Need advice before i finalize my decision about getting a basenji

My husband and I would like to add another member to our pack so we were looking at and researching different breeds. We came across Basenji's and fell in love.

After reading as much information as we could on these amazing dogs we want to make certain that we would be a good match for a new Basenji.

I hope some of you can offer some advice and words of wisdom before I commit to adding a new breed to the family.

I've read TONS of information on Basenji's but I think it's best to consult with actual owners and lover's of Basenjis.

First off, I will tell you our current situation. We are the proud parents of a 14 year old spayed female Beagle named Belle and a soon to be 3 year old neutered male Chihuahua named Cooper. Belle is getting older and we realize that we can love her forever, but unfortunately she will not be with us forever. This is why we want to introduce a new friend into our pack. We are thinking that the transition would be much smoother while Belle is still with us. Belle can show the new pup the ropes, and Cooper can keep her occupied. And when Belle leaves us I want Cooper to have a buddy. Our dogs get along extremely well and Cooper is so playful that he helps to retain Belle's young spirit. Cooper is a larger sized chihuahua and I know he'd love to have someone to play with that wouldn't get tired after 10 minutes like our old gal Belle does. When she doesn't want to play he happily plays by himself with his toys.

We live in the city of Green Bay in a two story home with a large fenced in yard. The yard is my main concern. While it is very large and fenced in, the only 6 foot high portion is running along the back. All of the rest of the fence is 4 feet high…and the side to the rear-left of the garage is 4 foot chain-link. I read that Basenjis can jump up to six feet vertically and are able to climb a chain-link fence. I'd like to know of your experience with this. We never keep our dogs alone outside for extended periods of time, but I want to make sure that they are safe. Can they be trained not to jump and climb? What is your opinion or suggestion? I should also point out that on the opposite side of the chain-link fence lives 5 Dachshunds. On the other side of the 4 foot wooden fence children often play. Would this encourage the dog to want to get out?

I also read that they are chewers. Has anyone been able to curtail this behavior with proper training or by using bitter spray? We don't have children, so it is easy for us to make sure items are picked up and not left out. I'm concerned for furniture and things like that. Our beagle used to chew (shoes, underwear, bras, towels, etc.) but she grew out of it eventually. We trained her and watched her as closely as we could, but she still found ways to get into things. After about a year she mellowed and was happy enough with her toys. We never had a problem with the chihuahua chewing...he does like to grab our socks from the bathroom when we are showering from time to time. He just wrestles around with them and has never destroyed anything.

I am able to provide a lot of attention and care for my dogs since I work from my home office for only 5 hours a day...the rest of the time I make myself totally available. I love to let the dogs have a great time playing outside in the yard and I don't really wish to resort to chaining them up to prevent escape. I would absolutely be willing to hang out in the yard with the dogs until they are ready to go back inside, but realize that this may not always be possible.

Do you see any other potential issues we would have to consider before finalizing our decision on a Basenji?

Sorry this is so wordy, but we want to be very sure to provide a good, safe environment for a new dog. I've just fallen so in love with this breed that I don't want that to blind me of the fact that we might have problems. We are committed dog owners and by no means are we careless...but I want to make absolutely sure that our yard will be suitable.

Any advice would be appreciated.

I look SO forward to hearing from you and thank you for loving, raising and caring for such amazing creatures.

Thank you!
Dolly:)

I just saw a post on another thread that had photos of 'fence rollers'. That made me very excited. 🙂

Welcome to the forum! Here's the thing Dolly, the chewing, the fence climbing or what ever bad/negative behavior is can be something most breeds are capable of having. Each Basenji is different. Some may be chewers and some not, same goes with the fence climbing/jumping. I have a 3 ft picket fence around my front yard and in 27 years my Basenjis could easily scale that and run away but don't. My last 2 Basenjis stayed in the house all day unattended with a dog door to get out and didn't chew up anything. It's not to say they didn't chew anything as they did a few minor things when they were young like any dog.
My current Basenji chews more than my others did so I just have to work with him more on it and show him this is yours to chew and this isn't. Does that make sense?


You can see the fence. In 1 year he scaled it once when I was standing on the sidewalk talking to a neighbor and he wanted to be with me. But what ever issues you need help with or that come up the folks here on the forum can help.

Thanks Dan! That makes me feel a lot more comfortable.
I am such a huge animal lover and any hint of putting a dog in jeopardy makes me weepy. Basenjis are such beautiful, magnificent creatures! (Not to say the dogs I currently have aren't….My Cooper and Belle are amazing and we tell them such everyday!)
Thanks for sharing your experience!

Doll

@nobarkus:

By the way…your dog is beautiful! 😉

Here are my babies:

And my yard:

As Dan says Basenjis vary greatly and so it's not really possible to guarantee that they won't jump, chew etc. There seem to be great Basenji temptations on the other sides of your fences so you might have to extend them.

