• Re: Who goes hunting with their basenji?

    I read the article about hunting with your Besenji and I too love the outdoors. We live in Oregon and are minutes from heavy forest, mountains and the ocean. I am concerned about letting Zaki off leash for fear he will just bullet off somewhere and I won't be able to keep up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Many people will tell you that you cannot let a Basenji off leash. I disagree, having had two that were reliable, one that sometimes was, and two that definitely were not! My suggestion would be to go slow with this. Work on recalls with a long line or in an enclosed area. if you can get good reliability, then add distractions. Much will depend on your dog's temperament and your relationship. My first Basenji was absolutely reliable off leash, but that was over 50 years ago and my circumstances may have contributed to her obedience. I had a horse and she learned early that she could not catch me if I took off. This may have helped convince her that sticking close and obeying was a good idea.

    Full disclosure, my last Basenji boy was also good off leash, but I did use an e-collar in case of need, and it saved him from being skunked on one occasion. Most of the time I did not need to use it other than to get his attention when he was far upwind of me and could not hear my call. I do not recommend e-collars unless you take the time to learn how to use one properly, and I know many on this board do not agree with using them at all. For me it made it possible for Perry to be loose on my farm and in the woods, and it made him far safer if he should accidentally get out the door without the collar on, as happened several times over the years. Being free did not excite him and all I had to do when it happened was say "Perry, you forgot your collar" to have him return to have me put it on. He liked his collar because it meant he would be running free instead of being on a leash.

    Once you are confident that your dog has a good recall, it's useful to play a bit of "hide and seek". I would wait until my boy was distracted, then duck out of sight behind trees or in brush. Once he noticed I wasn't in view he would dash about looking for me, and I would reward with praise and sometimes treats when found. Sometimes if he was looking in the wrong direction I would step out and call him, which resulted in a very fast recall and a relieved dog!

  • I would not let a Basenji off leash in an uncontrolled area. Not worth the risk. But if you decide otherwise, at a minimum, work on your recall until you feel comfortable and get a Fi collar and learn to use it (allows you to track). It would also be better if you had other dogs around -- less likely to go off on their own.

  • I take 'doodle' to the woods for walks off leash. When we go, she wears a safety orange harness with "jingle bells" zip-tied to it. I can hear where she is and any wildlife that might be present can hear her approaching. It works for us...

  • I am training my new puppy even now, he is almost 12 weeks old but he must learn to come back to Mom. I can't deprive my old lady of her free hunting trips and he is becoming too heavy in the (excellent !) sling. So after he gets his shots and can roam freely, he will need to 'come' when called.

    Mine have all run free in the forest not too far from our home. We have a large garden and are practising recalls with the pup. He is very good already. Sometimes he gets a treat, but mostly just praise and a cuddle. He is ever hopeful of a treat though, so he comes back 'in case' !

    He will also have to learn to walk on the lead. He is fine already but gets impatient when I stand still. This is something else we are practising -

    Out in the woods he will at first go on a longer and longer (light weight) lead until I am sure of him. I don't like flexis but for a brief spell they can help.

    There are few things as pleasurable as watching a Basenji at full speed - such elegance and grace !

    Good luck !

  • @slents I personally would never let a basenji off leash unless in a fully fenced in area. Too much risk, if the dog goes you can not stop them. Once gone they are likely to get hit by traffic. Come commands work right up until they don’t, none of mine would give me a second thought if a squirrel or rabbit appeared.

    Having said that, much depends on your situation and outlook. In their native Africa they are all off leash and do fine, but very little traffic and they are used to flush out small game. If you have an environment with no traffic for a long distance and put a GPS collar on, then I have no doubt it’s less dangerous.

    They love to have some freedom, so I use a good quality 26ft medium flexi leash. It’s a good compromise but you have to learn to use them safely and keep constant attention while walking.

  • In back issues of the Basenji Magazine there is a series of articles by Jeff Schettler about training his Basenjis to track and hunt. I have no idea if Jeff still has or trains Basenjis but you can do an internet search "Jeff Schettler Basenji" which will bring up a bunch of links. Jeff has a web site as well as a Facebook page.

  • Jeff posted a bit on here some years ago. He was doing some scent detection work (narcotics & explosives) with Basenjis if memory serves, and yes, he did off leash tracking with them as well. I believe he is a retired police K9 handler and has written quite a lot about tracking and trailing, including books on the subject. The interest in Basenjis for this work was probably because of their size and agility. In the end I don't know if he continued to pursue it.

    I have an older book by Susan Coe that has a section on training the Basenji for the hunting field, by Major Al Braun. It has quite a few pictures, including a Basenji retrieving a duck from a pond. Back in the 1970s there were field trials for Basenjis in Minnesota, so there must have been a few people using them at that time. Too bad we have pretty much lost that interest in using the dog for hunting. Obviously there was a time when people managed to make partners of their Basenji and that these dogs could be trusted to work off leash.

  • @eeeefarm said in Off leash:

    training the Basenji for the hunting field, by Major Al Braun

    Many years ago now, someone in France found an article by Al Braun which they sent to me for translation into English. The translation appeared in several Breed Club magazines and news letters. Someone close to Al showed it to him and he was very complimentary. I still have my translation from a French translation, albeit not the Al Braun original version, if anyone is interested.

  • @dagodingo said in Off leash:

    much depends on your situation and outlook.

    Exactly, dagodingo. It does all depend on where you live, what sort of area and the availability of freedom for the Basenjis.

