Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside)


  • Hey y'all...

    Interesting change in my boy's behavior lately. He has begun to whine and scurry around a lot in order to go outside. It seems like his need for exercise has suddenly increased greatly. While the solution here is obvious (e.g more exercise) it seems a little excessive. Even after an hour walk, he is being very.. very insistent on going outside (no need to use the bathroom, just seemingly anxious being indoors).

    It's strange to me since he has been pretty low maintenance up until the last 2-3 weeks (he is now 1.5 years old) so I'm not sure what could have prompted this. Is it a developmental thing?

    Sadly, I have long covid and doing a hike or extra long walk is out of the question for me right now so I'm relying on a dog walker and, starting tomorrow, a doggy daycare (I dislike them but at this point it seems like he needs the playtime pretty desperately... and I need him to quiet down lol). As a point of reference, he managed to get a great run around the other day with our neighbor's dog (they're not usually around) and his anxiety to go out was gone for two days so I don't think it's a medical issue.

    More curious than anything else really - are these changes in behavior / exercise needs normal?


  • @yahtzee92 Could be that there is a bitch in heat somewhere in your neighborhood. In other words nature is screaming at his nose. Could also be that he’s becoming bored in the house. Maybe a few new toys that make him use his brain to keep him busy. That’s about all I can think of…


  • @jengosmonkey said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    @yahtzee92 Could be that there is a bitch in heat somewhere in your neighborhood. In other words nature is screaming at his nose. Could also be that he’s becoming bored in the house. Maybe a few new toys that make him use his brain to keep him busy. That’s about all I can think of…

    Thanks for the reply. I got him a fun new bear that he goes insane over so that's a good shout. Still, not quite enough !! Ha. Perhaps I'll get another fun little something for him. I'm interested to see how his demeanor changes after a full day with other dogs.


  • If he's still anxious after an hour walk, then increase the amount of time on the walk.


  • @yahtzee92 said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    Sadly, I have long covid and doing a hike or extra long walk is out of the question for me right now

    When did his current anxiety start in relation to your Covid issues? Dogs are sensitive to their owners' ailments and he might be picking up some anxiety from you. Otherwise, although physical exercise is important, mental exercise can also play a big part, and not just by having toys available. Training can tax a dog mentally and not require a lot of physical activity from you. If you haven't explored clicker training, now might be a good time. Once dogs understand the "game" they will typically begin to offer behaviours when the clicker comes out to see what you will reinforce.


  • @scagnetti said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    If he's still anxious after an hour walk, then increase the amount of time on the walk.

    Lmao.. the kind of responses that keep me from being a regular here. Read the post homie.


  • @eeeefarm said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    @yahtzee92 said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    Sadly, I have long covid and doing a hike or extra long walk is out of the question for me right now

    When did his current anxiety start in relation to your Covid issues? Dogs are sensitive to their owners' ailments and he might be picking up some anxiety from you. Otherwise, although physical exercise is important, mental exercise can also play a big part, and not just by having toys available. Training can tax a dog mentally and not require a lot of physical activity from you. If you haven't explored clicker training, now might be a good time. Once dogs understand the "game" they will typically begin to offer behaviours when the clicker comes out to see what you will reinforce.

    Its been several months now (caught COVID in December, had long haul symptoms since). In truth, I have had my down periods emotionally as being so limited has caught up to me at times. It would make sense that he is picking up on this.

    The clicker is a good idea - will explore this.


  • @yahtzee92 - I would suggest that either there is a bitch in season someplace in your area or your boy thinks it is close to breeding season... typically this would start in August, but happens in June also. I doubt that more exercise is the issue....


  • I’m dealing with very similar behaviour at the moment, you’re not alone!


  • @yahtzee92 said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    @scagnetti said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    If he's still anxious after an hour walk, then increase the amount of time on the walk.

    Lmao.. the kind of responses that keep me from being a regular here. Read the post homie.

    I did read it. You said you think it seems excessive to give more exercise. You are wrong. Obviously.

    If you can't fulfill your dog's needs because you're infected, you can hire someone to do it for you. Many trainers make their bread and butter by offering exercise services.


  • I'm with Tanza on this one, something else is going on here. "Bitch in heat" is the most obvious answer. As to exercise needs of a Basenji, I have had five over the space of 50 years, never had one that couldn't cope with reduced exercise when the weather was off or there was something else going on that precluded long walks. If your dog has been properly taught manners in the house, it should not be an issue. Anxiety about something is a different ball game....you need to discern the cause and find your solution. BTW, Basenjis do not hold a candle to Border Collies in the "need exercise" department, but again, keeping busy can be a mind game, which sometimes tires them out more than just running around.


  • @scagnetti said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    If he's still anxious after an hour walk, then increase the amount of time on the walk.

    Simple logic! 😉 Not sure how the "long Covid" plays into @yahtzee92's energy levels right now...

    @yahtzee92 said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    Lmao.. the kind of responses that keep me from being a regular here. Read the post homie.

    Offering a magic solution can be difficult because there are so many variables that can affect a dog's behavior. Still, we try. Consider the suggestions, some might work, some might not. But they are all offered in an effort to be helpful.


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  • @tanza said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    @yahtzee92 - I would suggest that either there is a bitch in season someplace in your area or your boy thinks it is close to breeding season... typically this would start in August, but happens in June also. I doubt that more exercise is the issue....

    Interesting. Will see if it passes. Thanks Tanza and @eeeefarm


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  • @eeeefarm said in Sudden Behavior Change (desperate to go outside):

    I'm with Tanza on this one, something else is going on here. "Bitch in heat" is the most obvious answer. As to exercise needs of a Basenji, I have had five over the space of 50 years, never had one that couldn't cope with reduced exercise when the weather was off or there was something else going on that precluded long walks. If your dog has been properly taught manners in the house, it should not be an issue. Anxiety about something is a different ball game....you need to discern the cause and find your solution. BTW, Basenjis do not hold a candle to Border Collies in the "need exercise" department, but again, keeping busy can be a mind game, which sometimes tires them out more than just running around.

    Yeah, exactly my experience thus far. When I was really sick and we were in a colder climate, he adjusted well to reduced walk times. On rainy days he seems to know its going to be a chill day for us and sleeps most of it away. So yeah! That's what brought me here. The sudden change in his temperament has been a surprise.


  • For the record, I'm not claiming to know the cause or reason for the behavior. What I did was give a prescription; Irrespective of what the problem or issue is, increased exercise would probably be a healthy way to decrease anxiety (whether it's seasonal, mood-related, etc.).

    If a dog has anxiety (about anything for any reason) then their need for exercise goes up; this is required to healthily decrease stress. Whatever the cause for the anxiety, a simple and (usually) effective way to deal with it, is through increasing exercise time and/or mental enrichment time. This also holds true for dogs with pent-up energy/restlessness/boredom/reactivity/etc.

    The posts directed at me were deleted, so I can't reply to them.

    All the best.


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