Taz and Levi's big adventure
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    As you all know I just adopted Taz, my basenji / terrier mix about 3 months ago. Since that day, I have been diligently training Taz on the basics. He is smart and usually finds a way around the rules but being basenji means staying on your toes. I never have let him off leash except at the football field where he is fenced in. I always worried about him running off and getting lost. I have however, been working with him at the football field on the whistle recall. I didn't think he was ready to be trusted off leash because I felt his recall was somewhat lacking. Well about 2 weeks or so ago I decided to take him and Levi over to the trails across the street where we usually go mountain biking and hiking normally. At first I hooked them up together and let them run. Every so often, Taz would drag his butt on the ground to make Levi stop, because he caught a wiff of something he wanted to explore, but couldn't because he was attached to Levi. So, at that point, I decided to let Taz run by himself but with the leash still attached. I had concerns but cautiously watching his every move, I hiked on. As we continued, I started to notice that he was sticking to me like glue. If he stops to smell something, I can't get too far down the trail before he comes bounding down the trail behind me sounding like a miniature horse. So, now, everytime we go hiking he has been off leash. We hike with the dogs almost every day, weather permitting, instead of going to the ball field. The dogs get their exercise and so do we. Here are a few shots of them on different days. I think Taz's coat matches him perfectly!

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  • My experience with Basenjis is that they stay pretty close in unfamiliar surroundings, especially places like woods where they can't go too far and keep an eye on you. Open fields, they will range further. However, the problem is if they see something that you know is potentially dangerous to them…...porcupine, skunk, whatever.....if you don't have a solid recall you could have a major problem. Of course this applies to any dog, not just Basenjis. Letting one go with a rope or leash dragging is fine as long as the dog doesn't get out of your sight. If he takes off after something, e.g. a deer, and goes a distance from you, then gets his leash tangled, he may not sound off to let you know where he is, as a regular, barking dog would hopefully do.....

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    My golden retriever does take off after the deers but he seems to be more startled by them, not saying he won't. Never say Never. However, as with Levi he is also showing great promise with the whistle recall as well. We practice it all the time on the trail, and seems to respond about 95% of the time. I am aware of the possibly of him chasing something, but I am also fairly sure he would recall with the whistle once done chasing as my golden retriever does. We also don't have typically anything dangerous out in these woods. This is all property of William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Va and just contains hiking/biking and jogging trails. The only thing we have here are deer and squirrels, we do have racoon and skunks and opossums but are seen very rarely though I do watch out for possible situations. Thanks you for the advice though, it's always welcome. But just thought I would show off some pictures of our happy adventures!

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