Basset Hounds can be quite a vocal dog. They bark and howl and often can be whiny. For how to stop a Basset Hound whining see here.
The range of sounds a Basset Hound makes can be very amusing. However, it can get to the point of being a nuisance and a bad habit. If your Basset Hounds barking, howling, and general vocalizing becomes an issue it can be fixed.
Why do Basset Hounds howl
Basset Hounds are a pack hunting dog. Howling is how dogs communicate and call to each. It is often used as a way to let other dogs know of their location.
In modern life, the hard wired in behavior still exists. However, they don’t do it just to call out to other dogs. They are trying to communicate something to you. Often a Basset Hound will howl when they are bored.
Sometimes you will even hear a Basset Hound howl if they hear a police siren.
Do Basset Hounds bark and howl a lot
Many Basset Hound owners ask why does my Basset Hound bark and howl so much? Barking actually has a practical function for a tracking and scenting dog like the Basset Hound.
When they bark, it sprays water (saliva) in to the air and on to their faces. Moisture aids in trapping odors. This is the same reason a dog’s nose is wet while scenting.
Most Basset Hounds now are pets and not used as tracking dogs. The need to bark for scenting is not the real reason most Basset Hounds develop a nuisance barking issue
There are many reasons a dog may bark. This includes a perceived threat, boredom, pent up energy, and excitement. We will go into more detail about the causes of nuisance barking below.
Why does my Basset Hound bark so much
When a dog barks, whines, howls, or vocalizes in some way they are communicating. Don’t just assume that they are being bad. They may be trying to tell you something. There are times that you want your dog to bark.
Your Basset hound may bark or vocalize for a number of reasons such as an invite to play, discipline young, warn of danger, threaten intruders, or it may bark because it’s curious. None of these reasons tend to result in excessive or annoying barking. The barking is usually short-lived and specific to an occasion.
If your Basset Hound has a nuisance barking and howling issue, you need to find the reason and triggers for the behavior. Knowing why your Basset Hound is barking and what is triggering the behavior is halfway to solving the issue.
Possible reasons a Basset Hound may be barking all the time can be categorized into three types of communication. These are
- Physical Need
They are hot, cold, hungry or thirsty. This is the dog’s way of communicating for you to accommodate one of their needs. It can also be a sign of pain or discomfort. If you have concerns that your Basset Hound may not be well, consult your vet.
- Emotional Need
The dog is bored, overexcited or anxious. This is a way of requesting attention. Attention seeking behavior can become a problem if not managed. It is often the result of their psychological or social needs not being met.
Excessive barking and vocalizing may be triggered by environmental cues such as other dogs barking, passing cars, sirens, thunder, and so on. It can also be from being confined, tied up, or left alone for long periods of time. For a guide to leaving a dog home alone see here.
Causes and triggers of Basset hound barking and howling
The three categories above give a general indication for the reason a dog may bark. We will go into more detail and take a look at specific causes.
Your Basset Hound may be trying to communicate that they are in pain or not well. This type of barking and vocalizing sounds different and has a tone of distress.
If your Basset Hound is suddenly barking and vocalizing when they normally don’t, something may be wrong. There will usually be other indications if this is the case. if you have any doubts, have your vet check them over.
Pent up energy
Basset Hounds are not a high energy dog but they do require a moderate amount of daily exercise. They require 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. For a guide to exercise for a Basset Hound see here.
Without the opportunity to release pent up energy and to challenge their minds they can develop behavior problems. These behavior problems are not only limited to nuisance barking.
They can also include digging, destructive behavior and escaping to explore on their own. In some cases, frustration can lead to aggressive behavior. However, aggression is rare in Basset Hounds.
Basset Hounds are smarter than you may think and are a curious dog. They require plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment to challenge and tire their minds. For more on how smart a Basset Hound is see here.
Boredom is one of the main causes of many dog behavior problems including nuisance barking. For more on mental stimulation and enrichment for dogs see here.
