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We got Kindu when he was 8 weeks old just after Valentine's Day in 2007. We chose him on the internet and drove about an hour up to Wrightwood,CA to pick him up. From the minute he got into the car he was watching everything he could see, especially the 18 wheelers on I-15 south. We took him over to meet the family at my brother's house and he played exuberantly with my nephew Alex. Once we got home he was ready for a nap and we introduced him to his "batcave," his crate. He's always loved his walks, being with people, and fetching anything we throw for him. He's helped me get going after surviving a long illness.

I'd Describe My Dog As… Kindu is a character through and through. Most Basenjis won't fetch, it's hard to get him to stop once he gets going. Most Basenjis have a white blaze on their nose, his face is 100% red which really shows off his wrinkles. He was a cinch to housebreak when it came to the solids, a bit longer for the liquids, but by 3 months old he was very reliable. We had trouble finding the right food for him, but since Rachel Ray came out with Nutrish he no longer suffers from colitis. He also has cloudiness in his eyes from a hereditary disease called PPM, basically the membrane that fed the eyes in the womb didn't reabsorb properly.

My brother calls him "The Wild Beast" because his enthusiasm for play sometimes overwhelms the very people he wants to play with. He's not possessive about anything but my husband, his Pop. Everything else from food, toys and treats to water and his house he's very willing to share. Training is still in progress because he thinks he's the boss and really pulls hard on the leash. After much exasperation with the choke chain and several leashes, we resorted to using a "haltie" that wraps around his nose and behind his ears. He hates it, but it works keeping him from pulling us off of our feet. When he misbehaves, like running off with one of our cell phones, it's because he wants attention and playtime. As tough as he's been to raise, I wouldn't trade him for the world. He's warm as toast when he cuddles up to you at night and gladly places his head on your sore knees at the end of the day. And when he occasionally yodels or barooos, it melts your heart and you can't wait until he speaks up again!

•Start training immediately, Kindu sat in 3 days
•Crate train for the safety of your furniture, possessions and walls
•Confine the space a Basenji is allowed in until they are reliably housebroken. A kitchen with a dog gate works great! Take them outside when they wake up, eat and drink and they'll be housebroken soon.
•Expect a Basenji to be stubborn and want it's own way
•Expect a Basenji to be in training at least until 2 years old, more likely 3-4 years old
•Buy tough toys, these character can chew through walls!
•Throw away any toys they manage to pull anything off of
•Patience and consistency will help

Written by
Kindu, Our Basenji Dog
Reader Stories: Living with a Basenji

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