• Hello once again,

    Coming back with yet another 'issue'. So, we've recently had a breakthrough with potty, meaning that he is somewhat consistently doing it outside, when taken of course. However, he started to not like it, because when he wakes up he knows its that time and he just pushes you away and/or does a dead weight back in the crate. Now, that is OK, because it's a fast 2min action (he doesn't complain, he just does his job and goes back in). Adding to this, if I take him out during/after playtime/meal, he sometimes whines or even tries to bite. When he gets to his spot, he just pulls on the leash to go back and just doesn't give up. When back inside, chances are he is going to pee, even after 2-3 tries.

    But due to the bad weather, we have to clean his paws everytime and he hates it, even though we've introduced him to the sink/bathtub since day one, with lots of treats etc. I feel like he sees this as a punishment and I don't know how to fix it. To describe it, I just hold him close to my chest, with belly towards the sink, his butt resting on the edge of the sink with a towel underneath. I tried to place him in the sink too, but he tries to climb out and it's a mess overall.

    His biting has become worse, too, to a point where it kinda hurts. He gets really frustrated when we try to have fun with treats. Just basic stuff (look at me, sit, lay down, follow, leave it, short stays), and he gets annoyed if not given the treat. I try to make it easy for him, but it gets out of hand rather fast as in he starts biting after 2-3 minutes. If I stop interaction, he becomes overstimulated and just a bad vibe overall. And trust me, I do physical play at least 30-45 minutes everytime he wakes up, and also try to stimulate him with simple tricks. Even when I try to pet him when he is relaxed on enjoying a chewing toy, he tries to bite sometimes.

    I looked around for advice on the forum, but feels like it's getting worse rather than better. Perhaps I am doing something wrong.


  • Sounds like your Pup is in charge already!

    When my boy was tiny he learnt very quickly going toilet outside means he can get back inside quickly. You don’t want to teach your basenji, whining and biting gets what he wants, he does this and you take him back inside. You are in trouble! 😆.

    Bathing is a forever battle with my Basenji a 11kg Basenji suddenly turns into a 450kg Basenji with arms waving and grabbing onto everything near him to avoid the tub. If his paws are dirty use a sponge and water to clean him off. I’ve never had to wash my boy.

    When he gets annoyed when you don’t give a treat what do you do?

    Your training sessions might be too long; if it’s Repetitive and the same thing you ask him each time he’s getting bored.

    He is taking advantage of you, what stimulating games are you playing with him. Do sent work with him he is a scent hound he will love to work with his noise.

    And what do you mean by physical play, that could be contributed to the biting.

    How old is he aswell?


  • He is now close to 11 weeks.

    I don't really do what he wants. But the pulling gets out of hand sometimes, to the point where his collar almost comes off (hurting himself too in the process, I don't want that to happen). And this happens altough he knows he gets something special outside. I usually take him in my arms and move around a bit, try to relax him, before going back inside.

    When he gets annoyed because of the treat, I wait until he settles and try again. If he starts biting, I stop altogether. I try to combine things and it's usually no longer than 5 mins, give or take. I basically combine all the basic stuff (sit, lay, crate kibble hunt and some other things) with toy play, to break the repetitivness.

    And by physical play, I mean basically playing with toys. Tug of war (I add Leave it everytime), fetch (kind of, he brings them back most of the time until he gets bored :)) ), passing toys around with my girlfriend so he gets a good run.

    But yea, the most problematic thing is his frustration when taken to potty. As I said, I feel like he got a bit more distant since this started happening (2-3 daysa ago?), since he seems to get frustrated faster and it escalates faster too.

    Question, would holding him close to my chest when he is over stimulated, to relax, a bad thing? Could he see it as a alpha roll? He seems to be fine, although he whines at first, but the second I let him go he's back at it.

    PS: One thing I noticed earlier. We were chilling on the couch and he was chewing on a toy, when suddenly he came to me and started to bite my tshirt/pull/growl a bit. I figured I'd give potty a try and when straight to his spot and he pooped. Now I don't know if this was a coincidence, but I hope not, because I was excited. He doesn't say a thing when he needs to go, even if in crate. I just have to wake up before him or see him sniff/run around.


  • @lustopher - Have you spoken to his breeder about this? That should be your first contact. Do you know how old he was when he was take from Mom and his littermates? Honestly this is the reason that I do not place puppies until they are 10 to 12wks... they stay with their littermates and other adults in the house. They learn "manners" from them... it helps when they go to their new homes... The only time I will send them home earlier (usually 9wks) is if they have another dog in the home or previous Basenji owners...


  • @Lustopher when he pulls don’t move wait till he settles down before you set off again. Pull to him means he gets what he wants; you don’t want that.

    I’m surprised you are having such issues with a 11 week old pup already.

