Sorry you are having difficulties. I have taken in several fosters with CKD. I've had a couple who were at Stage 3 for 5+ years - and I didn't put them on special KD food. KD food is often not appropriate. One wouldn't touch food that was high (or 'normal') in fat. He started out here extremely anorexic and gained 50% of his original body weight on low fat weight management food (and still looked lean - he was so thin!). I did always feed wet food (though I had to be a bit flexible with the seriously anorexic boy, sometimes starting a meal out with a couple of bites of desiccated food).
Do you have a copy of lab results? What was the phosphorus level? Have you considered a second opinion or a visit with an internal med specialist? They should have more familiarity with CKD and, hopefully, more successful experience.
@zande Interesting. I've never watched when we've heard the 'alert' barks. I might have to leave a camera recording 24/7 to catch this (thankfully, very few alerts these days...). I've previously noted that it is single - and a lot easier on the ears than a 'real' bark.
Thanks for checking with basenji people regarding suitability of basenjis as therapy dogs! While I have known of a couple who were used as therapy dogs, as a rescue volunteer, I've also taken in basenjis from families relinquishing them out of fear for the safety of their special needs children. Either seek an adult (over two years old) with the right personality or a carefully bred pup whose parents have the right personality. For the pup, correct early training is very important. Through my volunteer activities, I have had many opportunities to see the results of less than ideal early training.
I hope they are successful in finding the right dog for their family.
I have fostered many basenjis, ~200, from many different backgrounds and have b-sat intact males and females. I regularly have more than ten basenjis running together. Some seem to prefer pals of the same sex. I've had to be more careful with some males together, but the same applies to females. The ones more challenging were larger, so my experience has been that more males were a little more difficult to integrate than females since the males tend to be larger. Perhaps their slightly larger size made it easier for them to intimidate prior owners and set up a behavior pattern that was difficult to change.
To minimize the potential for issues, they are not left together unsupervised until it is quite apparent that they know our rules - no one gets to be top dog. No fighting allowed. Even when they are playing, I end the fun before it gets out of hand. I have seen many times when a couple started to get too rough. They do not forget quickly, so I try to make sure no one has a bad experience particularly prior to having lots of good interactions.
Note that all of this may go out the window if one gets sick. I have had fosters who were fine in adoptive homes for a year, when suddenly attacks started. As one example, the attackee ended up having lymphoma and had passed within half a year of the first attack. One really just has to constantly be vigilant because the game can change at any moment. That's part of the fun with basenjis.
Like others, I am not a huge fan of dog parks and have had an unpleasant experience with an unpleasant GSD owner who felt he should kick all three of my dogs who were trying to get his on-leash GSD to play in the off-leash park. I still value dog socialization, though. There are other ways. You might visit a local dog club to meet owners who might agree to go on walks with you and your b in neutral territory. You can walk in the area of a dog park and again, perhaps meet an owner who is willing to go for walks. After making friends with a buddy outside of the park, meeting at the park when there are few other dogs around for off leash play may make the park intro pretty simple and less intimidating.
Lots of good input already. My thoughts are that he needs confidence building. Very short (5 minute) training sessions to work on commands like sit, stay, leave it, look at me, come, touch, etc., a few times a day, definitely with every meal, should help. Once he does a command reliably with you, have the kids work on the same command. This gives everyone a clear reason to praise him while building communication. Children can bring a lot of energy into a home which can be pretty intimidating when one is a little guy recently separated from mom and littermates. Having them participate in his training in a supervised manner will help them to appear less scary.
I prefer to leave soft rock or sitcom TV on almost all of the time. It helps to avoid a lonely silence while taking the attention away from complete focus on whatever I'm doing. It also masks the sounds of school kids walking by, squirrels running through the trees, other dogs, etc. If I don't leave on something to break the silence, my guys hang around on edge, waiting for the slightest noise to spur them all to jump up and run to the window with hackles raised.
I have little squeaky 'hearts' that I kept from destroyed toys that I can take out with me. The squeaky noise gets them to run to me (some are blow-through and can be very compact).
Have you tried real meat as treats? One of my formerly anorexic basenjis liked desiccated chicken (I never understood the appeal of 'cardboard' like meat to him). Is there anything special that he really likes (attention or toy, etc.) that might be considered 'a treat' to him? To reinforce the recall, a treat can be given every time the toy squeaker is used at home in a controlled environment so that it may still work when you are out at the park. Just save it for "really need the recall" times, though squeaking it when you are back at your car and can safely give him a treat would be a good idea.