• We have a six-year-old basenji who is an escape artist. He has a large back yard, but climbs the fence. We talked with our breeder who recommended an electric fence. We tried that and he just climbed through it. He gets regular walks, spends time inside and with the family. Any suggestions about how to keep him in a yard so he's safe? Right now, we're having to keep him inside during the day.

  • He is much safer inside.. snakes, escape, etc.

    How tall is your fence? What type?

    Have you tried the lean in tops, then run electric on it if that doesn't work. Or put rollers on it.
    Rollers will toss them back in the yard and are a bit expensive but worth it.



  • I have a Houdini too. She never tries it when I am coming IN through a gate, but if I go out, she is between my feet and away in seconds.

    And over the years we have had to chain link fence the entire vegetable garden or generations of puppies would have (and have at times) ravaged the vegetables. Photos of a litter of pups chewing Brussels Sprouts off the stem of the plant tell the story . . . But over the years I've learned that loosely stringing the chain link keeps them in. Tight and they shin up it, loose and it wobbles and they have less confidence. Really slack 5 foot fence and they won't trust themselves to climb it. Personally I wouldn't dream of electric fencing around dogs.

  • Do you expect to allow your basenji access to the yard during the day when you are at work? I think that is asking for trouble and I would never leave a basenji with access to a yard without supervision. I hate invisible fencing (b's will take the "hit" and it doesn't keep out other animals), but I suppose if it is used WITH a secure fence, it might prevent your b from climbing the fence. There's a product called Dig Defense that might help stop a digger (but that doesn't seem to be your problem). Bottom line: I wouldn't allow an unsupervised b access to a yard all day - it gives them too much time to figure out how to escape and they see it as a challenge they must win. Keep your Houdini safe inside and get a dog walker if you work long hours.

  • @zande

    A single strand electric wire is far better than dogs that jump out and end up killed. I am fortunate than NONE of my dogs ever climbed my 6 ft fence, but you can bet if they did, I'd have used a hot wire 5 ft up to stop them. I have known of Basenjis who made a run for the fence the moment they got outside, so owners ended up tieing them out, or never let them out without a leash. I have also known many owners who lived where they were not permitted higher than 4 ft fences, so they ran an underground wire a couple of feet from the fence and used radio control collars to keep them off the fence. Far from ideal. But "electric fencing" is a bit different, to me, than running a single wire. Most dogs learn quickly to stay off it. I would never place a dog with a home that only had "invisible" fencing, but wouldn't hesitate if they had to run a wire for a fence top. Obviously the rollers are a much better option--- they keep coyotes out, hence the name "coyote rollers".

  • Hi Kai,

    I too have had escaping Basenjis. And usually it was the females. Have no idea why. They could scale the fence in a flash. One could even climb a tree with low branches. I thought this is really a cat - just looks like a Basenji.

    So, how did I resolve the situation? Instead of the chain link or wooden fence, I installed a vinyl fence, split spaced slat design, 60" tall, with traditional vinyl full slat lockable gates. Something similar to the picture included here. This fence type was successful for two reasons: 1) the vinyl - to slippery - their paws can't gain traction, and; 2) the space in between the slats also prevents them from gaining any type of hold. At 5 feet they can't jump it! 0_1528574125557_51792670-88e4-4f9a-98c8-1800eaec441d-image.png My fence had a wide slat followed by a narrow slat in an alternating style.

    Two cautions (and these hold true for any fence and a slatted fence with a space between slats): 1) the bottom of the fence must be at ground level or just slightly above ground with pavers underneath if you have a digger or soft uneven ground, and; 2) the space between the slats should not be wider than 2.5". They may get a nose through but their head won't fit. Once this fence was in they just quit trying. Instead, they would run up and down the fence line or just stare through the slats or stick a nose through on occasion. Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for all the responses. He’s been staying inside while we are gone and seems okay with it. Some of these fence ideas we have not tried. Would like for him to be outside some when we are home in addition to the walks.

  • @kai said in Help with Escaping Basenji:

    He’s been staying inside while we are gone

    Frankly, I have NEVER left any of mine outside while I am away - they have loads of bedding which they move around the kitchen floor to suit themselves and they sleep quite happily. We have a saloon type half-door/gate set close to the floor which keeps them from roaming through the house and the kitchen is a large room, even for the 8 Basenjis we had at one time before natural wastage reduced the pack.

