• I have a 4 year old Basenji that when crated, never stops whining. I recently had to move back in with my dad and it's driving him crazy. The vet diagnosed her Separation Anxiety and we tried her on some meds. She became violent to herself and her whining worsened while on the meds. So we ended up removing her from them. She is on her third crate and I'm in process of trying to find yet another one. She also whines when I leave her locked in my room while were having dinner or while I'm in the shower. She'll nip at someone if she knows they are going to try to crate her. I'm almost to the point that I'm going to have to find her a new home. My vet doesn't have any suggestions for me, and the behaviorist I spoke with said there was no hope for her. She is a very good B and for the most part get's along with people and animals alike. She gets a little aggressive around other female dogs but is fine around males, I have also been working with her and walking her, when weather permits. She is crated for up to 8 hours at a time because she can't be trusted to not destroy things while I'm gone. I did try a bark collar that said it also worked with vibrations and that didn't help. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've looked into the Tri Tronics bark collar, is that any good? She'll aslo wonder into her crate freely but just doesn't like being shut in it!!! For both her and my sanity, I need some help fast!!!


  • Have u Made her crate a Happy place?? Given her treats and bones in it maybe feeding her in it. I don't crate any of mine however i do have 1 dog that has extreme separation anxiety and the vet has him on Doggie prozac she also has me giving him benadryl till the prozac gets into his system Not sure if thats what the vet gave u for her or not but maybe u should check that out i know alot of people don't agree with given dogs meds like that but in my postion it was that or i would have to get rid of him {he barked for 8 straight hrs while i was at work} and the later is not even an option i would try making her crate a happy place and maybe given her alittle benadyl to calm her down at first so she doesnt hurt herself My dog is 22 lbs and she has me given him 25 milligrams {a pill} once at night about 1 hr before i leave

    Good luck i hope u can resolve the issue 🙂


  • I'd look into finding another behaviorist. I'd also get a DAP diffuser. Have you tried an Xpen instead of a crate? There's a booklet called I'll Be Home Soon (or something similiar).


  • I agree with Kim, you should look into finding a different behavorist. Please try this website, http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=332

    I also suggest reading this position statement on Punishment based training methods. Since you dog is already showing fear based aggresssion using a shock collar is likely to increase this behavior.

    http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=117


  • What does she destroy when your gone?
    Papers, or something more?
    Any chance you can put her in a room with items she can chew, kong filled with treats, etc?


  • My vet put her on doggy prozac as well. She seemed to act more relaxed while being out of the crate but once the time came for her to be crated she started freaking out. Would the benadryl be something I could use to try to sedate her? I know putting it in those terms sounds harsh, but before I moved into the house I'm in, I was in an apt and got an eviction notice because of her. I try to make her crate a happy place with giving her treats and bones and such, but if she has blankets or bedding in there, she'll shred it and I don't want her eatting the bedding and such. She has demolished 3 crates and shredded the pan of the crate. I really am not sure where to start with trying to correct this behavior as I've never had an animal act like this. I used to have another dog that did just fine in her crate. Unfortunately we had to move her crate to the basement because she has moved her crate so much that she's gotten ahold of things to pull through the crate and demolish. Would taking her to obedience classes help at all with her issues? I've read Cesar's books and things he's instructed to do in there don't even seem to work. I don't want to get rid of her but I just don't have a clue what to do about this issue.

    She destroys things like blankets, she's destroyed blinds, she shredded a pea coat, clothing, things of that nature. She doesn't really chew, she digs. She also doesn't play with toys usually. She likes bones and what not, but that's as far as it goes. She's been able to get her collar off her and destroy that as well.


  • How long have you had her? Has she always been like this?… is there a doggy day care you might look into taking her to? Is she getting enough excerise? And well, almost all Basenjis dig... and about the blinds, is that because they are down? Can you leave the blinds up so she can see outside? I am not a fan of Cesar's methods, so I can't comment on that...


  • Have you spoke with her breeder re these issues?
    Where did you get her from?


