Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet


  • @organicshadows - Either are great hounds, Whippets bark.. Basenjis scream... I would agree that 8 hours as a puppy is not a good thing, having a dog walker or doggy day care on the days that you might be gone for 8 hours... I didn't have the issue because I have house with a yard (and 12ft solid fences) so they could go outside and since the yard was secure, I didn't have to worry. And I did have more than one... until my elders past and the only one was left alone, but she was OK other then a howl or two...during the day. They love to look out the door, windows so do not put down your blinds... or they will find a way to open them... period. And I do not believe that either breed have inbred separation anxiety... mostly, in my opinion that comes for the owner.... I have worked my entire life with our Basenjis, even raising litters...


  • @tanza said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    They love to look out the door, windows so do not put down your blinds... or they will find a way to open them... period.

    I found that out the hard way with Perry. He took exception to me lowering the blinds in the sunroom (to keep it from getting too hot), and I learned to leave them up far enough for him to see out.

    Individual dogs may react quite differently to being left alone. Out of five Basenjis, I had two that exhibited separation anxiety, my others were fine with my absence, as long as it wasn't too long. Typically separation anxiety dogs will react as soon as you leave. "Normal" dogs may react to being left for too long, perhaps because they want to relieve themselves and can't. When I was away for a week farm sitting for a friend, Lady was fine the first two days my husband was at work. The third day she had had enough and peed on the floor. After that he came home at noon to let her out and there were no more "accidents". Bitches will let you know when you cross a line!


  • @organicshadows Of the three Basenjis I've had, one (Jengo) never had any anxiety at all ever. We could leave him alone for good periods of time with no destruction. On second thought he did destroy two window binds, so yeah... make sure you keep them raised.

    My other two do get separation anxiety IF they are separated. When they are together... none. Logan bonded to me quickly when I first got him, which was great, but he got upset anytime I left the house. Once we got Sparkle, he was fine. And is so now. She only gets upset if he leaves the house without her. They seem to require a pack to be happy. Both grew up with several other dogs and have only ever known pack life. Two can be challenging at times, but IMO the pros outweigh the cons.

    If you can only accommodate one, I would look closely (observe firsthand if you can) at the temperaments of both the momma and pappa. I'd also try to get a good understanding about how the puppies are going to be raised. My preference would be in a home with a ton of human interaction. I like confident dogs. They seem to have fewer behavioral issues.

    However, no matter how careful you are about a selection, things can change once you get the puppy home. You never know exactly how a puppy will react until it does. That's when the work begins. Depending on the puppy... the first year and half can be demanding. Just know that going in. If you get an easy puppy... SCORE!

    8 hours alone in a day for a puppy is excessive. If that's a career requirement, which I understand, you might consider an older dog that may be a bit more settled down. You can sometimes find them through BRAT and from breeders. Sometimes breeders keep a puppy or two to grow out and show. Sometimes the dog may not like showing and breeders look for homes.

    I've read stories here about people who've lived in apartments in large cities (e.g., San Francisco) and were quite successful for the life on the dog. So a Basenji can work in an apartment. The common success factor seemed to be frequent walks outside to burn off the excess energy many Basenjis seem to have.

    Hope that helps...


  • @jengosmonkey said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    They seem to require a pack to be happy.

    Yes, this. The two I had difficulties with were both accustomed to having other dogs in the household. Perry, in particular, was crate trained when I got him, but being in a crate with other dogs also in crates present is one thing. Being left in one alone is quite another. We found that out very quickly! The solution for him was to abandon crating and work towards trusting him in the house alone, which after a few hiccups worked out to everyone's satisfaction.

    My previous boy, Sunny, had major crate anxiety even with another dog in the room, but he could be destructive if not confined. Leaving him in a crate, even with enticements like meaty bones, did not work. Interestingly his half sister (in another home) had similar problems with crates and would injure herself trying to get free, so maybe a genetic component? Sunny and I came to an accommodation which I have mentioned before. He would rip up unimportant papers, and I would verbally chastise him so he was content that his actions had annoyed me, and he left important things alone. I think his problem was more crate related than true separation anxiety.


  • Oh no, 8hours is way to long!

