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?
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.
“..... I've heard basenjis described as independent dogs - not true! Mine wants to be with me and supervise everything I do.”
Same with my Basenji Pawla - she is my shadow. She follows me and watches everything I do.
They are "independent" dogs in that they like to make their own decisions, but they do like to be with their people.....on their terms. Many have said, think cat in dog disguise. Usually a Basenji will know what you want, but like cats they will often decline to do it because, well, "it has to be my idea, not yours!" Almost as a matter of principle they will decline to do what you ask just to assert their independence. If you can get past that attitude and gain their cooperation, there is little you can't do with a Basenji, including off leash recalls, but the dog has to have decided that you are worthy of their trust and their obedience. Some will give this much easier than others!
I never crated any of my dogs when I was home, and only briefly when they were pups or new to me adults when I was absent. My solutions were various when I couldn't supervise. When Tamu arrived as a pup at our first house she and Lady were In the finished basement with the wood stove blazing in winter, out on the sundeck in summer when I left them alone. At the farm, we had a wired gate to the kitchen, confining them to there and the breakfast nook, or alternately kept in the sunroom on a nice day. In summer at the farm, out in the dog run. But when I was home they had the freedom to follow me around, although access to a few rooms was blocked.
As my dogs got older and more reliable there were less and less off limits areas, until there were none. Pups learn very little when confined. Under your supervision they learn the rules of the house, what is permitted, what is off limits. Yes, you need a safe place initially when you can't attend to them, but that should be kept to a minimum, IMO. The more they are with you and learning, the sooner you have a reliable dog that doesn't get into trouble the minute your back is turned.
If you are going to use a crate during the day you absolutely shouldn't be using it at night too, way too much crate time, so yes, let your dog sleep with you at night and crate when necessary during the day, but not when you can supervise. Dogs don't learn much while in a crate. They learn by being with you.
Our house rules are no upstairs so unfortunately we want to refrain from bringing him into the bedroom.
Well, there is your problem in a nutshell. Pups, particularly Basenji pups, like to be near their humans, and that means beside or in the bed at night. Of course the pup is distressed when you lock him away from you. He may or may not adjust to this, but my advice is take him and his crate to your room at night. Also, he needs to be warm, so if your house is cool, cover the crate to keep out drafts at night.
@RogueCoyote I'm glad you clarified a few things for us. It's early days and I'm sure you will find solutions that work for you. Rogue will settle down and get used to your routine, and in turn you and your family will become accustomed to looking out for her. Yes, as DonC says, it isn't unusual for a Basenji to slip out the door. A short lapse in attention is all it takes, although some will look for the opportunity and others are never a problem. It's encouraging that she didn't take off. When one of ours got out at the farm, they headed to the barn to eat horse poop! At least that was more attractive than the road.
People on this forum will be a good resource as you settle into Basenji ownership, and believe me when I say we all want you to be successful. Enjoy your girl, try not to worry too much, and all our best wishes and support are yours when you need it.
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.
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.
My initial reaction is that this dog has enough to deal with and a change of owner/residence will add stress he doesn't need. Especially at 9 years old. Work at making him comfortable where you are, take a second food/water dish upstairs if necessary, pay attention to his routine in terms of when he needs to go out and accommodate his needs. It will be extra work, true, but don't you think he deserves it?
Puppies can't hold it long, so if they pee inside, it's really not the puppies fault but the owners. It's our job to anticipate when they might need to potty, and take them outside.
Absolutely! And they learn very quickly if there is consistency in taking them outside. My girl Tamu learned in less than two weeks, and she was very young when we got her (7 weeks, which is not recommended, but my 7 year old girl, Lady, pretty much adopted her and taught her manners).
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.
Agree with tanza, the pup should be in the same room as you, either in a kennel or on a pet bed or in your bed (the usual Basenji preference). They want to be with their people, so of course he gets upset when left alone. That said, if you insist on leaving him elsewhere in the house you are sabotaging your chances of getting him to accept it if you go to him while he is fussing about it. You are teaching him not to give up but to keep on howling until you give him positive reinforcement by coming to him.
Gotta say... doodle has free reign here. There are times when she's so comfy she doesn't get up to come to bed. sniff It always makes me feel like she's mad at me. There are other times when she comes to get me and tells me it's time to go to bed.
Our Sunny used to do that. We would be in the living room watching TV, he would go upstairs to the bedroom, then come back halfway down and stare at us. He couldn't have been more obvious about what he wanted. "Time to go to bed!" Basenjis do not like to sleep alone.
Another reason for being unhappy at night is sometimes that the dog is cold, which is why they do so much better sleeping with you!