A couple of questions
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  • Q

    Hopefully this is the right place to put this as I'm not sure it would belong in Training or Behavioural Issues.

    Anyways, my boyfriend and I are considering getting a Basenji and I have been looking and reading and getting all kinds of information but there are a couple of things I would like to ask you experts about.

    First, my boyfriend had read that a Basenji is more independant than a lot of breeds which led him to believe that they don't bond as much with their owners. However, I have read that while there independance leads them to do what they want to do a lot of the time instead of listening to their owner, they will still bond strongly with their owner. So basically I was hoping for some input on how loyal your Basenji's are to you and I guess, as well, how often do you find your B ignoring your instructions (not counting when there is something to chase!)

    Second, I know they need to be exercised well and daily and I was just wondering what the average amount of exercise you all give to yours is, and correspondingly, how destructive they are in comparison.

    Thirdly, I have read people suggesting X-Pens and gates to keep B's in a specific room while away and I was wondering, given their propensity for jumping, how effective those are. Of course you could get a top for an X-pen but if you're just putting up a baby gate or something, do your B's respect them?

    Thanks so much to any who reply. I'm waiting to hear back from a local breeder about the possibility of meeting some B's in real life but would love to gather some more info in the meantime. :)

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  • To your first question, I use positive reinforcement training techniques that help with relationship building and helping my dogs to make good choices. My dogs generally do what I ask because they have a good reinforcement history for choosing to do what I ask.

    When Nicky was an only dog, he got two walks a day. A 20 minute morning walk and an hour evening walk. He still gets two walks a day, along with the rest of the dogs, but they are shorter and we do short training sessions and games.

    My dogs respect gates when I am home but all bets are off once I leave. Heck, I have a mother and son who can be a challenge to keep in crates when they don't want to be.

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  • Positive reinforcement training is important. They respond better to this type of training than any other. But, depending on the line, IMO some can be more independant than others. I have one girl from a specific line that is very independant, and while bonded to me, really does her own thing a lot of the time without regard to me. My other line is very different. Both my boy and girl from that line are very bonded to me and will listen and respond to my requests far better. They all like to cuddle with me and it's not unusual to find all four of them lounging on the bed with me, pinning me down so that they can all be close to me. No, I don't let them sleep with me, but they are allowed on my bed for a few hours when I am watching TV when I have time. (The fourth is from a breeding which I kept one of the boys. This boy is very bonded to me and will listen very well. He is from the independant girl).

    So it is very possible that they can be bonded but still do their own thing.

    Walks again, IMO, are very individual based on needs. One of my puppy couples walks their dog much like Pat stated, 20 min in am, an hour in pm. When weather permits they also bike with him. Another couple walk their puppy a few (3 or 4) times a day and don't have any destruction problems. A tired Basenji is a good Basenji. They asked me why I painted him so bad! I told them I wanted to be sure they understood what can happen if Basenji's are bored. So, if the puppy is bored and underexercised, they can be destructive.

    As for the gates, I do have them in the house. My girl will jump them and the puppy I just placed will hop them with no problems if they don't want to be where I put them-behind the gate. But, I have one puppy, one male and one female that will not jump them. So, I would say it's again dependant on the dog and the dogs desires to be where they want to be. Crating is always an option. My one girl is devoted to her crate and at 8 pm starts circling in front of her crate as she wants to go to bed for the night. She gets very out of sorts if she is not allowed to go in her crate for the night. She is out all day with the others, she just prefers her crate at night.

    My one girl with the x-pen that has a lid on, will still escape from it. She hates any type of confinement and will figure a way to get out if she can. She's also my girl who climbs fences and catches the birds in the trees. She is also more closely bonded with me.

    Good luck in your search.

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  • Tillo is pretty independent. He does what he wants. I just try to make sure I've got something he wants: food. We have a "hide the treat" game that works really well and keeps him sort of paying attention to me. He never really ignores what I want, but I did learn to only ask certain things when I can expect him to listen. I don't ask him to 'sit' on wet grass.. cause he will look at me like :confused:

    Tillo is absolutely bonded to me. He likes to lay next to me on the couch or near my feet on the ground. And he certainly doesn't agree if I leave him home with BF ;) I always have the feeling we understand eachother really well :)

    Tillo gets a lot of excercise. We walk him at least 1.5-2 hours a day, partly off leash. We also have agility training twice a week and track racing or lure coursing once a week. And I take him on an occasional bike ride. He's never destructive, all my stuff is still in one piece and he almost never destroys one of his own toys/stuffed animals.

    I don't know about the gates, I don't use them. Tillo roams free in the house, even if he's alone.

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  • Q

    Thank you all, that is excellent information and confirms what I believed. I'm sure there will always be exceptions but I was convinced of that "a tired dog is a good/happy dog"

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  • First Basenji's

    Cody came to live with me over a year ago, when he was around 3 years old, and he bonded with me quickly. The first night, I picked him up and put him on the bed to snuggle up with me, and he has slept cuddled with me ever since. He also snuggles with me while I'm doing homework or watching TV, and he usually follows me from room to room, among other things. He is very independent though, and it can be quite a chore to get him to do something he doesn't want. For example, this morning I spent over 45 minutes convincing him it was time to go inside (he had been running and playing in our large fenced-in back yard and according to him, playtime wasn't over yet). Actually, that's nearly every morning. Like Janneke said, I don't ask him to do something that I know he won't do… no sitting in wet grass or on a cold tile floor. I also use treats that I know he won't refuse to motivate him and while training (homemade meat balls or pieces of chicken or steak).

