Tips for New Basenji Owners!

Hello all!

My boyfriend and I are becoming proud Basenji owners in January. We have researched this breed for about 2 years and finally found a breeder & are in the process of getting our little bundle of joy…& headache! :p He was born the day before Thanksgiving & is coming home the last week in January.

I was wondering, for all you vetaran B owners out there, what are three tips that you think a new B owner MUST KNOW?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Congratulations and welcome! My advice is to thoroughly read this forum, especially the puppy posts! It's been a while since I had a puppy in the house…Nala will be 9 next Friday! Headache - yes, but also lots of fun!! It's a wild ride...
Looking forward to seeing the pictures and of course, hearing the stories!

  1. Books and DVDs get moved to a high shelf…if you still want them. Pretty much anything you don't want chewed should be moved out of harm's way...and even then they'll find a way to get to it! 🙂
  2. If you don't crate, Baby gates work wonders to give you some peace in rooms you don't want the dog to get into.
  3. Register for an obedience class - B's are notorious for treating obedience as kind of an afterthought, but if you can teach them even the basics you've done something...plus it's great for socialization.

@Ninabeana26:

Hello all!

My boyfriend and I are becoming proud Basenji owners in January. We have researched this breed for about 2 years and finally found a breeder & are in the process of getting our little bundle of joy…& headache! :p He was born the day before Thanksgiving & is coming home the last week in January.

I was wondering, for all you vetaran B owners out there, what are three tips that you think a new B owner MUST KNOW?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

You should be getting tips and experience help from your breeder? Who is the breeder? That is the "first" line.. and much of it should have been already discussed with you… and yes there is much info on the forum about new puppies... but the most important that starts with the breeder is socialization... above all....

@torchsong:

  1. Books and DVDs get moved to a high shelf…if you still want them. Pretty much anything you don't want chewed should be moved out of harm's way...and even then they'll find a way to get to it! 🙂
  2. If you don't crate, Baby gates work wonders to give you some peace in rooms you don't want the dog to get into.
  3. Register for an obedience class - B's are notorious for treating obedience as kind of an afterthought, but if you can teach them even the basics you've done something...plus it's great for socialization.
  1. SHUT THE BATHROOM DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And as regards #2 above, some of them respect the gate {My Jazzy:) }, others do not {My Keoki :rolleyes: }. So, get a tall gate!

As regards #3, it's possible that your dog will be the one in puppy class that does not get the "Plays well with others" award. Just be prepared for that! Sometimes the B's just don't have time for all that "puppy" nonsense!

Just be ready for anything, and to spend lots of time cuddling with what feels a bit like heaven!

Our breeder is located in Ocala, FL. Her name is Midge Greenlee. I haven't asked her so much about B ownership because I researched them so thoroughly before even finding a breeder & initially contacting her. I plan on visiting the puppies in 2 weeks annd plan to ask her for any tips on training, etc. for the puppies then. I was just hoping to get any extra tips I can find! 🙂

@tanza:

You should be getting tips and experience help from your breeder? Who is the breeder? That is the "first" line.. and much of it should have been already discussed with you… and yes there is much info on the forum about new puppies... but the most important that starts with the breeder is socialization... above all....

Our breeder is located in Ocala, FL. Her name is Midge Greenlee. I haven't asked her so much about B ownership because I researched them so thoroughly before even finding a breeder & initially contacting her. I plan on visiting the puppies in 2 weeks annd plan to ask her for any tips on training, etc. for the puppies then. I was just hoping to get any extra tips I can find! 🙂

Welcome 🙂

I agree with #s 1-4…and I will add #5 NEVER, EVER let him out of your sight 😉 No, really, supervision is key. If you can't be watching the puppy, he should be in a crate.

#6 Be prepared to alter your life a little to fit your puppy ....okay, maybe a lot depending on the puppy. For instance...you may need a new garbage can, one that is weighted at the bottom, with a heavy lid...or you could just remodel your kitchen so it has a pull out garbage drawer...but of course you will still have to get a baby cabinet lock...get the idea? 😉

And I will reiterate....find a fun positive reinforcement puppy training class...not only so you learn how to train your puppy, but so that your puppy gets out of the house and has fun learning....and you can commiserate with other puppy owners, and know that what you will be going thru is normal 🙂

Good luck, and have fun!

@nala121498:

Congratulations and welcome! My advice is to thoroughly read this forum, especially the puppy posts! It's been a while since I had a puppy in the house…Nala will be 9 next Friday! Headache - yes, but also lots of fun!! It's a wild ride…
Looking forward to seeing the pictures and of course, hearing the stories!

