Basset hounds were created to please themselves, not to please their human beings. Those who train their bassets competitively for the sport of obedience are thick-skinned, inventive, and more than a little nuts. But, for all their idiosyncrasies, basset hounds are a very intelligent breed of dog; the trick in training them effectively is convincing them that obedience was their own idea. Once your bassets are smugly convinced that they're conning their dupe of a trainer out of treats and rewards, teaching them anything is easy. With motivational techniques--bassets respond exceptionally well to operant-conditioning styles of training using food--they'll learn as quickly as the brightest border collie. Although bassets are low and heavy, many love to jump, and a few people have successfully trained their bassets for agility competition. But training a basset is only part of the battle; getting them to show off what they know consistently in a trial is one of the greatest challenges of basset training!
Kay Green's Obedience Articles
Kay Green has owned and trained Basset Hounds since 1973. One of her Bassets, CH Winnwars Brandywine, UDTX, remains the breed's only Champion, Utility Dog, Tracker Excellent, after 16 years (his last title was in 1982). Kay also earned a Dog World award (three consecutive scores of 195 or better) on one of her Bassets, Strathalbyn Burgrave, CDX TD. She was the obedience columnist for Tally-Ho, BHCA's national magazine, from 1982 through 1986, and wrote the obedience chapter in Peg Walton's book, "The New Basset Hound." When force training was the dominant method for training obedience dogs, Kay pioneered a variety of creative, non-forceful techniques for training her Basset Hounds. Although the obedience rules have changed since Kay stopped writing for the Tally-Ho (1986), the following articles still contain timeless information and creative techniques for getting the most from a stubborn, independent hound.
Chris Wallen's Obedience Articles
All of the following articles were originally published in Tally-Ho and are copyrighted to Chris Wallen; they may not be reproduced without her permission. For more information, contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.