Talking Basset (care)
This section is intended to help you to be the best basset parent possible by providing you with a source for basset hound care information. From time to time, we will post informational pieces here to help you with your hound. But, we are always willing to ‘talk basset’ and encourage you to Contact Us about your questions and concerns.
Adoptive parents are welcome to contact their adoption team member or their hound’s foster family for information on the hound’s habit. BBR foster families can always contact their area Foster Coordinator. A list of the BBR coordinators with their contact information can be found on the About Us page.
Current Topic of Discussion: Caring for your new basset
BBR hounds come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We work very hard to match the right dog to the right home but a dog may or may not exhibit the same behavior in every home. Once a dog is placed in his/her new home, we have an “adoption pending” period. During the first 7 days after being placed, you as the adoptive parents are expected to closely observe the dog’s behavior and make necessary adjustments to help the hound settle into their new life. If you have any questions or concerns about the dog or his/her behavior during this period, you should contact BBR promptly so we can help you. Please be aware, though, that it may take 4-6 weeks for your dog to settle in. They need time, along with plenty of patience, love, and gentle guidance, to make a successful and comfortable transition to being your basset hound!
- Introduce your Basset slowly to new people, sights, and sounds. Some rescue bassets (and puppies) have not had a wide range of experiences. They will adjust more easily if they receive plenty of patience, reassurance and praise. Give them time to learn the rules in your home by using positive reinforcement.
- BBR strongly recommends obedience-training classes for new dog owners. These classes can help you learn what to expect from your Basset as well as cover a wide range of topics such as health care, proper feeding, first aid, etc.
- Adjustment Period: Until your Basset has completely bonded with you and their new surroundings, he/she may show some separation anxiety by standing or crying at the door or window, or by following you closely from room to room. You may find that during the first few days/nights, your basset may be very restless and even cry or howl. Depending on the dog, this could be mild to severe. Although most settle down within a few nights some hounds may take a little longer. Please call us if you need help with this adjustment period.
- You might also want to consider a crate/kennel. Many dogs find this to be a safe and welcoming den where they can ‘chill out.’ We can provide you with training material that explains how to use a crate.
- They may show signs of stress such as panting, pacing, shedding, or frequently needing to drink or urinate. An occasional accident may occur but this does not indicate a lack of housetraining. It is a sign of how confused or stressed the dog is. If your basset is this stressed, you might consider confining them to one room, such as the kitchen. Then, over several days, allow them to explore the other areas of your home.
- DO NOT let your Basset, off leash, near an open door for the first several weeks as they may attempt to run out the door. If you have children, please be extra careful and warn them about this.
- The many Bassets like to use their crates or have a place where they can be by themselves. It is completely natural for some Bassets to prefer to sleep in a nearby room by themselves. Do not force your Basset to interact with you, your children or other visitors. Respect signals that he/she prefers to rest or be alone.
- Develop routines for your basset as it will help them adapt to life with your family. If he/she can count on things be done on a regular basis it helps relieve the stress of the new situation and the unknown. good habits and routines to develop:
- Feed the same brand and quantity of dog food, in the same place and at about the same time each morning and night. If you change to a different brand of dog food, do it gradually (mix half-new & half-regular food for a few days before making a total switch) to prevent stomach upset or loose stools.
- Keep your Basset’s bed in the same place and go to bed about the same time each night.
- Have regular obedience training sessions at home and work on simple commands like Come, Sit, Stay, etc.
- Schedule regular times for elimination. Dogs usually need to eliminate more frequently when stressed (such as being in a new environment). You should take them out first thing in the morning, immediately after playtime, shortly after dinnertime, when they first wake up from long naps, and just before bedtime.
- Walk your Basset frequently, then at gradually lengthening intervals as your trust level increases and he/she settles into the routine. They need regular exercise, just like people do.
Children: It is exciting having a new dog, but be careful your basset doesn’t get over stimulated during the initial adjustment period. Do not leave your Basset unsupervised with small children (ages 6 and under).
