Basenji Community, we need your help!! As many of us know, basenjis are strong pack animals and often have issues with separation anxiety. Recently I've been communicating with a family who just got a new basenji puppy, and is having tough time coping with what I think is the pup's extreme separation anxiety. This family has had 5 basenjis in the past so they know the breed quite well, but they've never seen behavior like this before. So, we need your help!! Here's what's going on:
The puppy is now about 16 weeks old, purchased from a responsible breeder. His new family is trying to crate-train him (as they've done with their 5 previous basenjis), and he loves going in the crate, eating in it, etc. when his humans are around. However, as soon as the humans leave, the pup gets frantic in his crate and screams incessantly for hours on end, and often the panic continues even for 20-30 minutes after the family returns home. The family has tried everything that the vet, breeder, and friends have suggested -- putting him in the crate with a blanket on top, giving lots of toys and chewies to make it a positive experience when they leave, etc., but nothing seems to work yet. Recently they started leaving him out of his crate when gone for just a few hours at a time, and at first he behaved well but now he's begun having potty "accidents" as soon as his owners leave, regardless of whether he just went or not. My feeling is that the "accidents" are just another symptom of the pup being anxious about his owners leaving, but what would be most helpful is to hear what you think, and any possible solutions.
The bottom line is that all of these behaviors together are frustrating this little pup's owners to the point where they're just not sure what to do anymore, and they really need some help!! Any input you could provide (please respond back by commenting at the bottom of this blog post) would be wonderful.