    In any case we have never left them more than 4 hours in day time.

  • @kai Yes, you are right, they are escape artist.

    Wood fence, no braces shown, only good face wood at 6ft plus. Also do not put any item near by for them to use as a launch pad.
    Stafford-Ames Morse
    [removed email address]

  • There are launch pads and there are launch dogs. A puppy of ours (many years ago now) went to live with three poodles. They stood in line so the Basenji could leap onto their backs and reach the shelf with the goodies which she then threw down to her 'canine ladder' -

    <deep sigh>

  • Hello, I am Aileen, mother of 2 basenjis. We just put up a fence after about a year of discussing the best option because I had read all about their escape tricks. I don’t presume to be an expert, but I can hand down some advice. I love my dogs and will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. “B” number one is the first purebred dog I ever purchased, so spending that kind of money instantly made him a big investment. Doesn’t sound nice but it’s true. And I love him and our new girl so much that I know what it would do to me if ever one of them was killed on the busy streets surrounding me.
    First of all never let your basenji off leash. They will run and not listen to you at all. They take it as a major victory to get away like that and would never think twice before running in front of a car. Make that a hard and fast rule for yourself and never break it. I’ve been so tempted to let him run in a park or out in the country but I don’t because I couldn’t live with myself if I ever lost him.
    Now. About the fence. We built the fence piece by piece so every vertical board goes to the ground. The verticals are 5 1/2 in. Wide, generally 5ft. Tall, some places taller depending on the contour of the ground. We foolishly made the verticals 4 in. Apart and noticed if he really tried, and we caught him trying, he could squeeze through. So we had to put verticals on the outside. My husband split 5 1/2 verticals for the back side. He can’t get through the spaces that remain. By the way, the horizontal pieces have to be on the outside of the fence so he can’t get any foothold.
    Last of all I don’t leave him out by himself. He could dig his way out but with me there I could prevent it. I think these pups are too valuable to leave alone. Dogs do get stolen. Just heard about an incident. He’s happy inside, even crated. The fenced in area is where he can run and stretch his legs etc. But don’t leave your pup alone.
    If anyone is interested in building their own fence, contact me because my husband has some good tips for you.

  • Basenjis are quite variable in their response to fences. I have had some that never ever tried to get out, despite digging holes to China in the middle of the dog run, but not near the fence. I have had climbers and others that never considered climbing. And I have had Basenjis with reliable recalls that I could indeed let off leash, although I took care not to do it close to roads. My girls were happy in summer to spend all day in the dog run, preferring it to the house. My boys preferred to be inside and didn't like being left out in the run, even on nice days. They are all individuals. None of mine were door dashers, as I trained them not to be. So much depends on the individual's temperament, the training you give them, and their relationship with you. Playing "keep away" and having a poor recall is certainly not limited to Basenjis!!!

  • @kai - I have 10 to 12 foot solid wood privacy fences... we had one area that had a gate to the garden area, the gate was about 5 1/2 feet tall... my tri girl could launch herself from the ground to the top of the fence and then would climb on top of the 12 foot section.... needless to say, the gate height was increased

  • Also, never underestimate a Basenji lol. My Suzy was in the park one day and we always have the dogs on 26 ft extendable leashes. It’s an art form to use them and we use them even in the back yard which is fenced in. Anyhow, this particular day there was a squirrel and a small solitary tree, so the squirrel ran up the tree. Thinking nothing of it, I let Suzy run up to the tree and sniff where the squirrel had been at the bottom. Nothing unusual as I have had three Basenjis and they all chased squirrels. However Suzy was a genius amongst Basenjis lol, she wrapped her front legs around the trunk of the tree and used her back claws to dig in and climb. She was three foot or so up before I grabbed her lol. One of the most amazing and shocking sights. So beware if you have trees anywhere near the fence.

  • We have it easy - our 2 sisters hardly ever want to be in the garden, only when we are there, and even then they prefer the couch inside. As long as they know where we are. Our fence is less than 4 feet and they never even come close to it.

  • I feel that I am saying that 17th years ago.. my basenji Casanova was an expert Escaping! And I had same situation... they are so intelligent and they will figure out how to scape no matter you do! I had to live with that! ...I so miss my dog... 😞 he passed away almost 2 weeks a go... :,( enjoy him!

  • 😞 I am sorry about your dog.

  • @Mariela
    Casanova - I love the name! I am so sorry for your loss.

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