Any pet should be considered a member of the family, which implies taking care of it and respecting it. Most people tend to opt for dogs since they are usually the most loyal, faithful, and affectionate animals.
Just like humans, dogs also have feelings that we can notice thanks to their body language or the behaviours they show.
Keep in mind that these animals are similar to babies and young children. They may feel sad and abandoned when they have been left home alone for a few hours. However, do all dogs experience that feeling? In this article, the topic will be based on the Basenjis.
Perhaps you know that the Basenjis are considered one of the oldest breeds that still exist today. It is a dog that can be easily identified thanks to its physical appearance. However, it also stands out for its personality.
Basenjis are independent dogs, but at the same time, they are affectionate and attached to their owners and members of their human families. They are not really interested in getting along with other people or animals.
Due to the strong bond with their loved ones, it is normal to think that these dogs do not love being alone at home. In fact, like most breeds, Basenjis can suffer from separation anxiety.
Can a Basenji Be Left Alone?
We have just said that Basenjis can suffer from separation anxiety. We must know what this disorder is about before answering that question.
Separation anxiety is nothing more than a state of anxiety that dogs suffer when they feel abandoned. It usually manifests itself when the canine is left alone at home for many hours.
That usually happens a lot in homes where the owners of these animals have to go to work every day full time and have no other option but to leave their pets alone at home.
Separation anxiety is something that both a Basenji and most breeds can suffer from. Therefore, if you have another breed of dog besides a Basenji, make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent them from suffering from this disorder.
Remember that Basenjis are very affectionate dogs with their owners and their human family members. They need to spend a lot of time with them during the day, either playing or just being next to them on the couch or in bed watching TV.
You could train your Basenji to be more independent and to be able to stay alone for a while, but it will still need enough attention to feel loved.
How Long Can I Leave My Basenji Home Alone?
Although Basenjis have a certain level of independence, that is not enough to leave them alone for a full working day.
Many people make the mistake of leaving their pets home alone for more than 8 hours. That is terrible for these animals, especially if they are not trained and prepared for it.
A well-trained Basenji can stay alone for 6-8 hours a day, but if it is not trained, then it will only be able to stand alone for 4-5 hours.
Whatever the case, if your Basenji is left alone for more hours than it can handle, it will develop inappropriate behaviours such as making annoying sounds, trying to escape (they are experts at that), running amok, digging in the garden, scratching (walls, doors, floors, etc.), and more.
This type of behaviour is common when a dog, regardless of breed, is suffering from separation anxiety.
How to Help My Basenji to Combat This Disorder?
There are several preventive measures that you can consider when leaving your Basenji alone for many hours:
Exercise It Long Enough
Remember that this breed of dog is very active and needs a lot of daily exercise. A couple of walks a day will keep it healthy and happy.
The idea of exercising it is with the aim of tiring it. A tired Basenji will be able to stay alone longer since it will just want to lie down resting or sleeping without doing anything else.
Ask Someone to Help Take Care of It in Your Absence
There should be no problem when such a dog lives in a multi-person household. If you are the owner of the Basenji and you have to go out to work every day, you can ask another member of your family who usually stays at home every day to take care of it for you.
Make sure you let it know everything your Basenji needs in your absence, whether feeding it, letting it go outside to relieve itself, playing with it, exercising it, etc.
In case you live alone, or no member of your family can take care of your pet, then you should hire a dog sitter.
Give It Its Favourite Toys
Basenjis are curious and playful dogs that will want to play at all times as long as they have energy. You can leave your dog its favourite toys so that it does not get bored in your absence. The toys should keep it busy for a couple of hours.
Train It to Increase the Number of Hours It Can Stay Alone
It is always important to educate and train your Basenji so that it can be left alone for 6-8 hours instead of 5 hours or less.
Keep in mind that this type of training can take a long time, so you must be patient during the process. We will talk a little more in-depth about the training in the next point.
Leave the TV or Radio On
One of the things that make a Basenji feels totally alone and distraught is silence. As long as it is not noise, any sound will make your dog not feel alone at home. You can leave the radio or TV on so that it can hear the voices of the people on the radio and TV shows.
Similarly, Basenjis enjoy music. The music will relax them and keep them calm during the time you are not at home.
How to Train a Basenji?
An untrained Basenji can only stay alone for about 4-5 hours at a time. This is not a lot of time for people who usually work all day. While it is not recommended to leave these canines alone all day, we can at least train them to be able to be home alone for 8 hours.
It is essential to provide your pet with obedience training before knowing the most effective method to make your Basenji more independent. This type of training is essential not only for these situations but for everything.
The first thing you should know is that you should train your Basenji when it is a puppy. A puppy is in the learning stage, so it is easier for it to learn whatever you try to teach it. That doesn’t mean that adults can’t learn but keep in mind that it will take more time to teach them.
The most effective training method to create independence in our Basenji is to go in and out the door. You must know that dogs have certain instincts to sense the presence of their owners when they are out of sight.
This method will let your dog know that you will be back at a certain time every time you leave the house.
The first thing you should do is go out the door and walk a few meters. Wait a couple of minutes before going back into the house.
You can increase that distance and time as the days go by. The idea of this is to create independence in your Basenji and to be able to stay alone for more minutes without worrying.
Once your dog is comfortable with that, it’s time to increase the difficulty. After leaving home:
- Go to your vehicle and enter it.
- Make sure you close the door hard enough for your Basenji to hear. This will get your canine used to the fact that you will walk out the door, get in the car, and leave every day.
- Once you get in the car, get out and go home again.
- Repeat this process for several days.
The next step is to do the same thing, but this time, start the car, drive a bit, and come back. Once again, this will get your Basenji used to hearing and feeling the vehicle’s engine every time you leave the house.
You can increase the number of minutes it takes to return home with the vehicle each day.
This training is so effective that every time you leave the house and start the car, your dog will know that you will be back soon and will never think that you have abandoned it.
What Should You Not Do to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Basenji?
- You must never punish your dog for its inappropriate behaviour.
- You should not use medication to calm your Basenji as it is not a cure, but a temporary solution and sometimes can cause side effects depending on your pet’s body.
- Do not leave it locked up in a small place, as that will only cause more anxiety.