Collars: As soon as possible, get an ID tag with your name and address. Your new Basset has a BBR ID tag and collar which should be left on at all times. Prong or choker type collars can easily strangle or injure a dog by catching on fences, crates, etc. Never leave these types of collars on outside of training sessions.
Crates: BBR strongly encourages the use of crates for training puppies and adults. A large 20 x 30 plastic crate is preferable to wire crates because they are escape proof and provide a more den-like home. Plastic crates, however, retain heat and should be put in an area with moderate temperature, not too hot or cold. Remove all training collars before placing your dog in his crate to prevent injury or strangulation. A crate should never be used as punishment.
Toys: Make sure the basset has either indestructible or completely edible chew toys, especially if he/she will be alone for several hours each day. Talk to a reputable pet store or veterinarian about the best and safest toys. Rawhides can be choking hazards and should not be used without supervision.
Training/Safety: As with any new pet’s arrival, safety issues cannot be over-stressed for family members, friends, current pets, and the new basset. It is best to err on the side of caution until you and your new hound are completely familiar with each other in all kinds of circumstances.
Cats: If your hound is not used to living with a cat (or vice versa) it may take several weeks or even months before you can safely leave them alone together.
- Keep a shortleash on your Basset. If he/she tries to chase the cat, give a short jerk on the leash and say, ‘NO’! It is important to always be consistent when you try to correct their powerful chase instinct.
- Be sure your cat always has a safe escape route so it can get away andthe dog can’t follow.
- Do not leave them alone with the Basset until you’re completely certain the relationship is safe.
Dogs: If there are other dogs in your household, introduce them one at a time to your hound, preferably the most dominant dog first. Follow these simple steps:
- Both dogs should be on leashes, on neutral ground such as a neighborhood sidewalk or park (not in the house) so your current dog won’t feel obliged to protect his/her territory.
- Do not allow the dogs to rush up to each other with their entire bodies; let only noses touch first and be prepared to separate them quickly if necessary. After the initial sniff session, take both dogs on a short walk together, and then let them enter your house together.
- Your current dog will need more reassurance and praise during this period of adjusting to a newcomer and should be given the benefit of the doubt if a dispute arises. In other words, if the dogs fight, put the new basset in a Time Out.
- In the world of dog manners, it is the new Basset that must learn to adapt to the current rules of the house. Help your current dog understand he/she has not been replaced in your heart and home.
- Do not leave the dogs alone together until you are completely certain their relationship is safe.
- Never let your basset off leash outside of a fenced area. Bassets think with their noses. If they pick up the scent of another animal they wander away and are not able to find their way back.
- Make sure fence gates are locked and secured so your basset can not be taken from the yard.
- Do not leave your hound unattended in the yard for long periods of time, whether fenced in or on a tie-out.
- If you have a fenced-in yard, make sure the dog can’t get under or over the fence. And, be sure that there are no small openings or loose fencing material they can catch their collar on as they could strangle.
- If you live near water or have a pool, remember bassets are not good swimmers and some can’t swim at all and could easily drown.
- Do not allow your unattended hound access to the pool or water.
- If you take them on a boat, they must wear a life jacket.
- Install barriers or other measures to prevent them from falling in the water or through a pool cover.
- Teach him/her how to get out of the water using the stairs. Consider putting a life jacket on your basset if they are going to be spending time around a pool or water.
Bassets are the premier chow hounds of the dog kingdom and will eat or attempt to eat anything and everything so make sure that your garbage is out of sight. They also have a stellar reputation as ‘counter cruisers.’ Yes, that short legged dog is only too happy to clean your counters of anything they can reach!
Many food items in your home such as chocolate, avocado seeds, onions, grapes, and poultry bones can be deadly. There are also toxic plants, or other substances such as antifreeze which are also be fatal if ingested. Check with your veterinarian for a complete list of toxic items.
If you suspect your dog has ingested any of these items, contact your vet or the nearest Animal Emergency Clinic immediately.