Originating in 15th century France, a dwarf hunter with his reliable slump nose, the Basset Hound was bred specifically for scent hunting and his size was scaled down to make him more manageable.
Among the many qualities hunting dogs need to have to be efficient is teamwork. Not just in the sense of coordinating with his partners, but in the sense of living as a member of the pack. Success or failure is determined by the pack’s stability.
These are the originating characteristics that define the Basset Hound even today. Living with a pack mentality drives one to aspire to reach the top of the hierarchy. Just as the alpha wolf in a wolf pack must thwart his pack’s attempts to dethrone him, so too must you put up with your Basset Hound’s stubborn disobedience.
What to expect from your new Basset Hound buddy
As mentioned before you can expect challenges from him, and you should always be firm with your dog, even when he is a puppy. Part of their charm is that appealing look he gives you. And if you give in to that early on he’s going to be a lot of trouble later on.
However take care not to overdo any harshness. The difficulty in properly understanding Basset Hounds and their psychology lies in their inherent sensitivity counterbalanced by their stubbornness.
How to shape your new Basset Hound’s character
By now it goes without saying that every puppy needs lots of socialization. Play time must never be neglected and he should be exposed to as many and as varied situations as one can muster early on in his life.
What you need to do is a pretty simple routine, but it is of critical importance in shaping his character to a well-rounded, well-mannered dog. Slowly impose yourself as the dominant person during playtime and establish the trust you can only have when spending time together.
People thrive on routine. It gives them a clearer picture of what they should do. Dogs are the same, if you give your puppy a clear routine he will have security and will grow up relaxed and calm. It’s a good idea to give him plenty of chewing toys, unless you want to change your furniture every few months.
Basset Hound general care advice
House training is an important skill for your dog to master. Basset Hounds take a little longer than the average dog to train, so muster up your patience. First thing in the morning, last thing at night should be your sleeping mantra for a few weeks.
Grooming is very easy for Basset Hounds. They have short hair and it only takes minimal daily brushing to keep him at his best. More important are the ears. They are prone to infections and should be thoroughly checked every week. Use cotton wool to clean any deposits. Be careful not to poke about, only clean what is visible.
Finally check his nails weekly and trim them with nail clippers. Don’t worry if you accidentally clip the quick (the small blood vessel which ends in the nail), just press the small wound with cotton wool until it stops. It’s okay.
There are some things you should know about exercising early on. Basset Hounds are robust dogs and shouldn’t be strained during growth to avoid complicated problems. Until your puppy is 8 months old a 5 minute walk a day is all you need, aside from some playtime.
From 8 months on you can walk him for up to 15 minutes. And when he reaches a year you can up that to 30 minutes every day. Also try to prevent jumping from furniture and running down steps until he is at least 1 year old.
Overall the Basset Hound is easier to care for than most dog breeds. Short coat, minimal brushing and minimal exercise make these types of dogs accessible to inexperienced owners. The most important part is housetraining him properly and to establish yourself at the top of the pack.
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