I think it's just a matter of watching carefully and assessing whether there is a need. I thought mine were secure behind a 6 ft fence but we had to raise it for our last boy although his sister never jumps. (Mind you there are great temptations the other sides of our fences too in the form of sheep!!)

If you choose a Basenji you will find him/her enchanting I'm sure but their temperaments are quite different from Beagles!

First Basenji's

Hi! Welcome to the forum!
I agree with what Dan said.
One thing I'd suggest is that, if at all possible, you should visit and spend time with a basenji (or two or three…). While the reading helped a lot when I adopted mine, I really wish that I had met a few. It gives you a different perspective than just reading. For me, it was one thing to read that they were destructive, but another thing altogether to see just what my bundle of joy was capable of. I'm not sure, but I think most responsible breeders will let you visit their basenjis (or encourage it) if you are interested in getting a puppy from them. Hopefully one of them will chime in.

On fences, and this is just my experience with one basenji (a 4 year old rescue), I think it's a bit tricky. Like Dan said, all B's are different. For almost a year, we had no problems with our chain-link fence (after basenji-proofing it, that is). Cody's a climber, but someone was always outside with him, so we were able to pick him up before he made it over the fence. He didn't try to climb it very often, though; it was only when the neighbor cats taunted him from the other side of the fence. Then one day, he was startled by a low-flying helicopter and he started jumping it. He jumped and cleared a part of our fence that is about 4-4 1/2 feet tall... more than once. When he realized that he could do it, he continued to jump it whether he was give a reason or not. Thankfully, we have since fixed it to where he can't, but I am all the more vigilant because of the experience. Now I wish I had seen the fence rollers, though, that's a cool idea.

As for chewing, I have learned that diverting his attention is the best way to get him to stop. He seems to go through cycles where he will/will not chew, and thankfully he doesn't do it as much anymore (because my wardrobe was starting to severely suffer at one point despite all my efforts to keep my clothes away from him). His favorite things to chew include (but are not limited to) hard plastics, pillows (to de-fluff them), anything with fluff on the inside, bras, jeans, mittens/gloves, the molding around doors and windows, carpet edges, the occasional mini-blind, and thick hems on clothes. I usually trade him a raw bone or a rope toy for whatever he has, like if I see him try to grab a pair of jeans, I'll give him the rope toy, but if he starts to chew on hard plastic like on our vacuum cleaner, I'll give him a bone, kind of like almost an even trade depending on his "chewing needs" at the time.

I hope that helps. Good luck and keep us posted!

Thanks for the info Patty and crystalncody! Very much appreciated.

The fence that you can't see in my photo is behind the garage. It is a four foot chain-link and on the other side there lives 5 Dachshunds. If needed we will construct something new…we just took advantage of the neighbor's fence that was already there to save a little money. I definately want to put up fence rollers...and I can totally make them myself. My husband thinks it's a good idea too.

As for chewing...It looks like crating is in the cards when we are not around for sure.

I've talked to a breeder that lives about 3 hours away from me...her name is Laura Mae Hesse. I am trying to arrange a phone call with her. She told me that 2 of her Basenjis are homed just 20 minutes away from where I live. So I'm hoping the owners will let us come out for a visit.

Thanks again everyone for your advice.

We are glad you found the forum and hope you can share your new b's with us.

@FlowerOfFire:

Thanks for the info Patty and crystalncody! Very much appreciated.

The fence that you can't see in my photo is behind the garage. It is a four foot chain-link and on the other side there lives 5 Dachshunds. If needed we will construct something new…we just took advantage of the neighbor's fence that was already there to save a little money. I definately want to put up fence rollers...and I can totally make them myself. My husband thinks it's a good idea too.

As for chewing...It looks like crating is in the cards when we are not around for sure.

I've talked to a breeder that lives about 3 hours away from me...her name is Laura Mae Hesse. I am trying to arrange a phone call with her. She told me that 2 of her Basenjis are homed just 20 minutes away from where I live. So I'm hoping the owners will let us come out for a visit.

Thanks again everyone for your advice.

Good choice with Laura Mae…. and she can give you lots of great advise and tips... besides knowing her Basenjis....

We have had 4 ft chain fence for 30 years, dogs have not been climbers. the diggers we discouraged by putting paver-stones in front of the gate. Only escapers I ever had were bored single dogs, having 2 dogs keeps them occupied. I think the temptation of a bunch of doxies on one side might be tempting, you may have to extend and put a roller, but as Dan said, not all are jumpers, diggers or chewers.
Do try and visit with some, we love the breed, but not everyone does!

