With their long ears and mournful expressions, Basset Hound puppies are quite irresistible. If you’re preparing to welcome one of these sweet, playful dogs into your house, you might already be worried about potty training. Well, don’t stress too much, because you’ve come to the right place. Here are our tips and tricks to help you potty train a Basset Hound.
How to Potty Train a Basset Hound
1. Start Early
As a rule, the earlier you can begin potty training a Basset Hound, the greater your chances of success. Young dogs learn more quickly than adults, who are already set in their ways. If you buy or adopt a Basset Hound puppy, start potty training as soon as they come home. Older Basset Hounds may already be potty trained when you adopt them, but many need a refresher when they come to a new home.
2. Be Consistent
Regardless of the age you begin potty training your Basset Hound, they will learn best if you’re consistent. Before you start, decide where you want your dog to go potty in the yard and if you’ll use a command to signal them to go. Set a schedule for when your dog will eat and go outside. Once you make these decisions, stick with them. Basset Hounds are intelligent but often struggle with motivation to learn. Being consistent allows them to fall into a routine without much effort. This step can make it easier to potty train your Basset Hound.
3. Supervise Your Basset Hound Closely
Until your Basset Hound is fully housetrained, they should be supervised closely and not allowed free reign of the house. Crate your puppy or adult dog when you can’t directly observe them. Ensure the crate is big enough for the dog to sit, stand, turn around, and lie comfortably. Don’t confine your dog for more than a few hours at a time, especially a young puppy. When you’re home, keep your dog nearby using a leash or tether to keep them from wandering. This allows you to watch your Basset Hound for signs that they need to go outside.
4. Observe Your Basset Hound Carefully
Successful potty training relies heavily on good timing. Ideally, you want to avoid accidents in the house by getting your dog outside before they make a mistake. Keeping a strict schedule of potty walks will help, but you should also be watching your Basset Hound for signs they need to go. Circling, sniffing, and scratching at the ground are the most common indicators that it’s time to head outside.
5. Stay Positive
Basset Hounds may be independent and stubborn, but they’re also very loyal to their humans. They don’t respond well to harsh training methods, which may also damage the bond between you and your dog. Focus on praising and rewarding your Basset Hound when they potty in the right place rather than punishing them for mistakes. As we mentioned, motivating a Basset Hound can be tricky, but positive reinforcement is more encouraging and successful long term. You’ll need to be patient, which can make it hard to stay positive, but this type of potty training is best for a Basset Hound.
6. Choose the Right Reward
A significant part of positive reinforcement training is rewarding good behavior to encourage it to continue. Some breeds are happy to learn simply to please their owners, but Basset Hounds generally aren’t one of them. We’ve already talked about how these dogs can be tough to motivate, but thankfully, they really like to eat! Food rewards are generally the best way to train a Basset Hound. Choose extra delicious treats for potty training and reward your Basset Hound when they successfully make a deposit outdoors.
7. Handle Mistakes Correctly
No matter how careful you are, most Basset Hounds will have an accident at some point during potty training. When that happens, resist the urge to get angry and punish your dog. Instead, take your Basset Hound outside to help build an association between using the bathroom and the outdoors. Clean up the accident thoroughly using an enzyme-based cleaner to remove all traces of scent. Continue your scheduled walks and rewards routine, and be patient with your dog.
8. Keep Your Basset Hound Focused
As scent-tracking dogs, Basset Hounds tend to get distracted when they’re outdoors. This can make keeping your dog focused on using the bathroom difficult. To fight this urge, keep potty walks short and bring your Basset Hound directly to the spot you want them to use. You may also need treats to distract your dog from other scents in the yard. If your Basset Hound doesn’t potty within 5-10 minutes, take them back inside and try again later. Keep playtime and walks separate from potty breaks until your dog is housetrained.
Are Basset Hounds Hard to Potty Train?
Basset Hounds have a reputation for being hard to potty train, but it’s not necessarily the specific task they struggle with. Hunting hounds were bred to work independently, which means they lack the desire to please that other breeds possess.
Combined with their stubborn nature and general lack of energy, the Basset Hound often isn’t very interested in learning. Potty training a Basset Hound takes persistence, creativity, and a healthy number of tasty treats. If you’re struggling with this training task, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for help. They can offer suggestions or refer you to a local trainer who can assist you.
Potty training is typically one of the first lessons a Basset Hound learns, not to mention your first chance to bond with your new pet. These tips and tricks can help make your job easier. It’s also essential to approach the task with realistic expectations. Knowing more about the Basset Hound’s personality and motivation ahead of time can give you the patience you need to potty train successfully.
Featured Image Credit: Sebastian Molina Bullrich, Pixabay