• If you haven't read my most recent post about our new little girl Basenji, take a look here:

    Otherwise you probably know the story….

    So now we are finding it hard to make her go #2 because of her getting majorly distracted....
    When we used to take her out, she would want one of two things:

    1. to crawl near my legs and warm up, because she doesn't need/want to go

    2. go to the bathroom then resort to #1

    #1 hasn't been so prominent any more, now she is getting so distracted by wanting to run anywhere but where she used to use the restroom.

    We have her go right outside our front door (we live on the top floor so its not on the foot of our doorstep...) near a few trees...but now she just runs around the corner and keeps trying to drag me to random places to sniff or see random things. I'm wondering what the crazy change in behavior would be from? I mean yes, she is 8 weeks old, and they Basenji's are very "Cat -like" in their demeanor of changing their minds about what they want to do....but I just found it weird that she is so random after only a week of ownership to want to just not use the restroom.

    We make sure that we are out there for a good 20 minutes when we know she needs to pee or poo, but sometimes its just inevitable that she's so distracted that she doesn't want to do anything but run around. We are diligent with her potty training and consistent, but this is really starting to be a large obstacle.

    Any suggestions?

  • Again, I am going to remark that 8 wks is a bit young IMO to send home a puppy. However, what did your breeder use? Did the breeder take the pups out? Did they use newspapers? Litterbox? And welcome to the world of puppies and housetraining. Advise?… none other then you stay out with her till she goes and praise, praise, praise. Distracted comes with the territory. If the weather is too bad, you might want to look at trying to litterbox train. That said, it is no easier then taking them outside.

    Has this puppy's sire and dam been DNA tested for Fanconi? If not you should order the the cheek swab test from www.offa.org and do the test. If you want to learn more about Fanconi go to www.basenji.org (Parent club website).

  • Haha, welcome to the world of puppy-dom. Sounds like she is getting used to her surroundings and wants to get adventerous and explore a little more. Take her for a short walk and tell her to go potty. When she potty's make a big deal of it and give her a treat she only gets when she goes. That way maybe she will think, ok if I potty then I get a yummy treat! I can imagine it would be frustrating living on the top floor of an apartment though or else I would say take her out every 15 mins or so.

  • I'm with Tanza. You have a 8 or almost 9 week old pup ? Have you spoken further with your breeder ? I'll also second Tanza's statement that 8 weeks is very early to be home - further pups don't even remotely get on potty schedule for many many more weeks , and not bombproof for months. Puppy this young pee all the time, and need to be out constantly. Everytime they play, minutes after they drink water, and they are very easily distracted. Be patient. Her behavior is totally normal - this is puppyhood.

  • Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I think what's driving our constant "new parent paranoia" is that we have received so much feedback telling us that we never should have gotten a puppy so young. We met with the breeder multiple times, and were led to believe that 8 weeks is normal. either way, she is with us now, and we would be devastated without her, so we want to do the best we humanly can. We are extra fearful now that because she is so young, if we make a single mistake it will have a terrible long lasting effect (what if she never learns to poop outside because we let her explore??) We love her and want her to have the best life possible, and we are kind of upset with ourselves when there is an accident. (a personal failure because we are inexperienced?)

    We are actually happy to spend a lot of time with her outside (despite the Chicago winter) however our breeder and others warned us about letting her walk too much at this young age, because her bones and muscles are still developing. We have been capping the walks/play outside time to 15 minute intervals, but maybe we should be going longer. She shows no signs of being even remotely tired - she will be a runner some day!

    We're just struggling to find the happy puppy/relaxed puppy parents balance. Thanks for all the experienced responses and words of encouragement!

    Puppy-mom to Waffles!

  • Hi Sara,
    I haven't had a little puppy for 8 years, so I'm a little out of practice. 🙂 Had the weather changed in Chicago over the week- is it warmer? As you may know, basenjis hate the wet and cold. Even here in SC, when the dogs perceive it to be "cold" out (i.e. 40 degrees F), they'll suddenly stop as if there's a booby trap wire in front of them! Now that she's been around her surroundings for a week, it sounds like her curiosity is kicking in. And again, I have no idea when their sense of smell starts to pick up… but perhaps she's smelling for the other dogs in the neighborhood?