Territorial and protective barking
When a person or an animal comes into an area your dog considers their territory they will usually bark excessively. As the threat gets closer, the barking often gets louder.
This is not such a problem with Basset Hounds. They are not great watch dogs. they may bark at a strangler, but will then happyily greet them.
Many dogs will bark at any person, other animals, or objects that startles them or they are not sure of. This is fear-based behavior and may need to be managed. It can result in behaviors such as lunging and barking at people or dogs and anxiety such as separation anxiety.
Dogs will often bark when playing or greeting someone. This can lead to them becoming overexcited and the barking tends to increase and become more frantic.
Overexcitement is a state of mind. A dog doesn’t go from 0 to 100 in one step. The key is to catch the state of mind early and calm them. The higher the level of excitement, the more difficult it becomes to settle them.
Separation or isolation anxiety
Many dog owners get complaints that their dog is barking all day while they are not home. This type of issue normally has other behaviors associated with it including destructive behavior, pacing, whining, escaping and toileting in the house.
In general, Basset Hounds are fine when left alone. However, every dog is different and some Basset Hounds may develop separation anxiety
For more on anxiety in dogs when home alone see here.
How to stop Basset Hound barking and howling
Yelling at your Basset Hound to stop usually doesn’t work and often makes them bark more. To a dog you yelling is like barking. They think you are barking so they think they should bark some more.
Physical punishment is also not a good approach to take. This is more likely to make your Basset Hound fearful and can result in anxiety or even aggression.
There are many different suggested ways to fix a dog with a nuisance barking issue. Every dog is different and what works with one dog may not with another.
If you are dealing with an extreme barking issue or nothing has worked you may want to consider working with an experienced and qualified dog trainer or behaviorist.
These are some possible approaches to take to fix a nuisance barking issue with your Basset Hound. The approach you take on what you have determined to be the causes and triggers.
Teach the quiet command
There is a number of ways to teach this command. The simplest way is to say “quiet” and hold a treat in front of their nose when they bark. Praise them for being quiet and give them the treat.
It is often a good idea to train a puppy using crate training. Crate training can assist in potty training and avoiding destructive behavior. It also helps to teach a puppy or even an adult dog not to bark.
The puppy or dog soon learns that they are not released from the crate while they are making a noise.
Increase exercise and mental enrichment
As stated above, pent up energy and boredom are a common cause of a barking issue. Increase the amount of daily exercise and provide more mental stimulation and enrichment for your Basset Hound.
Suggest ways to increase enrichment and stimulation for your Basset Hound include
- Puzzle toys – see here for suggested puzzle toys
- Learning new commands and tricks
- Chewing see here for the psychological benefits of chewing for dogs
- Food enrichment – see here to learn more
- Enrich their environment – see here to learn more
Use calming techniques
A calm hold is a technique used to settle and calm a dog. Simply place your hand on the side of your dog’s shoulder just holding them still. Don’t make eye contact with them and you don’t even need to say anything.
You can hold your Basset Hound by the collar if you wish to hold them in place with your other hand on the shoulder. If you wish you can say something like “Relax” in a calm monotone unemotional tone. Once your Basset Hound has calmed down you can remove your hand. This video also shows a similar technique you can try.
Distract or redirect behavior
When your Basset Hound barks, distract their attention from the trigger. This can simply be something like throwing a toy for them. Another trick is to have them lay down. It is difficult for them to bark while laying.
Remove them from the situation
If your Basset Hound barks at people or animals passing by the window close the curtains or put your dog in another room. Alternatively, if they are in the yard, bring them inside.
Ignore the behavior
If your Basset Hound is barking to get your attention you should ignore them. You can even turn your back and cross your arms or simply walk away. They will soon learn that barking does not get them what they want – attention.
Desensitize your Basset Hound to the stimulus
Gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever is causing them to bark. Start with the stimulus at a distance. Move the stimulus a little closer and feed treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to a good experience or reward.
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