    He gets 2 long walks a day (morning and evening) and he gets to run in the back yard for a few hours in the morning and the afternoon. He can be destructive (my wardrobe last year was a testament to that), and is less so after a long walk or a few hours of running in the back yard, but I've learned not to leave things laying around, although sometimes I forget. Just this morning, I left his leash on my bed instead of hanging it up, and in the time it took me to make a pot of coffee, he had chewed it to the point it can't be used (thank goodness for Lupine!).

    I crate Cody when I'm not home. He has proven to be house trustworthy when he has a canine companion or another human around, but when he's alone, he gets upset and will become destructo-dog, and then nothing is safe. I also use baby gates because he doesn't get along with the resident chihuahua (another reason for crating when I'm not home). For the most part, he will respect them, but he will jump them if there is something on the other side that he wants, like the resident cat or his girlfriend, the dachshund, so sometimes I stack two gates. I've learned to read his moods, for lack of a better word. I can tell when he will be alright if I just leave him in one part of the house with one baby gate, or if I'll need to stack two, or if he's really wound up and has to be crated.

    Like you will read many times here, every dog is different, as is every situation.

    Good luck, and welcome to the forums!

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  • S

    @quyllur:

    First, my boyfriend had read that a Basenji is more independant than a lot of breeds which led him to believe that they don't bond as much with their owners. However, I have read that while there independance leads them to do what they want to do a lot of the time instead of listening to their owner, they will still bond strongly with their owner. So basically I was hoping for some input on how loyal your Basenji's are to you and I guess, as well, how often do you find your B ignoring your instructions (not counting when there is something to chase!)

    I've only had Basenji's for about 8 months, but both of mine are very loyal. When we're out at the dog park, Roxy stays right next to me. I have to watch and make sure I don't step on her when I move backwards. Rocky is happy to wander off at the park, but will come when called.

    However, when closer to home they will only listen to me when it's in their interest to do so. My neighbour keeps a stock of Milkbone treats to give to all the neighbourhood dogs. Roxy went over there one time to get her treat, and I asked her to come home, tempting her with her favourite freeze-dried beef liver treats. She looked at me, and went into my neighbours house so she could eat her milkbone and get at their cat's food afterwards.

    @quyllur:

    Second, I know they need to be exercised well and daily and I was just wondering what the average amount of exercise you all give to yours is, and correspondingly, how destructive they are in comparison.

    Rocky could walk for hours, Roxy not so much. We're out for about 45 minutes once or twice a day walking on nearby trails, and/or at the dog park. I like to tire mine out because I work from home, and it keeps them sleepy while I'm working.
    @quyllur:

    Thirdly, I have read people suggesting X-Pens and gates to keep B's in a specific room while away and I was wondering, given their propensity for jumping, how effective those are. Of course you could get a top for an X-pen but if you're just putting up a baby gate or something, do your B's respect them?

    I don't use pens/gates, I'm hardly ever away from my B's. When I do, they're not destructive, the most I've lost is a couple of paper napkins, and cardboard packaging from dog treats that Roxy fished out of the recycling bin.

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  • I would recommend a closed kennel during the day or while your at work. We have child gates up and Dolce respects them while we are home, but if we leave her out she will hop the gate. She is so sneaky that when she hears one of coming she will hop back over the gate and look at us like she has done nothing wrong. She also does this on the furniture. We do not allow her on the furniture, but she will get on the couch an jump off when see hears one of us.

    We do at least 2 walks a day and play fetch in the house or the back yard until one of us gives up.

    Dolce absolutely loves us and wants to be with us all the time. At night we lay on the floor and watch TV and she will curl up on my chest, snuggle in and go to sleep until its time to go out for the last time at night and then will walk into her Kennel to go to bed.

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  • My boyfriend and I got our Basenji in February, and he's 9 months now. We did our research, used positive reinforcement training, crated him at night until he was potty trained and then let him sleep in the bed with us, and we had extensive play sessions with him in the mornings and walked him until he (or we!) got tired in the afternoon/evening. He's crated for a few hours during the day when both of us are at work; we live in a small apartment with no room for an x-pen, and are considering doing some test runs with leaving him free in the apartment, because he hasn't been destructive the few times that he has escaped his crate.

    Result: he sticks to us like glue. Though we rarely get to let him off-leash anywhere, he likes to keep us in sight and keeps a watchful eye on strangers who come near us both in and out of the house. We still have playtime with him in the morning (anywhere between 30 mins and 1 and a half hours of fetch, tug-o-war, chasing, and the Basenji500), and we try our hardest to give him a good long walk before we go to bed. He's okay with the crate, though he doesn't hang out in it of his own free will, but he tolerates it for when we're gone.

    His most destructive times are in the morning when he wakes up before us and decides to see if we were silly enough to leave any clothing or paper in his reach to shred up (we've lost money, a deck of cards, shoes, underwear, shirts, bookbags, etc.), and in the afternoon when one or both of us happens to be home but not paying attention to him, so he starts tugging on drapes, bedding, even the carpet - but more to get our attention than actually ruin anything.

    It's work, but Paco makes it worth it in the end with cuddles, doggy-smiles, and never-ending enthusiasm!

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