy clear 3 feet from a standing start off a slippery hardwood floor, and have no doubt at all that 4 feet wouldn't have kept him in had he wished to be elsewhere. Like cats, Basenjis can find their way onto counters and table tops if the incentive is compelling enough. Yes, put a lid on the x-pen if you want to keep them in, and emphatically yes, don't confine them when you are home, they just get upset and frustrated. Teaching manners in the house and requesting what you want is a better approach, IMO.
(Perry knew exactly what I meant when he was underfoot in the kitchen and I said "Be somewhere that is not here!" He would adjourn to the living room couch and leave me in peace.)
I have nothing to add, just that Roux, at the tender age of 4 months, figured out that if she has a running start, she can get on the kitchen counter. 4 months. I suspect when she's grown she'll be able to fly!
The dog in the video doesn't look like he's been crate trained. I'd recommend training crate skills plus impulse control drills. Also, practicing being alone before you actually leave him alone would probably be useful. A lot of people only make use of the crate when they're about to leave, instead you might first want to work on crate skills when you're not going to leave. As for practicing being alone, well, most pet dog owners don't do this at all, they just leave the dog for a few hours whenever they want to go out. You'd probably find more success with practicing these skills first before moving to real world experiences, just so the dog has some idea of what's going on. If you don't focus on the habituation stage (the first, beginning stage), then you're unlikely to have great success in real life instances.
Also, I wouldn't leave anything soft in the crate with the puppy, because it's only going to stimulate them and increase their energy, and because they're confined it will increase drive and motivation, but it can't get out, so it will build frustration, which in turn will build drive even more, etc. It's a horrible cycle. If you leave the dog with anything, pig's ears and bully sticks are what I'd choose. Of course, with these there's always a chance that they can choke if not supervised. However, it may be an option for the beginning when you're training being alone (which in the beginning shouldn't be very long; you build up duration slowly).
@Scagnetti Thanks for the input. We've been working on the crate since day one. We actually do crate games and impulse control drills daily, with and without the crate. Things like hand feeding with the food right under his nose, but he is not allowed to touch it; or dropping things around and moving through them; or simple things like waitting for my command to start eating, sometimes more than a minute (he just stares at me waitting for the release); or placing food close to him and just leaving the room (again, he just sits and waits). Also simple sits & waits before doing anything or when he is agitated (going out, getting back in, getting in the car, playing with toys, getting inside a room he wants or basically everytime HE wants something)
Now of course, we are talking about tens of seconds (under a minute or a little over), but what what can you expect from a puppy. He is doing great in this regard.
He also sleeps fine in the crate both during the day (we don't always have him lay in the crate, but for exercise purposes we have him sleep there once) and at night (with us in a separate room). If I have something to do and ask him to get in and stay there for a little while, he does. A few days ago he went inside alone and fell asleep for the first time ever, I was amazed. Didn't happen again since, but still.
I've noticed that he follows us around way too much. I fugred he was just curious, but it may be more than that. He jumps out of bed anytime both of us leave the room, or wakes up when one of us leaves. Since yesterday, we started to show him back where he was and ask him to stay (it takes a few tries before he does), so we are starting with that, alongside with short leavings (today we had in the crate with a kong for about 30 minutes and we just did what @elbrant suggested, aka leave for 1-3 minutes and come back.. after 2-3 times he didn't even bother checking on us). We'll continue this way, trying to increase the duration.
@lustopher - Please note that your puppy has been taken from his "littermates"... that he is used to being with, you are now his littermates, the reason that he follows you around... this is normal for any puppy from any breed.
Yea I understand that, but at the same time, I'd say that it's about time he starts to also understand that he doesn't always have to leave his chewing to check out what we're doing. I just feel like this is contributing negatively to him getting used to "alone" time. Note that he pretty much always does this.
@lustopher - Have to say, when you have one that is what is going to happen... think about it... if you have a human baby they would do the same at the age they are crawling and/or walking. You really, in my opinion expect them them do something different? Like human kids, some have issues being separated from the "family".... May I ask if you have the TV or radio on when you try and leave him? That might help...
it's about time he starts to also understand that he doesn't always have to leave his chewing to check out what we're doing
It doesn't happen often, but I agree with @tanza on this. He's a baby and it is pretty "normal", but also remember that dogs are pack animals. You, your significant other, and the pup are now his "pack". If you are in another room and he comes to look for you, I would suggest just ignoring him. If he comes to you, give him a pet and go back to whatever you were doing. He will either go back to the room he was in, or settle down somewhere in the room you are in. Both of which should be acceptable. This is something that may be less frequent as he gets older, but probably never disappear entirely. Which is a good thing, I think.