How to Potty-train a Basset Hound

Basset hounds are intelligent.
Basset hounds are intelligent. (Image: chien de garde image by Eric MATVEEFF from

Basset hounds have the undeserved reputation of being stubborn and therefore difficult to house-train. Liz Pailka, dog trainer and author of "KISS Guide to Raising a Puppy," notes that all puppies and dogs–no matter what their breed–can be house-trained. Any accidents are usually the result of inattention and laziness on the part of the owner and not on the part of the dog or puppy. Since Basset hounds have such short legs and long bodies, some new Basset owners may find it difficult at first to determine whether and when the dog is squatting.

Things You'll Need

  • Collar and lead or fenced-in yard
  • Enzyme-based cleaner for accidents
  • Dog crate or room with a closed door
  • Veterinarian

Decide on where the Basset is to toilet. Ideally, this should be outside of the home. But if the Basset is to be shut up indoors for more than four hours at a stretch, an adult may not be able to hold its bladder. Puppies need to urinate about every two hours when they are awake. If the Basset is inside, then a designated toilet spot must be selected inside. That spot needs to have an indoor dog litter tray or "piddle pads."

Take the Basset to the designated toilet area. Take the Basset there as soon as you get the Basset home. Most dogs and puppies need to urinate after a car ride. Put a collar and lead on the Basset and walk over to the designated toilet area and keep her there until she squats. Be patient. Verbally praise when she squats.

Learn your Basset's body language. Most Bassets will engage in certain behavior right before they urinate or defecate. Usually, this is walking around in large circles, sniffing intensely. Some Bassets may scratch at the ground. Learn whatever it is that your dog does. This way, when you see the Basset performing this behavior, you can immediately let the dog out into a fenced yard, take the dog out with a leash on the collar or move the dog to the designated indoor dog toilet.

Clean up any accidents with an enzyme-based cleaner. Basset hounds have a powerful sense of smell, according to the American Kennel Club. When a Basset is searching for a place to urinate or defecate, the dog is trying to find traces of dog urine or feces to know where to go. Using an enzyme-based cleaner helps to completely remove these odors.

Place the Basset in a crate or a room when you are not at home to supervise. Crates or rooms should be large enough for the Basset to turn around in. Make sure there are special toys, chew treats and comfortable bedding so that the Basset associates the crate or the room with good times, according to the "Dog Owner's Guide."

Tips & Warnings

  • If a Basset suddenly begins to have accidents, take it to the vet; Bassets are prone to spinal problems that may lead to incontinence.
  • Basset puppies under 2 years of age will often leak a few drops of urine when frightened or when excited. This is called submissive urination and goes away as the dog matures.
  • Never send your Basset to the crate or room as punishment.
  • Never rub your Basset's nose in any accidents. This only gets the Basset angry and may lead to bites.

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