Frustrated w/ the chewing

Tango has been doing great for the most part. He's getting along well w/ the children, better w/ my son who knows how to handle him, not as good w/ my daughter who is afraid of him most of the time and doesn't feel comfortable correcting him because she's afraid of being bitten.

Anyways he's a lovable sweet dog the only thing is the chewing. I can't get a handle on him destroying everything. He's chewed up almost every pair of underwear in the house, cords, toys, remotes, kitchen chairs, coats, sweatshirts, plastic, his collar, memory cards…I could go on and on. I'm so frustrated and running out of money to replace everything he destroys. I know you'll all say put things away shut the doors. The kids don't always remember to shut the doors, it's an old house and they don't always latch properly, I don't have a lock on my hamper and I'm busy and can't keep one eye on him 24/7. He's escaped out of the crate a couple of times also (my fault for not having it latched properly) and destroyed things. Are household is becoming very tense and we aren't not enjoying the dog anymore because we spend all day trying to make sure he's not in trouble. He also knows how to open the gate outside and get out so we also have to watch him every second outside also. I'm exhausted trying to be one step ahead of him all the time!

I had a basenji once before and he grew out of this. It was never this frustrating. I also didn't have kids at the time and had other help in the household which makes a difference. I'm just at wits end!!

Well rule of thumb to anyone with a puppy or a Basenji….. if it is left out, it is free game... I always tell people if nothing else your Basenji will teach you to pick up after yourself. If you can't puppy/dog proof your home and kids and adults don't remember to pick up after themselves or remember to make sure doors are shut.... and make the yard, Basenji escape proof... none of the above is likely to change anytime soon.... sorry to say.

And while we all say they grow out of this... my 10yr old one day out of the blue decided she would take out the back of my shirt that was hanging on the back of a chair. Only things left were the collar, sleeves and front.... And she had not eaten, stolen, chewed anything in over 5 years when that happened... so really you are never safe.

Well I echo Tanza.. If it's on the floor, and they want it they are gonna try and eat it.

but the excessive chewing (how old is your B??) is often linked to how much exercise the dog is getting. This dog sounds like he needs a proper run every single day, some dogs need two. Like TIRED running, playing with other dogs or jogging for a few miles run.

Tired Basenjis are better behaved Basenjis. What chew toys are you offering him?? Are they more valuable than whats on the floor ? And average plastic toys don't cut it normally for Basenjis. He might need a few frozen peanut butter filled kongs, big pizzle sticks and raw meaty bones to chew off that energy. In my experience Basenjis are very keen on eating a raw meaty bone (lambs necks are good) rather than a pair of underwear (though those are tasty too!). I don't know if that helps, but it sounds if he is young - then he is young… if he is a rescue he is probably working on emotions that way, and in the end - he is a Basenji. My suggestions are exercise excessive exercise and be SURE he has valuable treats that are better than your possessions.

Hang in there. 🙂

Thanks, I know he probably isn't getting enough excercise. It's all I can do to get him a couple of walks in a day. I don't have enough energy to keep up. There is no way I'm able to run w/ him a few miles every day. I'm a single parent trying to keep up and I can't, I really just can't. We have nylabones, ropes stuffed toys and I do get him knuckle bones from the butcher and fill up Kongs w/ peanut butter. It's my belongings that he'd rather have when I'm not paying attention for a second.

Tango just turned a year old.

@tangokor:

Thanks, I know he probably isn't getting enough excercise. It's all I can do to get him a couple of walks in a day. I don't have enough energy to keep up. There is no way I'm able to run w/ him a few miles every day.

What about your kids? Are they helping at all with the dog…like taking him for walks (assuming they're old enough...you don't mention their ages)? If the kids aren't old enough to take the dog for walks, then they could play with him in the back yard and help him wear off some of that energy. 100% of the care shouldn't fall on just your shoulders...get those kids involved, too, if they're not already (and that includes making sure their toys and clothes are picked up and the doors are shut...even small children can learn simple tasks such as these).

@tangokor:

Thanks, I know he probably isn't getting enough excercise. It's all I can do to get him a couple of walks in a day. I don't have enough energy to keep up. There is no way I'm able to run w/ him a few miles every day. I'm a single parent trying to keep up and I can't, I really just can't. We have nylabones, ropes stuffed toys and I do get him knuckle bones from the butcher and fill up Kongs w/ peanut butter. It's my belongings that he'd rather have when I'm not paying attention for a second.

Tango just turned a year old.

Being a single parent with 2 children and a Basenji is a lot. Just take a few deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed. It'll be OK. How old is your son? Can he take Tango out for a walk? Do you have a dog park where you live? How about taking him to obedience class on the weekends and the kids can go too? Training and experience will help calm him down.

