How to train a Basset who has no food incentive? - Basset Hounds: Basset Hound Dog Forums is the premier Basset Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-04-2017, 06:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2017
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 14
Default How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?

I became the owner of a 3 year old neutered male Basset hound (Bigsley) about 5 weeks ago.. He was a show dog, but was retired from the ring. He is from reputale breeders who were looking for a good home for him. I am home full time, have owned 2 Bassets and 2 Beagles in the past, and have a huge fenced in yard. At first he did not want to eat much. But now is eating about 3 cups of kibble per day. He has only barked on 2 occasions in 5 weeks. He's virtually silent. Very gentle, very sweet and laid-back. Tolerates all other dogs and humans. But I've never seen a dog this laid back. He is not motivated by any treats ot any kind. The ONLY thing he kind of likes are pieces of hot dog. He's very well behaved and can virtually be walked off leash. He stays right with me. But I am unable to teach him anything (shake hands, roll over, etc.) Since he is not motivated by any food rewards, I have no way of enticing him to do anything for me. He will come if called (if he thinks I have a piece of hotdog). But that's about it. I've had 2 Bassets before, and they would eat ANYTHING I gave them. They would steal food. I had to control their eating. They would learn tricks for food and treats. But this dog just simply has no interest in any treats. Even hotdog pieces....he will roll them around in his mouth for about a minute before swallowing. Strangest thing I have ever seen. He has no interest in any human food whatsoever....not even steak or chicken, bread, etc. When I toss him pieces of hotdog, he cannot follow them in the air. Most dogs learn to catch food fairly quickly, but not this guy. He is always happy to see me, and a couple times he has run "play" circles around me and barked twice in the last 5 weeks. I know that he is from a "family" of many Bassets. Could is be that he is homesick for his "Basset" family? I am a single person. So it's just my dog and I. I am consdering adding a Basset puppy to the family in September. A reputable breeder will have a male available by then. This dog, as sweet and gentle as he is, has kind of been a mystery to me. A hound that doesn't eat well, or like treats, and seems unmotivated to do much of anything except roll on his back and beg for tummy rubs. Any thoughts?
Attached Thumbnails
How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?-20170625_japanese-garden_058.jpg   How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?-20170625_japanese-garden_063-2.jpg   How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?-ddlm5599.jpg   How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?-ddlm5602.jpg   How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?-ddlm5415_0007_ddlm5413.cr2.jpg  

How to train a Basset who has no food incentive?-ddlm5427.jpg  
bbbdco is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 07-04-2017, 10:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
Senior Member
Mikey T's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Eastford, CT
Posts: 12,805
Send a message via Yahoo to Mikey T

a dog not motivated by food is either overfed. or highly stressed. Keep in mind most bassets stress reaction is to do nothing this can be perceived as being stubborn.

The Dog Trainer : How to Train a Dog with Food Rewards :: Quick and Dirty Tips ?
*28 *4 *4 tumblr3 *

Episode #058
Page 3 of 3
What to Do If Your Dog Isn’t Motivated by Food
Fairly often, we trainers hear from a client that his or her dog isn’t motivated by food. Assuming the dog is healthy, four common reasons account for most of these situations.
#1: The dog has food in her bowl all day long. If that’s your dog, feed separate meals instead. Pick up any uneaten food after 15 minutes. Training with food isn’t about keeping your dog hungry, but food does lose value if she never feels even a little bit peckish.
#2: The dog is anxious. This often comes up with undersocialized dogs working outdoors--when I meet them I find they pull frantically on leash, their tails are tucked, their ears are down, and when their person offers food they let it fall out of their mouth. Training needs to happen in an environment that doesn’t scare the dog; as for outdoors, we have to alleviate the anxiety before the dog can learn.
#3: The dog is too distracted to eat in the training situation. Dog sees squirrel, dog fixates on squirrel, owner tries to distract dog with a food treat, dog appears completely unaware of food treat. This dog needs more practice in non-distracting situations. And we may need to find a way to use the distractor itself as a reward.
#4: Your dog doesn’t like the treat. There seems to be a lot of wishful thinking out there regarding what dogs like. “He loves sliced apple,” for instance. And some do. For most dogs, though, break out the meaty-cheesy-fishy-smelly if you want their full attention. That goes double if you’re teaching them to leave the pot roast alone. Who are you kidding with the dry biscuits, there?