    Don’t lift him up when he’s having his tantrums. He most probably does not like being picked up frequently. He needs to learn to calm down by himself pop him in the crate with the gate open; after training and playtime teach him how to switch off. Remember he is 11 weeks old, he is also Teething. You don’t want to be lifting up a 11kg Basenji whilst he’s having a tantrum when he’s older so I wouldn’t recommend picking him up now to relax him; you don’t want that to be a habit. Currently he’s seeing you picking him up as a reward.

    Pups tend to want to go toilet straight after waking up, after a meal and after playtime.

    I’m trying to narrow it down, and it could simply be that your pup needs help with knowing how to switch off after play time and training.

    Basenjis are independent, he wants to do things for himself im sensing.

    @Zande what are your thoughts?


  • @tanza We got him at 8 weeks. It is what it is now, trying to learn by trial and error.

    @Micah I give him alone time after each play to be honest, he usually chills on the sofa, chewing on something (I don't mind him sitting there, as long as he stays calm). It would be great if he'd stay in the crate with the door opened... . Once in a moon time he does so, but not for long. He sleeps in there with no issues, goes in by himself when he sees food. I now put him in there if he goes overboard when overstimulated and he cools down for a few minutes with little to no whinning, sometimes falls asleep, but only if the door is closed.

    But now that you put it this way, it makes sense. I'm probably trying to comfort him too much. I'll pay more attention to these little things.


  • Your pup needs to learn that biting is not acceptable. Do not allow him to indulge in this, and be cautious because rough physical play encourages it. If you feel teeth, playtime stops. When you take him outside to do his business, pulling should never, ever, result in returning to the house. A slack leash gets him back inside, pulling never does. If you are concerned about the collar get a martingale collar so he can't slip out of it. A wide throat is best.

    Training. Put your treats somewhere, don't hold them in your hand. You might try clicker training or use a marker word. Use successive approximations, let him figure out what you want. It's a mental exercise and is good for him. Click or use a marker word when you get a correct response. Then go get the treat for him. Once he is consistently doing the behaviour you want, name it (this will be your command word for the behaviour). Once he is doing the behaviour on cue, no need to treat every time, switch to intermittent rewards. Put the clicker away until you want to train another behaviour.

    Just throwing something for him to bring back will probably result in him only retrieving when he is in the mood, and he will likely get bored easily. IMO, the best way to teach a retrieve is to teach "pick it up". (with clicker training you would click for proximity to the object, successive approximations until he is actually touching and then grasping the item. At some point he will pick it up.) Once the pup has that figured out you can move on to requesting him to retrieve specific articles by name. Engage your pup mentally, not just physically, and teach him manners! Bad behaviour should never be rewarded. Holding or restraining him is a good idea when he is over stimulated, just be sure to never release him when he is struggling, wait until he is quiet.


  • @Lustopher teach bed means bed.

    If you are working on a command for him to go to his crate give him the command once he is in there don’t reward him straight away but reward him maybe after 5 seconds. “Yes” or “free” I use for my boy to so he knows to get a treat, those are words I used to release my boy from what I asked him to do. Teach you pup a release command; you can do it when he is sitting, in the crate or whatever. Wait for him to do the command after a few seconds say “yes” and free when you want your pup to be released; you will be able to increase the duration to the point where he won’t leave the crate till he hears your release command.


  • @micah

    Been working on that. He doesn't get out unless he sits and waits for my go. I don't keep him wait for too long, just enough to have the door fully opened (if he gets up, I stop him and shut it back). Baby steps steps I suppose, but he seems to get it.

    Any tips for heel walking? He just wouldn't move or gets distracted by little things. Basically he wants to do whatever he likes after a minute or two of trying. I guess working on the leash more and have him understand pressure would be a start.

    Should I work through his frustrations or just release him after he calms down a bit and let him be? He specially gets annoyed fast when doing things like Impulse control with food.


  • He's pretty young. I like to end any training session on a good note, so if you are getting the right response, reward and quit that session, and if possible do something he enjoys. The worst mistake IMO is keeping on drilling a behaviour long after the dog is sick of the whole thing. Don't put yourself in that box, but when you get a good response reward it, quit, and go back at it another time, maybe later in the day. Short sessions are usually more productive, and often an animal (or a human!) will do better the following day after they have "slept on it". If you find yourself losing patience ask for something easy and finish immediately. You do not want to leave your pup with a bad experience to mull over.