    Basenjis are unique in that they can hunt by both sight and smell.

    Whatever your buzz word or phrase is, I'd be sure to keep coaxing and repeating this phrase as soon as you go outside, until Waffles does her business. Then give "high praises" and the yummy treat that krunzer speaks of, and then continue with her exercise.

    Not to be too intrusive... but have you tried taking the stairs with little Waffles? At this point, she probably wouldn't make it to the exit before going potty, but she might enjoy the exercise on the way back up. I don't know what floor you live on.... maybe do only a couple sets of stairs at first, and then switch to the elevator? When I lived on the 4th floor of a hotel with my basenjis, they just loved doing the stair circuit to go outside! The two of them did sound like a herd of elephants sometimes! (And since I'm out of puppy practice, I don't know if she is too young to be climbing stairs, but it may be fun for her!)

    Hugs and roos! (P.S. Does she roo?)

  • @Patty It's like someone heard our cries for help and sent us a couple of 50 degree days here in the windy city. Probably why Waffles is so excited to be outside, (i feel the same way!) We are also in a very dog friendly neighborhood, we usually encounter one or two every time we go outside during peak hours (3am is our only peaceful potty time!) She is only just now really getting into treats, so i am hoping that as she develops a taste for them, she will start being more motivated.

    We have tried to go up the stairs a couple times when we aren't in a hurry like we are coming down. She is interested and seems to want to climb them, but is a little too timid. She gives a half-hearted attempt and then just looks at you to say "ok, i tried, you can carry me up now!" (**we actually don't have an elevator, so it's always stairs. our fitness level is increasing daily) 🙂

    And she doesn't roo! (at least not yet. Her parents were very quiet though, so we will have to see!)

  • 8 weeks is early, but not impossible. I think it just takes some reminding that she is being perfectly normal. Cuddling up with a few puppy books (Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell and How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford are some to start) will ease your nerves about random puppy behavior. I think in the first few weeks it's natural to question everything, I know I did when I brought my first puppy home.

    I'm still surprised your breeder told you this is an acceptable age. This breeder wasn't registered with the BCOA, nor is the Kennel name listed on OFA (or at least not that I saw). Which is concerning because this suggusts a lack of basic, rudementray health tests for your puppy. Test that should be in place for breedings whether the dogs are for show or for pet homes. Tanza has aready suggested the OFA link to see if the parents are registered - please look up the parents of Waffles on the database. If they arn't in it, they haven't been officially tested for Fanconi, hips, eyes etc. If the breeder has not taken on the responsibilty to preform what a responsible basenji breeder would do for their pups - you would want to get Waffles tested for Fanconi as soon as possible.

    I know it's a bit of a overwhelming time - the first few weeks. But she really will begin to get a rythem and settle down in the next month and a half. All of them do with gudiance. 😃

  • Thanks so much for the book recommendations!! I will check the library down the street tomorrow to see if they have them. Her first appt with our vet here is in a couple weeks, so we will make sure to check akc, as well as bring up this testing that you have recommended

  • My pleasure. I found the books really helped me a lot - really eased my nerves. Both books feature positive reinforcement training which is fundamental to Basenjis. If they arn't at your library, you can get them used on Amazon for a couple bucks.

    Fanconi testing is not a procedure done at the vet. This is a very specific disease which is prevalent in Basenjis so you must order a special swab test from OFA (https://secure.offa.org/cart.html) Fanconi is the second option on the page. We now have a direct genetic test so you can be confident in the results. I don't know about the medical history in this bloodline - Tanza or one of the more Eastern breeders may have experience with Waffles' lines and could tell you how they have fared as far as health. It's helpful - if you want more information about her health and temperament linage to tell us the registered name of her parents. I'm sure someone - as many of us are related by Basneji may end up being your extended family. 😉

    Keep at it! She is very cute and will be well worth the effort.