Honestly, even if you could take him on a mile or more walk every day it is unlikely that will really make a dent in his energy level. Dogs are built for physical exercise and really love it and need it but it doesn't tucker them out. It sounds like your dog needs more mental stimulation. Teach him to "learn to earn" so that he is working for treats and working his brain and you will find you have a much calmer dog. 10-15 minutes of training simple behaviors like go to mat, point and even just sit and down will give you a tired dog especially when they are learning new behaviors and really have to think. Not only will the training give you a tired dog, it will also give you a repretoire of commands to use to redirect his behavior.

Training is something the kids could get involved in and have fun with Tango too. Just a simple thing like hide and go seek with Tango will help. The kids can throw a toy and Tango chases it then they go hide. They could have some treats when they do this and when Tango finds them they give a treat and praise him. Start with training him to sit for treats.

+1 (LVoss & Dan)

How old are your children? Have you reached the point of needing to rehome? Have you talked to the breeder?

Dogs take a dedication, and this breed a lot of dedication. You need to exercise, play, stimulate, crate or watch. That's just the nature of the beast. I always considered dogs a way to teach my child true responsibility. Kid leaves door open or stuff out… replacement of items comes out of their allowance or they do actual real hours of chores to work off the replacement. I promise you a 4 yr old learns to be responsible fast. Did you get the dog for you or the kids? If for them, they have to help... an hour each a day of play or exercise in half hour blocks is not too much to expect! Even if for you, they are part of YOUR family and helping take charge with the dog is truly wonderful training for them too. 🙂 I promise!

As for your daughter being afraid to discipline for fear of getting hit... gotta ask what type of discipline results in a bite? You may need to revamp discipline or work on the dog if any type of correction leads to bite potential.

I understand overwhelmed, really. But you'll be so much LESS over whelmed if you work out a plan, make your kids be involved, and decrease the dog stress. And if you honestly don't want to, then it's time to call the breeder, or if from bad one/rescue whatever... then contacting rescue to help find a new home. Because unless you commit to the changes needed, it probably is NOT going to get better.

@tangokor:

Thanks, I know he probably isn't getting enough excercise. It's all I can do to get him a couple of walks in a day. I don't have enough energy to keep up. There is no way I'm able to run w/ him a few miles every day. I'm a single parent trying to keep up and I can't, I really just can't. We have nylabones, ropes stuffed toys and I do get him knuckle bones from the butcher and fill up Kongs w/ peanut butter. It's my belongings that he'd rather have when I'm not paying attention for a second.

Tango just turned a year old.

I am surprised that your breeder didn't "discourage" a pup for you at this point being a single parent with two young children (I am guessing they are young). And I am going to also assume you work full time? Puppies need as much work if not more then our human children…. While I understand that you had a Basenji before... each are different and as lvoss pointed out, physical activity is not going to wear him out (or at least if so for only a few hours), but mental activity is important.

Have you talked to the breeder?

My daughter is 11 and my son is 7. I did get the dog for me, not for them. My daughter is old enough to take the dog for a walk but doesn't often. They aren't here every day of the week either. I did take them to obedience classes w/ me but they were bored and the trainers wanted only one person actively participating so the dog wouldn't get confused. We have been thinking of doing more classes here soon but things are tough all of a sudden financially.
Tango did alot of running after the kids in the beginning and biting at them trying to get them to play. My son is very good at saying no Tango or closing his mouth when he does something he shouldn't be. My daughter runs and cries when he goes after her in play and I've told her she just needs to take his collar and say no, that's it. But she's fearful of him biting…even though he's never hurt her, so she runs and cries.

The thing is we're all trying as much as we can but it's hard to remember all the time to make sure things are up and doors are shut for them (and for me) and things happen and then we're upset and frustrated at each other and him. The other day I looked away and thought he was chewing on his bone and it was my laptop!! I'm just tired of being upset w/ the dog. I can't manage the household when I have to watch him every second and if I spent more time keeping him occupied and worn out then nothing in the house is ever going to get done and I just don't even now what to do other that hiring a maid or a dog walker.

He spent time with the breeder over the summer and was perfect for him. But he had other dogs and the breeder keeping him busy. He does wonderfully w/ him and also with my significant other. When he is here the dog listens much better and doesn't go looking for trouble.

I'm going to call a new trainer today that someone recommended and take him there for a visit. So I'll let you all know what comes of that. I don't see me being able to make many changes on my part as far as devoting more time to him so I don't know how it's going to get better. I just bought a home a year ago, I work full time and barely have enough time for the kids and their activities. I was hoping that I would have been able to stay on a part time schedule when I got him but that's not the case now. I'm running around the house constantly going "Where is the dog" And "What is he chewing now?"!!