🙂 Querky will be 9 on Thursday 🙂

Nicky will be 10 on Dec 20, Rally will be 7 on Dec 30, and Sophie and Rio are celebrating their birthday today 1 and 3 respectively. We have managed to survive all of their puppyhoods and I would agree with the advice already given. I would also again emphasize the importance of finding a fun positive reinforcement based puppy kindergarten class. It is not too early to start looking for one and making sure you can get signed up, the really good classes tend to fill early.

Some other tips, teach your puppy to trade up so when they start chewing on your shoes, furniture or whatever you can trade a nice bully stick, tendon, ziggie or whatever for your possessions.

Practice Name Response often and reward frequently, it could save their lives someday. To do this say their name and if they start to turn their head either a "yes" or click and give a treat. Also when you are mad at them try not to use their name so that their name stays a wonderful word that they want to come to.

@Ninabeana26:

Our breeder is located in Ocala, FL. Her name is Midge Greenlee. I haven't asked her so much about B ownership because I researched them so thoroughly before even finding a breeder & initially contacting her. I plan on visiting the puppies in 2 weeks annd plan to ask her for any tips on training, etc. for the puppies then. I was just hoping to get any extra tips I can find! 🙂

She will be able to give you great tips…. and when you visit with her, tell her I said HI... and so does OJ... (Ch Bushbabies Obviously Jazz) who is 16 and 4 months and is a son of a very well known Basenjis that she bred and raised..

She did get to see him at the Nationals in October... that was really fun....

@torchsong:

Register for an obedience class - B's are notorious for treating obedience as kind of an afterthought, but if you can teach them even the basics you've done something…plus it's great for socialization.

Do any of you recommend going to Petsmart for the puppy training class? I have heard both positives & negatives with their classes from various dog owners, none with a Basenji however. There is a local kennel club that offers training also that I could do instead…

It really depends on the location. The trainers at Petsmart have a curriculum that is good, but some of them aren't very experienced with positive reinforcement training, and rely on old methods…which aren't as productive with dogs like Basenjis. I would look around, and meet the teachers/trainers first, ask them what techniques they use; If the person seems like they *enjoy spirited, free thinking dogs...they would probably be a pretty good trainer for Basenjis....if they think all dogs can be trained to act like Golden Retrievers, then probably not the best match.

I had great success at Pet Smart, but my trainer had been training for 5yrs and used the positive reinforcement methods. I didn't have a Basenji when i went to her but I did have a VERY head strong boxer (worse than my basenji) and Reggie is now 5 yrs and has his CGC

@Ninabeana26:

Do any of you recommend going to Petsmart for the puppy training class? I have heard both positives & negatives with their classes from various dog owners, none with a Basenji however. There is a local kennel club that offers training also that I could do instead…

We took ours to PetSmart for both Beginner and Intermediate training…I think it's really down to the trainer. It can be difficult for them when they've got about six to eight dogs, each with a varying degree of "puppyness" about them, and they have to deal with all that. That said, our trainer was absolutely great with our, understood that Basenji's are "special" when it comes to training, and was big on positive reinforcement.

After two courses (eight classes each) She-Ra can sit on command, knows her name, can come when called even when you're out of sight, and while she doesn't like to "stay" (sit and let you walk away), she will stand in place when you walk away, so we're okay with that.

The advantage to PetSmart vs. an individual trainer is the socialization aspect, but you'll definitely want to keep an eye on your B around other dogs. She-Ra's snapped a couple times, but nothing horrible.

Whatever you choose to do - Get Training of some kind and even more important - BE PATIENT. It can be really..>REALLLY<...frustrating when all the Beagles, Labs and Bulldogs around you are sitting for their owners while your B is looking at you like "What?!? I'm not gonna be a tool like those other dogs, man!" but when you finally DO get that "Sit" out of them, it's all worthwhile.

I would like to just second what Andrea said, it is really all about the trainer. Good trainers can be found in many different places. The trainer that I currently take my dogs to was the dog trainer for the classes offered through the Parks and Rec department for the City of Davis when I started taking classes with her. What is really important is the trainer's methods and philosophy. Find a good positive reinforcement trainer who offers a puppy class where the puppies get a chance to socialize as well as learn basic manners. Talk with the trainer and maybe even ask if you can stop by and watch a class. The one thing that I have found is that some trainers have a strong bias against basenjis. I have had personal experience with that where even though I had been going to the trainer for 2 months prior to the bad experience with someone else's dog she would not touch my dog after that. In the case of one of my puppy people, the instructor from the first class would tell the other students, don't get to close to the basenjis or be careful that is a basenji. My poor puppy was nearly expelled because it was so frustrated about being gated away from the others during play he finally just scaled the gate and raced over to join in. Luckily, his owner was able to find a class with an instructor who truly appreciated the unique qualities of the different breeds and the puppy got to be the star of his new class.