  • I have not spoken with the breeder as their number is disconnected. When I got her, they both had mother and father on site and seemed to be just fine. I've had her since a pup and I used to never crate her until around the age of 2. She is potty trained but if I also leave her out when I'm gone to work, she has had accidents. She sometimes will be okay if I get up and go to another room but usually if she hears me get up, she's alert and ready to follow. Any suggestions on where to start? She never used to nip at people until she started to get crated.


  • Do you feed her in her crate? and that is pretty typical to want to follow you… again does she get enough excerise? That is very important...


  • No I do not feed her in her crate, mainly because her crate is located in the basement and she would not have access to it at all times. I do walk her when weather permits, she won't walk if it's too cold, as of late the sub zero temperatures have made it next to impossible to walk her. And when I do walk, it is for around 40 minutes.


  • Feedings should be done on a schedule with no free feeding. I feed mine twice a day, breakfast and dinner. There are many reasons to put dogs on a set feeding schedule, it is especially useful in determining when a dog is ill since going off its regular feeding routine is usually one of the earliest signs.

    Since she has developed a real aversion to being crated, can you put an ex-pen around the crate so you don't have to close the crate door and she has more space. It sounds like you would need to get a top and a bottom for the ex-pen but she may find it more tolerable.

    On days when she is not getting much physical exercise because of the weather, what are you doing to give her mental exercise to help wear her out? Obedience training would be a great way to help you find ways to give her those types of workouts. Also there are some great ideas in Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash. Things like the Treat Stik or a stuffed Kong can be great for mental stimulation and if you use good high value treats they can also help to build positive associations with crate.


  • All the above info is wonderful.
    Also, you should take her to a basic obedience class.
    She will learn to bond with you, it will give you things to do with her to keep her busy and help tire her out.
    I would bring the crate with the x pen up from the basement and put it in the kitchen.
    All sort of treats should show up in that area when your home, sort of appearing like magic.
    Yes, it will be a pain when your in the kitchen, but that way, if she pees, there is not a major clean up, if she moves the crate/x-pen around, she will not be able to grab any fabric..
    It will also not be "putting her away"…the crate will be in the center of the home.
    It will not be a quick fix, but if your committed, you can make it work.


  • The problem with this solution however is there is physically no room in the kitchen for the xpen you speak of. I'm not even sure if the xpen would be an option as she is a jumper, even if there is a top and bottom to it, she I believe, would find a way out. I have looked into classes for her and I to start attending. I would love to find a solution that will work. If this xpen is the only option, I'm afraid that I will have no choice but to rehome her. Which deeply saddens me because I do believe that there are other choices out there, then just this option.


  • If your really considering rehoming her, you need to get in touch with your breeder.
    If you send your breeders name and the kennel name and AKC info to this list, we might be able to help you find this person.
    All legit breeders want to know when there are issues with their dogs and will help the new owners work through them.
    Good breeders are a wonderful thing to have in your corner when you have a basenji that is giving you issues.


  • Classes are not the solution for this dog, unfortunately. Neither are treats in the crate. You will need to start retraining her to use a crate, and that will mean you will need another place to keep her when you can't be there. If you haven't *tried having her in a room while you are gone, she might surprise you. Our male is extremely crate phobic; he has done every single thing you mentioned (except get as an eviciton notice, since we have always had no neighbors since we have had him). At about a year old we tried allowing him to have access to part of the house while we were gone. He has never destroyed anything (except for left over food that was left out). He has destroyed many things that were pulled into his crate in a frenzy.

    The medication you mentioned will only work with a positive reinforcement retraining program. It won't just magically make her calm in her crate. This behavior acts like a true phobia, in that there is no logical reason why the dog is panicked, and dogs will really hurt themselves in an effort to get out of the crate.

    There ARE other choices, but you have to really be committed to trying them. And something you think won't work, might. It may be that you aren't in the situation right now that will allow some of the options (living in a certain place, or with certain neighbors) and in that case, rehoming her might be the best option.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the methods you have already tried (particularly the shock collar) probably made the situation even worse. Imagine if you were already terrified, and somebody made you wear something even more scary only when you were in the place that scared you. Not good.

    A friend of mine has THE best crate training method I have ever seen. If you PM me your email address, I will forward it to her, and I am sure she will give you a ton of good advice.


