How to Train Your Basset Hound Dog to Listen

Medium
1-2 Months
General

Introduction

Basset Hounds are sweet, lovable, vocal and yes, stubborn. At least they appear to be stubborn-- actually, they are easy going and easily distracted by their powerful sense of smell, which can lead to perceptions they are stubborn. Understanding your Basset's natural inclinations and having the patience to find ways to work with your Basset will contribute to success getting him to listen to you. 

These dogs are rarely aggressive or ill-tempered; if your Basset Hound is not listening to you it is more likely a product of lack of motivation to attend to you, greater interest in something else that has caught your dog's attention, or his natural inclination to vocalize. Bassets are prone to howling, part of their hunting dog heritage. You will need to ensure that you are more important than anything distracting your dog, such as howling or scenting, so that he is highly motivated to listen to you. How do you achieve this?  Practice, and establishing that good things happen to those who listen!

Defining Tasks

The independent Basset Hound has a reputation for being harder to train than some more eager to please breeds. Training your Basset means understanding his motivation to use his nose and his need for establishing behaviors through repetition and strong leadership. Avoid punishment as a means of correction, as your sensitive Basset as he may not respond well to this form of correction. Instead, focus on direction when getting your Basset to listen to you by establishing a way to get his attention with leadership, signals, and commands. Ideally, you will start working with your Basset when he is a young puppy, to establish that your dog needs to attend and listen to you, older dogs can take longer to train. Having patience and using repetition works well with Basset Hounds, and success will come to those who persevere.

Getting Started

Time and patience are the most important things you will need to get your Basset to listen to you. You will need to establish a strong leadership relationship and use consistency with your loving, but sometimes obstinate Basset! Using treats to reward your food-motivated hound for positive listening behavior is usually a good choice. Also, be prepared to spend time exercising, establishing obedience, and giving your nosey Basset plenty of sniffing time to meet his scenting needs, in order to get your dog to listen more effectively to your direction.

The Look at Me Method

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Step
1
Use distraction-free zone
Find a quiet location free from distractions.
Step
2
Command 'look at me'
Hold a treat and command “look at me”. Wait patiently, this may take a while.
Step
3
Capture 'look at me'
When your Basset turns to look at you, use a clicker or say "good" to capture the behavior and reward him with the treat.
Step
4
Practice
Continue to practice, increase the length of time you need your Basset to look at you before rewarding him. When he is turning to look at you immediately when commanded, in anticipation of his treat, you can move to areas of more distraction.
Step
5
Add commands
Take your Basset outside, or to an area with distractions and practice the 'look at me' command. Eventually start replacing treats with praise and affection once your dog is consistently looking at you when commanded. Follow up 'look at me' with other commands so your dog learns to listen to you when you command “look at me”.
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The Be the Pack Leader Method

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Step
1
Provide food
Establish that you are the provider of food and all good things. Make your Basset Hound wait for you while you prepare his food, and then stand or sit next to him while you provide food. You can even hand feed your dog so he knows you are where his meals come from.
Step
2
Provide time
Socialize your dog; spend lots of time with your Basset, take him on adventures, introduce him to new people and things. Exercise and take him on walks regularly. Play with your Basset lots to establish relationship through shared experience.
Step
3
Teach obedience
Teach your Basset Hound obedience commands in a quiet location. 'Sit', 'stay', and 'come' are all necessary commands.
Step
4
Teach tricks
Teach your Basset Hound tricks he can do to earn rewards, like 'roll over' or 'speak'--your vocal Basset may really take to this one and it uses his natural abilities.
Step
5
Provide "nose" time
Provide lots of nose time Your Basset Hound loves to scent. Make a game out of finding scents and following trails to meet his needs and establish your leadership. A Basset that sees you as his leader is more likely to listen to you.
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The Signals Method

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Step
1
Determine signals
Dogs don't speak human language and your Basset, especially, may not be particularly geared to respond to verbal commands. Establish some hand signals and body language you can use to get his attention.
Step
2
Avoid verbal commands
Do not repeat verbal commands without getting a response, as this just teaches your Basset to ignore you. Also, avoid yelling or punishing your dog, which will just cause your Basset to withdraw and avoid you.
Step
3
Practice
Practice hand signals in distraction-free environments and then start using them in environments with distractions.
Step
4
Use your body to get attention
Get your Basset's attention. Tap him on the side firmly but gently, or place your body between him and the object that is distracting him from listening to you For example if he is sniffing a tree, insert yourself between your Basset and the tree.
Step
5
Use hand signals
Once you have got your Basset's attention, give a hand signal to communicate, such as 'sit' or 'come'. Your Basset may respond better to hand signals you develop than to verbal commands that he may have learned to tune out.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Barnaby
Basset Hound
3 Months
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Question
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Barnaby
Basset Hound
3 Months

My puppy is starting to softly growl when people come in our house. He has also growled at a few people when we are out in our yard. He is great with my husband, my kids and I. He usually settles down after people have been in the house a while, but I would like to get this behavior under control since we have friends and family coming over regularly.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
392 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jordan, Check out the free e-Book AFTER You Get Your Puppy that you can download at the link below. Follow the socialization information in that book. https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Exposing Barnaby to lots of different types of people in many different locations and having those people give him treats when he responds well (you can premt any bad responses by having them reward him before he has a chance to react at all - by tossing him treats) if very important at this age. The growling at this age is likely due to fear because he needs more socialization around strangers. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dolly
Basset Hound
10 Weeks
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Question
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Dolly
Basset Hound
10 Weeks

What is the best way to get my basset not to cry in her crate? I need to keep her in one while at work for about 3 hours a day.
When we start teaching her commands ? Should we only focus on potty training first ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
392 Dog owners recommended

Hello Meagan, Puppies can learn several things at the same time, as long as you have time to teach things on top of potty training and not in place of it. Socialization, bite inhibition, and potty training are the most important things to work on with a young puppy - since most of those things can only fully be taught while a puppy is still young. You can certainly teach obedience too if you have additional time, but the window for teaching that doesn't close generally - there are benefits to teaching it while young though. Check out the "Surprise" method from the article linked below for teaching her to like a crate. Ignore any crying and reward her when she is quiet. Expect her to cry in the crate for up to two weeks - the training from the "Surprise' method below should help decrease that time though. Be consistent and don't let her out while crying unless you know she really does have to go potty (wait until a couple of seconds of quiet at least if you can). If you let her out when she cries the training will take a lot longer. She needs time to adjust and realize that she is safe in there and you will always come back to let her out later while she is calm. Give her food stuffed chew toys in the crate to keep her occupied while in there. You can even make those ahead of time and freeze them to help with teething and save time in the morning. The article linked below will explain how to do this. Like a crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Check out the article linked below for how to use a crate to potty train. Check out the "Crate Training" method. When you are home, take her out every 1-1.5 hours, when you need to be gone she should be able to hold her bladder while in a crate for 3 hours if she went potty right beforehand, but 3 hours is the maximum amount of time she will be able to hold it until she is a bit older. Typically puppies can hold their bladders for the number of months they are in age plus one. Meaning a 2 month old puppy can hold it for a maximum of 2-3 hours. A three month old puppy a maximum of 3-4 hours. A four month old puppy a maximum of 4-5 hours, until a puppy reaches the adult maximum of 8 hours during the day. Crate Training method for potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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