Basenji Mix

I'll vouch for Pet Smart training. However, as Quercus advised - check out the instructor. The one where I went was totally up to speed with positive reward training. She even suggested us to bring in extra high value treats for sessions that would be challenging for the "extra" special dogs (meaning my Duke). I brought in cream cheese, prime rib, corned beef - she always had peanut butter on hand. However, regular training treats worked most of the time. The high value treats also kept Duke focused on me when he was in a scrappy mood. Duke did the Puppy, Intermediate and Advanced training with the same instructor. I couldn't imagine what life would be like if we had not taken these classes. He was always so excited to go there. He would burst with excitement everytime we got to the intersection in the road just before the parking lot. Oh . . . the screaming!!!

Get the Basenji Owners Manual put out by the Evergreen Basenji Club in Seattle.
Its a great workbook and the price isn't bad either.
Post to me privately, and I will send you the site.
Its very helpful!

When Lexi was young, I was able to take her to the offleash dog park and run with her. This is something I am REALLY glad I did. I think it helped with her socialization (off leash) and really made a strong bond with us. She learned to come when I whistled and to stay around me when I ran- yet she had the freedom to run and play and chase squirrels all the while. I think dogs, especially Basenjis, really appreciate when you make an effort for them. Lexi LOVED going to the park. I was fortunate enough to be close to a really good one. Hopefully you can find something similar. It also helped because she was exercised and tired when we came home; listened better. 😉 Good dog.

*But note that she was off leash and could go as fast or slow as she needed. I didn't drag her along on a leash. And she was old enough to handle the situations with other dogs-I'm not one to baby my dogs in the sense of if a big dog comes over, pick up my dog. I like for my dogs to be able to fend for themselves. I think most Basenji's do this naturally. 😉

But I'm not saying you should take your tiny puppy and go run miles and miles!! But when he/she's old enough, make sure you get out there and exercise and socialize! 🙂

@BDawg:

When Lexi was young, I was able to take her to the offleash dog park and run with her. This is something I am REALLY glad I did. I think it helped with her socialization (off leash) and really made a strong bond with us. She learned to come when I whistled and to stay around me when I ran- yet she had the freedom to run and play and chase squirrels all the while. I think dogs, especially Basenjis, really appreciate when you make an effort for them. Lexi LOVED going to the park. I was fortunate enough to be close to a really good one. Hopefully you can find something similar. It also helped because she was exercised and tired when we came home; listened better. 😉 Good dog.

*But note that she was off leash and could go as fast or slow as she needed. I didn't drag her along on a leash. And she was old enough to handle the situations with other dogs-I'm not one to baby my dogs in the sense of if a big dog comes over, pick up my dog. I like for my dogs to be able to fend for themselves. I think most Basenji's do this naturally. 😉

But I'm not saying you should take your tiny puppy and go run miles and miles!! But when he/she's old enough, make sure you get out there and exercise and socialize! 🙂

This has made ALL the difference in my relationship with Booger. I take Booger to the park (might be the same one in Georgia) & it has a trail around the fence. We run a few laps along the fenceline, and he pretty much stays with me. But he has the freedom to run off & explore where I can see him. When I can't see him anymore, I call him, and he comes running. Once we're finished running, I have to tell him he can "Go play" so he doesn't hover by my side while there are other of dogs to run with. After running together, I let him spend plenty of time just being a dog with the other dogs, and the dogs all pretty much play in sight of their humans. After an hour or two, he's pretty tired, and 90% of the time will walk up to the exit gate when I call him (if he's not tired enough or just having too much fun I have to physically put the leash on him & walk him up to the gate). He's a happier dog at home, and doesn't get into as much stuff because he burns off a lot of energy & he's not so bored with sitting in the house with just the cats to play with.
When we first started taking him to the park, he'd stay with you until he found something better & then you could never get him to come back to you unless he got bored with the something better. I never used food treats as a training tool in the park because food of any kind is not aloud. Instead, good behavior just got a "good boy" & longer time at the park. Bad behavior shortened our visit. Now, he seems to WANT to stay with me until I give him permission to play, and I feel its because he gets the freedom he needs in a safe, secure environment. Going to the park also taught him to play with other dogs. He had no clue what to do with other dogs the first few times, because he'd only ever met the dogs that live near us, but never been outside, off leash with them.

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