When Can You Stop Using Food?
Clients often ask: “When can I stop using food?” When your dog responds to a given cue at least 90 percent of the time in different contexts, you can start making your food rewards random and less frequent. But stay generous. Reward sometimes with food, sometimes with play, sometimes with the chance to go back and do more of whatever he was doing when you called him, sometimes with butt scritches. These are all ways of thanking your dog. People often fetishize this idea that dogs should do our bidding just because. That’s a trap. In any good relationship, reciprocity’s the name of the game. The same goes for good training.
Find The Dog Trainer on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, where I’m Dogalini. You can also email me at [email protected]. I respond to as many questions as I can, and I may use your comments as the basis of future articles. That’s all for this week. Go get some chicken shreds and teach your dog a trick!
In clicker training, you teach your dog that the sound of an inexpensive toy clicker means a reward, usually food, is on its way. Then you use the click sound to “mark” behavior you like. Because I want my readers to be able to start training right away without having to go get any equipment, I use a “Yes” in place of the click, but using an actual clicker has real advantages – for example, the sound is distinctive and consistent. When I’m working with clients in person, we almost always clicker train.
My basic guide to clicker training is posted in the Notes section on The Dog Trainer’s Facebook page. You can also learn more about clicker training for free at these websites: and ClickerSolutions Home. My two favorite guides to clicker training are Pat Miller’s The Power of Positive Dog Training and Melissa Alexander’s Click for Joy. Both are available at Dog Books, Dog Training Books, Dog eBooks, DVDs, Audio CDs, and Dog Toys ?
food is not required to motivate or train a dog.
List of Reinforcers

Grow the Value | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

Respecting the Value | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

Building Effective Triggers Into Your Dog Training | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

How to Create a Motivating Toy

A hound that doesn't eat well
second clue the dog is overfed. Ex conformation dog so I assume neuter. Neutering reduces metabolism, neuter dogs need less food. It is not the dog does not eat well It is your expectation of how much the dog should be eating that is out of wack. I would not be surprised the dog does well on being fed 1/2 the amount you are currently feeding

What most people think is a healthy basset is one that is over weight,. most of the time obese

If you have a specific behavior you are trying to teach without food what is it. We can give you some ideas.
Mikey T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 11:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
Super Moderator
Soundtrack's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Eastford, CT
Posts: 5,026

It's only been five weeks. When I first adopted Doc from the shelter, at around a year old, for a long time he was like "well, you've all been very nice but I'd like to go home now". It took about three months for him to decide he WAS home.
Leila-Can Ch Soundtrack Almost Paradise SHH
Deela-Can Ch Soundtrack Wink Of An Eye HH
Hermione - DC Soundtrack Spellbound RI MHE VC
Eowyn - FC Soundtrack Rain Dance MHH OAJ NAP
Faith - Soundtrack Gotta Have Faith HH
Pumpkin - FC Soundtrack Smashing Pumpkins SHH
Hope - Soundtrack Pandora's Box HH
Harriet - Soundtrack Black Magic Woman
Patch - Ch Soundtrack Superstitious Feeling
Junior - Soundtrack Sorcerer's Apprentice
Simon - Soundtrack I Put A Spell On You
Soundtrack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 11:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2017
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 14

