How I 'trained' my Basenji 'Antigone'

  • Most of the OTT Thoroughbreds I have ridden belonged to a friend who raised Thoroughbreds for many years. They were started on the farm and the ones that didn't make it at the track came back to pursue new careers as eventers, jumpers, and dressage horses. Drugs are unfortunately a fact of life at the race track. One of the nice things about horses that have spent time at the track is that most are utterly bomb proof regarding noise, machinery, etc. Taking them on trail rides can initially be challenging, however, as they are not used to nature! If you hang around the track a bit you learn interesting things, e.g. race horses are "short racked" for grooming and tacking, are unaccustomed to cross ties, and are used to having their feet picked out from the near side. Once back at the farm, they adjust pretty quickly and are generally quiet horses to work around. In my experience, well handled horses have no fear of the dressage whip, and it is extremely useful with horses that are not accustomed to leg aids.

    I sure understand you wanting to get the weight back on them before riding bareback! I spent more time on my Arabs bareback than tacked, but they were nice and round and comfortable.

    We are way off topic here, apologies for that.

  • Sorry for the off topic post & I will refrain from doing it again! 🙂

    None of my horses are ''bombproof" but I am used to my huge Quarterhorse spooking for fun. I got him when he was a Colt & the woman who owned him would beat him to get him to the block. I saw his hind end first and when he turned his head I said 'Hello handsome, what's your story?'

    The owner insisted he could not be ridden and I bet her I could ride her horse. She was getting ready to take him to a sale (Killer Auctions here) so when I bet her I knew I could ride him AND I had a huge audience so I would be sure she would hand over his papers and accept my check for One Dollar. That is the legal peppercorn.

    'Cuz I'm Impressive' aka 'Willie' is one of the last of the Impressive sons. Talk about genetics and illness, Impressive had a rogue gene called HYPP which causes the cell walls to leak the fluid in them. Eventually the horse looks like they are having seizures but they aren't. They have to be put down because as the disorder progresses they cannot walk. I got lucky, my horse is HYPP double negative.

    It is the same end for the Basenjis that have that Franconi's disease. I was very fortunate because my dog was healthy from the second she was born. I take excellent care of all of my animals & the horses cost me a small fortune every month because I pay $1400.00 in BOARD. They are in a safe place with folks that know what they are doing and they can deal with my gigantic Candian Thoroughbred Mare. She is a Liver chestnut and she looks like an enormous Coco Puff, that cereal. She is very bossy & I ride her several times per week so she is used to going through the routine. I free lease the horses and I am very strict and I get requests all the time but if they can't sit a horse at the local riding stable then there is NO way they can sit any of my horses.

    My dog adored horses! She used to hang out with Willie when he took his afternoon naps in the summertime. She climbed onto his belly and slept soundly. He would wake her up by nudging her with his nose. I miss her terribly. Hug your dog and pet your horses for me!


    Antigone 🙂

  • First, they really are not endangered. While the ones in Africa have an issue of more populations and previous isolated packs intermingling, trust me there are enough PURE BLOODED basenjis that came out of Africa. They are not mixed, they are pedigreed lines back to africa, basenji to basenji. FAR from in any way being endangered. And while some are in fact getting dogs out of Africa, I assure you those are not being given up for pets and most do not make the cut to enter the registry. You can read up on all that here if you are interested. It sounds like you think the only "pure" are straight from Africa and what is here are mixed breeds. In reality, what is in Africa wasn't strictly a breed as far as a registry and only certain dogs, it was a type, held closely related due to geographic considerations. Those brought out as foundation stock have not been breed to non-basenji… they are in fact the same bloodlines brought out of Africa and regardless of what you are confusing on Animal planet, they are not near extinction as a breed. Furthermore, while many pups are born in Dec. you may want to know that some are born months before and months after and some even (though not the norm) have summer litters also although MOST have only one cycle. Since this is already July, getting on a breeder list is a good idea, but be prepared to wait another year as many already had a list for this year's litter. Just be sure you make sure the parents are Fanconi clear or a clear and carrier. Only one rescue is testing for that at this time (Pam Hamilton, Camp Basenji in Florida), so your best bet is with responsible breeders if you want a healthy puppy. Please also consider older (6 mos or older) dogs as both rescues and breeders often have older puppies or adults needing a wonderful home.