The youngsters if not worn out or taken out for hiking and fun daily will get bored in a yard and will try to escape. They won't fetch much so trying to just wear them out in the yard won't work. I discovered that with my first one in 1975. Like we always say here on the forum "a worn out Basenji is a good Basenji".


Doing this will get you the below.


Good Basenji!

Thanks for all the advice. Seems to me Basenji owners are as rare as the breed themselves…meaning it's not too often you find such nice people all in one place! 🙂

My husband has big plans for wearing out the dog. When our beagle was younger he used to take her on bikerides...she'd pretty much pull him on the bike. I'm thinking a basenji will be a bit stronger and have lots more determination to get somewhere or chase something, so I may have to discourage this. He might just have to stick with jogging. 😉

The fence rollers sound better each day...even if the dog doesn't turn out to be a jumper or climber, it's always good to err on the side of caution.

Have a Basenjiful day!

I find that 2 b's are better than one when it comes to keeping them when your at work.
I have a pair and they have never tried to leave each other, when I am at work…
we have a 5 ft fence and a doggie door.

@sharronhurlbut:

I find that 2 b's are better than one when it comes to keeping them when your at work.
I have a pair and they have never tried to leave each other, when I am at work…
we have a 5 ft fence and a doggie door.

I work from home so I plan on loving my basenji all day! ❤

I love your spunk! 😃

I think you are on the right track, and often what makes a "good" Basenji parent is a person who has an open and flexible mentality. Basenjis need people who have a great sense of humour and who will love them through their "faults". Those faults are also why we love them, their tenacious nature and strength of spirit often gets them into trouble. And trust me the love you get from a Basenji is unique and addicting, because in essence it is a thoughtful wild creature that chooses to listen and respond to you when you choose to treat them with respect and kindness. Basenji people understand when they find their toilet paper shredded to tiny bits all over the floor that their dog is bored, or when they find an offender sneaking cookies of the kitchen counter - realise it was their fault for not locking those cookies safely away in the cupboard. You gotta just laugh, take pictures and share the story with us!! They flourish with positive reinforcement training, and really respond to body language - Patricia B McConnell outlines it brilliantly in the "Other End of the Leash" - if you haven't read her yet, she is positively fantastic and illuminating. A really nice read for dog enthusiasts.

Going and visiting Bs will really give a real life depiction of what you are diving into. Ask loads of questions because Basenji owners love to answer them. Feel free to go for the juicy bits, ask about unstuffed couches and doors that have been chewed off (my first Basenji did 4 doors under the age of 7 …hehe) But also bear in mind that Basenjis like most dogs only really chew when they are board, and as the saying goes : A tired Basenji is a good Basenji. Live by that one. 🙂 I think with all the stimulation in your house, your chewing will be minimal if you offer lots of other lovely things to much on (ie bully sticks or meaty bones). Crate training is really something that you will want to invest in purely for the sake of ease when transporting your dog - and not all dogs will need to be crated when home alone. I crated my 2 year old for a year and a half and after a particularly sticky move she has adjusted much better to staying in the flat alone outside of the crate. She sleeps on my bed now until I come home. We still positively reinforce the crate but find she is much much happier lose in the new flat.

Since everyone else mentions fencing ? I'll skip it... but I should mention that a chain fence would not keep Lycia away from 5 dachshunds

Perhaps the biggest thing I would mention is make sure you find a breeder you love. Talk to them thoroughly and ask all of your pressing questions. Be sure your breeder tests for Fanconi syndrome in both parents and their tests results are listed on the OFA website. With the cheap testing available anyone who refuses to test is negligent. Look for someone who you can see as a partner in your dog's life, because that?s what they are there for ? the breeder should be your go to person when ever trouble arises with your dog.

Keep at the research and you'll be well rewarded. We will look forward to seeing little wrinkly photos from Green Bay. 🙂

good luck!

Lauren, your advice, if this family isn't getting a rescue b…is to find a breeder you love, well, its right on!!!
I do rescue, but am also a member of a very responsible breed club, and I am happy to recommend breeders who I know do all the health testing, get the puppy's temperment as good as it can be, and are open to dealing with any puppy owner for life!

Sharron, I knew I forgot something in that post. 🙂

Rescue is also a excellent option if the daunting task of a puppy is challenging to think on. There are so many lovely and well trained Basenjis who are waiting for their forever homes listed on BRAT. A lot of these dogs have just had unlucky circumstances and would make a perfect addiction to a family.

My fav thing is when I tell a new basenji owner "what to expect"…good and bad...and they call or e-mail me and say...I must have a perfect b, because the dog doesn't do anything you said he might do!...I am just delighted.
What I don't what to happen is to have someone getting a rescue b from me saying...
"well, you didn't say he would do that!"...I figure, at least with rescue, more info is always better....

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