    You won’t have a house to come back to if you leave a basenji in their for 8 hours.

    All breeds can have separation anxiety.

    I personally wouldn’t Buy a basenji if I knew I was going to be out most the day 8hours plus. It’s way to long for any dog and isn’t the life they deserve.


  • @micah - Depends on your home situation... if you have yard that they can access when you are not home, windows they can look out of?.... and if gone that long in an apartment home, a dog walker or put them in day care or both. Other than TP, I have never had an issue... but I did have more than one until our elders past and the next elder was alone, but was raised with her Mom and the rest in the pack... She was fine with a few howls during the day, but again she had access to the back yard...


  • Thank you everyone for your sharing your detailed experiences, seems like a great community here.

    I do work from home now and it seems like this is the norm for the medium term, when things go back to 'normal' I think I am expected to come into the office once or twice per week. So my plan is to work towards building the confidence in the puppy as he/she grows so I can trust it in my home roaming free.

    I would definitely not crate the puppy if I eventually have to leave it for 8 hours or so but seal off certain areas of my home like the living room where I won't want it to destroy my couch or have access to too many electrical outlets. The access it will have would possibly be my bedroom or the other spare bedroom I have, the dining area and the balcony (which has a 1.5 meter high fence).


  • @organicshadows Our female recently came into heat and we had to keep her separated from our male. I was traveling and my wife was saddled with the chore. And chore is a gross understatement. She had to go in to work for a few hours during my time away, so she put Sparkle, our female in the Master Bedroom. Logan was kept downstairs and the stairwell was blocked with a 48 inch tall fencing. They howled a good amount talking to one another. Sparkle who is normally very chill and non destructive did her best to dismantle the bedroom door in an effort join Logan. She did a damn good job too. A determined Basenji is just that. Single minded and often inconsolable. And that wasn't 8 hours...

    Think of the worst and be prepared for that. Ask yourself if you're willing to accept it. Never blame the dog. Logan chewed up a remote control this morning. Oh well. I'll just get another. You might start looking for dog walkers in your area. Call them and get to know a few, Get prices and decide if that cost is something you can afford. Getting rid of that excess energy on days you're away will go a long way in keeping your Basenji happy. Especially if he/she is it's own one dog pack. My two cents...


  • @tanza AND if you have more than one - they need company. Preferable yours but another Basenji does as well.


  • @tanza yes that’s right depending if they have a garden to access whilst you are out etc.

    Dog theft is all still high in the uk so I wouldn’t risk a basenji at home for a really long period unattended and having access to the garden incase “worse case scenario happened” and someone came into the garden.

    In the Uk I haven’t seen any positive news with a basenji at day care, I personally won’t put my two in daycare at all.


  • @micah Mine are never alone in the garden, not for 5 minutes if I am going out. When I am away for ANY length of time, let alone for hours, they are shut in the house. With the radio on and in the kitchen with comfy beds.

    There is a gate at the top of the stairs and a radiator half way up. They love to lie on the stairs as the sun shines through in the afternoons !


  • @organicshadows said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    I am expected to come into the office once or twice per week

    Perhaps you could compromise and work at the office 3 or 4 days/week. Then your pup would be alone for 5-6 hours instead of 9-10 hours (you didn't allow for the commute and lunch break).


  • @elbrant 5 - 6 hours for a puppy is still far too long.


  • @zande said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    @elbrant 5 - 6 hours for a puppy is still far too long.

    And then people come to this forum because they have created a problem dog and wonder why....

    If you don't have time for your dog or can't make appropriate arrangements, why would you get one?


  • I agree that a pup, in a new place, without supervision, for any amount of time, is too long. But dogs, like children, can be resilient. Even adults might not like changes in their environment, but they tend to adjust and adapt to it. Of course, a Basenji's adjustment period generally includes chaos, destruction, and the outright carnage of any accessible object. 😉

    @eeeefarm said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    If you don't have time for your dog or can't make appropriate arrangements, why would you get one?

    Psychology 101(?):

    • People generally want what they want (oftentimes, until they get it).... and,
    • Most humans are not evolved enough to see the "whole" picture....