  • @mdean8:

    Thanks so much for the book recommendations!! I will check the library down the street tomorrow to see if they have them. Her first appt with our vet here is in a couple weeks, so we will make sure to check akc, as well as bring up this testing that you have recommended

    Fanconi testing is not done by a Vet, it is done by you. You order the cheek swab. You should read about health concerns in our breed at www.basenji.org and why testing is so important. DNA testing for Fanconi should be done before breeding, however if not, the pups need to be tested. I am not familar with this breeder and you will find that almost all responsible breeders know of know of each other and their Basenjis.

    While 8 wks is what would be considered the "National" average to send puppies home, I don't believe that a Basenji is mentally ready at 8wks. That is of course unless you are an experienced Basenji owner or you have another dog in the home.

    That said, not impossible, just a few more challenges. Also, again do you know if her breeder used newspaper? You might want to use it in the house until she is a bit older as a "just in case".

  • Don't get too hung up by the 'too early' - I'm one of them but it's only to explain to you the possible reason behind her behaviours. You are now her parents and she can learn from you. You obviously are having success so well done.

    There's no real answer to the getting her to poop if she just won't go. But back to patience and when she does go praise her inordinately and also use a word for poo so she can learn what you want her to do. It's useful to have a different word meaning pee to the one meaning poo.

    She is bound to get excited outside especially if its mild and windy!!!

  • I don't know about limiting her walking time outside, definately don't start running her until she is over a year old, that put stresses on their bones and joints and can cause problems. But walking around outside and playing with her inside should not be a problem, unless you have to drag her. She is going to run and play inside or out. 15 mins is great but if she is not tired or has not gone potty I would stay outside longer with her if you want to. Yes, maybe try the newspaper or puppy pads inside, for a just-in-case measure. Have fun with your baby though and don't worry so much about 'not doing it correctly' I am sure you are doing just fine.

  • Basenjis are very clever. They will soon (very soon) learn to solve almost any problem to their satisfaction. When Spencer was a puppy, he was a condo dog, so I would have to take him out or walk him. He immediately learned to hold it until he was ready to go in, then he would run and take care of business and lead us happily back inside. On his terms. Otherwise, as soon as he would do what I brought him out to do, I'd want to go back inside while he still had a lot of exploring left to do. Yep, they train us. They're smart. Very smart.

    Spencer came home with me at eight weeks, too. It really is too young. He needed another month with his mother and his littermates, and your little girl probably did, too. But you have her now, and it sounds like you're doing a great job! She might need a little more patience and she might be a bit needier and more insecure than if she had gotten that extra month. But it'll all work out. We live and learn. (She'll teach you.) 🙂

    She's adorable. Enjoy her!

  • Two things have worked for me: 1) Mixing a SMALL amount of plain Bran cereal with lots of water in their meals to stimulate excretion right after meals and create a schedule. I've only done this with unhousebroken adult mill fosters so far, to coax their tummies into a morning/evening-right-after-meals schedule so they'd go outside and not in their cages. While it worked really well (all 3 dogs I tried it on had "Potty A-ha Moments within 48 hours) I'd be really cautious trying this on a puppy so young. Definitely add plenty of water, otherwise the fibre can ball up and cause constipation or even a blockage.
    2) After meals soak a very soft cloth in luke warm (body temp) water, ring it out well and very gently swab the pup's business end. This simulate the mother licking his/her anus to encourage excretion. Then take the pup outside. Again, be careful the water isn't too hot–obviously, you don't want to scald him/her. Also, be very careful about getting puppy's bottom wet and then taking it outside in winter--make sure she's dry to avoid frostbite. This worked on my elderly girl who hated winter so much she'd try to hold it for days.

    I feel your pain, having once housebroken two dogs from a 22nd floor condo. I felt like I lived in the elevator for a while. Be patient!

