In a word, "no"! Basenjis do not thrive on being alone, they are very social dogs. And yes, left to their own devices they will definitely rip up furniture or belongings. Keeping a dog in a crate for so many hours is just cruel, so unless you want to invest in doggie daycare, you should absolutely not be getting a Basenji (or any dog, for that matter). Maybe an older, settled cat for company?
It's called "transferred aggression", and is common if a dog can't get to what it would really like to attack. Teach your children to stay out of range when you approach another dog!! Take charge with your leash and don't allow her to get close enough to you or your kids to bite anyone. Yes, you can do some training to try to sort this, but in the meantime just don't allow it to happen. If you can't manage that with a leash, get a muzzle and make her wear it when you walk. If she really nails somebody you may lose her because there are laws against biting dogs. (my boy had dog aggression issues and if the offending animal came close to us I had to be careful of this very thing.....and my two female Basenjis would attack each other if another dog approached when I was walking and barked at them, so I know about the issue first hand)
It is not just Basenjis that can have this problem. Fortunately they are not big dogs! In the longer term, talk to a trainer and/or animal behaviourist. In my case I didn't often encounter situations that triggered this behaviour, but if it's an every day occurrence you should see what is possible to improve your dog's attitude.
This is transferred aggression, and it can be hard to deal with. Best to be aware it can happen and make sure to keep him at arm's length when he is focused on a dog he hates. Distract him if you can before you allow him within biting range. The other problem you have to deal with is his dog aggression, again it is something that isn't easily erased. You might want to consult a trainer who is familiar with Basenjis and uses positive methods. I had similar problems with my Perry when we moved from the farm to town, but I chose mostly to avoid situations that would trigger this type of behavior, i.e. I kept him away from other dogs as much as possible.
My boy Perry loved his roller ball that dispensed treats, but we saved that for when we were going out. He had separation anxiety and that ball was key in solving his problem. Other than that, I find most toys that don't dispense food become less attractive in time. New toys are generally a big deal at first, but the novelty wears off quickly! Perry was unusual in that he was very kind to his stuffed toys, and he definitely had his favourites. A good way to keep their minds occupied is to teach them the name of each toy, eventually working up to a named retrieve after hiding said toy. Perry loved playing that game, although he could be lazy if I asked for his roller ball. Bit harder to retrieve than his plush Froggie!
Another thing to consider is that your stress over Max's behaviour may exacerbate Max's anxiety. Not something you can easily control, however. Something that surprised me, when we moved from the farm into town, our new house had large windows and Perry was able to see out without climbing on furniture. It seemed to calm him to be able to see what was going on outside all the time. I agree with leaving the TV or the radio on, if it is habitually on when you are home. Or perhaps a recording that is soothing to him.
Lay the groundwork now for when you will be back to work. Start with short trips out and coming home quickly, and do not make a fuss over her when leaving and returning. Be as "matter of fact" as you can. Increase the amount of time you are gone, and have your boyfriend be just as matter of fact as you are. No drama. If she fusses, ignore it. When you return, ignore her for a few minutes (hard to do, I know). When she is quiet, that's when to make a fuss of her and cuddle her. Try not to reward attention seeking. Ideally you want your dog to calmly notice your return but not be excited by it. Too many people feed the anxiety their pets display by making a big deal out of "reunions", and thus separation anxiety becomes an issue.
Does he still bark if you put him in another room? If he is feeling threatened by the guest he may need more distance between him and the guests. Don't try to force an approach of any kind. Let him keep his distance.
You might want to teach him to bark on command, if he doesn't already know this. Sounds counter intuitive, but if you can turn it on, you can often turn it off. You could ask him to "speak" when guests arrive, then "quiet", and he gets a treat. The barking then becomes your idea and with practice he may learn to wait until you ask for it. Then fade asking for it. Just a thought.
Very cute pup, lots of energy! One comment. Best not to use the "come" command unless you are sure she will respond to it, or if you do use it then reel her in and reward her. You do not want to teach her that "come" is optional!! Find another word when it's just a suggestion, not a command.
It's not unusual for the excitement of running to spill over into nipping, but bloody hands sounds a bit excessive! Best to avoid behaviour that brings this reaction out in her, and when and if it does occur I would restrain her until she quits it. A firm "no" and not allowing her to do anything until she is quiet is the approach I would take. She's just a pup and this is a small breed, so a "bear hug" should be sufficient. Be careful not to let her teeth near your face! Just holding her off with the leash probably won't work for something like this and can actually increase her desire to get at something to bite.
When she is quiet and not struggling or growling, release her cautiously but if she starts again restrain her again. She needs to learn the behaviour is unacceptable and the fun she is having will instantly stop.
