Didn't know what I was getting into but I guess now I'm stuck.

My younger sister got a Besenji last winter (2013) and then a few months later decided it didn't really fit into her lifestyle, so I offered to add him to my pack so we could keep him in the family and she'd know he was taken care of. My husband and I already had 3 dogs, one 12 year old shephard mix, a 5 year old Mountain Feist, a 14 month old shephard mix, plus a three legged cat. Tyson was 7 mos. when we brought him home a few months ago. He quickly earned the name Sh*thead due to his intense desire to steal and chew whatever he can when we're not looking (as long as we're watching him he sticks to dog toys), plus whenever he had accidents in the house when we first brought him home, he would walk and pee/poo, making the mess much larger than necessary. He still does that but luckily in the backyard now. Anyways, I was really starting to entertain passing him to someone else because we've had him for a few months and some of his behaviors (chewing, stealing) don't seem to be subsiding. We kept trying to leave him out of his crate while we were out for short trips, since all the other dogs are fine, but we always returned to a mess of destruction. I felt bad always crating him when I was out of the house for any period of time and keeping him confined to certain areas of the house. Since finding this forum I've begun to see that I need to stop trying to change his behavior (because that's never going to work) and start adapting my life so that he can live with us and everyone can be happy. I also see that crating when unsupervised is very common, so I don't feel bad anymore. Those were the main things that were overshadowing his cuteness and craziness. Otherwise, he's BFF's with our 14 mo. shephard mix, Lucy, (Tyson is 9 mos.) and she is amazing off the leash. Since Tyson loves her so much he just follows her everywhere when we take them to the woods and let them off the leash. They play aaaaaalll the time, as soon as we crate them they pass out. He seems to pretty good in the Basenji world. Not a yodeler, but very affectionate towards me even though I've only had him for a couple months. Although, he has stood over my husbands feet and peed a couple times (also cause for the nickname). So thanks to the forum I am seeing his potential and I see some direction toward a happy life for both of us! In anecdotes, so far he has chewed my computer mouse, some wires controlling the AC unit in the backyard, the wall around a few outlets we were replacing got chewed to bits, remotes, car keys…I'm sure much more in the future, but we're learning to push in chairs (because he likes to reach desks and tables) and put things away!

First off, you had a challenge placing a Basenji with other breeds, not a common choice among the educated Basenji enthusiast, but also not an impossible one. You must become part of a Basenji's pack in order to get his respect. This takes time. The training of a Basenji must be as strict a regimen as you can imagine. They will almost never be good off the leash and they will forever pay you back for crating them if the other dogs are not also crated….this means lots of walks, long ones, as exercise is a huge part of the bond you will ultimately form with a B. And it's more than worth the effort. Crating is dicey subject as many owners insist on it, I have never been able to crate either of my kids (Pipet - my first is 9, Diesel - my 2 year old Brindle was a rescue from this site now 15 months hence...and we are extremely happy) they are far too smart to not realize that you are doing it to them only (crating, that is) and they will retaliate with mischief after or during the incredible explosion of activity that comes from a release from said bondage.....very funny to watch. You've done well to not scold or slap him as a Basenji will make it abundantly clear that you scolding them with any malice in your voice, much less physical hitting of ANY kind, will be responded to with a growl, maybe a bite and certainly a warning letting you know they will never bow down.

I don't write with any particular advice as you are an experienced dog owner and it sounds like regardless of his behavior you are in it for the long haul. You won't regret it. I recommend that you watch Basenji videos on Youtube and converse with anyone who has had this experience - I'm stunned that you have had no replies! In any event, don't feel like you're stuck, you are blessed. If you, or one of you takes the time to be this dogs person (as we never own Basenjis, they own us) and so long as you utilize uniform commands and never stray from using them, within about two years you will have an amazing animal that seems to be linked to your inner most mind, soul and heart. They are loyal, they are great guards and they will stay in their yard once they are clear that it is theirs and that this new home and you, can be trusted. I'm curious how he gets along with the other animals, especially the cat...although I'm betting the three legs would make clear to a Basenji that they are dealing with a special needs creature and go easy on her.