    I am very lucky in that I live near Friston Forest on the South Downs. Part of the forest is only about 8 miles by car. Even the carpark is quite a long way into the forest from the road.

    Once there, there is almost no chance that a dog can roam onto the highway. It is absolutely ideal for running dogs free. There are squirrels, rabbits, deer, to chase and you can walk for miles in a myriad different directions, following paths or, as we prefer, going right off piste.

    There is an ancient carp pond where dogs that like that sort of thing (NOT Basenjis !) can swim.

    It is a canine paradise where it would almost be a crime not to let dogs have their freedom.

  • Can't resist posting these.....Perry at my farm, chasing crows!

    Picture taken from a video, so not great, but you can see he is flat out.
    Watching crows was fun too....


    ....and making new friends.....


  • Hello, just thought I'd add my two cents. I used a 50-foot web lead when walking my basenjis in a lovely park with rolling hills that is close by. My dogs loved the freedom and quite honestly, I wasn't interested in having them off lead. Both dogs had very strong prey drive and they'd see a squirrel and that was it. Squirrel chasing is better than treats!

    I have a nylon 50-footer that I use on the beach with my guy, same thing, he can run and play but it's almost impossible to call a dog and have the dog hear it with the sound of the ocean and waves breaking

    That said, I wish you good luck in training your b to walk off leash to be able to enjoy a walk in the woods. Please give us an update when you've gone on your first adventure.

  • @b5004ever said in Off leash:

    I have a nylon 50-footer that I use on the beach with my guy, same thing, he can run and play but it's almost impossible to call a dog and have the dog hear it with the sound of the ocean and waves breaking

    That's where having a remote collar becomes very useful. It doesn't have to be a "shock" collar, it can be one that just vibrates or makes a noise if you otherwise have a dog with excellent recall. I used Perry's e-collar when he was too far upwind to hear me. I would give him a very brief stim at the lowest level he could feel, to get his attention, then use hand signals to tell him what I wanted. Wave him in to recall, or put my hand up palm out to ask him to wait. Worked very well for that purpose.

  • Bells! My b-girl likes to roam in the woods and I just invested in a loud pair of bells that go on her collar so I can always hear approximately where she is. I started her off leash early like those above and she was attached to me and my other dog at the hip so I just rewarded the heck out of her for those behaviors so by the time she was old enough to gain confidence and want to go off on her own, she knew to always come back. She does chase squirrels and birds but I always go to wooded areas away from busy roads so she can do so to her heart’s content and I don’t have to worry. I still of course carry treats and reward her sporadically for coming back so she never knows when a treat reward is involved. Seeing her pure joy at running full tilt through the woods with my other dog (a catahoula mix) truly will never ever get old

  • I couldn't agree more - the sight of a pair of Basenjis - or even 8 - racing at full pelt through the woods is something to rejoice over.

    It won't be long before I have two running free again. I am just starting my new puppy off - He has been to the woods in a sling, on a lead, on a longer lead. . . and we are practising 'recall' here in the large garden. Mku is obviously following Hoover and Benji (a Spaniel we walk with) and wants desperately to chase with them.

    But he is currently worried by the occasional barking dog we meet. He will meet and greet, doggie fashion, anything and everything in the canine kingdom, but a single bark has his tail right down and his ears right back !

    Next door neighbors have a couple of Boxers, and while gardening they shut the dogs in the fruit cage. The dogs bark and Mku screams and races the length of the garden for the sanctity of the kitchen.

    An official visit to the Boxers is scheduled (one is a puppy) and when I am sure he won't bolt (well, 99% sure he won't. . . he is a Basenji, after all) then we will progress to freedom !

  • @zande Yes, as the two us get out and around more I notice that he does not like the sight or sound of another dog. Is this another B-dog thing?

  • @slents said in Off leash:

    sound of another dog

    I found that 'doodle' was confused by other dogs barking. She just looks at them and tilts her head.

    I take 'doodle' to the local dog park to interact with the other dogs. One particular day, a Beagle who was willing to give chase was there. In typical Beagle fashion, the dog was chasing 'doodle' and had a throaty, raspy bark. So, here they are running, and the Beagle is making all this noise... 'doodle' stopped, turned around and looked at the Beagle, "dude, you okay? Do you want to get some water?" LMAO, I think she really was concerned that the Beagle needed a Vet!

  • @slents Mine have never objected to the sight of other dogs - but puppies often find barking 'strange'. It is not something they are accustomed to and often have never heard the sound until they leave the nest and venture out into the wider world.

    Mku is getting better. I talk to reassure him when he gets barked at by dogs we meet out on walks. At need I pick him up, but mostly I just stroke him and tell him its OK. He is not fazed by the sight of large dogs - and they must seem huge to such a tiny little guy (4 kilos). He chased a very friendly Pointer yesterday. He meets 'Ted' most trips to the woods.

    He will learn to accept it, just as generations of his ilk have done before him. He'll just think 'strange creatures ! and pass on by.

  • @b5004ever
    We have a 50 ft leash we use when walking at our camp - enables the B some freedom. I wish I could let my B run off leash but I have bad memories of the one time my B got loose. Our neighbor has a large fenced yard and she lets us run our B off leash on her property and it is a wonderful site to see her run sail through the air.

  • @zande It is really funny to watch him be so curios about everything as we walk. He does not like loud noises at all. When ever a plane goes over head he totally freaks out and I just look at him and tell him it's ok. They are so intelligent I feel like I need a PhD in Besenjiology.

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