How To: Adding a new basenji to your home

I have some tips I always share with folks adding a new basenji to their home. I am hopeful some of you will have more…so we can set up a win/win for the new dogs in the new home.:) I send this to everyone who gets a rescue b.
Its from BRAT and I think it has lots of good info.

From BRAT: Do's, dont's and tips with a new basenji.

Expect to be tired for the first few weeks your new basenji is in your home. Soon you will find you are relaxing and in a routine.

  • DO keep your basenji safe. Trying to catch an escaped, scared basenji is nearly impossible. Plan ahead. As soon as your basenji comes home, practice calling him in the house and each time he comes, give him a fabulous treat.

  • Basenjis will bolt through any open doors. Be certain your new basenji is in your control before opening any doors.

  • Basenjis will back out of their collars. Make sure your basenji's collar is fitted properly. It should be buckled tightly enough that you can just squeeze two fingers under the collar.

  • If your basenji escapes, chasing it will make it run faster. Several things to try: run the opposite direction, as he may decide to chase you; lay down on the ground and roll around or act like you are eating treats. Your basenji's curiosity may bring him back to see what is going on. Notify your placement counselor immediately for more guidance.

  • DO remember that it takes FOUR MONTHS for a dog to settle into its new surroundings. (For a basenji who has been placed multiple times, it will likely take longer.) Try not to pressure the dog to work with you too much or expect anything extraordinary from the dog during this time.

  • DO act like you get a new dog in your house every day of the week. It's no big deal. This is hard because you're nervous yourself, but it's SO important. If you are nervous and uptight the dog will get nervous and uptight also. Your confidence will be contagious and help your basenji realize she has a confident "leader."

  • DON'T touch the dog. LET THE DOG COME TO YOU in its own good time.

  • When a basenji is in a new environment, the only thing that's familiar to them is the immediate space around their own body. This space becomes inviolate to the dog. He may likely feel threatened if you touch him before he is ready If you drop something next to the dog, either wait for the dog to move, or, if it's edible, kiss it good-bye.

  • Avoid making quick movements with your hands or body that might startle the dog.

  • DO talk to your basenji a LOT. Use your natural voice. Talk to the dog about anything–just babble meaningfully and go ahead and throw the dog's name in ever so often. What you are doing is getting the dog used to your voice and helping it to learn to read your body language. The faster the dog learns this, the more quickly it can start to settle in, so talk to it a LOT.

  • DON'T act sympathetic toward the dog. Dogs don't understand sympathy. The minute your voice gets sympathetic, the dog's immediate reaction is "Uh oh, something's wrong."

  • DON'T expect ANYTHING extraordinary from the dog. The only thing you want to do during these first weeks is to show the dog your basic leadership skills. Just show your "stand tall, self-assurance" type traits for now. They help the dog understand you know what you're doing.

  • DO have the dog SIT before you set their meals down by the second or third day, if your dog already knows SIT. If your dog doesn't know SIT, begin teaching this command in a sensitive manner. Do not risk stressing your basenji by jerking, pushing or over-handling him into a SIT position. One way to train sit is to simply wait for your dog to SIT then immediately praise by saying "Good SIT" and offering a treat. (Carry treats with you in a Ziploc bag).

  • DO feel comfortable about petting your other dogs, if you have them. It's VERY important for them to realize they have not been displaced and for the new dog to see you interacting in a pleasing way with them. Watch for tension this might create. If your original dog is feeling needy, you might give him lots of special attention away out of view of the new dog.

  • As you are providing attention and cuddles, DO be aware if you are causing tension between dogs. Ownership or protection of "my" human can cause disagreements. Calmly leave the area and avoid aligning yourself with any one dog – this helps to reduce the stress.

  • DO remove all toys if there is another dog in the home. Let the dogs adjust to each other before adding the stress of squabbling over toys. If you can't help yourself, provide toys while the dogs are individually crated.

  • DO pay personal attention to the dog when they begin to ask for it, but be cautious. Some basenjis want attention but then revert to fear when you reach out to them as they're still unsure of your movements and what they mean. Reach out slowly with your palm up and watch the dog carefully.

  • If he looks the least bit tentative, stop. Don't jerk your hand back; just stop your hand wherever it is. If the dog IS tentative, the dog will turn away. Then you can pull your hand back slowly.

  • DO expect the dog to become a "Velcro dog" the first weeks. They have been abandoned once and don't want to let you out of their sight for fear it means they've been abandoned again. Just try not to fall over the dog if it really sticks close. You can tell how well a dog is adjusting by when it starts letting you out of its sight and for how long.

  • Should the dog growl at you for ANY reason, stand (if you aren't already), turn your back to the dog, and slowly walk away. Should the dog try to nip you as you're walking away just STOP and stand still, ignoring the dog completely.

  • Keep a leash or line of some sort-about 3 feet long– (You could use cotton clothes line rope dipped in Bitter Apple) attached to her collar at all times when she's in the house. New basenjis tend to try to find a place that they can claim as "theirs." It may be an overstuffed chair, the couch, the bed, etc. You don't want this to happen.

