Can a Basenji Be Left Alone?

Pets belong to a special part of many people’s lives. They provide all kinds of emotional benefits regardless of whether it is a dog, cat, rodent, bird, snake, etc. Each of these animals has distinctive characteristics that allow them to adapt to certain families better. 

As we all know, dogs are the most popular and common pets in many homes. These animals not only stand out for their physical appearance but also for their ability, personality, behavior, and temperament. 

There is a wide variety of dog breeds that differ from each other due to their distinctive characteristics. In this article, we will talk about the Basenjis. 

The Basenji is one of the oldest dogs in the world, originally from Africa. It is characterized by being an elegant and athletic canine of small size. The dogs of this breed are known to be curious, independent, and affectionate, especially with their owners and members of their human family.

They are a little more reserved with children, strangers, and other animals. In fact, they may not be the best option for families with young children. 

Basenjis are very active, playful, and mischievous. These dogs can develop destructive behaviors if you don’t provide them with daily exercise (for short periods). However, this dog can also show this type of behavior if it is left alone at home since, like many breeds, it can suffer from separation anxiety. 

What is Basenji Separation Anxiety? 

It is essential to know about this disorder before determining if these types of dogs can be left alone. Separation anxiety is a behavioral problem suffered by some dogs’ breeds when they are left alone at home or separated from their owners for long periods.

In fact, some canines become anxious simply by losing eye contact with their loved ones. However, that will depend exclusively on each dog’s specific personality, in this case, Basenjis. 

This disorder affects not only Basenjis but also many other breeds of dogs, so it is essential to know the most appropriate measures that we must follow to reduce it. 

It is also vital that we know a little about some of the causes that generate separation anxiety in dogs. One of them occurs when the canine is left alone at home (or anywhere else) for several hours.

Traumatic situations and experiences can also generate a state of anxiety in this breed. Another common cause is the change in family routine which often affects the emotional state of these canines. 

Can a Basenji Really Be Left Home Alone? 

Basenjis are excellent dogs for owners with no previous experience. These canines can be happy living together with their loved ones in a house, apartment, field, etc. 

Although they are dogs that prefer the company of their owners or members of their human family on many occasions, they can be left alone as long as they are properly trained. Generally, they could be alone for up to 8 hours. 

Now, if Basenjis have not received the necessary training to be home alone for a while, they may develop destructive behaviors as they tend to suffer from separation anxiety, just like other dog breeds.

Therefore, it is recommended that they be trained to remain in crates while their owners are not at home. That way, they will be safe and will not cause any problems in the house. 

If you live with several members of your family, you can leave your canine with one of them while you go to work or study. In the same way, you can ask a neighbor to help you take care of your Basenji while you are away, although this option is not recommended if you work every day. 

Basenjis need exercise and training every day as they can easily get bored. You could take them out for a walk 2 or 3 times a day as that will allow them to live a healthy and happy life. 

Basenji Training to Reduce Separation Anxiety 

We have already discussed that these dogs can adapt to being alone at home for 8 hours while you are working or studying. However, this is only possible through proper training, which can take a long time.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that you must train your Basenji while it is a puppy since when it becomes an adult, it will be more challenging to teach it. 

One of the most effective ways to gradually accustom our Basenji to being alone in our absence is through the method of immediately exiting and entering the door. 

This method consists of a series of steps that involve certain variations and a single constant which is “walking out the door.” This process should be done several times a day so that your Basenji gradually gets used to it. 

The first step is to go out the door, walk 1 or 2 meters and go back inside. You must increase the difficulty as it progresses. For example, now you can walk out the door and go to your car. At that moment, open the vehicle door, close it, and go back into the house. Now you must do the same, but this time you have to get in the car. 

The next step is to drive around the block for a few minutes and then go back to the house. Each day you can increase the time of absence so that your dog gets used to being alone longer. This training will let you pet it knows that you will be coming home soon. 

We can complement the previous method using the following two types of training. 

  • Obedience training. 
  • Crate training. 

Basenji Obedience Training to Reduce Separation Anxiety 

Teaching your dog the basic commands will allow it to build good habits progressively. That means that it will be difficult to engage in unwanted behaviors outside the range of what you have taught it. 

Teach it to sit, stay, or lie down somewhere in the house while you are not with it. You can do that through these commands: 

“Sit” 

Hold a treat in your hand to get your Basenji’s attention. Move it slowly over its head to make it sit automatically. Quickly say “yes” and reward it with the treat. 

“Stay” 

Command your dog to sit and then say “stay” so that it does not move from its place. Take a step back and say “yes” and praise it if your dog has stayed in the same place. If not, say “no” in a firm tone of voice and repeat the process until it suits. 

You have to teach your dog to be respectful and polite to you, the members of its human family, and even the guests who come to your house. Never pet or praise it when it does something that may be annoying to other people. All this will allow your dog to be more independent and have confidence in itself. 

Crate Training to Reduce Separation Anxiety 

Place the crate in a suitable place in the house for your Basenji. This space has to be where family members spend time. Also, make sure that the site you choose has perfect temperatures for your Basenji; that is, it should not be so cold but not so hot. 

The training consists of accustoming your Basenji to stay inside the crate for short periods and little by little increase that time. Place inside the crate things that make your canine happy such as its favorite toy, a bed or blanket, treats, etc. 

Once your dog is used to entering the crate, you can start giving it its favorite foods. That is very important since, as we know, any type of dog loves to eat.

Therefore, if your Basenji eats inside the crate, it will associate it with a pleasant moment and always want to return there. Make sure always to keep the crate door open so your dog doesn’t lose confidence. 

If your dog has already gotten used to eating inside the crate, you can close the door. Every time it finishes eating, open the door, so your Basenji can come out with complete confidence. That will allow it to enter without fear the next time. 

Progressively increase the time your pet stays inside the crate. That will allow your Basenji to be protected and confident in the moments when you are not at home. 

Things to Avoid When Leaving Your Basenji Alone 

When you leave your Basenji alone, you need to consider spending time with it before you go. The absence of the owner causes sadness and anxiety in dogs. So if you leave without saying goodbye, they will feel vulnerable and depressed. 

It is recommended that before going to work, you take your Basenji for a long walk, whether on a beach or in a park. It will make the dog feel satisfied and tired, so you can go home with it and leave it there. That way, you can go quietly to fulfill your work hours. 

Be sure to leave your pet several toys, a bowl of water, food, and its bed. While waiting, the Basenji will play until it gets tired and can even eat and nap.