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Basset Hounds make a great family dog. They are excellent with kids and other animals, but when it comes to potty training, they can be pretty darn stubborn. One thing is certain, you will never get anywhere with your pup if you try to use any form of negative reinforcement or punishment training method. Bassett Hounds do not respond well to it and are more likely to dig in their heels and refuse to do what is being asked of them. Another issue you have to deal with during training is that their acute sense of smell tends to distract them quite easily.
Your mission, should you accept it, is to teach your stubborn Basset Hound that not only are you the more stubborn one, but that yes, he can learn to do his business outside. This is the important part, you need to let your pup know in no uncertain terms that you are the "Alpha" of the pack. Once you establish this relationship, training him will be a lot easier. The hardest parts of potty training your pup are cleaning up the messes from his little "accidents", and the number of times you will be taking him out every day for a long time.
Since your pup is being stubborn, you should already be familiar with his signs that he needs to go potty. If not, you need to start paying more attention to your dog when he is in the house. These signs include sniffing at the floor or door, scratching at the door or maybe even your leg, or possibly squatting or lifting his leg. Beyond this, you need a few things:
- A Leash – To take him outside to go potty
- A Crate – For when you can't be there to watch him
- Treats – You will need an ample supply of these
Along with all of these, you will need plenty of time and patience and a healthy supply of cleaning supplies for those accidents. Be sure you clean the floor thoroughly using an enzymatic cleaner to completely remove any odor. Traces of his scent are likely to draw your pooch back to the same spot to relieve himself.
The I Said No Method
Start with a pocket full of treats
Start out filling a pocket with plenty of your pup's favorite treats. You will be using them to reward your pup for going potty outside.
Keep a close eye on your pup
Whenever your pup is not in his crate, you should be keeping a very close eye on him.
I said 'no'
The moment you see your pup act like he is getting ready to go potty, say "NO!" in a firm, but not angry, voice. Say "Let's go outside" and take him outside to the spot in the yard where he can go potty.
He may not go
He may not go right away since you interrupted him. That's okay. Give him a little time to get over the interruption and when he does finally go potty, give him a treat and praise him.
Work, work, work
Keep working with your pup on this training, adding more time between trips until your pup finally gives up and starts holding on and letting you know when he needs to go potty.
The 20-Minute Run Method
Create your schedule
Sit down with a piece of paper or a white board and create a potty schedule for your pup that starts by taking him out every 20 minutes. On the schedule have one column for time, one for pee, and one for poop. This will help you track his eliminations to make sure all is well.
Start your pup off right
Take your pup outside at the designated time. If he goes potty, praise him and give him a treat. If not, take him back inside and reset the timer. Also mark what he did if he went potty.
There are a few times when you need to take your pup outside, no matter where you are on the schedule. These include first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after meals, after a large drink, and after playtime.
Introduce your cue
Choose a cue phrase like "Let's go potty!" and then make sure you use the same phrase each time you go to take your pup outside. Before long you should be able to say to your pup "Let's go outside" and he will head to the door.
Add to the time
Start extending the time between outings until he can hold himself for as long as needed and he starts coming to you and lets you know he needs to go potty. Reaching this point is going to take some time and effort, but stick to your guns and he will eventually figure it all out.
The Early Start Method
Pick a spot
Choose a spot in your backyard for your pup to use as his potty. Try to choose one that your pup can easily reach and that will be easy to clean up.
An early start
You can start training your stubborn Basset hound as soon as you bring him home. Do so by taking him to the spot to go potty before you take him in the house for the first time. Keep him on a leash the whole time.
Bassett hounds tend to display very specific behaviors that indicate they need to go potty. Among these are; walking around in circles, scratching at the floor, and sniffing around. The moment you see any of these behaviors take him out to his "spot" to go potty.
Create you cue, such as "go potty" and start using it every time you have to take him out. The idea is to teach your pup to associate the phrase with the action.
By the hour
If your Basset is a puppy, he will need to go out at least once every hour at first. Set a timer to remind you to take him out. Follow your schedule religiously and when he goes potty, be sure to praise him and give him a treat. Slowly add more time between outings until your pup can hold it for longer times or starts to let you know when he needs to go.
By PB Getz
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 01/08/2021