I always find it amusing that we feel we can feed our children without having a degree in nutrition but when it comes to our dogs (an animal that evolved as a scavenger from wild canids over thousands of years) we think we need specially formulated foods produced in factories and presented in a very convenient form (kibble). There was a time not so very long ago when dogs got whatever was scrapped off the dinner plates when the family was finished, supplemented by the odd bone or trimmings off the meat being prepared in the kitchen. Sled dogs got tossed frozen fish, border collies often ate porridge, and yes, many dogs consumed grains. Farm dogs that I knew thrived without eating commercial food. But advertising is powerful and we no longer feel competent to feed our dogs.
How old is she? Typically they reach an age (equivalent to human teenagers) when they want to assert their independence. Giving in and letting her have her way? Absolutely not, once you have called her. If you're unsure that she's going to come, try to get hold of her without a command. Otherwise you are teaching her that she can ignore a recall. That you do not want! Once I have asked my dog to come I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure the command is obeyed.
One way to avoid this type of problem is to do frequent recalls which involve reward but do not involve leaving the park. What you want is for her not to know which time will be just a treat and freedom to follow, and which time you will actually be leaving, so getting the dog to come and putting on the leash, and then maybe even heading for the gate, followed by release and more play time can work in your favour, but may be hard to accomplish after she has already begun resisting the idea of coming when called. I would let her drag a long line for awhile, to enforce the recall if necessary. (but be careful because drag lines can get tangled, so best to do this when there aren't many others around).
Basenjis can be difficult, no question. But all of us who have them had a first one, and learned (or not!) to cope with their quirkiness. Some are definitely more challenging than others, so if getting a pup it is a good idea to pay attention to the temperaments of parents and siblings. Reading a bit on the forum and tapping into the wealth of knowledge that is out there should help prepare the prospective owner. I got my first Basenji on the strength of having read James Street's "Goodbye My Lady", and for what it's worth she was the most reliable and obedient Basenji I have ever had, perhaps because I went into it with few preconceptions and trained her as I had all my previous dogs. Here's Val back in the day.
The first picture is at the stables where I boarded my horse, the second is in my parents' backyard in the city of Toronto. Our yard was not fenced. Val doesn't even have a collar on, let alone a leash. I used to walk her loose in the city. She never betrayed my trust. None of my subsequent Basenjis have been as reliable! I guess she never got the memo about typical Basenji behaviour!
I am not suggesting that I was wise, but I didn't know any better and neither did she. These days, with the internet and forums, it's a lot easier to get help if you need it.
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. This is one of the worst ways one can lose a dog, and unfortunately it can happen to anyone. Leashes break (or are chewed in half.....some Basenjis are noted for this) and suddenly the dog is free and enjoying that freedom. Yes, be careful on busy roads, or anywhere for that matter. And a dog does not have to escape the leash, either. My niece, who is a veterinarian, has treated many "hit by car" injuries due to flexi leads. A moment's inattention, a distraction, and your dog is out in the road. Such leashes should be locked off when walking anywhere near a road.
It will take time, both for your family and his sister, to recover from the shock of suddenly losing Tikka. My thoughts are with you....
I agree, dogs tend to name themselves. Regardless of what you decide to name them, a nickname may appear and become the most used name. Some of my dogs went by a shortened version of their registered names, some did not. And of course some got called very uncomplimentary things on occasion!
When I got my first Basenji I was on the rebound from having to put down our family Sheltie. I wanted a dog so badly, and when I saw a Basenji advertised in the paper I just had to have her! Val and I had some good times, but I was in my early twenties, raging hormones and all that, and I came to know that between work and a social life, I wasn't able to provide her with all that she needed. I was still living at home, so she was not being left alone for long periods of time, but once I came to the realization that I couldn't do her justice I started looking for a solution to the problem. Val loved children, and I was fortunate enough to find her a home with 3 kids, whom she adored. I kept in touch, and she was happy to see me when I visited, but she loved those kids and I doubt she would have traded them for a life with me, even though she loved the freedom of going to the barn and accompanying me on rides through the countryside. Her new family had a cottage on an island, where she got the freedom she desired.
Long story short, what we want passionately may not be what we should have. Fortunately I recognized that and was able to rectify my mistake to the benefit of both myself and my dog. Had no appropriate family been available, of course I would have kept Val and done right by her, but I doubt either of us would have been as happy with the result. Word to the wise: wait until the time is right, even if you really, really want a dog now. It may save you both a lot of grief.
Bottom line, it's the internet, it's a forum, people aren't always going to express themselves in a "politically correct" manner. Leaving a forum because one or two people were a little too direct or critical is perhaps being a tad sensitive/defensive. I wouldn't be on any forums if I reacted that way!