"In order to get along with a Basenji, you have to be at least half as smart as the dog!"
I've seen this with Basenjis comfortable on the couch, never in bed unless.....and this is an important unless.....they perceive that you are about to deliberately move them from a comfortable place. If moving them only consists of you repositioning yourself and in the process shoving against them so they are pushed out of your way (with your body, not your hands) I think they are more willing to accept it. This may not be true for your girl, but are you using your hands to shift her?
Personally I would probably show her the error of her ways by a loud "no" and immediately and forcefully kicking her out of bed or off the couch and not allowing her back if she tried to return, until some time had passed. "it is my couch/bed, and you get privileges only when I allow it". And make access to bed or couch only on your invitation, not otherwise. "Nothing in life is free". 18 months can be a time for testing you as leader. She is growing up. She needs to learn it is your house and all privileges come from you. If she behaves badly, she loses those privileges. Possibly excluding her from couch and bed for a period of time is what is required to send the message, and that means all the time. Get a scat mat if need be, and keep her off the furniture even when you aren't there.
I've had five and they are all different. The cat thing fits for most, but beyond that.....some are needy but aloof, which seems to be a contradiction but it's common. They like to ignore you but don't like to be ignored. My first boy was very, very sweet. In the words of my breeder friend, the boys are sweet but the bitches are such bitches! True, often.
I hope to hear actual experience rather that theories or opinions.
Other than the last reply above, you aren't likely to get many people who have experience with this because most Basenji owners would not leave their dog in the garage. In theory you might think it is kinder, but Basenjis like to see out, they like to be warm, and they like to be part of the household. You might want to experiment with a "dog proof" room in the house, somewhere that is light and preferably where your dog can see out. Alternately you might consider doggie daycare or a dog walker to help you out.
when you do something that displeases her, she will no doubt give you the famous Basenji "cold shoulder" which consists of sitting a little ways off, but still in your sight path, and turning her back to you, but periodically looking over to her shoulder to make sure you realize you are being "ignored.") It's a riot.
My boy Sunny did this when we left him at a kennel for the weekend. On our return, when they brought him to the reception room he took one look at us, turned his back, and sat down. A Basenji will definitely let you know when you have crossed the line with them!
@tanza, absolutely. No doubt Basenjis can excel at nose work, just not too many people who own them are into that sport.
Actually, I meant to add that once upon a time people did hunt with Basenjis. An excellent section on hunting in Susan Coe's book "The Basenji, Out of Africa to You" describes hunting both birds and small game with Basenjis, and makes it clear that they hunt by scent as well as sight, even pointing, flushing, and retrieving birds. Sadly, not many people seem to be doing that kind of thing with them these days. What is interesting is Major Braun's description of training a Basenji for the field. He suggests that by the time a pup is four months old it should be solid on basic commands "sit, stay, and come, promptly and happily in a field situation". He also recommends teaching "whoa", to "stop the dog, steady him on point, preventing him from flushing the bird and to teach him to honour the point of another dog". There is also a bit on Basenji Field Trials, which apparently used to be held in Minnesota back in the day. There is a detailed report on a trial held in June of 1980. This comment was interesting. "When a Basenji is given a chance to hunt, he will prefer hunting over any other thing."
Seem obvious when you consider their origins. I also note that in the section on training the only reward mentioned was "Good Dog" and gentle fondling. The recommendation was for "firm but loving discipline and plenty of praise" to turn out a willing and obedient dog.
when I see people talking about dogs that are good at scent work, even outside the hound group, the basenji rarely comes up.
True enough, but consider that the Basenji is a relatively rare breed, and not known for obedience either, although there are some titled dogs out there. Which proves they can do the job, but they would not be most peoples' first choice for that challenge. Most of the competitions offered by various groups for different activities are not all that difficult for the dog. OTOH, for the trainer it can be more of a challenge, and Basenjis can be a challenging breed.
Scent work, also known as nose work, is generally simple for any dog. The only trick is in teaching them what they will be rewarded for. Many breeds compete, and I do not think anyone has done a scientific study of which are best, but in any case the test given is not hard for any dog. Search and rescue dogs, for example, are often not hunting breeds but they follow a track just fine. Drug sniffing dogs at airports are likewise many different breeds. It's a fun area to get into, and at which a Basenji should do just fine, given the right motivation. It's actually more of an obedience test than anything else, which is where a Basenji might have difficulties if they don't find it interesting.
My advice about biting is always the same. Do not allow it. When she starts to bite, turn away and ignore her. Some people advocate yelping or some such because litter mates might do this. Some Basenjis see this as "squeaky toy" and bite harder. But you don't really want to be a litter mate, you want to be Mom. You can redirect her to a toy she can chew, but if she persists, physically restrain her from doing it. Release as soon as she quits trying. She will get the message. Do not reward her in any way for biting, and be aware of what behaviour you are rewarding. If biting leads to something she enjoys (possibly "training with treats"), you are reinforcing the behaviour. Yes, puppies bite. They need to learn that it is unacceptable, especially they need to learn they do not bite humans.
I think quality of life comes into this somewhere. I've always gone by my dog's eagerness to eat. If they can't even enjoy that pleasure, what is left? I draw the line at forced feeding when they aren't getting any joy from anything else, either. Every situation is somewhat different, as is every dog, but for me there has to be something in life they enjoy that balances out the bad bits when confusion and anxiety reign.