New homes, new relationships, and new environments are all sources of potential stress for your new Basenji. This stress can manifest in his behavior in many ways. For example, he may become clingy or choose a particular family member as his ‘favorite person’. Other anxiety indicators include potty accidents—even for a B considered housetrained—or conflict between your new B and established pack members (even though the dogs seemed perfectly compatible at the initial meet and greet). What to do? Provide calm, confident reassurance. Through your behavior in the moment. And through preparation before your new B’s arrival. And, if matters persist, by getting the professional help your dog needs.
In preparing for your new dog, start by preparing yourself. Bringing home a new pack member is an exciting and joyful experience. For well-intended reasons, we all want our dogs to feel at home—the sooner the better. This leads to natural inclinations to shower our newest pack member with love and affection. But this behavior can itself become a source of your dog’s anxiety. Why? In adjusting to change, dogs march best to their own drummers—and the best-intended efforts to speed them along can raise their anxiety and slow their adjustment. Said another way, LESS is best.
- Allow your B to warm up to his new surroundings at his own pace. Provide for his basic needs—food, water, and a bed/crate/safe place.
- Remember that dogs love routine. So quickly establish routines for feeding, bed time, and frequent potty breaks (at least until he has associated ‘potty’ with ‘outdoors’).
- Build trust among all household members by being positive and consistent with the entire pack—especially its newest member.