How to Potty Train a Stubborn Basset Hound

Medium
3-6 Months
General

Introduction

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. 

Defining Tasks

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. 

Getting Started

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

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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.
Recommend training method?

The 20-Minute Run Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
Off-schedule times
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.
Step
4
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.
Step
5
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.
Recommend training method?

The Early Start Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
2
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.
Step
3
Body language
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.
Step
4
The cue
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.
Step
5
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Letti
Coon hound
5 Months
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Question
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Letti
Coon hound
5 Months

We are trying to potty train her, but it just isn't working. We have constantly told her NO when she goes potty inside, but she continuously does it. Any help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Presley, The accidents need to be prevented in the first place and her pottying outside rewarded. Telling her know won't help because she doesn't understand what to do instead and has already developed a habit of peeing inside. Check out the article that I have linked below and use the 'Crate Training' method. I find that this method is normally the most effective and quickest method for dogs who are having a hard time with potty training or are a little older and still peeing inside. Stick to the schedule carefully when you are home. When you need to be gone, then she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for five hours. Don't give her any freedom in the house unless you know that she has peed outside in the last hour-and-a-half. You want to remove all opportunities to pee in the house until she starts to pee outside more consistently. The more accidents she has inside, the more successes she has to have outside to make the connection -- so they key is preventing the accidents to begin with. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Copper
Beagle basset
1 Year
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Question
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Copper
Beagle basset
1 Year

We rescued Copper from a shelter and home by noon yesterday. We took him outside several times that day and he just runs and pulls on the leash to smell everything. No pee or poop. Did pee in house once. Today when I got up I took him out again and nothing. He has drank water, but has not eaten but just one kibble of food (same kind he had at shelter). Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rhonda, I suggest crate training him using the "Crate Training" method from the article linked below. That method will prevent more accidents in the house so that his only peeing option is while outside. Most dogs have a natural instinct to keep a confined space clean - which means they will naturally try to hold their bladders while in a crate if there is nothing absorbent in it (i.e. No soft bed or towels), and it is the right size, which should be big enough for him to turn around, stand up, and lay down, but not so big that he could pee in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. If you want to give him a bed in it, check out something like www.primopads.com. Be sure to secure the sides down to the crate to prevent chewing with the included securing ties. Since he is older, you can crate him for 3-4 hours while home. After 3-4 hours take him potty outside, tell him to "Go Potty" and let him sniff. If he doesn't go potty within ten minutes, bring him back inside and put him into the crate for an hour, then take him outside again when the hour is up. Repeat the potty trips every hour until he finally goes potty, crating him in between trips if he didn't go potty when you took him. Once he finally goes potty, praise him and reward him with five treats, one treat at a time (keep the treats hidden until he goes potty). When you bring him back inside after he has pottied, if you don't suspect that he also needs to poop, then give him 2 hours of supervised freedom out of the crate. After two hours, put him back into the crate until time to take him potty again (3-4 hours since he last went potty). When you have to be gone for longer he should be able to hold it for up to six hours in the crate. Ideally he should be taken out sooner until he has practiced holding his bladder for a couple of weeks though. Once he is potty trained he should be able to hold it for 7-8 hours in a crate when necessary, taking him outside sooner is always ideal though. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dolly
Basset Hound
11 Weeks
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Question
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Dolly
Basset Hound
11 Weeks

My basset bites like hard! When she’s playing is usually when it occurs but it’s not on accident. I’ll be playing with her with a toy and she’ll go straight for me! What should I do ? I’ve heard everything from yelp and turn your back to bop her and say no. What is the best method?

She also is terrible on walks! Chews on the leash, sits and doesn’t follow or just bolts on her own direction.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
263 Dog owners recommended

Hello Meagan, She is likely trying to wrestle with you like she would with another puppy. First, check out the article linked below. Follow the Leave It method first. Leave It will take some time to teach to the point where she has enough self-control to stop the biting, so while you work on Leave It use the Bite Inhibition method also found in that article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite I also suggest enrolling in a puppy kindergarten class that includes time for off leash play that is monitored by the trainer. Playing with other puppies and receiving feedback from them can help puppies learn to be gentler with their mouths. For the leash walking, what you are experiencing is pretty normal for some puppies. Check out the article linked below and follow the Turns method. Expect this to take time to teach. Go to a quiet, open area like your yard or cul-de-sac to practice walking at first. Remember, its not how far you walk but how many steps that effects how much exercise she is getting so walking in circles and squares for a while to teach this is fine. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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