    Second, as pointed out, responsible breeders are not going to permit you to outright buy and breed. They require all the testing and titles… and even if you cannot go in the ring, if you really want to breed, get a handler. Or simply get a pet and spay.

    Third... as a person who has bred (not basenjis, I bred rottweilers), I have to honestly say your blithe comments quoted below would make you not a safe home based simply on your own words. These are not funny, they are life-risking behaviors. It isn't training to just leave them loose, it is training to find a way to make them safe and secure. That your dog didn't get electrocuted or swallow something resulting in intestinal blockage and possible death was simply luck. Good owners of the breed aren't those who can put up with them doing whatever they want... good owners are those who work with this strong-headed breed to make sure you keep them safe. It is so very obvious you love your animals, but I do suggest you reevaluate what good training is and determine to make sure your next dog does learn to be crate trained for it's safety and to find places to have your dog where you decrease loose ones attacking it... or carry whatever measure you need to stop them getting close be it a plastic baseball bat, loud speaker, spray, etc.

    chewed everything that she could get into her mouth.

    She had been attacked 4 times by German Shepherd dogs that were off leash.

    My training method worked like a charm. She was a terrible escape artist so I gave up trying to use a crate of any kind.

    I can deal with the House Destruction, the DVD and CD chewing, the wire chewing (even though they are all wrapped in Electric tape) and even when a skirt from one suit is shredded and the Jacket is still hanging in the closet.<<<

  • You are mixing up endangered (being the sheer number of them), with a lack of genetic diversity. They are rarer to see but again, that is different than endangered. The reason we go to the Congo and bring Basenji's back is to increase the genetic diversity. If anything, in their native land in the Congo of Africa…there may not be as many as other continents but they are still very much a way of life as independent hunters for their tribes. For you to say they are endangered in Africa but not the US, that doesn't make sense, endangered is an encompassing factor. There are also reputable Basenji breeders in all areas of the world....Canada,Germany,Sweden, Netherlands...just to name a few...If you aren't saying that and you are saying that most of the Basenji's out there are mixed blood, that also isn't true. Animal planet is a poor resource for accurate information (just watch their DOGS101 episode...which contains some bad facts as well as leaves out important information about the breed). A better reference would be the BCOA website in which you can read the truth about Basenji history- the area they originated was an isolated area preventing the mixing of other breeds, preserving their heritage. I personally am not arguing on the basis that you shouldn't breed or show your dog (you do what you want)...but for a domestic species (of which a Basenji is), labeling them as endangered is inaccurate. The more appropriate labeling would be "rare" of at risk of not being "genetically diverse"

  • I think you misunderstand me. My dog was never off leash and there is a leash Law were I live. I would pick her up and put my leg on the aggressive dog until the very sorry lawbreaking owner came and got it, She was into all sorts of things the first week that I had her. During that week I 'Basenji proofed' my home and although she did tremendous damage during the first week, each day I accommodated for what she was chewing and removed it.

    I do not have one thing that is available to any dog be it a Basenji or not. I am a responsible animal steward and have been rescuing horses for 20 years, I have rescued Wolves (neutered males dumped in the Dog Pound) because they are Legal where I live. I have rescued over 20 Cats and saved a litter of Feral cats from a neighbor who was going to poison them. I kept them for 6 Months as that is how long it took me to find a Feral cat Colony which was owned by a woman with a 40 acre farm. I paid her $800.00 for the Spay and Neuter because the Vets would not touch them.

    You do not know me and I do not know you. I will get a Basenji when the time is right for me. I am going to grieve the loss of my dog for a very long time. Having them Pack with older dogs is a method that people are now using for stress free training in my area of the Country.

    I wish you the best.

  • I never stated the breed was endangered in Africa. I posted the Animal Planet clip as I do not have the PBS 'Nature' episode. I have been to the BCOA and found it interesting and read through all of it. I will find another Basenji when the time is right for me. I am going to grieve my 15.5 year old little girl for a very long time.

    Best of luck to you.

