I am so sorry for your loss. I still cry over my losing very difficult but extremely devoted Basenji, Ella.
My 2 B boys are neutered males, going on one year. My family is at home taking care of our farm while I am here in the US for a 2 week family visit. Both of them are attached to me at my hip and with me all the time. It has been hard for them with me gone. They look for me.
A few days ago my daughter was riding on a trail near the farm, turned around and they were gone. Jenga was turned into our SPA by someone the next day and Rudy came home after 30 hours, scratching on the front door at midnight. This was the first time they ever wandered off and they are now under house arrest until I get home. We are very thankful they are safe and sound! Considering the number of critters in the forest and the fact that there were some folks baiting for fox recently I do indeed think we were very lucky.
Based on their route and behavior it is possible they were looking for me. I do believe our days of having them free-roaming around the farm are finished and will have to carefully monitor the situation when I get home. I know they like to run and S/B kept on leash but I has somewhat hoped the remoteness of our farm might lend to a lifestyle offering more liberty for them. Has anyone else had their "babies" explore the world on their own?
Another behavioral problem arose during my absence too. Their recall response with me is very good. I've never had any problems. However, with hubby and kids it is non-existent. Have any families used a whistle with success or is it simply an attachment and respect issue. With me, they are very cooperative and they respond well to hand signals and body language. I know the rest of my family should work with them but it simply isnt possible due to their schedules. It would be nice to be able for them to control them in some way when outside. Inside the house is not a problem. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Their recall response with me is very good. I've never had any problems. However, with hubby and kids it is non-existent. Have any families used a whistle with success or is it simply an attachment and respect issue.
I would say it is likely exactly that. Often a dog will respond well to one person, but not others. Basenjis in particular are like kids. "You're not the boss of me!" Yes, there are things that you can do, for instance pairing the whistle with some particularly yummy treats, but unless the other parties are able to take the time to learn, I don't think there are any magic bullets.
That said, I use an e-collar on my guy and it works for my husband as well, but I do not recommend them unless everyone involved learns to use them properly. If the dog is properly trained, you seldom have to use the collar, but it is insurance if something untoward should occur. Of course, they are illegal in some countries, and frowned upon on this forum, and I would never recommend using one without instruction from an experienced trainer.
Jenga, i am so pleased your boys were ok, how scary.
Fortunately our two have never done a runner but we can only ever let them off lead under certain circumstances, ie if the area is remote or if it's enclosed. In the UK we don't have dog parks so enclosed isn't an option for us.
Both my husband and myself have been involved in their training and they respond well to us both. However they both have great recall if there is no one else or nothing else of interest around, when you realy need them to return to avoid trouble it's non existant, such is life with a Basenji.
We live in a somewhat remote farm area and our female puppy used to be fine off lead around our house. This went on for about a year and she seemed to know the boundaries of our acreage and always kept within earshot. However, the older she got, the farther she would explore, eventually going 1/4 mi. away onto other people's property. This is when we put a stop to her wandering because she could get into trouble…with neighbors, traps, cars, you name it. Now, I built a big fence area behind our house for her to run inside of. The lure of deer and other wildlife is too great for most Basenjis to resist. On the very odd occasion that she gets free now however, she always comes back after a while and knows where home is. Avoid them running free at all costs though if you value your B!!!!
Thank you all for the responses. We haven't had any more incidents of late and have been working hard on the recall command. I have been combining the whistle and verbal command which is working well. Other members of my family are not really involved in the training process so hopefully my smarty-pants will contiue to respond to the whistle even in the absence of my voice. They are continuing to do well when on the trail with me and my horses. We had our first snow which they enjoyed too. I do keep my eyes on them for sure.