    Teach your pup to go into the crate on command. And not because you threw a treat in there, but because you asked him to do it. This one is easy. I taught it to a mature dog with clicker training in 15 minutes flat. (Method: small room with crate in it, click for proximity to crate, then closer proximity, then front feet in, all the dog in, etc. Once he goes in promptly after resetting.....the click ends the behaviour, then you treat and restart.....name it so it is on cue.) Once he had it down I generalized it so he would "kennel" from anywhere in the house with the crate anywhere in the house. It's important to generalize commands. If your dog doesn't obey when you ask him for something in a different place from where you taught it, this will be the reason why. Too many animals are considered stubborn when they just haven't learned to generalize a command.

    Heeling on leash, again don't ask for too much at one time. Target training can be helpful here, but old school you would just correct with the leash when he is out of position. You want a loose leash, you don't want to have to hold him in position. Again, short duration then release to full leash length, and after a few minutes ask again. If you are getting a decent response release him before he is sick of it. Build duration gradually. My dogs were always taught to heel when crossing roads....


  • We had more luck with toilet training (at around the same age) when I started taking mine out for a walk on a lead along our road every hour, rather than standing outside in the garden waiting for her to go while she got stressed. She was happier to go outside this way as it was more interesting and the whole process often took less than a minute as she would wee when distracted and wee within a few metres and we would then go straight back inside. Going every hour (unless asleep) gave her fewer opportunities to go inside and over time going inside felt alien, so she started asking to go out into he garden. As she got older I increased it to every 1.5 hours, 2, 3 etc and at around 9 months (when she was reliably not weeing inside and asking to go out) I noticed she was able to hold it for 10 or so hours.

    Mine also pulls when she doesn't want to go a certain way on a walk and I just stand there and face the way we are going until she decides to comply.

    Mine doesn't like getting cleaned either, so we chose to pick our battles (and that wasn't one of them, whereas rolling in animal poo would be). We have a hard floor downstairs, so when we come in from a wet walk she is not allowed in the lounge that has a sofa or upstairs until she has cleaned and dried herself. She stays in the kitchen where there is only the crate to sit in. Could you do something like this and maybe put an old towel down at the entrance to the house that he would naturally walk on to absorb any excess mud?

    Personally we chose not to impose physical procedures like putting on a harness, cleaning etc as she was becoming increasingly unhappy about it and we have children so didn't want to take the risk. She is not in charge in the house and we have developed verbal ways of getting her to do what is needed, such as jumping into the crate in the car rather than being lifted and on the occasions where there is no choice (like being lifted onto the vet table and restrained for examination) it has actually been ok, I think because she now trusts us.

    At the weekend mine started having a reaction to something from running through a bush and I knew she wouldn't be happy to be wiped down, so we took her into the garden and turned the hosepipe on. She wasn't very happy about that either but it did the trick and there was no aggression. Another time one of the children spilt honey on her head so I tied a wet cloth to the end of a stick and wiped her with it from a distance - she ended up enjoying it!

    She will be 2 years old at the end of May and we have noticed she is a lot easier to manage generally in the past couple of months, so it does get easier eventually! As others have said, he is very young and it does take time for things to start working. I spent ages asking mine to leave a room by saying "out" and either throwing a piece of food or using my body (not hands) or a piece of furniture to shepherd her out by walking towards her and all of a sudden with maturity that isn't needed and she responds to "out" on it's own.

    One option could be to try a more hands off approach for a week or so and develop some other strategies and then review what you are doing and see if it helps.


  • @JKent I'm planning on taking him out every hour for walks too, but he is due to his 4th vaccine next week. Until then, is just potty breaks to his "spot" nearby, on grass, although it's also kinda risky as there've been other dogs around. But I will have to try on a harness with a front clip, because he just doesn't give up and chokes on the collar. When doing short training sessions inside, he is fine, but outside he goes crazy after potty.

    Accidents inside have become less frequent and obviously my fault for not paying attention. Need to make a habbit of taking him out during play time, because it's hard to tell when "after playtime" is with him :D. It's a learning process for me, too.

    As for the cleanup, I've got a paw cleaner last night and although he doesn't 100% enjoy it, it's better than hand washing his paws. It's a two men job for now, but I hope he will sit still when he gets bigger.

    PS: One more question. He makes a lot of weird noises throught the sleeping. Snoring, wheezing, sometimes it sounds like he can't breath. This has been since day 1. I'm planning on having him checked when going for the next vaccine, but I was wondering if it's normal?


  • @lustopher said in Potty and Biting:

    try on a harness with a front clip, because he just doesn't give up and chokes on the collar.

    Don't expect the harness to contain him... mine got out of hers in less than 10 minutes. 😂 There is a chance that your pup isn't used to the collar, or possibly the weight of the leash. See what he does if you clip the leash to the collar and let him drag it around the house. It will allow him to get comfortable with the weight of it and maybe help him fell less "trapped" by it. A lighter leash might be beneficial, or a smaller leash clip.

