Basenji Companions

Devoted to Basenjis as Pets

Training Your Basenji To Be Loose In The House When You Are Gone

(includes “Basenji-proofing your home”!)

By Betsy Polglase, updated 2013

Basenjis can frequently be rained slowly to be loose in the house when you are gone. There are a number of things that you can do to make it nicer for them when you leave:

•    Put shoes up on top of things or hang them on shoe-hanger bags in the closet, and make sure the closet is firmly shut!!!! We have Houdinis in our midst!
•    Hide the tissues.
•    Hide anything plastic such as ball point pens.
•    Pick up dirty underwear (actually, clean underwear as well.) And make sure it is behind a firmly shut door.
•    Put the trash under the sink in a cabinet or up on a sturdy stool.
•    Hide any cleanser, antifreeze, rat poison or chemicals in high cabinets.
•    Don’t OWN anything that has foam rubber in it.
•    Put boxes on chairs so they don’t use the chairs as stepladders to climb up onto the table (or tilt the chairs up against the table).
•    Keep the toilet seat down, and don’t put chemicals in the toilet that could poison them. Or better still, keep the bathroom door shut. This will keep them out of the toothpaste, or from chewing the tooth brush, bath brush, towels or face cloths.
•    Leave the radio or TV playing for companionship.
•    Leave a sterilized bone or Kong toy stuffed with cream cheese, peanut butter or cheese for them to chew while you are gone.
•    Leave them loose in the whole house, if possible. (If you confine them to one room, some dogs feel that this is simply a “big crate.”)
•    Leave a “worry bag” hanging over the edge of a table or chair. (A “worry bag” is any old canvas or other heavy bag that they can pull off with a satisfying “thump!” and chew on when they are anxious. Be sure to dutifully chew them out when you get home so that they will think they scored a good “prize” to chew.)
•    Make sure you adequately potty them before you leave. If you have a Fanconi dog or a dog who has to be left alone a long time, consider getting a mid-day dog walker or putting in a doggie door so they can go outside on their own – or coming home yourself or lunch, if possible. Papers can be left on top of plastic sheets for Fanconi dogs to pee on, if they are paper-trained, or a very large, stainless steel paint-mixing tray can be found at places like Home Depot, I am told. Papers can be put in these, as well.
•    Give them a command when you leave, “Watch the house!” Believe it or not, it gives them something to do.

Do these several times a day. Don’t make a big deal of either leaving or coming back. Start very slowly and don’t go to the next step until the dog is comfortable with the step you are on . (This is important! You are working to convince your dog that you will always come back—VERY important with an adopted dog.) Go out the door, and immediately come back in again.
1.    Go out the door, walk a feet and come back in again.
2.    Go out the door, walk to your car, open the car door, close it and come back in again.
3.    Go out the door, walk to your car, open the car door, get in it, get out again, close the door and come back in again.
4.    Go out the door, walk to your car and get in, drive around the block, get out and come back in again.
5.    Gradually increase the time you are gone.
6.    Go out the door, walk to the mailbox and come back in again.
Once your dog is comfortable with your leaving, with the assurance that you WILL return, he will probably go from sunspot to sunspot during the day, napping. If all else fails, consider getting him a buddy of the opposite sex for companionship, and train them both to be loose in the house alone. This almost always works for dogs who have serious problems with being left alone.

Copyright © 2013 by Betsy Polglase

All rights reserved.

One comment on “Training Your Basenji To Be Loose In The House When You Are Gone

  1. Sarah McMahan
    December 2, 2017

    I’ve tried it all, including crying, praying and everything the websites suggest. But Benji (female) can unlock her kennel when I’m gone. She has destroyed the blinds on the front door. Today she climbed the kitchen counter, a bookcase table to pull things off the wall, pooped, peed, etc. I am at the end of my proverbial rope! Have had other dogs, never a one like this!!! Sneaky, brilliantly intelligent, curious, adorable, funny (she can locomote with two balls in her mouth!), and a living horror when left alone. Help!!!

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