  • You are right, you don't know me, I don't know you. One can only go by the words written, and I responded to your own words. Not crate training isn't training. And even though I don't know you, it was obvious you care about animals.. I wasn't questioning that at all.

    Again I am sorry for your loss. 15 1/2 yrs is a long time, but it is never long enough. I do suggest you get on some breeders' lists so that when you are ready you may have some options.

  • Hi Debra,

    My training methods may not be those that you have used but they worked like a charm for my Basenji. She went everywhere with me including work in Manhattan. The Train Conductors all knew me and Antigone sat safely on my lap with her leash and collar secured. I have rescued over 20 dogs in my life and Antigone was the ONLY dog I ever paid money for. I have never paid for a single horse I rescue, I give the person a tax deductible receipt from my 501©(3) Non Profit. I have rescued countless cats and two Wolves. One of the Wolves was dumped in the Dog Pound and my boyfriend at the time (who is now my husband) got him and we met in the dog park. Tiggy was allowed to be off leash in the small dog section of the park. Her 'Alpha' tendencies became clear there when she stopped playing with the other puppies. She also went after my Mother's dog because she detested all canines.

    She loved the Wolves and they were both neutered males and the 'Omega' members of the Pack and they were afraid of everything. My Cat ruled the roost and even the dog and wolf accepted him as the Alpha. The second Wolf I got from my friend Amanda Sorvino who is the daughter of Actor Paul Sorvino. She and I both rescue horses, cats, dogs, and the odd Wolf. Tiggy adored Howly who passed at the age of 8 from a Brain Tumor. Tiggy searched for him for weeks because she adored him as they played.

    I am an excellent Animal Steward and always have my horses turned out with other horses that they get along with. My 23 year old Quarterhorse gelding is turned out with my latest rescue, a 5 year old Paint Mare that is the daughter of another Paint Mare I rescued. The Paint Mare is turned out with the Quarterhorse because my huge off track Thoroughbred Mares would beat her up if they had the chance.

    Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell you I am a 'Safety Nut' when it comes to animals. My dogs are always on leash and if an unleashed dog comes where I am I pick up my dog and put my foot on the large dog and hold it there as the very sorry owner comes to get their dog. They then get a lecture from me regarding the leash law.

    Crate training seemed to make whatever dog I put in one detest the crate. The ONLY time Tiggy got into a crate was when we went in the car on long trips to Vermont or to visit my family. She detested that crate and shrieked until we got to 55mph on the Highway and then she fell asleep on her Afghan. She knew she would never get in the car without getting into that crate so she had no choice. She shrieked anyway just to make her point!

    To be clear, at NO time was my dog ever in danger. I was as quick to grab her and take her away from what she was trying to get. I still have 15K worth of high end Audio Equipment in my Attic which was placed there 1 day after she came home. I left her with the Breeder for 12 weeks because I wanted her to have the full benefit of the Mom's teaching and time to sort her position in the Pack.

    I have friends here that have bred and raised Basenjis since the 1960's and I will call her for some advice about where to get my next puppy. Like Antigone, this dog will Pack with older dogs at the Horse Farm and that truly is a safe place. It is 2 miles down the driveway to this 100 acre well fenced Private Farm. They have two well socialized dogs there and my Antigone got along with them because Malamutes were 'Wolfy' to her.

    I will be moving soon and will wait to find my next dog. I want a female Tri and I know that may not be possible but that is what I am hoping for. I will never show my dog because I find the show dog crowd are not friendly with one another just as Basenji breeders seem not to be friendly with one another either. Horses are different, I show my horses in Dressage shows with a red ribbon tied to my left ankle to let the Judges know I have something wrong with that leg. My off track Thoroughbreds always get high points and I have won cups and ribbons etc. It is necessary to show the horses to find folks interested in free leasing them. The Horse Show crowd are always friendly and ask for advice and give it when asked. Two very different Worlds.

    To sum up, my next dog will be trained just like I trained Tiggy. The dog will go everywhere with me because that is how I like to socialize them with people. The dog will be spayed. The dog will be loved beyond imagination!