    Just as an FYI, it might be wise to avoid any loud, sudden noises around your puppy like shouting or vacum cleaners until she's 12 weeks of age. While I've never researched it (never had a pup that young) I've heard they imprint fear between 8-10 weeks of age. It might be something to research or maybe one of the folks on the forum would know more...

  • @ownedbyspencer:

    But you have her now, and it sounds like you're doing a great job! She might need a little more patience and she might be a bit needier and more insecure than if she had gotten that extra month. But it'll all work out. We live and learn. (She'll teach you.) 🙂

    She's adorable. Enjoy her!

    Thank you, Spencer's owner, for reassuring this young couple about their little baby. As you said, everything will work out in the end, and she will teach you! 🙂

    For the Fanconi testing, it's important to get it done, so that as she gets older, you can monitor her for symptoms. Breeders that are on this forum are very passionate about the Fanconi testing, because they do everything in their power not to propagate this horrible disease. Many owners that are on here have had dogs inflicted with Fanconi, so they, too, want you to get the testing done, for your peace of mind.

    I hope today was an even better day for you and Waffles! 🙂

  • Yes, the Fanconi testing is very important. Your little girl will probably not be affected, and that will ease your mind. If she is likely to be affected, you will know and can get out in front of the disease. Early detection and management is so important. If your breeder tested the parents, that will give you a good idea. If not– or even so-- you can test your puppy. It's such a small expenditure for such a big benefit!

  • We will be buying the Fanconi kit from the site you have all recommended, so thanks for that information…much appreciated.

    Good news is that she is understanding her routine more and more every day. She hasn't had an accident in the house for a few days now...unfortunately we found day-old poop in the corner a couple days ago from one time, but that hasn't happened again since. We make sure that she goes #2 outside when we know she needs to go (i.e. after she eats a good amount of her food).

    @ krunzer - When we take her out she loves to run naturally out of excitement, at least for a little bit. Our walks don't exceed 15-20 minutes and we make sure to stay out there until business is taken care of.

    @YodelMa - you have some awesome advice regarding B pup's having bathroom issues from digestion/eating, but she has been doing well actually from her diet.

    Anyone have the best method to get them to stop doing something (you can probably guess chewing is one of them)? We usually try to get her to chew on a toy when she begins to chew on a pillow or something she shouldn't be on. I'm just curious what would be the best method (clapping, saying "no," tapping on the nose, etc)?

    Thanks again everyone, you've all made this experience much more comfortable since we've joined the forum!!!

  • I have used puppy training pads with all mine till at least age 6 months, by then they are more focused and likely to do their business outside. We always leave a pad in our bathroom in case one of the 6 needs to get out of our bed and go potty during the night. Our 5 yr old whippet uses it on a regular basis. Do not stress over the potty training, it normally takes till 4 or 5 months to get it down.

  • When one of my dogs is misbehaving, I don't resort to anything physical, because in my experience, it won't do anything positive. If you catch her in the act, then my response is to raise my voice with a distinctive noise (I use a sound like, "Agh Ahh!") and then when she looks, I say, "NO", and take whatever it is from her. Whatever the word/phrase/action is, just be sure the two of you are consistent, even if it's saying, "OUTSIDE", before you open the door, so that as she gets older, she'll associate that word with going downstairs. I wouldn't use anything physical to reprimand her, but that's just me.

    And when there's poop in the corner, unless you catch her in the act, I don't see any value in bringing her to the mess, rubbing her nose in it, and scolding with a stern, "what did you do????" When I first got my basenji puppy 9 yrs ago, I made that mistake. My Lucy looked at me so innocently like, "YUCK! Mom, get me away from this mess!". She didn't seem to connect the smelly stuff with her actions from hours ago. (The look is probably similar to the look you get from Waffles when she is done going up stairs, lol. 🙂 ) And while you never suggested that you were going to rub her nose in it, I thought I'd let you know about my experience.

    You guys are doing great! Congrats on the successes! 🙂

    Hugs and roos-

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