How smart is a Basenji and how worried do I need to be?

  • Soooo now that its summer Congo wants to spend all his time on the yard. I have no problem with this. The problem comes when the crazy pup becomes crazy with his need to be outside and lunging at the birds flying overhead. He's often pawed at the door knob before but today is grabbed it with his teeth and tried to turn it! :o Have any of you had to deal with this and how do you prevent the four-legged Einstein from actually opening the door?

  • First Basenji's

    Well, Dolce lungs at the door, jumps, and almost opens it, its hilarious and a tiny bit scary… but recently was the best! We have known since she was about 3.5 months old that she can escape her crate like Houdini.. after a few escapes we decided to put her crate up against the wall thinking, she can't open it now.. well we were wrong she escaped by pushing off the wall and opening it once again.. this time she locked her self in the bathroom. She sat there probably for an hour going to town on some laundry her favorite treat.. Then we started putting heavy things behind it so it doesn't move so that doesn't happen again. Ya well to get to the point I came home Friday and found she dug a 3 inch wide 1.5 inch deep hole in my wall. So now she has a combination lock by the latch. I wanna see her Houdini skills now.. unless she knows how to read because I wrote the combination all over the lock and near the cage but I think we will be good no more holes in the wall.. BTW this is a multi- door cage so there is other ways of opening it but I have it rigged where she can't do it from her angle. People who I have told this to really do not believe it is possible for a puppy to escape a cage but its def is possible. Basenjis's are so mystical hahah that's how I'm gonna put it. I call her my little magician.

  • I had a Rottweiler who tried the door knob a lot, and could turn the tv on and off. But yeah, be afraid, be very afraid, lol.

  • In my experience, with my own B's, don't trust them an inch! LOL Shadow will open doors, (even the ones with the baby locks on them) and he has figured out how to undo some of the latches that I have put him on. I also know there are some B's who will open their crates-from the inside. So these guys think and problem solve. To get around Shadow and the Baby locks, the kitchen is now gated off to him since he won't jump.

  • Like Arlene said, they are problem solvers and I have one in particular who knows how to open a door by turning the knob (paws on both sides)…and also knows whether to push or pull to get the door open. Needless to say, we deadbolt the door to the outside.

    She knows how to open metal crate doors (used to let the other basenjis out so she would have playmates) - so we would use a caribiner to lock the crates. She and her sidekick Oz now have kennel aire crates which she can't open because of how their doors are constructed. And she can open the flip latch on the dog pen in the basement - so we clip that shut.

    With the same girl, up until she was about 8 months old, she was also a climber (thankfully she has since stopped that, but I do always worry that given the right situation she might start up again).

    I remember back to the time I thought how funny it was that she could figure all this I have to at least try to stay in step with her, she is watched like a hawk.

  • First Basenji's

    I like the caribiner idea better its safer in case of emergencies… i put a lock because I had to go to work and that's all I had

  • I'm glad to hear all the ideas. My guy is insane to go outside and I'll need to figure something out on that door knob.

  • @congosworld:

    I'm glad to hear all the ideas. My guy is insane to go outside and I'll need to figure something out on that door knob.

    If it is a "normal" round doorknob you can get those child covers that go over them and just spin unless you get a proper grip on the doorknob. If they are the ones that you push down then I am sure they would make something similar for children or something along the same line. Hope this helps.

  • my best advice, for how smart is a basenji?

    Hide the power tools.

  • Ditto, Agilebasenji! I love the comment and will use that in future to explain just what Houdinis they are.

  • Hide the power tools – LOL

    I have used the caribiner on my kennels - they're quick to get off (by humans) in an emergency.
    If the outside door is not securely shut, mine know how to paw open the door to get in the house (I had self-closing hinges installed so at least the door would close behind them and not let in bugs) and they can move the screen sideways on the patio door as well. AND they have learned how to operate the zipper on their soft kennels (used in class) from inside the kennel!

  • P.S. - yes be worried (but be proud too).

  • It's much better to have a smart dog then one on the dumb side. I believe Basenjis do want to learn new things & they do picks things up fast, but the fact that they are smart means you must keep a mind of a Basenji stimulated.
    Good luck

  • Hope does the door knob thing. i would be in big trouble if i had levers in my house lol and if i ever got to build a house, as much as i love levers i wouldnt be getting them!

    we recently moved into a new house that has sliding doors - well they worked that out too (screen and glass sliding door that is…. lol this is mainly Hopes specialty)... Ebony worked out how to open the sliding doors to the cupboard (big sigh, as we thought she wouldnt work that one out as it sits so flush) but nope, shes just too clever and realises theres OUR hidden stuff behind there - the mirror doesnt even distract her! 🙂

    they are smart cookies. they even know where 'nan & pas' place is (2 doors down but the properties are spacious as we are on quarter acres etc) and they go flying over when we let them. They are smart and remember things. Teach them things all the time 🙂

  • First Basenji's

    They are smart but there are moments that make me think…. what the heck! We play chase the stuffed bear and if I hide it under my shirt directly** in front of her, she will run around and continue to look for it as if she did not see where I hid it. Also she was running away from a dried leaf in the yard today, the wind was blowing it twords her and she was freakkkking out running away like it was going to kill her, made me chuckle though. Dolce can be very dramatic and prissy hahha but I love her so much for it because I didn't know dogs could be like that and its just so entertaining.

  • I get what you mean, Oakley is the most ingenious dog I've ever met, he will watch me "once" works latches, door, locks and food container top that spins shut and can then mimic me…it's scary! My best friend thinks I'm exaggerating when I tell her I won't collapse his crate ( to wash it) with him in the room because I did it once before with his old crate and from then on he collapsed his crate while in it to get out when I was at work...but then we play fetch and if he doesn't see where I threw it he won't go investigate...he just stands there staring- I'm like really? can get into the fridge but this stumps you?!?!!

  • Depending on the day, they can be incredibly smart or surprisingly stupid about things. My guy amazes me both ways from time to time. 🙂

  • I apologize in advance for how long this is, but it is a true story.

    I had a a BRAT rescued boy who lied deliberately. He was a nervous, extremely picky eater and to get him to eat dinner (usually a high quality dry with half a can of moist mixed in) we would bribe him with ice cream.

    Every day went like this: We'd put down his food, and he'd refuse it. We'd point at it and say 'Dinner!' and he'd shake his entire front half 'No!' - We'd say 'First dinner, Then TREAT' - you know how they understand phrases, this boy really got 'first X then Y' - so he'd reluctantly turn and enter the kitchen.

    From the next room, we'd hear kibble moving around in the bowl and he'd come bouncing back in. We'd say 'Show me' and he'd turn around and run into the kitchen with us following him. The bowl would be mostly empty and we'd tell him how wonderful he was and reward him with a tablespoonful of vanilla ice cream.
    You know how ritualistic basenjis are, this went on for a while. Then one day, when I was cleaning the kitchen floor, I moved the heavy wooden kitchen Island away from the bar it backed up to. Behind it were piles of rotting dog kibble.

    I kid you not - Florian had scooped the detested dog food out of his bowl, and hid it. Then deliberately come get us to reward him. I have to admit, I was and still am really proud of him for out-smarting me.

  • First Basenji's

    Wow that's amazing.. how do they think of things like that… just amazing hahah!

  • J@sac:

    and he'd come bouncing back in.

    I think he was feeling rather pleased with himself for tricking you lol what a cheeky devil.

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