Hello fellow Basenji servants!
The wife and I got our first Basenji back in March. She is tri-colored and her name is Toastie. She was born in Dec and we just got her fixed. I've been reading this forum since we picked her up and it has helped tremendously. I don't usually post much at message boards (although I'm a good reader), but felt I needed to here since the progress we've made with Toastie is due, in large part, to this forum. So here is Toastie's story:
We had two Keeshonds when we got her. One of them is a nervous dog so after a nerve racking first meeting we decided to take things really slow. We kept them separated at all times via a crate or baby gates. This way they can see/be together without causing problems. More on the Keeshonds in a bit.
While we were taking it slow with the other dogs, we were set to focus on what we thought to be the most important things first - house training, crate training, and not chewing mommy and daddy.
First, the house/crate training. We focused on positive reinforcement and gave her a treat every time she went outside. For weeks, we would not go over an hour (usually every 45 min) without taking her outside. We would stay out until she went and reward her when she did. We would also crate her at night. We would throw treats in the crate and she'd go right in. Once in the crate, she would cry for just a few minutes and goto bed. We also feed her in her crate so she has to go in to eat. To sum up, she still eats and sleeps in her crate and doesn't cause any problems while crated. Also, I can count the times she "went" in the house on ONE hand and hasn't had any mistakes in almost two months!
Now, the "not chewing mommy and daddy" didn't work out as well. We keep her stocked with different toys and try to ignore her when she nips. We then substitute a toy and praise her when she plays. We also walk her daily to try and wear her down. She is much much better than she was but she will still sometimes nip at us (mainly mommy) when she wants to play. Being we've seen great progress, we do believe this will eventually pass.
With the crate and house training seemingly under control, our focus switched to our other dog. I say "dog"(singular) because about three weeks after we got Toastie, our oldest Keeshond (Echo) had to be put down due to cancer. It's been about a month of being seperated and we thought it was time to let the dogs live together. Well, the "nervous" dog (Eclipse) now loved being with Toastie and would also instigate the playing. They can now be left alone without incident. Although, Eclipse can be a loud barker if she's not in the mood for play.
While training for those things, we've tried to get Toastie use to other things such as nail clipping, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. I would hold her in my arms upside down and give her treats while playing with her feet, ears, and mouth. It seems to have worked as she doesn't struggle anymore when I hold her. We've successfully clipped her nails and cleaned her ears a few times.
With much of that under control, it was time to work on other commands such as sit, down, stay, come…. This is what we're working on now. She will sit on command but will only do the others if a treat is available. Also, although we've been walking her, she is a pretty good puller. I'd like to get that under control also.
Anyway, sorry for the long post but this place has been so helpful so far that I felt the need to give you a full update.
Well, I can't leave without giving you:
Toastie in March: