Is kennel all day fair to my basenji?
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    I'm not sure this is the right place to post this but here goes. i'm feeling a lot of anxiety over my situation. i have a (almost) 2 year old male basenji, Tucker. When i brought him into the family i was married and had adult children at home to help me out with him. in the last year my life has changed drastically. i'm now divorced and my son has gone off to school. there is no one at home or close by that i can ask to let Tucker out during the day or if i can't get straight home from work. i leave at 6:30 a.m for work and don't get home until at the earliest 5:30. He has always been in a Pen during the day with breaks when my son would let him out or when my husband got home at 2:30. thats obviously changed now. As you know with basenji's i can't leave him out to roam the house. he has no interest in the yard and would probably escape anyway. so, leaving him in a kennel (one of those 5x5 wire play pens) for 11 hours seems awful to me. i take him to the dog park for an hour on as many nights as i can after i get home (3 out of 5??). and when i'm home of course he's out but we go to bed at 10. he does sleep with me though. and i've been trying to walk him for 20 minutes in the morning. So…my question and need for feedback is....am i being unfair to him by keeping him. i love him, but i don't believe in making an animal suffer for my own needs. would it be better to find him a home that isnt restricted by such a work schedule? i just don't see any outs. (i've looked at daycare...i can't afford it).

    thanks for the input

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  • Dogs sleep about 18 hours a day on their own. If you can get up and give him a walk or play 15 mins before work, then time after work, I see nothing cruel. Ideal? No. But such is life. The reality is that he has a better home than 98 percent of pets on earth, so do your best and he'll be fine. I would, however, invest in some good chew toys for him, stuffable kongs etc. I am impressed he stays in a play pen. Mine would not.

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  • I have my 7th and 8th basenji now and they are the first ones who had the luxury of someone at home during the day to put them out and play with them. The other 6 saw us off to work at 6 and we got home at 6. They all slept with us and spent nights and weekends with us and lived to age 16 quite happy in thier situation. I do not think you are being unfair to him at all.

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    Lisa and Debra, thank you! this helps relieve some of my guilt. i've never had such an active dog before. he seems happy. well, except when i take away the sock he's chewing or tell him he can't have whats on my plate…lol. we're working on that!

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  • The important question is, what is his quality of life compared to what it would be?
    When my ex (Andrew) & I broke up, he got Booger & I got Lola. Lola was 15 months old, and went from living in a 2 dog, 2 owner household where somebody was almost always home, to living in a 600 square foot, 1 owner, no other dogs household. I frequently was gone for 12 hours because of work. She had not been consistently crated until I moved, (nor was she reliably house trained because Andrew was a lazy jerk but I digress)…
    Within 2 weeks, she stopped hiding under the bed when I left for work in the morning. She would RUN to her crate, sit & wait for me to treat her & close the door. Within 2 weeks, she was 100% house trained. Was it ideal? No. I would rather spend 24 hours a day with her, but keeping her crated during the day kept her safe. Also, when I take her anywhere with me now (dog shows, lure coursing, friends' houses), I can safely crate her without causing her or myself anxiety.
    I tried to take her to the dog park or to a friend's house for a doggie play date 2 or 3 times a week. Not the ideal amount of exercise for a basenji puppy, but I gave her better care than what most people give their pets. On my days off, I made sure to spend extra time with her & getting her exercise.
    One thing that really really helped was adding a second basenji to the household. I found that on nights when I was too exhausted to go on a long walk or take them to the park, the 2 basenjis could tire each other out running circles, even in the tiny living room. Also, during the day I crate them together so they at least have one another for company.
    I know its an awful feeling leaving them for that long, but could you really find somebody who could care for your dog better than you could? Just the fact that you are even asking this question on a public forum means you care for your little guy a whole heck of a lot.
    Keep him, crate him, and try to get him enough exercise. They are very resilient animals, and although you may feel some anxiety & heart break over keeping him crated so much, you will feel better than if you rehome him because then you'll worry about how new owners are treating him.
    Although it sounds counterintuitive (if you don't have time for 1, how can you possibly have time for 2!?!?), adding a second one actually makes many things a lot easier, for the above stated reasons. I am so glad I added a 2nd for Lola's sake.

