The intelligent Basenji needs proper mental stimulation just as much as it needs consistent physical activity. A bored or penned up Basenji will most likely turn to destructive behaviors to communicate its frustration. Many dogs have the urge to chew, roam and challenge themselves with fun games. The Basenji is a dog breed more closely related physically and mentally to the wolf, jackal and other wild dogs. Though thoroughly domesticated, they are a breed that needs an owner that can efficiently work with their natural instincts rather than try to curb them. As many come to find, choosing a Basenji means choosing an active lifestyle.
Basenjis love to be out and about surveying their territory. They delight in long walks and even light jogging. One of the many natural instincts of the Basenji is to run after after scurrying animals. This makes chasing after a tennis ball or soccer ball an all time favorite activity. The need to be alert and see which way the ball will bounce provides mental stimulation as well as physical activity. At the same time, a Basenji must always be on a leash or in a secure area when taking part in activities. The breed is well known for taking it upon itself to suddenly go off and explore on its own, turning a deaf ear to its owner's demands to return.
Playing with the Basenji is also a good way to sneak in training exercises for the strong willed breed. Teaching the down or wait command can be done when owners use their Basenji's favorite treat and safely hide them throughout the house or yard. Upon being given the command to proceed, the Basenji can then use his or her nose to seek out the treats. The down and wait command can also be taught in games like hide and seek. However, it should be noted that a Basenji's personality is much like that of a cat and the minute they lose interest, the game is over. Those looking for a dog breed that will play endless games of fetch should instead opt for a type of retriever.
This type of dog breed is one that carries its need to chew right on through adulthood. Things such as Nylabones or Kong toys are a best bet for the Basenji. These chew toys are made of tough sturdy materials that can stand up to the abuse of even the heaviest chewers. The ever popular Kong toy also works as a treat dispenser. Once a treat is inserted in the middle, it provides hours of chewing relief and mental stimulation as dogs become rapt in trying to dislodge their snack. It comes in a number of sizes and is fairly economical.