Basenji / Labrador Retriever Mix

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization

Gender: Male

Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques, Attended conferences / shows, Books

Quick to learn and train


Emotionally stable


Family oriented


Child safety


Safe with small pets


Doesn’t bark a lot




Easy to groom


Great watch dog


Great guard dog


Ralphy Take 2, and Action! Norton Appears


United States

Posted August 10, 2013

I should preface Part 2 with that act that for years I have adopted/rescued dogs typically a year or older since they seem to be challenged with finding homes. Many believe that if you raise a puppy they are easier to train. I don’t happen to believe that at all, as I have had many rescues that proved to be very trainable and willing to learn at any age with all of the “basic” commands and puppy trainings out of the way.
Ralphy showed signs of just wanting to be anywhere and everywhere other animals were. His puppy play dates at doggy day care left him running in his dreams and going to the dog park several times a week you would have thought he hit the doggy lottery, so it only made sense to bring another into our pack.
We had no specific time frame nor did we have a specific breed in mind and let that up to faith and fate.

Enter Norton.

We were running a rescue shuttle for days on end each week helping to bring rescued dogs to their new forever homes with their adopters eagerly waiting. In almost all instances dogs on the shuttle had homes with only a few going to fosters. On one particular run we had 2 brothers, both Parvo puppies that were not expected to survive.
One brother looked exactly like a black lab (Mercury), the other a tan basenji named Datry now known as Norton. Mercury had a home Norton didn’t. Shortly after dropping almost all of the rescue tot heir new homes we ran into an issue where Norton’s foster could not pick him up which meant he was coming with us until other arrangements could be made. One the ride home we left him out of his kennel to ride with us. He immediately wanted to be held and rode well. At the time Ralphy was sleeping and didn’t seem to mind that another dog was occupying our time. When he awoke Norton immediately took to playing with Ralphy and we knew we had just added another to our pack.
We knew about labs but we had to learn a little about Basenjis to be able to take the best care of him we possibly could.
These are the things that we found:
While Ralphy barely ever barks, Norton’s nickname is “noisy” Norton since he tends to bark at the slightest sound. We are now teaching him when it is appropriate to be vocal and when he should be quiet.
He doesn’t like to be caged when we are away he panics gets anxiety and in general just does not handle the experience well.
We thought we would try to cage him through his puppy stage since he wanted to chew everything while we were away. We found the best way to handle this is to leave him out with plenty and I mean plenty of toys and raw hide to chew on. Ralphy had gone through his chewing stage with little to no issues so leaving him free to roam the house was not really an issue.
Basenjis attach to people, they are loving, enjoy being held and always wagging their tails when in a happy environment and can equally turn sullen if the company they are with is in a bad mood. They are extremely intelligent, highly trainable and thrive with lots of exercise. Ralphy and Norton like all brothers fight, play, eat and sleep together on top of their humans.
Our beliefs are that if you keep your heart open they will find you and this proved to be no different with Norton our beloved new addition to our pack.

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