My adopted Brindle is becoming a miracle of a dog after having three owners in his first year. These dogs bring out the uneducated "Oh honey....THAT'S the kind of dog we should get!" reaction. I spend more time explaining to people why they DON'T want a Basenji than anything else. I am immensely prideful of my dogs and I present them like royalty to all those with interest. But I make it clear that these dogs are a specialty item. An animal of intense genius and endless energy's. Amazing, tenacious hunters that use sight, hearing and smell all at once (only a few breeds do this) and possessed of astonishing night vision, high intensity hearing and an almost psychic connection to the humans they bond to tightest. You must love them intensely and be willing to get down on all fours to join their perspective on toys, mock murder (of toys) and generally behaving like a Basenji. You'd do well to read up on their roll in the tribes of the Congo dating back thousands of years. They bring all the experience of all the dogs that came before them as genetics play a huge part in who they are and how they relate to us.

Bottom line.....the fun is only just beginning. If you can muster the will to be Basenji person then you are basically showing the character it takes to be a great animal trainer and lover....like a guy who trains Siamese Cats to run 500mph figure eights around a poo.... The fun never ends! As I've said, I offer no particular tricks...if you wish to converse further I can be more specific about a lot of things....I am at your disposal as a lover of these dogs and a very successful trainer/pack mate.

do NOT feel bad if your basenji cannot handle not being in a crate when you're not home. Put some toys/chew items in there and a blanket if he won't eat it. (If he eats blankets, no blankets.) Maybe in a year or so, he can handle being out, maybe not. My recently departed Digital, could always handle being loose in the house, but not so with the other basenjis. So, he was loose, Jet the trying was in an xpen and Zest! was in a crate. My malinois has recently had to be put back into an xpen when we leave b/c she started some naughty behaviors when she was out. (Some things have disrupted the "normal" routine and I think that's what has caused her lapse. we'll try her out of the crate in a month or so.) Being in the crate will help create good habits for your dog as they can't start the bad habits.

Really he sounds like a sweetie. And he's very handsome.

Every basenji is different in how they decide to alter your household. I had my first electrical cord chewer in Tempest. I ended up putting any lamp cords she could reach in pvc pipes for safety, fortunatley she outgrew her fascination with wires pretty quickly. I have had some who could never be crated with a bed or blanket as they would be chewed to pieces, others I can leave in run of the house within thier first year. Do you know which breeder your sister got the dogs from? Most basenjis are on contracts where the breeder must be notified if the dog is placed with another person other than who it was originally sold to. Have you had him neutered yet? Mating season is fast approaching and many male basenjis act out in the Sept-Oct time frame if they are no neutered, not good in a household with other pets.

Basenjis…if they teach you nothing else, they teach you how to get clever about picking up after yourself and finding ways to keep things out of dog reach.

Positive training methods are key to working successfully with these guys. They are immensely clever and very quick learners if you can get them motivated. I am lucky...my guy will work for food and attention. I recommend clicker training.

If you need ways to make him more comforable in his crate I recommend Crate Games by Susan Garrett.

Do not feel bad about crating, it keeps them and your possensions safe. My guys are usually crated if I am away for a length of time. If I am only gone they are now good out of their crates for up to an hour or so. They are however fully grown adults with lots of training under their belts.

First off, what a handsome brindle!

Adapting your life is a very good way to put it. They keep you on your toes and make you think differently. They also manage to wrap you around their little paws. Loki was a handful as a puppy but at almost 2 is a very good boy. He still hates being crated and left alone, but we toss in something for him to destroy so he doesn't get creative. Kaia at 10 mths has a ton of energy. We take them for 2 long walks a day with a few dog park visits per week and she still has multiple bouts of racing and wrestling sessions. Every evening without fail she races down the hallway out into the yard, back inside, scrambles over the bed, dives under it, repeat at speeds you wouldn't think a little 19.6 lb girl could. It's great that you have a younger dog your boy can play with. We did not have that with Loki and luckily I was not working at the time and was able to spend the day doing plenty of training and getting down on the floor to play to tire him out. Tyson may or may not outgrow his bad behaviors. Loki did, but I know Kaia will not, she'll keep on being a mischievous little devil whenever the mood strikes her and eventually I'll learn to never put my purse where she can reach it & continue wearing my hair in a messy sort of bun when at home, but I guess that's what I get for choosing Twice the Trouble as her registration name 😉

