A few months ago our boy Cafu escaped from our house, and we ended up running after him for half. Two miles from home, he finally "turned himself in" to my daughter. It was a huge stress, since I was afraid he would get run over by cars, and needless to say here, its nearly impossible to catch a Basenji determined to escape from you. After this event, I introduced special locks in my house, since Cafu has learned to open regular doors quite easily. Still, the fact that he could find a way out was a big stress. Last week I bought a GPS tracker ( Tractive GPS) . This is a small device that attaches to his collar, and it can be used to tell me within a few feet where Cafu is. There is a phone app that goes with it, and you can see where he is in a map. The device also has a light that can be turned on from your phone, in case the dog is out at night. The only major inconvenience is recharging the device every 4 days or so. But now I feel a lot more relaxed, knowing if he were to get out, I can locate him quickly. I highly recommend this system (I have no financial interest in the company by the way) for peace of mind.
Teaching your dog a solid COME is critical. You might also consider some necessary punitive response, such as fairly high voltage scat mats at the doors.
Never ever chase, that's a game. Also, make sure he is microchipped in case he gets the collar off. There are, btw, embedded GPS so you only charge the locator.
To add to what Debra said about not chasing, I have found one of the most effective ways to recapture a loose dog that is disinclined to come to you is to lie down on the ground. Assuming they are paying attention and not in full chase of something, they will want to know why you are doing something so peculiar, and will likely come to check you out. If you are careful not to move until you are pretty sure you will be successful, you should be able to get hold of the dog. This may not work more than once! And be sure to give lots and lots of praise when you catch him!
Concur with what's been said already, especially the lying down, or in case of emergency, get their attention and FALL to the ground. They don't like that, and want to know what's up with you. Also, if they go off on their own, they usually return to the place where they last saw you (at least mine do), OR they will pick up my scent on the route that we went and walk back to the car or house (happened multiple times). Still stressful, though.
Hi everyone, Thanks for the advice. He does have a microchip, in addition to the GPS tracker. My main concern is not that he will not come back if he runs away, but that he could be run over by a car, since he likes to try to chase animals when we are out. Once when he escaped I was in a soccer field and I did lay down, as I was tired of trying to catch him. He did come check me out, so I agree that this works well.
The tracker does work great, and at this point it is more of an insurance since I have not had any more issues with him getting out. He is almost two now, so I guess learned a lot. He outsmarted me constantly in the first year and a half, but now I am catching up to his tricks...I hope!