Couple of "Issues" with my Basenji

  • Hello everyone,

    I'm new to this forum so I figure it would make sense to introduce myself before asking for advice. My name is Peter and I live in Missouri with my girlfriend, Ashley. We decided on get a Basenji to join our family :).

    Our Basenji, named Marvel, is male and is currently 11 weeks old. We got him when he was 8 weeks old from a breeder. He has been doing great in terms of house training and doing most of his business outside. We keep him in a kennel when we go to work (~8 hours per day on weekdays) and we let him sleep with us in the bed at night. My thought behind this process is that I hate kenneling a dog during the day and at night. I feel like it's cruel to an animal to have him there for more than 8 hours a 24 hour day. We don't kennel him during the weekends.

    Though, we are running into a couple of issues that we don't know how to handle since he is our first Basenji:

    1. He ALWAYS wakes up at 6 am. I don't mind this during the weekdays since I wake up around that time for work anyways. I take him outside first thing in the morning when he wakes me up. But obviously, he does this on weekends as well. Nobody likes waking up early on weekends for obvious reasons. Since I assume he has to go outside, I do it. Is there anything we can do to avoid this? He is still a puppy so I assume he is too young to hold it in during the night, but he holds it in all day while we're at work. I looked through the forums and it seems like people suggest kenneling him at night. But I feel so guilty kenneling him all night and all day while we're at work 😞

    2. Play/Aggressive biting... it seems that all he ever does now is bite everything. He does a "decent" job not biting things that he shouldn't (furniture wise), but he is constantly play biting us. This is my main concern since his bites this week have been extra painful causing lots of pain and bleeding on rare occasions. We usually try to distract him with his toys, but he always comes back to our hands/face/arms/etc. Yelling doesn't seem to help...I figure that it would stop when he is older, but I don't want to wait to take that risk when he may not change.

    I really appreciate any tips since this is my first time with a Basenji.

    Thank you!

  • Hello and welcome. Many of us are related by our Basenjis if you care to share who his breeder is and his pedigree?

    In regards to your questions:

    1. The obvious answer is NO..... and I agree that if you have him in a kennel all day (8 straight hours is really long at this age) he should be able to not be in a kennel at night. And if he was, most likely he would wake up even earlier. As he gets older he will be able to sleep longer. My Basenjis get up at 5am since that is when I get up for work... however they don't know what a weekend is.....
    2. Biting... he is getting to the age that he is starting teething. And all you can do is to keep up with the yelping, but also when he bites, all play stops and you ignore him. Also you should start working his mind... teach things like sit/down, etc... when he gets over excited and starts to try and bite, work his mind as a distraction. And soon he will loss those "razor" blades called baby teeth.....

  • You have a puppy. Eight hours is really a long time to be leaving him at his age (or any age, IMO) and if you can arrange for someone to let him out to relieve himself and spend a little time with him during the day that would be good. Or consider doggie daycare. As far as him waking you up at six, I expect that may change as he gets older (most of my Basenjis liked to sleep in) but at this age I think you are lucky he isn't waking you up during the night. Count your blessings!

    Biting. Distraction is good but if that doesn't work, you should not allow it. Physical restraint (a "bear hug") without hurting him until he quits it is my approach. Others have different ideas, but you should not allow this type of behaviour to become a habit. Yes, he will probably grow out of it, but you need to decide what is permissible and what is not, and be consistent. Avoid rough play. And don't yell, it generally isn't helpful. Agree with Tanza that you should be teaching him things. Also, make sure he is getting sufficient exercise. A tired pup is generally a good pup!

  • Thank you for the quick responses!

    The breeders are Jon and Vickie Curby in Columbia, Missouri.
    I uploaded his pedigree in the following link

    Just something I should have clarified, I was warned not to leave him in the kennel for up to 8 hours by the breeders. Ashley and I set up a set schedule where if we are both at work, then I come home from work after 4 or so hours and work from home to get him out of the kennel. Since Ashley works part time, he is only in the kennel about 3 times a week when we are both at work. I won't be able to maintain the act of working from home on some days, so we bought a play pen from walmart as a "just in case" situation where neither of us would be able to manage being home for 8 hours. It proved useless since the play pen was too flimsy and cheap (probably my fault for going to walmart), so I returned it.

    I got into the habit of tiring him out at night about an hour before bed by going a long sprints with him in the apartment hallways, and it has helped.

    Thank you both for the advice. We have trained him enough to the point where he will listen to "SIT", and "STAY", even "HIGH FIVE" 🙂
    I'm actually surprised at how quickly he learned.

    Other than that, we've had a wonderful and fun experience so far. I'll post a few pictures on here soon. I expect to take advantage of these forums.

  • I don't know what training methods you are employing, but here is my vote for clicker training when teaching new things, particularly unusual things or "tricks". And with a pup, there are so very many things you can explore together! I found using a clicker particularly useful with a dog that is not given to retrieving. It is dead easy to teach something as useful as "pick it up", and then building on that to teach a retrieve. It's also an extremely good way to teach the pup or dog the names of various things, starting with his toys. Apart from developing a more useful companion animal, it's a lot of fun to watch the brain engage, that "aha" moment when your pup starts to really understand what you want. A side effect is that keeping the brain engaged can actually tire the dog out and helps a lot when the weather is inclement. With patience you will eventually be able to send your dog on a search for a particular item by name, and that can challenge him to search through your apartment for the requested article, which is a fun game to play and will keep him engaged and occupied as long as you don't overdo it.

    I always talked to my dogs and built their vocabulary. It's surprising how much they pick up on their own, but if you make the effort you can teach them to recognize words and phrases, even when they are buried in conversation, e.g. I could casually state something like "gee, I would love to have a green frog right now", and my boy would go find his "froggie" and deliver it to me! Lots of fun when you get to that stage!

  • Welcome to the forum.

    Sleep deprivation... it comes with puppies. Fortunately, in a couple of more months, you can expect to sleep in longer. Ditto on biting... it is the teething stage, it will happen.

  • Banned

    Never ever leave any dog, especially a puppy in a cage for 8 hours...Sorry to go against the grain, but these are things to consider when getting a new family member. You paid for a pure breed, so now pay for someone to walk him daily

  • My dogs are 3 and 12 years old and still get up early on weekends.. usually 7 am. I feed them and put them out to do their business and then we all go back to bed. It works out well for us.

    As far as nipping, they quickly learn that play time ends when they get too rough. I don't yell, just say "no bite" and then ignore them. When they calm down then play can resume.

  • @PeterPdeC - Sounds like you have a good set up with timing for the crate... And I know Jon and Vickie... so you got your pup from good breeders!

  • @jrgoody - It was clarified that the pup is not in the crate for 8 hrs straight

  • I completely forgot about this topic, but I figure I would reply (after a 4 month hiatus) with updates. Thank you all for your responses.

    Marvel no longer bites (what a relief!). It stopped around the time that all of his adult teeth were falling out, so I assume it was related to the discomfort of his baby teeth. He will play bite every now and then, but nothing drastic.

    Marvel no longer wakes up absurdly early now that he's 6 months old, as someone pointed out. He typically gets up when we do except for the rare occasion here and there.

    Marvel has been marvelous and his behavior only gets better. The only "issue" we deal with now is his separation anxiety when we leave him in a crate. I'll probably make a separate topic on this. And he seems to be strangely attached/dominant to my girlfriends underwear when he manages to get a hold of it...


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