Tyson is such a cutie… I sympathize and feel for you. I have 2 male dogs (aged 3 (Ridgbk) and 5 (Sibe) and they are terrified of Zsa Zsa who is 9 months old. She came to live with us at 7 months when her original owner found out they were allergic. The 1st month of transition was not easy and an eye opener for me who thought another African hound would not be a problem - wrong Basenji are nothing like ridgebacks... A month ago she was sterilized and had a hernia repaired so she was in a crate to keep her calm until everything closed up. Well since last week she has been let loose with her brothers, and she gets into these phases where she goes nuts (we call it the zoomies) running from one couch to another and using the backrest as a mode of propulsion and then when bored of that game, goes attacking the legs of the big boys or growls at them if they move where she doesn't feel they should be there. We usually have to spray her with water to get her attention and stop the unwanted behavior.

As much as she drives us crazy, we all love her and the bonus since she arrived, my pre-teen daughter's area has nothing lying on the ground (i.e. toys, books, etc). We specially love the sound she makes in the morning when she greats us...It sounds like a rooster 🙂

Enjoy your dogs and everything will work out sooner or later (hoping sooner than later) ;P

When Loki had his neuter and hernia repair we had to keep him from the dog park for 4 weeks. Once we were able to take him again, we spent 4 hours there and he still wasn't fully tired! Kaia does the exact same thing as Zsa Zsa every single evening. She often tackles Loki right off the bed during one of her sprints. And her favorite thing to attack is his tail, she knows it'll get him to wrestle with her every time, though she'll first try chewing on his legs, neck, face, ears, etc. And she'll go lay on him, then get mad that he's close to her and does the strangest sounds. My favorite thing is that when she gets mad at him, he repeatedly smacks her in the face and talks to her, like "hey, shut up already". They may be small but Basenji girls are the ones in charge and they know it!

How wonderful of you to take Tyson and keep him in the family, the more research you can do about the Basenji the better off you will be, our boy is nearly 15 months and crate trained right from start so that made it easier, keep with it as it is a lifesaver to have for many reasons - sickness, injury, visitors, workmen etc. Not many people seem to know the benefits in NZ of crating your dog and I got a few weird looks from the family when I said my puppy will be crated, they also thought it was mean, far from it - it is sanity. I hope to have him uncrated when he is older.
Having a Basenji definitely makes for things being put away and out of reach, one slipup and they seem to be right there. All the best and hope your Basenji trains you well.

Jolanda and Kaiser

I have to say I have ALWAYS had 2 other breeds (chow and rottweiler) with my basenjis for almost 12 yrs. None crated except the basenji and nope, they didn't have an issue with that. Just as good parents learn you cannot treat every child the same, you can't treat every dog the same. You adjust to their needs. Crating is often good. 🙂

I can give you a bit of comfort though. I did read, a LOT, before I got one for my daughter. And yet, stupid me, thought.. how much trouble can a 25 pound dog be (I of the BIG DOG history). Dear spirits I know the breeder went to be laughing every night imagining how much I learned.

Bless you for hanging in there and adopting the right attitude. 🙂 You just have to work with what you have. 🙂

Zsa Zsa is crated when unsupervised and so is the Siberian Jay-Jay (Mr. destoyer of furniture and carpets when he was left unsupervised). My Stalker/self proclaimed protector, Duke the ridgeback has not been crated for over a year and a half. It all depends on your dog's temperament and no two are alike. It's also by trial and error (which can be very costly) that you find out if they can be trusted running loose in the house.

Just pay attention to the behavior and do some trial runs when you feel comfortable with your trust level and go from there…

First Basenji's

what a cute little sh–--head! yep, your getting used to him! you'll be glad you got 'stuck'. REALLY!!!!!

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