  • If she growls while she's on any piece of furniture, tell her "OFF!" and use the line to pull her off. Don't jerk the line, just pull gently but firmly until she's off. When she is off, then you may invite her back up if you so desire, but it's important she knows she has boundaries and limits.

  • Never wake up a basenji by touching or shaking it, unless you know the basenji very well and the basenji knows you very well. Many basenjis will awake snapping at whatever woke them. Simply call the dog's name. When it is awake, return to your normal interaction style. If your dog has a hearing or vision problem, slightly stomping on the floor to awaken the dog and to get the dog's attention before touching will help your basenji.

  • If your basenji becomes frightened and hides in a crate, under a bed or back in some "hiding place", do not reach in and try to pull the dog out. Wait patiently and let the dog set the pace.

  • Children require the highest degree of supervision when around the new basenji. Children's play frequently consists of making loud noises and running, flapping arms, and sometimes waving toys in the air. This type of behavior may be very frightening to your new basenji.

It is essential that you talk with your children and require that they not push themselves on the new basenji. If they want to do something, they may put the basenji's food bowl down for her and they may put treats on the floor for the basenji to then pick up. Going slowly is the best policy.

  • These tips were originally compiled by Jean Skaggs and have been modified/enlarged upon by members of BRAT


Also, this is what I tell folks…

New dog arriving..Don't bring the dog into the house or yard. Have the people stop down the block, put the basenji on a leash and you walk up with your girl to meet, I am not saying let them go face to start walking and the boy comes along...all on leashes..let them pee and smell...and walk, walk walk..once the dog settle down, then you can put them in the backyard together...but do expect the girl to set some rules..

Unless there is blood, don't interfere, but you can put a hose on, if you feel they are getting too intense, and use it to squirt them..

After everyone is tired and empty..let them in the house. If your girl "protects" something..just ignore it...if she "protects" you, walk away and ignore her. That is called resource guarding and its not to be allowed with a new b in the house.
Either feed them in the crate, or like me, feel one on the left hand side, one on the right...always, that means if the boy is left he gets his treats for the left hand..and his food is put down on the left side.

It is really quick how they learn to sort themselves out so the treats come when they are sitting on the correct side.

if the dogs get into a tussle, use the squirt bottles an don't worry UNLESS you see blood. If you do, then its total time outs for both dogs...Try to make this crate time as calm as possible...even though you are probably mad.

Say, ok, its all fun until someone gets hurt my husbands fav expression and put them into the crates. They can calm down and give you a chance to calm down as well.

Thank you Sharron, this is very helpful information.

I hope others will add to this.
Course, its geared toward rescue dogs, who often have issues that well bred, socialized basenji pups, don't have.
I also suggest they get the Basenji Owners Manual
put out by the Evergreen Basenji Club.
At $10, its a great workbook and has plenty of great advice for a basenji owner.
Its takes a village to help humans outsmart B's!

Thanks Sharron! Our new boy got here last night and those tips are coming in handy! Pics soon - I don't have a hand free for uploading photos quite yet!

Yea, you got your boy.
When you have need to get him microchipped, if he isn't
I am a major believer in these..
They will get your b home to you, if they get out, and that is worth any price!
Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you bond.
I am totally at your service.

Thanks Sharon - he is microchipped - I need to do whatever it is you do to have info changed to my contact info. His chip is how the shelter locate dhis original owners and found out "we didn't want him anymore so we just dropped him in the desert to live in the wild." :mad: grrrrrrrrrrr

Have your vet scan it and call the number listed.
Tell them the story and get the info changed.
Did they send you any chip info?
If they did, you just call the number listed.

Do keep toilet Paper out of reach!!!!

Hello. I am new to this forum and we have 1 basenji, almost 6 years old. He was given to us as a rescue when he was 12 weeks old from someone that purchased him at a pet store. We had an elderly Jack Russell Terrier at the time that had also been a rescue. They got along very well, but sadly my JRT had to be put down about 4 years ago now.
I would like to get another basenji, and am open to rescuing another. I've never had a girl dog before and was wondering if it would be better to get another boy or if a girl would be better. I'm sure it all depends on personality, however our basenji can be very territorial with dogs he doesn't know that come over, and tends to typically like smaller dogs. He has a best friend that is another JRT that he plays with really well that is an altered male that he has grown up with. Any dog that we would get would be altered. I just preferred having two dogs as they like playing together, etc. We really love our basenji and would like to expand our family if it would be best for all. Please let me know if anyone has advise on this. Thank you, eli's mom

Typically male/female combos are recommended.

hi Elibasenji - welcome to the pack! 🙂 This is a great place for "all things basenji". You'll enjoy this forum.

Sharron, what great information! Though under the heading of what to do with a rescue dog, much of it makes sense for bringing a new puppy into the home. Thanks so much for posting this.

If your boy has a male 'best friend' he may do well with an adult neutered male basenji. Many recommend getting a dog of opposite sex, but even that doesn't guarantee they will be compatable. Personality is very important. Good luck with getting a "partner in crime" for your boy!

I wish I could take credit for this post, but it's just information that BRAT shares with folks who are either fostering or adoption a basenji.
BRAT really does try to cover the bases with inof re new dogs and owners.

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