    As for the sleeping noises: I wouldn't worry too much. My dog snores, tries to bark, and seems like she couldn't be getting enough air (depending on how far she sticks her nose into the covers), but she has air flow (that's the important part).


  • @Lustopher work through the frustration, start with simple work at the start which he enjoys then move him onto whatever you are teaching him. He needs to understand getting frustrated isn’t solving anything.

    Good keep working at it impulse control don’t give in when he’s frustrated. You want to end on a positive note not him getting frustrated and walking off.

    Yes my boy heels on lead and off lead in the park and to the park.

    I have videos of heel work with my boy but I’m not sure if it’s possible to sharing on here.

    I use his daily allowance for food for training and his favourite toy when it comes to off lead heel work and lead heel. You do not want to make this session long at all. Heel work is very boring to them. @eeeefarm has gone through heel work nicely I would follow that advice as it’s very similar to what with my boy.

    I wouldn’t waste money on a harness at all. I personally use a slip lead; when he is a little older you can use a gentle leader. Collar placement is important you don’t want the collar down at the chest m. Once you control the head you control the mind of the dog


  • @elbrant The sleeping noises come and go, for e.g he is now sleeping like a baby and I can't hear a thing. I will still ask the vet to take a look, but I'm more relaxed now, thanks :D.

    As for the harness, I expect that to happen, but gotta try it. I had a flat nylon leash as a house line, he destroyed it in 3 days. I got a round one this time and is rather light, doesn't seem bothered by the weight. I will try a smaller clip too, as this one does indeed seem a little too big for him.

    @Micah I did just that today and it was more productive. Since he has all my attention 75% of the day, I just go from playing to training and repeat when I see him lose interest. I pushed him a little today with the crate and altough he 'umfed' once or twice, he still did it.

    I applied the advice from @eeeefarm and it was indeed better. Went from 2-3 steps to a full 'around the room walk'. Not perfect by any means, but did not pull. I'll keep at it, just have to lower my expectations. He is smart, but realllllyy stubborn. The "umfs" make me laugh.

    Thank you!


  • I would not worry about strange noises when he is sleeping. Totally normal, IMO. They also dream and sometimes vocalize in their sleep.

    I'm not a fan of harnesses. They do not give you the control you need and as elbrant mentioned, it isn't unusual for a dog to slip out of them. A collar should be well fitting and adjusted tight enough that he can't slip it. If you are consistent about not giving in to pulling he will learn to stop doing it. Be careful that you are not the one doing the pulling. When he tightens the leash, stand still. As soon as it loosens, move on. This is one of those things that go slowly at first but he will get the message that pulling does not get him what he wants, unless you confuse him by being inconsistent.


  • @lustopher - A walk every hour is a bit much, in my opinion. If it is to go potty, take him out and then reward when he goes. Walks should be fun time... not just to potty... especially at his age. And honestly, I recommend that people take their pup out for short walks after the 2nd shot. Just be mindful of them sniffing other "poop" as that can shed viruses. He is a bit young at 11wks to be expected to react quickly and learn... and sounds to me like he was not really socialized as a baby by the breeder, so you need to take the role with the absents of littermates and adults Basenjis/dogs in his world. Also make sure to have the vet check for a UTI, not uncommon for pups to get this, especially if it seems he is peeing often and not much or loses bladder control when sleeping. As far as sleeping noise, very normal.


  • @tanza I got a urine test container to have him checked next visit. But I believe he is just not used to it, because at night he can go for 4-4.5 hours without potty already. I take full responsability for not paying attenion for inside accidents. Today we had someone over and at some point he became annoying so I put him in his crate to relax and I ignored his whinning because I thought he was just mad, but he peed on his bed... . I'd say that was out of frustration, because I took him out like 30 mins earlier and not much activity afterwards. And when he wakes up, he waits.

    I've introduced him to other people already and I take him out for short walks around the block, not just potty. My parents have a 3yo female mixed bread, should I go for it or wait until my B is fully vaccinated? (she obviously is, and taken for vet checks every few months)


  • @lustopher - Go for it as long as your parents pup is vaccinated... they will be fine... I have found over 30+ years in the breed that they build immunities by interacting with others... years and years ago I didn't do that and had many issues... so when I started introducing to vaccinated dogs.. they build immunities... same with human children... I used to take my pups to lure trials and shows... I was careful on who/what they get close to... but I had MUCH healthy pups for that point on... not everyone will agree, but it certainly worked for me and all the people that I placed pups with.


  • @micah said in Potty and Biting:

    Yes my boy heels on lead and off lead in the park and to the park.
    I have videos of heel work with my boy but I’m not sure if it’s possible to sharing on here.

    I have seen those videos and it is wonderful to see a Basenji heeling without a lead. @micah is a superb trainer and his Kenji is an inspiration to other Bs !

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