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  • I know he is only 2, is he house destructive? Many can stay loose once they are past the crazy-destructo-puppy stage, then you don't feel as guilty. But…most do sleep all day while you are gone, he should be able to hold urine for 11 or 12 hours (mine can hold for almost 20 when it's raining) and be content in a crate after a little exercise in the mornings. It sounds like he has a fine life with you.

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  • Is there a way that you can block off an area for him?… if you have a secure yard, a doggy door with a small indoor area?...

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  • i agree with debra, not ideal, but plenty of people work 8+ hours a day and have pets. And, as you've pointed out, life changes sometimes quickly and unexpectedly. In two years (or 6 months) from now, your life will probably be different and maybe then you can afford daycare once or twice a week. Or maybe you will meet someone who is willing to take care of your pup a few days a week so he can play with their pup. Or maybe you will have won the lottery and can stay home with him all day. It sounds like he's really in a pretty good home.

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  • i would also suggest getting some food dispensing toys if you feed kibble. all my pups get their morning kibblen in a puzzle toy. it is fun for them and keeps their little brains engaged.

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    I don't think you're being unfair at all, when crated your basenji will likely sleep most of the time. If you're really worried, maybe ask a neighbour to walk them in the middle of the day for exercise. There's also bound to be a dog walking service that should be cheaper than daycare, maybe that will give you piece of mind.

    Personally, I am dreading the day I am kicked upstairs to management, as I'll be required to go into my office and for some unknown reason the building's owner does not allow dogs. My two are spoiled by having an owner who works from home.

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  • While not ideal, it's not horrible. Mine sleep most of the day and night too! Working is a fact of life for many people. I agree with Carrie though. If you could block them off in the kitchen or a small room together, two would provide company for each other and give them a larger area to move around in. Or, an x pen is also an option. If you have a large enough area to set it up in, it just gives Tucker more room. People have to live too.

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  • Mine have always ended up with free-run of the house (after being suitable potty and destruction trained) and I too leave for work at 6:30 and get home around 5:00. My current beastie, Gossy, sits on the top of the couch so she can look out the windows (she's not allowed on the window bench) and she gets interactive toys filled with treats and access to the warmest spots in the house. She does fine even though she's an only dog (for now anyway).

    I found it easy to train mine to move from crate confinement to penned area in the kitchen to half the house (uncarpeted area) to free run throughout the house (except the guest bedroom is still offlimits). The trick was to be sure there were warm blankets/afghans/whatever and fun toys available. And her crate is always available as her backup security.

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  • I allow my B to be out in my home while I'm gone during the day as well. Fortunately he's not destructive, so it has worked out quite well. He gets his spot to look out the window during the day and plenty of space for sunbathing. He's usually just waking up when I get home (I'm usually gone 8-9 hours during the day).

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    My 3 b's are loose in the house. Wheat is almost 10 months old, and she has gotten a few things, that she chewed, but nothing major…we have a doggie door and she goes in and out as she wants to. I would see if you can leave your b loose occasionally.
    Just my thoughts.

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    thank you, i'll try these things suggested. he has been destructive (one leather couch, a couple chair cushions, whatever is 8 inches from the edge of the counter)….but he's getting better. i have lots of toys but will invest in some more...the treat ones work great. and maybe give it a try leaving him out. i have an area he is free to roam, when i'm home and distracted, that i have gated off. i'm also trying to retrain him to use a litter box. we'll see how that goes (he was trained as a puppy when i got him, i just redirected him to the outside). he also still has accidents in the house (or purposefull at times). so i suppose i just need to get some good training in and things will be better. your comments relieve my guilt tremendously though..thank you

