Basenji Dog Training Tips

The Basenji dog was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1943, and the breed is known for its courage, speed and intelligence.

The Basenji Breed

A Basenji is a member of the sighthound family that rarely, if ever, barks, but rather emits an odd yodeling sound. Small, shorthaired, elegant with erect ears, graceful neck and a tightly curled tail, a Basenji typically weighs around 20 to 24 pounds and stands at 17 inches tall. An athletic dog, deceptively powerful for his size, a Basenji can maintain a graceful, confident gait, just skimming the ground at top speed. Being an expert climber, a Basenji can scale an 8-foot chain-linked fence. The colorations can be:

  • red and white
  • black and white
  • tricolor
  • brindle (black stripes on red and white)

Basenji Temperament and Training

Basenjis are highly intelligent, learning quickly but are casual about obedience, being cat-like independent and self motivated. Mischievous and good-humored, a Basenji will test the limits of his owner and his environment. Aloof with strangers, but loyal to his owner, a Basenji will try to please but can become destructive if bored, unsupervised, improperly trained, or left alone. A member of this breed will chew on most anything. Becoming lonely quickly, it is best for a member of this breed to have a companion. To prevent fights, a member of the same breed, but opposite gender will do. This breed can be good with children if raised around them from the start.

The breed has been described as a dog breed that has attention deficit disorder. Easily distracted, this trait can sometimes be used to the owner’s advantage. Whenever your dog is misbehaving, distract or direct his attention toward something else in order to stop the bad behavior. Ignoring bad behavior can sometimes work; however, this would be solely determinant upon the personality of the dog.

By distracting your dog, redirecting his attention to another behavior that you command and then praising the good behavior, you will be enforcing good behavior habits. For example, if your dog is chewing on a piece of furniture, you should command him to “leave it”. Then praise him for obeying the command. You can also include a treat.

Crate Training a Basenji

Do not use the crate as a place of punishment. This will breed contempt for the crate and then you will not be able to control his behavior while you are gone since he will not even enter the crate. Avoid situations that may escalate into a behavioral problem.

Use reinforcement techniques such as letting him drag a six-foot leash so that when he misbehaves you can establish control by gently tugging on it or stepping on it (to stop him from chasing another animal or a child).  Sometimes bribing with a treat will also work. Always be kind but firm and consistent whenever training a Basenji.