When I tell people I have a Basenji, their first reaction is either "A what?" or "Those are the dogs that don't bark right?" As for the second question, the answer is a little more complicated than a lot of people think. Sometimes, it is assumed that since Basenjis don't "bark" they don't make any noise at all. This is definitely not the truth. Basenjis are known for a trademark "yodel" or "singing" because their vocal cords have a slightly different formation than most dogs. So, they still make noise just not the normal kind, and luckily with Indiana and our apartment situation, not too frequently either.
(This video sums it up pretty well. Skip to :28 for some real
rooster Basenji crowing.)
Indiana's name at the Colorado Basenji Rescue was originally Yodel with the tagline "his foster parents have never heard him bark, just happy yodels." (We considered changing his name to Yoda, but decided we just had to name the dog Indiana.)
We later learned that Indiana's description wasn't quite right, because he does have a bit of a bark. It could be because of the Rat Terrier in him, but he likes short barks for most things and really only sings (or shrieks) when the Husband comes home from work.
Now, we've been training him to do tricks since we got him and he is smart as a whip when food is involved. With our trainer recommended "puppy crack," Indiana will try to figure out anything to get a bit. Teaching him to speak has been my newest goal, after he fairly mastered "shake" and "spin." This has been a bit of a pickle because of his fondness for silence and his desire to try every trick in the book when he isn't sure of what to do to get food in his mouth.
So far, I've been able to work with his excitement for treats to get him initially speaking. Then, I quickly say "Good" and give him a treat. I've moved onto using a clicker because sometimes I'm too mentally slow to follow up quickly enough with a verbal gratification before his treat. Indiana will play this game for about ten barks, with plenty of spinning, and then give up. I'm hoping to have him know a hand signal in a couple of weeks and eventually the verbal command. I just hope it doesn't backfire and he speaks for everything!
Indiana usually tries to "Spin" or find something to "Touch" to get a treat.
Today in Indiana Misbehaves - This morning, after I cleaned up Indiana's "business" on his walk, I turned around to find Indiana had something in his mouth. Thinking it a chicken bone, which are constantly littered on the street in my area, I reached into his mouth to take it out. The offending street munchie was one whole pigeon leg. The rest of the pigeon was no where in site.
Is that grosser than anything your dog has eaten?