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  • @tuckersmom:

    thank you, i'll try these things suggested. he has been destructive (one leather couch, a couple chair cushions, whatever is 8 inches from the edge of the counter)….but he's getting better. i have lots of toys but will invest in some more...the treat ones work great. and maybe give it a try leaving him out. i have an area he is free to roam, when i'm home and distracted, that i have gated off. i'm also trying to retrain him to use a litter box. we'll see how that goes (he was trained as a puppy when i got him, i just redirected him to the outside). he also still has accidents in the house (or purposefull at times). so i suppose i just need to get some good training in and things will be better. your comments relieve my guilt tremendously though..thank you

    You might find that he is less destructive while you're away, you never know, but try it in baby steps. I wouldn't try leaving him on his own for a whole day and hope for the best, a basenji could do a lot of damage when given enough time. :o

    I've really only had issues with things being chewed on when my B wants attention. He doesn't really touch anything when I'm away (had a minor issue at one point, since then its been corrected).

    My B has honestly has done his chewing, accidents, etc, while I've been at home. They have creative ways of communicating with us, been when we're not around, they (a lot of times) will probably just sleep. Really depends on their personality.

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  • I don't think your being unfair at all!! That is how most pets live. Maybe you can get another one to keep him company… :-)

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    Mine are always left loose when we're away from the house and sometimes it is for a whole day. Although I have chewers I've never returned to find anything chewed although they may start in the excitement of our return.

    However if Tucker is happy to stay confined, I don't think it's cruel (after all it could be crueller to rehome him). Of course it's not ideal and I wouldn't sell a puppy to somebody in those circumstances but who knows what the future may bring! The things that have happened have not affected your love for Tucker and I don't think you should feel guilty at all.

    Other people are giving you good advice and I'm sure you'll sort out what is best for him. Its amazing just how adaptable Basenjis are!

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  • **tuckersmom,

    I'm no expert, but the one thing I'm sure of. Tucker doesn't care how long he's in the pen as long as he gets your love when he's not.

    Our B's don't wear watches, time is something you & I concern ourselves with. If he's warm, fed and safe in a home with plenty of love and attention from you, when your around.

    He's as happy as he can be!

    Do what you need to do to care for yourself and Tucker. He understands and loves you for it. Know he's much happier with you, in any situation, then he would be without you.

    That's one thing in this life you can count on.

    Keep up the good work, and know your not goin it alone, Tuckers right there with you. :D**

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  • I think it rocks that you care enough to worry about his crate time.

    I've just adopted a 4 yr old bitch. She and her chiweenie brother are crated while I'm gone. I'm lucky in that I work very close to home so I can run home at lunch for a quick potty break and feed them their dinner. My lunch is around 4-6pm weekdays since I work afternoons.

    Is it best for them? No, but it's a heckuva a lot better than some of the alternatived. They get chew bones with treats (Kongs but I've got my eye on some of those puzzle treat dispensers.)

    And I hope that one day they will be housetrained and non-destructive. But more importantly, I hope they will both be trained to NOT bolt out the door. For me, being in a crate is far better than what could happen if they flew out the door. :(

    So love him when you are home and set your mind at ease. He'd rather be with you than in a rescue situation.

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  • I'm really sorry you are in this situation and I understand your guilty feeling.. I do not agree with what is said above about dogs sleeping all day and not caring about how much their humans are there with them as long as they are loved… (sorry..) If I were you I would think hard about keeping him or not. If you know your situation will not change and you can find someone who can offer him more, I think you are doing what is best for the dog by giving him a new home.

    If you believe this situation will only be temporarily or if you can't find that better home, then you can try to make things a bit better for Tucker by giving him more quality time in the morning. I believe 20 min is too little time to get the energy out of a 2 year old pup. After an 8 hour sleep during the night and before 11 hours of laying in a kennel/x-pen during the day a dog needs a lot more than 20 min.. If you could get up earlier, you could try to walk/cycle Tucker for like about 45-60 min? I think loosing some of his energy will also help with him being less destructive when loose in the house.

    Mabye you can try to find a nice neighbour/family member/etc who could walk Tucker during the day? Even if it was only one day per week, that's better than none :) Also, if the daycare is too expensive for the entire week, maybe you can only bring him one or two days per week?

    Just thinking out loud here :) I hope I don't sound harsh.. And I hope you find some ways to make it a better situation for Tucker and yourself.

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