Devoted to Basenjis as Pets
By Betsy Polglase, updated 2013
Train only with respect for your dog, love and kindness. Don’t do anything to your dog that you wouldn’t do to your own children.
Continually socialize your dog with other people, small children, and other dogs. Your Basenji will need these social skills to adjust properly to any situation in which he finds himself. (This is no less than you would do for your own human children.)
Keep all training positive and reward-oriented. If the dog is misbehaving, make him do an obedience command and then give him praise and a treat for compliance because he has then been “good.”
If he is grumpy getting off a bed, “talk” him up until he is fully awake and then lure him off with a cookie or “happy talk.” (You, too, might be grumpy if someone suddenly awakened you!)
Even if your dog is good loose in the house, crate-train him for an hour a day at least. There are times you will want to travel with him and keep him in a motel, times when he will need to be kenneled–perhaps during a vacation–or have to spend time in a crate at the vet’s, times when you may just want some peace and quiet, times when you have a repair man over and don’t want him to eat the man’s tools, and times when you simply don’t want him putting his muddy feet all over the guests or trying to play with the kids (he thinks he IS a kid!).
Don’t use the crate as punishment; it should be used only for a brief “time out,” if necessary. Good things should normally happen in the crate: feed him in his crate; give him a chewie or cream-cheese stuffed bone while he is in his crate and turn soft music on.
Basenjis often prefer open-wire crates to enclosed plastic ones. (Some Basenjis appear to be almost claustrophobic in the plastic ones.) Make sure his crate is roomy enough, too. He should be able to fully stretch out when lying down and fully stretch his head up and not bang his ears on the top. Put a nice piece of non-raveling material like fuzzy Sherpa cloth (like fake lambs’ wool and is sold in cloth stores. Polar Fleece works well, too, but it more expensive–wait for sales!)
Basenji proof your house. Basenjis love to chew. They also chew when they are anxious, nervous and bored, and it may be your rug, the sofa, or the trash. Don’t set your dog up to fail. Avoid the pitfalls in the first place; it’s much easier. This is also a good reason to crate train for times when you cannot supervise your Basenji.
If your dog is destructive and lonesome in the house when you are gone, consider getting him a buddy (opposite sex, please, to avoid fights!). Usually destructive dogs are lonesome dogs and are feeling anxious when you leave. Another dog frequently alleviates this. If they are crated, crate them side by side so they can see each other.
If your Basenji pulls excessively when being walked, consider training him with a head halter such as the Gentle Leader.
Copyright © 2013 Betsy Polglase
All rights reserved.