  • Okay I appreciate that you posted so much, but it seems you are defending your care and that isn't my point at all. And then you add to it by saying every dog you have had hates crates. Perhaps you don't understand that the common factor is you and that perhaps you might be able to learn how to teach crate training so they don't hate it. Again, it is hard to suddenly say you kept her safe when you posted the following. Even if you now know to keep all things up for a new pup (though honestly, not sure how when we both know there is nothing that some basenji has not eaten)… what if your dog is sick and has to be crated at the animal hospital? By not working at making crate training pleasant and calm if not "oh I am so happy to be in my crate" (I don't know any dog that prefers the crate to freedom 🙂 ) -- your dog will be stressed and increase complications. That's all I am saying.

    chewed everything that she could get into her mouth.
    I can deal with the House Destruction, the DVD and CD chewing, the wire chewing (even though they are all wrapped in Electric tape) and even when a skirt from one suit is shredded and the Jacket is still hanging in the closet.<<<

    I can only shake my head at your condemnation of dog show people... there are jerks in every venue, including horse. But many people are friends, make friends and are friendly. When I first started showing both Rottweilers and basenjis, the people could not possibly have been kinder or more helpful.. people like Robyn and others. Even when our basenji was winning, they were wonderful and genuinely congratulatory. Not that anyone needs to show if they aren't breeding. I don't find it fun, but it sure isn't because the people weren't nice.

    I am curious how you can legitimately use a tax deduction from your nonprofit for a horse donation unless that horse is being donated to a CHARITY, not a personal use, but whatever. And for the record, while I applaud the Sorvino family for their horse rescue, I don't hold them any higher than other rescues so not sure why you thought dropping their name would be anything more than that.. name dropping. However, done. If you are unable to consider the possible benefits of learning happier crate training techniques, that is entirely up to you. Just as we work in rescue, educating, sharing ideas etc helps the lives of our dogs. There are people here on totally different sides of almost any issue. That is also perfectly fine. Sharing ideas, not trying to force someone your way, is a good thing and again, sorry if you somehow cannot see that my point was ONLY safety/crate training, not you or anything else.

  • Good Morning Debra,

    I do not feel as if have to defend why my HUGE dogs from the Dog Pound hated their crates. I still have an assortment of dog and cat crates from huge to small. Whenever my Basenji went to the Vet (which was often as she was a Cancer survivor and also had a seizure disorder which meant she had to take Phenobarbital 3x per day) of course she went in her crate. She didn't like it and complained until she fell asleep but she was in her crate.

    Big dogs from the Pound hate crates as it makes them feel extremely nervous as the crate is often like their cage in the Pound. Furthermore, it is not really safe to take a big dog that you don't know that well and put him in a crate; a great way to get bitten. I have had Malamutes, Rottweilers, Rough and Smooth Coated Collies, a Bull Mastiff and 2 Akitas. I know dogs. People call me when there is a Wolf or a nice dog that has been dumped by its owner and I usually end up rescuing it and finding a new home for him. I rarely get females for some reason.

    Regarding Amanda, she is the least famous person I know, I was not trying to impress anyone, I just included her as we rescue horses together and I got one of my Wolves from her. My Horse charity is a Charity. It is by Law and I am able to accept donations as I do what I say I do which is Rescue, Rehab, Re-Train and Re-Home horses. The rehab can take years and I have one 'Lifer' because she is so messed up health wise she will never have a saddle on her back because she weighs 950lbs and she should weigh 1100lbs. She has Gastric Ulcers from being drugged at the track. She is the 'Secretariat' great granddaughter. The Rescue is a 501©(3) Public Corporation and we pay taxes to the State and the Feds. That is why we are allowed to accept donations.

    I pay $1450.00 PER MONTH to BOARD the horses in the rescue. Donations have been down, clearly due to the economy but the horses get all they need including their joint supplements.

    Crate training is not something I find important for inside the house. In the car, yes! My big dogs have always ridden in their huge crates in the back of the car and fell asleep. We used to walk to the Vet. Antigone really hated being confined and let me know only the way a Basenji can, she shrieked just to let me know she was still the Alpha.

    I know how to use crates and I use them in the car but not in the house. My dogs and cats were all very long lived except for Howly so I think I can say I KNOW HOW TO KEEP THEM SAFE, HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND WELL. 🙂


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