  • I guess consider me a bad pet owner, but I don't have that information. When I got her, they didn't have any papers for her. Also, I really don't want to rehome her. But I just can't seem to find anyone who can really help with the issue at hand. Does no one have any other advice? I mean, I'm gladly going to try to find a way of feeding her in her kennel. That is something I can work on, and if that would help, of course I'll do that. I am willing to try things to help her, however, xpen is not an option, nor leaving her out of a crate is an option. So if someone knows of a great way, that includes feeding her in her crate, of crate training or the process in which I should go about doing that. That would be great. I'm looking for resolution to the problem not a way to rehome her right now.


  • I took Max who had a very mild case of separation anxiety to a veternary behavioral specialist at UC Davis Veterinary College. She told me that basenjis are the most difficult breed to work with for separation anxiety. Meds do help in some cases. Having a canine companion can help in some cases–have you tried that? My personal opinion is that basenjis are a pack breed and most are happiest with either a canine or human companion. Basenjis with separation anxiety seem to be extremely difficult to crate train--I don't believe it's a matter of "training" in their case--it's a matter of desensitizing them to the situation which is a very slow process. Their destructive behavior when left alone is usually due to their extreme anxiety. Max was not particularly destructive unless left alone. One time, he shut the door of one of my spare bedrooms and was shut in by himself without his companion Pepper. He destroyed everything in the room--tore the drapes down off the wall and destroyed them, pulled the phone out from the wall and destroyed it--etc etc. They are miserable when they are in this state--and if there's anything that can be done for her--even if it has to be rehoming her with someone who can be with her most of the time--to be in a happier state most of the time, it needs to be done for her best interest.


  • Okay, so am I understanding that because I can't give her an xpen or because I can't lock her in a room, the best solution is to rehome her? What is going to happen if I rehome her and these issues continue? Chances are she'll be put down then, even if I rehome her through BRAT or go through the classifieds. She has a great home where she's at. I'm just curious where the conclusion came up that her home isn't good enough or that I'm not able to work with her. Pardon me, if I seem a bit defensive, but I'm wanting to help her and I'm wanting to work with her, I'm asking for the best way to go about it.

    Methods I've used to try to help her are as follows: shock collar(left on her for not even a half hour, the thing didn't work so I took it back), she also was put on puppy prozac and I did start with positive reinforcement training. I'm actually still doing positive reinforcement training with her. She's just not on the medicine anymore. As of now, those are the only two methods I've tried. And if all you guys have, is the idea of rehoming her, then I'm stumped.

    I really do appreciate any help you can offer in ways of training. I'm asking for tactics you might have used in your process of training your basenji's. Cuz we all know they didn't train themselves.


  • Well, yeah, you do seem defensive. We have actually offered a lot of ideas, but there are obviously reasons why they won't work for you. A lot of us have dogs like yours; we found ways to make it work; we are telling you those ways; they may not work for you. That doesn't mean we aren't trying to help.

    The gist of crate retraining is simple. You make the dog want to go in the crate by putting something irresistable in there. You build the suspense and desire to go in, and eventually open the crate door to let her in. Then as she gets the treat you let her right back out. The trick is not shutting her into the crate in the beginning stages of training. You have to totally desensitize her to the door being shut; and then to the door being shut, and you walking away; and then add in you leaving the house. It isn't something you can do and still be needing to close her into a crate for hours per day. You have to find somehow else to keep her safe while you retrain her.

    I can totally understand that you WANT to keep your dog. YOU are the one who mentioned rehoming first…so I figured you consider that a real option.

    And no, she wouldn't necessarily be in the same situation in a new home, because they might be able to keep her in a confined, safe room; or use an x-pen; or have no neighbors that could her here scream; or have a doggie door where she could go in and out; or have kennel runs outside where she could go in and out. BRAT does a great job of finding homes for dogs with known 'baggage' They certainly would not allow crate screaming to be a cause for euthanasia. Like I said, most people who have basenjis have had one, or known one that has this "crate phobia"

    I will put you in contact with my friend, Cheryl. She will be able to help, if you can find a way for her method to work in your house.

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