Could use some of your Basenji Love

  • Hello Everyone,

    I'm a fresh Basenji owner, Her name is Zola !
    She is 3 month old, and it has been 2 weeks since I got her.


    This is my first dog ever. I've been looking into every dog breed during almost 2 years before deciding myself to take the leap and organize my life to be able to welcome a dog. ( Moved from the city I was living in and negotiate a full remote position with my company )
    I fell in love with the breed of B. The whole story that comes with it, and physically they look like the perfect dog to me.
    They have the size I was looking for, and I'm an active and sporty person. I also like the fact that I don't have the same dog as everyone, to be honest.
    I realized during my research that it was not an easy task to have one, but I was motivated to get as prepared as I could to welcome her. Followed countless online courses, videos, books and advices of what would be my future breeder.

    I completely fell in love with my little Zola these first two weeks ( Especially when she yawns after waking up, it's as if the world stops every time )
    She is so smart, and it's wonderful to watch her discover the world. It was also lovely to see her completely relying on me so fast. I can see that she makes progress already, and understands her environment better and better every day.
    However, after two weeks, I'm not going to lie, it's starting to be really exhausting. I'm living alone, so I'm the only one who takes her out every 3 hours, every day, to make her learn how to potty. We're getting there slowly, and I'm glad to see that happening.
    Also, I don't really know any other owner in my area yet, so I can't talk about all the doubts of the first weeks..
    It's sometimes really frustrating when she doesn't seem able to calm down even after an hour of walking, and with the tiredness I find myself losing patience sometimes and not being as nice with her as I always promised myself to be.

    I know it's just the beginning, and I'm not expecting to get better or worse, but I just wanted some of your testimony, so I can read what made you fell for the B's. Just to cheer me up and read about your beginning and how your life with your B is now.

    I read few topics on this forum and to be honest, it could be a little overwhelming sometimes and not really reassuring…In the other hand, I often see some of you guys getting a second one ! ahah
    I could use some positivity, and stories of your special bonds with your beloved ones because I can clearly see there is something special about them that I maybe forgot about it a bit with the lack of sleep 😂

    And if we could avoid the sarcasm like "you got what you paid for" just for this time, I would really appreciate it 🙏

    Anyway, thank you guys for reading this long post, and thanks to those who will take the time to answer.
    Looking forward to reading your stories and future topics on this forum.


  • Zola has awesome markings! So cool.

    Puppies always seem to have so much energy, but I am impressed that you are trying to find out how others have dealt with that.
    My recommendation is to offer her stimulating toys. Maybe a puzzle toy, or a "Kong®". Fill the Kong with part of her daily kibble and seal it with a bit of peanut butter before you go to bed at night. Freeze it, then give it to her after one of her walks. She'll enjoy the peanut butter and then have to decide the best way to get the kibble out. It doesn't just teach her to entertain herself... it allows her to learn that you don't have to interact with her 100% of the day.

    The other thing I would do is work on her basic life skills during your walks (sit, stay, come, etc.) so that the walks are more than just potty breaks. Stimulating her mind will contribute to puppy naps. At this age, keep the skill sets short so that boredom doesn't set in. When you get to the corner, say "stop" (I use "wait") as a cue that you are going to stop walking and she should too. She will probably do this instinctively and then look up at you. Praise her, then give her a new word to learn (like "come") when you proceed across the street. Always use those words. You are teaching her "English" (or whatever language you prefer to speak). Even when she is a 5 yo, use those words. Gradually extend her endurance during the stop from seconds to minutes as she gets older. There are lots of things to learn on walks. Use them as a lesson. You are learning how to communicate with each other so you can keep her safe in our world.

    Welcome to group! I am looking forward to hearing about your many puppy adventures. 🙂

  • @elbrant Thank you very much for your answer ! It's kind of reassuring because I'm actually doing a lot of the things you're saying already, so I should be in the right path !
    Zola loves Kongs, but maybe a bit too much, as she is not as found of her kibbles in her normal cup as she used to be. So I'm trying to find the right balance.
    I still to try the freezer trick ! 😉

    We're currently working on skills like Sit, stay, come. I'm so impressed by her for her age and the time she spent with me so far.

    Thank you for your cheering

  • The first 4 months were hell for me as Safi couldn't control her bladder and would pee really frequently. In fact, a year on we still haven't established a way for her to tell me she needs to go out, I think because I take her out often enough to cover it (3 times per day). It is totally overwhelming to begin with but gets easier as you get to know each other and also as you obsess less. Bs are cheeky, funny and smart (sometimes too smart) as you know. Drill the recall relentlessly, stop training her before she gets bored,, end on a high. I trained whistle recall too as a back up and it's helped a lot when she's ignored me or can't hear me. She has a good 90%+ recall now and only ignores me if there is too much of a temptation but I'm happy with that as she's not a robot. As Elbrant says, one of the best things is to train the separation and independence but she'll eventually find that on her own. It becomes liberating when you can leave them alone with no repercussions. Don't let her think that she's in charge though, woe betide you!

    She's a real cutie and I know exactly what you mean about the yawn!

  • It gets so much easier. I was convinced I'd ruined both my life and Hugo's (also a tri, also my first dog) for the first two months. I also live alone and if not for the support of family and friends living nearby I doubt I'd have got through it.

    But we've now been together a little over six months and while I still have little issues here and there he's fit into my lifestyle amazingly well. I'd suggest taking every opportunity you can to teach Zola. Enroll in every class you can, but also make every interaction a learning opportunity. Ask her to follow a few commands before feeding, teach her how to get on and off the furniture she's allowed on, get her into morning and bedtime routines.

