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Dec 12, 09

Crated or uncrated

I work at home and my basenjis are uncrated; however, they're seriously hard on furniture. I would not do this in an apartment if I had a landlord I had to be accountable to. We DO have crates, and use them on occasion. With uncrated basenjis, be prepared to have your couches eaten, pillows dismembered, stuffed animals hunted down and eviscerated like the veriest rodent, your doors and carpeting destroyed if you ever inadvertantly lock one in a room, your garbage investigated and redistributed (probably to your bed for a leisurely chew.) I don't crate dogs when I'm home; but when an unattended basenji gets bored there's no telling what they'll get into, so, crating is a something we do when we leave the house.

In my college years, I had a basenji with me all of the time. I even had classes I took her to. She was a big hit. She came into my home when she was very very young, 4-5 weeks; we bonded right away. While she did like to run free, (we hiked alot), her favorite thing was a ride in the car. It was pure psychology and the love of the open car door that saved me from having to chase after her 90% of the time.

Basenjis run. If your basenji gets loose in a public place, she's gone. IF you haven't bonded, she's gone for good, unless the great Basenji God happens to be feeling charitable to you. Heaven help you if there's traffic. (Raffi and I can testify to this.)

It is possible to live with basenjis who are uncrated but they do have a LONG puppy hood. It takes years for recreational chewing to wind down. I wouldn't take them to an office until they have manners and sometimes that never happens.

Males tend to mark things. I have little experience with them since Raffi is the second male dog I can ever remember having. All I have to say is that when my daughter took him to school for show and tell (before his accident) he lifted his leg on the teacher's desk. He also lifted his leg on my friend's shoe, when she came into my office. Females don't mark like that. Aggressiveness is a whole other personality issue, not particularly related to sex. Male basenjis seem to prefer female humans, and female basenjis will yodel like mad over strange men. Of our litter of six, we're parting with the male, since we do not want a chance of more puppies, but this is a practical issue. If breeding is an issue, based on the concerns you mentioned, if I were you I'd definitely take a male. Now that I have a litter, we're so attached to all of our babies, I wonder how anyone can breed puppies and sell them. If you have a male, you'll be spared the separation anxiety. Before I had Raffi, I thought females were more affectionate and sweeter. Now, I'm not sure.

Training a basenji by the book will not work. If you're going to take an obedience class with a trainer, find a trainer who uses alternative methods. If you whack a basenji with a newspaper, chances are you'll end up in a vigorous tug of war over the newspaper, and a dog who will shred every newspaper he sees, for the rest of his life. If you're an unreasonable taskmaster, your basenji's going to chow down on your most expensive pair of ferragamos, or at the least, chew the crotch out of your underwear. If you are very perceptive, your basenji will teach you to give her food or water by bringing you a dish, bring you a leash when she wants to walk. All basenjis, well, all dogs, have moments of brilliant communication that their owners overlook, and in doing so, they overlook an opportunity to teach that behavior. I think basenjis are more brilliant than other dogs in the communication department because their communication does not rely exclusively on voice, but also on body language and especially EYE CONTACT. I catch Raffi's eye and stare up the stairs. If he gets up, i know he wants to be carried upstairs.