  • @elbrant said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    Psychology 101(?):

    People generally want what they want (oftentimes, until they get it).... and,
    Most humans are not evolved enough to see the "whole" picture....

    True, and the reason why so many unwanted dogs end up in shelters once the novelty wears off or they become "too much trouble". IMO, a dog is a commitment, not a toy. I say this having had the experience of getting a dog when my lifestyle wasn't suitable....my first Basenji, Val....and realizing it a bit late. Fortunately I had supportive friends and family, so Val never was left to her own devices for any length of time, and I was so fortunate to find a family who were a good fit for my girl (she adored children, there were 3 in her new home). Had I not been so lucky, I would have kept her, not let her go to an uncertain home, but as it worked out it was best for both of us. I kept in touch with that family for the whole of Val's life, and I learned from the experience. My second Basenji was Lady, and she was with me for 16 years....


  • Ok, so I'm not saying that I'm going to leave the puppy alone for a number of hours straight away. I'm saying it's going to be incremental to eventually build up the confidence of the pup for when I need to and for when it gets older so it's used to it. That's what I'm researching and reading about online for pups in general. But if you are all saying that you can never leave a basenji unsupervised for a number of hours then ok that's something for me to think about.


  • @organicshadows most of us who have had years of experience with single and multiple Basenjis are indeed saying you should not leave ANY pup for several hours on its own. You could, as @eeeefarm has suggested, be creating a problem dog.

    Even if you have a room dedicated to the dog, with bones, toys, and lots of interest, a Basenji should not be left alone for more than 3 to 4 hours. Even if you have 2 or more. And to crate them for hours at a time is simply not the way to treat a hunting hound. These are not toys to be put in a cupboard when it is not convenient for you.

    Please think again.


  • @organicshadows said in Separation anxiety - basenji vs whippet:

    But if you are all saying that you can never leave a basenji unsupervised for a number of hours then ok that's something for me to think about.

    There are ways to mitigate, as has been suggested. Easiest is to hire a dog walker for those days when you must be away for more than four hours. When I wanted to travel, I hired a dog sitter to stay at my house overnight plus give my boy three walks per day, one in the middle of the day, so he was never alone for long. It can be done, but also can be expensive unless you have a relative or neighbourhood kid who is up for the job.


  • @organicshadows - When I got my first Basenjis back in the 90's we were both working full time. I was able to set up the house with a dog room that was upstairs with big front windows. At the bottom of the stairs was the bathroom/laundry room were we installed a doggy door. Also we had gates at the bottom of the stairs to the family room so they for sure knew when someone was home and unless we were having work done and workmen around they were either in their room or if need be in their crates. After they were house trained they move to be bed dogs. They slept in their crates at night (wire crates) in our bedroom... they were fed in their crates so I knew exactly what they were eating and how much. (I don't believe ever in free feeding) Our yard is large with 12ft solid privacy fence and padlocks on the gates. The windows up stairs give bird's eye view of the front street for people and critter watching. I was able to come home at lunch time, feed and play a bit with the pups. All this said, if it was not the home we live in, I doubt I would have gotten pups at that time, as I would not have crated them all day... I could have set up the family room/kitchen with a doggy door to the backyard, but honestly they love being able to watch the world go by with the windows. They were totally crate trained, but as already talked about, no way to raise a pup... again this is in my opinion. A closed solid door is not good because they want to know what is on the other side..... again IMO. On weekends and holidays where we were not at shows or lure trials, they were in their room with the gate open. There was a gate to the hallway that is NEVER left open to the front door.... No one comes or goes without that gate being shut. (I do have to say we had wooden gates made). We raised a number of litters here using this just with a bit of setting up with puppy pens (big ones..LOL). And when the girls were in season we did block off the rooms with regular solid doors... yes they got scratched but they are very, very solid wood doors... never doubt that with a bitch in season that a male will try to find a way to get to her. And in the end, with this setup, honestly after a weekend with no work or a long holiday weekend they would look at us and say "hey when are you going back to work, we need our rest... LOL" I can also say that my two girls now prefer to sleep in their crates with the doors open... if they are not feeling well, they come to bed.
    Just thoughts on what I did when I got into Basenjis....

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