I am hoping someone can help me a bit with my basenji, Tosca. My husband and I adopted her almost a year and a half ago from a humane society in Iowa. She was either 2 or 4 at the time (shelter thought 4, vet thought 2) so is now either 3 or 5.
She is the most loving, kind basenji you will ever meet. She LOVES to cuddle, has a very healthy (too healthy) appetite, is sweet to everyone, and is even tolerant of kids, and is wonderful in her crate when we are gone.
However, we have a problem…
In terms of getting into trouble, she is quickly becoming an expert, and I am not sure what to do about it. I have never really trusted her at home alone, although we have left her for short periods here and there last summer, and there hasn't really been a problem. However, probably since about February (a year after we got her), she has gotten worse at getting into stuff. I am trying to decipher what is typical basenji behavior, and what can be controlled. It all started with the DVD's. We have a shelf of DVD's behind our recliner, and whenever left alone, even for just a second, or when she is alone with me, she will grab a DVD off the shelf and run with it, making me chase her. Then it grew to include remote controls, same thing. I read a lot on here about the "trading" option, and I have tried that but here is the problem. As much as I try to get her to play with her toys, she has really no interest in them, so she won't trade a DVD or remote for a toy. She, of course, will instantly trade for a treat, but then her thought process is "I can steal this remote/DVD and I will get a treat!!" So this seems to reinforce the behavior even more.
Then, the last two weeks she has turned to laptop keys. If I turn my back for ONE SECOND she will be at them, trying to chew them off, and unfortunately she has been successful.
The other thing I don't get is, she will do these things when alone, or when I am in the room with her, but not when my husband is around. It drives me crazy! He will leave or go into another room, and she is into instant mischief.
So does anyone have any ideas on what I can do with her? My mom, husband, and I have debated this over and over. I say we need to just put these things out of our reach, but my mom and husband INSIST there is a way to train her to leave them alone, and I do hope they are right, but I have no idea how to go about doing it. It appears that she did have some kind of obedience training at some point, cause she can do tricks like sit, shake, laydown, roll over, etc but those are just tricks for treats, not behaviors. And she does get exercise of course, not as much as I would like, but as much as I have time for. She gets approx 4 walks a week, hour and 20 min each time. Plus we try to rile her up and play with her around the house. The thing is, on a day we walk her behavior is the same, if not worse, as the days we don't walk. Plus its gotten worse since winter, when we barely walked at all.
In all other ways she is such a perfect pet!!! Any suggestions would be SO helpful...I would love to be able to control this annoying behavior! I was getting so hopeful to be able to leave her uncrated eventually, and now I don't think it will happen at the rate we are going! Thank you for putting up with such a long post.