Tanza- He did somewhat discourage a pup at the beginning and I went into this wanting an older dog from the start. I got the first B when he was only 8 weeks old and knew I didn't want to do that again. Then sweet little Tango showed up (one of the last to be adopted from a litter they had) And I thought he was so sweet and cute and he was already about four months old and thought I could handle it. The older dog I originally wanted to meet was adopted right before I had the chance to see him.

I haven't had as much contact w/ the breeder lately. He was close to me but moved further away over the summer. I think the breeder is wonderful and I would be leaning more on them if they still lived close by. I'm going to send him and email and see what he thinks. I was going to have him take Tango again for a few days sometime soon to assess him and give us another short break so I can do something fun w/ the kids.

tangokor - you sound as though you're at your wit's end - is it possible for you to sit back and review the situation? REad Ivoss's post about mental stimulation - I totally agree with her that mental stimulation is the way to go.

Your children are old enough I should have thought, to help with this and probably get a lot of fun doing it and wiorking out games that he can play without getting over excited and wanting to nip.

I must say if you had come to me for a puppy in your circumstances I would have said no! A basenji needs a lot of attention while young to enable him to grow into a responsive adult.

Having said this that's past so you have to do your very best to give him the attention he craves.

Many Basenjis will chew no matter what exercise (physical and mental) and never grow out of it especially if the item smells good to them. My oldie (16+)
virtually destroyed my husband's coat that he wears when working with the sheep just last week. My answer - he should have put it out of her way! (HE agrees). Be prepared for this.

I'm sorry that I can't wave a magic wand for you (I wish I could as I feel for you) but there is no easy answer unless all the family are prepared to work at a solution.

It sounds as if both you and the dog would be happier apart then the way it is going now… you don't have time and he needs more of your time! Not to say it can't be fixed but it sounds to me as if you feel you have too much on your plate, if you want it to work out then I agree with Ivoss about mental stimulation and tiring out his mind. Maybe your breeder can give you some suggestions on what he did to keep him well behaved

@tangokor:

Tango did alot of running after the kids in the beginning and biting at them trying to get them to play. My son is very good at saying no Tango or closing his mouth when he does something he shouldn't be. My daughter runs and cries when he goes after her in play and I've told her she just needs to take his collar and say no, that's it. But she's fearful of him biting…even though he's never hurt her, so she runs and cries.

If you want to be sure that your children aren't bit, then they should not be encouraged to close the dog's mouth or grab its collar. They should be taught how to be a tree when the dog is going after them in play. Stand still, arms at their sides and look at their feet.

Ivoss- I did have them doing the stand still like a tree thing outside when they were playing and it does work pretty well. But we have this issue where he likes to go after some of her fuzzy sweatshirts and will jump up on her trying to attack it and that when it doesn't work. He keeps jumping up trying to get at it and she gets nervous. That's when standing still still or running, like she does, doesn't work. When he gets mouthy we will close his mouth, but never anything to hurt him. And right now he doesn't do that very much.

I'll go back and read ideas for mental stimulation. I've tried hiding treats in things and hiding toys that type of thing. I guess I need some more ideas. I think sometimes this is more work than having an infant!

Training is also good mental stimulation.

Go to Mat is a nice behavior to work on because it helps reinforce calm behavior. To start training Go To Mat, you need to something to use a the mat. It can be a dog bed, towel, bath mat, etc. Just pick something big enough for the dog to fit on. The get some nice yummy treats and stand in front of the mat. Most dogs orient themselves in front of us especially when they want something like yummy treats. When he ends up on the mat toss a treat on the mat. As long as he is on the mat toss 9 treats on the mat. On the tenth treat toss it off the mat so he has to get off the mat to find the treat. Then wait and see if he will return to the mat. When he does toss a treat to him on the mat. Again, 9 treats on the mat and the tenth off. At some point he may start to offer a down because if he is getting the idea that the mat pays. When he is mostly offering the down make that the new criteria for the 9 treats on the mat.

Keep training sessions short 3-4 repetitions. If you see him laying on his mat on his own, toss him some treats to reinforce the mat and the calm behavior.

Ivoss- Thanks, sounds like a fun exercise. I'm going to get out the yoga mat and give it a try.

They really do need attention, attention, attention, especially when so young. I know the only reason I was able to get Paco (who just turned a year) to be generally trustworthy in the house was because I worked at home and was able to train him and use "leave it" when necessary.

He's still not totally trustworthy. I was working on the computer today, and apparently not paying enough attention to him, so he went and started ripping at the couch cushions. His puzzle ball is a great distractor, as well as chew bones, and I've taught him how to fetch so that I can at least try to sit and work while just throwing a ball for him to bring back, but really, if I could give him belly rubs all day in between long walks every hour, on the hour, that would be his dream world, I'm sure.

It sounds like your son could be a huge help in keeping your b occupied when you can't do it, since he isn't as scared of him. See how interested he is in the obedience classes and if training the pup can be a "project" of sorts for him.

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