Activities For Basenjis

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Introduction

One of the oldest and most interesting dog breeds known to man is the Basenji. This breed originated in Central Africa. The Basenji is considered to be among the earliest “pure” breeds, dating back over 5000 years, and has been depicted in various drawings carved within the tombs in Ancient Egypt. Basenjis were used by African tribesmen as a hunting dog, forming an interdependent relationship throughout history. Another unique quality of the Basenji is their bark, or lack thereof. Unlike other dogs, Basenjis do not bark; instead, they make a yodel-like noise, known as the “baroo”. This is why the breed earned the moniker “barkless dog”. At present, this smart and active dog breed is popular in the canine sport scene and as an overall home pet. 

Working Trials

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

A canine sport that has been growing in the United States over the past few years is the working trial. Working trials have been around since 1924, with the first event being held in England. Originally, the sport was created to test the basic skills of working class dogs in a natural working environment, thus its name. Working trials are focused on three areas: agility (how well dogs can travel with you), obedience (how they stay relaxed) and scent work (how well dogs can find missing items and persons). While it’s been around in the United Kingdom for a while, the sport has only been occurring for a few years in the USA. But it has gained some popularity among dog owners who want to test out their dog’s abilities. The Basenji is a good fit for this sport because of the breed’s athleticism and excellent sense of smell.

Step
1
Build a good foundation
If you have decided that you want your Basenji to participate in working trials, you first have to establish a good foundation. Firstly, you need a solid relationship with your dog. Also, you would want to practice your dog’s skills in the three areas of the trials – obedience, agility and scent work. You could work on each skill one at a time by using basic training. This allows your dog to have a good understanding of each area and will not leave them dumbfounded once they start actual training.
Step
2
Find a club for training
When you are satisfied with your dog’s progress in the three areas, the next step would be to put your pooch through actual training for working trials. Fortunately, there are professionals available for this task. The training happens in different clubs and societies found all over the country. There are also some crash courses and training weekends for those who are short on time. All you have to do is to simply find a trainer for your dog and have them take care of the rest.
Step
3
Join a competition
The best way to check out your dog’s newly acquired skills (and to see if your money you shelled out was worth it) is to participate in an actual competition. Ask your dog’s trainer for advice and find out about the different upcoming events from the club where your dog joined. If you are not ready just yet, you can go and watch an event to get a feel for how it works before you join.
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Therapy Dog Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

If you have a loving and affectionate dog and you want to put these qualities to good use, the best option would be to turn your furbaby into a therapy dog. Therapy dogs come in all shapes, breeds and sizes as long as they have the right temperament. Basenjis are a great candidate for therapy dogs because of their appearance and compact size. Furthermore, Basenjis love to spend time with their humans for some downtime. With proper training, they can help bring joy to others, too. Different establishments, such as hospitals, schools and nursing homes, have therapy dog programs where your dog can participate in. 

Step
1
Work on your dog's qualities
Some dogs are tailor-made to become therapy dogs due to their friendliness and cheerful dispositions. Basenjis are generally very friendly towards people, including strangers. However, it will not hurt to work on your dog’s socialization skills some more. Do some socialization in a public place, such as dog parks, to assess how your dog is around other people.
Step
2
Apply for training
When you feel like your Basenji can do well as a therapy dog, you may register for formal training. Normally, a tester is sent to check on your dog to assess if they are qualified to become a therapy dog. The test they will go through involves a handling portion, which will evaluate the demeanor and manners of your dog as well as your capabilities as a handler.
Step
3
Visit a facility
When the handling portion is over with, it will be time to try out your and your dog’s skills in the real world. You will be visiting a facility, usually a medical one, where your dog can interact with other people. This visit will be supervised by your tester and is usually done three times. After the three visits have concluded and you have submitted all the necessary paperwork, your pooch will then become a certified therapy dog.
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Lure Coursing

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Fishing line
Plastic
Treats
Activity description

Basenjis are an active breed, built to take on athletic tasks. Given their working class background, they need lots of physical stimulation and exercise. This is why the breed is a shoo-in for a variety of canine sports. One of the sports where the Basenji will excel is lure coursing. This canine sport involves dogs going after a mechanical lure, normally in the form of white plastic strips. This lure is usually pulled all over an open field course to test the dog’s speed and focus. Basenjis are great for lure coursing because of their love for chasing and their impressive hunting abilities. 

Step
1
Make your own lure
While lure coursing is a professional canine sport that involves modern equipment, you need not spend too much on expensive items. Instead, you can simply make your own lure for your dog. All you will need is a fishing line and a piece of plastic bag. Attach the plastic bag to the line. This bag will serve as your “lure”.
Step
2
Get your dog running
Once you have created the lure, place the plastic bag a few feet away from your dog. Then, slowly release the line and walk away from your dog. When you are in position, start reeling in the lure. This sudden movement will get your dog running after the plastic bag. To make things more fun and challenging, move the line in different directions. Make sure that you let your dog catch the lure every once in a while. Also, give your pooch a treat every time they "catch" the lure.
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More Fun Ideas...

Soccer

Another simple game that is perfect for a Basenji is soccer. Again, the breed’s knack for chasing is used extensively in this game. Simply get a soccer ball and kick it some distance away and watch as your pooch chases after the ball. 

Fetch

A game of fetch may seem like a basic and unoriginal game but there’s a reason why this game is a favorite among dog owners. It is simple and enjoyed by most dogs, including the Basenji. This game is a great way to stimulate the breed’s natural instinct to chase. 

Conclusion

The Basenji is a truly unique dog breed that has certain physical and mental needs which should be met. In doing so, you can keep these dogs happy and content. If you happen to be one of the lucky owners of the lovely Basenji, try out the above mentioned activities to improve your pooch’s life.