Stress – Our Experiences

basenjis_stressed_stormStress signals are numerous and vary by dog. Some are subtle. Others are obvious. As part of developing your relationship with your besty, make an effort to learn and recognize his stress indicators.

Physical signs of stress include:

  • Panting (unless he is hot or has been running)
  • Changes in eye appearance, including eye widening; dilated or contracted pupils; or observability of the whites of his eyes
  • A stiff posture
  • A droopy or tucked tail

Behavioral indicators include:

  • Self-mutilation
  • Inappropriate urination or defecation
  • Destructiveness
  • Howling

Identifying specific stressors can be challenging because each dog has his own triggers. Nonetheless, there are steps we can take to reduce stress.

  • Establish routines (both time and procedural) for feeding and exercise. Stick to them.
  • Conduct short training sessions throughout the day (begin with basic obedience). This affirms with your Basenji you are in charge and makes you more predictable to him.
  • Establish a safe space where your B can retreat when you have company or workers in your home. A different room, his crate or even an X-pen can serve as his safe space.
  • Diffuse or spray calming pheromones or essential oils such as  lavender oil.
  • When leaving your Basenji home alone, tuck him into his crate or pen—and locate it in the space where he spends most of his day with you.
  • Provide soothing white noise when you leave him home alone. Even when you are home, consider playing a calm or light-hearted television or radio station. Silence can be nerve-wracking to your Basenji, who listens constantly for signs of prey as well as threats. Music to sooth your four-legged friend is available at Through a Dog’s Ear.

Additional Resources on Stress