    I also found that Hugo became a lot easier to live with when I stopped letting puppy hell shape my routine and just got back to ordinary life. Once you start living the way you intend to for the next fifteen years, your routine will become her routine and a source of comfort to her.

    Hugo will now come in from his morning walk, have breakfast and about ten minutes before I normally start work will go to his bed next to my desk and sleep until he gets his afternoon treat.

    Hang in there. It's hard at first but I've laughed more in the last six months than I did in the six dog-free years before Hugo.

  • @t89rex
    You have no idea how much I needed to read that !
    Having the feeling to have made too much of a change and that I'll never be able to get back a little bit of my old life is exactly how I feel sometimes.
    It's just taking all of your time, and when it's been weeks, it's really overwhelming.

    But it's really cool to read that you eventually sorted it out, and found a right balance after a few months. Thank you for sharing, it's much appreciated.

    Can't wait to make progress with Zola, I want to get the best of her capacities, so I can offer her the best life she could have. But I have no doubt that she has so much to offer, she's so smart already.

    Thanks again !

  • @Saving
    I'm in the peepee nightmare as well ! She quite well understood for poopoo, but can't contain herself when she has to pee. She's only 3 month old, and her sphincter are probably not ready yet, so I try to maintain a good figure in front of her and stay positive.
    Really impressed by your work on the recall, it gets me hope for the future and an aim to look at.
    Yes, I guess the biggest thing with Zola will be to work on her separation anxiety. As I'm the only one living with her, she is very dependent on me.
    I'm trying to stay away from her sight a few minutes every day and increase that time step by step, but she is already showing signs of destruction.. As soon as her Kong is empty, she gets really stressed.
    Did you make some particular drills to work on that on your end ?

    Thanks for answer

  • @abonnard said in Could use some of your Basenji Love:

    signs of destruction

    Seems like they become a Velociraptor in their adolescence. Don't react. That's what they are looking for. It's like a game... what's he gonna do when I ___ (fill in the blank) ___ ? If you don't freak out, the game becomes boring and they stop. Or, at least, my girl did. Of course, doodle removed all of the corners from every pillow in the house first. Either she got bored of the game ... or she ran out of pillows. 🤣

  • @elbrant
    Alright, I'll try to remain Stoic then ! 😂
    .. and to protect my pillows

    Do you use a crate ?

  • If Zola after a walk still doesn’t slow down pop her in the cage for a hour; I do this still with my basenjis one is now 3years old and the other just hit 1 years old. After a walk they drink if they need to then they go bed; it helps teach them how to shut down and not always be crazy.

    I have two basenjis, and it’s easier however the first basenji should be fairly trained as it would make bringing a new pup in alot easier and you will find they will tag team against you lol!

    It does get better with age it certainly did for my 3 year old just waiting for the youngest one to mellow down; keep working with her and it will all fall intro place.

  • @abonnard said in Could use some of your Basenji Love:

    Do you use a crate ?

    No, I do not do crates. If some random "bad guy" breaks into my home, I don't want my dog(s) to be locked in a crate. I want them to sneak up on the creep and ask 'em what they are looking for! 😉

    Others are die hard crate users... I'm just not one of them.

  • And I don’t think a random “bad guy” would stop in the process of what they was doing if they are a determined one. Especially if faced by a loose pup lol.

    Each to their own; but nothing wrong with using a crate and crate training a pup, If a pup is in the destructive stage and you need to be out the house for a certain period of time. Better than a destructive pup finding live wires and chewing on etc.

    My 3year old has full access of the house when I pop out now as he is not destructive anymore. My 1year old is crated and will free roam the house when mellowed down at a later stage. It helps eliminate any bad habits like chewing on furniture or anything life threatening where you cannot control if you aren’t at homing watching.

  • @Micah
    Thanks for sharing your experience, it's a relief to see that it's working quite well for you.
    This is one of my biggest fear having a Basenji. Not being able to leave the house for a couple of hours because she would destroy everything, and also having to put her on a leash or a long line absolutely all the time, fearing she's going to run away.
    I guess I'll have to work hard on those two areas to be comfortable and to make her feel I'm comfortable with it so she should be as well.

  • Safi was crated for the first 6 months overnight but she appealed to me to let her sleep out and I allowed it, she was restricted to the hallway and one room but got on really well. She has not been destructive except in the first couple of months when she didn't know better. I kinda mitigated it by teaching her that she had her chew toys and everything else was mine. So if I caught her nibbling something I gave her a toy of similar texture instead.
    We've been together a year now and I've only just left the baby gate to the final room open, I'll take it out at the weekend, so she has the run of the house now except my bedroom which is the dog-free zone. She had quite bad separation anxiety until she realised that she was the puppy and I was the adult, adults are allowed to go hunt and leave the pups alone, whereas I think she thought she was responsible for me so when she couldn't get to me she got frantic.
    I can leave her for 3 hours or so now and she's fine, I just make sure she's had a good long walk beforehand and she sleeps.
    I also thought I made the biggest mistake getting her at the start as it was complete disruption to my life, which hasn't returned back completely but it's now something a bit different a happy medium. I have a very good daycare nearby who love her and she goes roughly once a week.

  • @abonnard Pee pads got me through in the end, she would pee every 20 mins for the first months, then 40 mins, then she suddenly went to being able to hold it for many hours. One of the best purchases I got before she arrived was a small carpet washer, saved my sanity. The cleanup is so key otherwise they go back to the same spot.

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