Thanks for your reply. He is definitely not overfed. He weighed 54 pounds when I got him. He weighs the same today as he did 5 weeks ago. I give him a cup of kibble 3 times a day (when I also eat). I take the food and dish away after 15-20 minutes whether it is empty or not. If he is stressed, the only thing I can think of would be separation from his fellow Bassets. Going from a large group of Bassets (all related) to a single person home. I am home full time. He gets 3 lengthy walks every day. He has a acre backyard to explore. He's a recently retired show dog. I would consider him well socialized. He's friendly to every person, dog, or cat he has met the last 5 weeks. He has never pulled on his leash. He will walk beside me without a leash. He does not appear distracted to me when indoors or out doors. He ignores rabbits and squirrels and other wild creatures (which seems a little strange to me). I have tried chicken, liver, cheeses, almost everything you can think of. He won't even look at a dry treat of any kind. I'm a long time owner of 5 hounds, so dogs have been part of my life for over 40 years. The breeders' dogs do have a reputation of being extremely gentle and easy the point that her dogs are known for that characteristic. He will let anyone play with him. My personal feeling is that he is still homesick for his fellow Bassets. And perhaps I should not push things. All my other dogs I've raised as puppies. So this is new for me. He does have his moments when he really gets excited and will run circles around me and bark a few times. Especially when I return home from running an errand. Nothing seems to scare him...fireworks, thunder, vacuum cleaner.....nothing. I can vacuum right up to his nose, and he will just lay there. He scampers up the ramp into my car very easily. He crates easily. He has never peed or pooped inside. In some ways, he is a dream dog. Just wish he had a little more "fire" to him......and got excited about a chicken strip. Everyone just loves him, and he lets them love him. At Petco, people and children literally surround him to pet him. I'm just not used to a dog that won't get excited about food, and thus doesn't seem to be motivated to do much. He will come running when I call for him. And he will roll over for a tummy rub. Walks like a champion. But otherwise, extremely laid-back and seemingly unmotivated. I guess I will just give it time. It's only been 5 weeks.
bbbdco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
Senior Member
Mikey T's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Eastford, CT
Posts: 12,805
Send a message via Yahoo to Mikey T

"whether it is empty or not"

Not saying that it does not happen because we have one. But a dog that is not eating everything presented is generally overfed. The scale is not a good indication of body condition nor indicator that the dog is over weight.

The late great toughynutter was 64 lbs when I started agility and was the skinniest basset around is agility competition weight was 48 Lbs.

That said food is not required to train and it sounds like you know what motivates him but for some reason are reluctant to use it. " He will come running when I call for him. And he will roll over for a tummy rub"

Male basset hounds in general are generally more laid back and have lower drive.

Improve Your Dog Training By Playing Like a Dog! | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

Tug Drive | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

ruff love

What is "Ruff Love" Really? | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

training basics

Hard to Train? | Relationship Centered Dog Training by Suzanne Clothier

How Much Does Your Dog's Cooperation Weigh? | Relationship Centered Dog Training by Suzanne Clothier
Mikey T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 11:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2017
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 14

Thanks for the info. I am always in "learning" mode. Eventually we'll get this figured out. As usual, it's probably more of a "people" problem than a dog problem, if you know what I mean. I love the critter, and simply want the best for both of us. Just like kids, every pet is different. Thanks again. Dan
bbbdco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2017, 04:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
Senior Member
FranksMum's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: S.West UK
Posts: 2,474

If he was shown, I'm kind-of surprised he isn't used to being 'baited'. But when I showed, I would more often than not, use baked liver (messy, but good). But going back to my mantra which is make them think what you want was their idea all along, when it comes to training this is often the best way, if possible - rather than force an issue! Stubborn usually means the wrong approach is being used. And there does need to be a bond between hound and owner - so 'food' isn't really necessary. Perhaps his handler used hot-dogs as bait!!

As for not interested in smells ..... we boarded one years ago now and I was amazed at how he was when we'd take him out with my lot. I suppose part of it was down to not living around bitches (he was a single hound in his home), but instead of getting his nose down like all mine did, he was hell bent on making a nuisance of himself with my girls while they were all casting around for good scents - no sign of any hunting instinct at all which I found quite sad.
FranksMum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2017, 07:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
Senior Member
Cooper&Lyla's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Southern California
Posts: 223

You might be right that he is homesick. When I was a kid, we got a 3 year old lab from a family friend with a bunch of hunting dogs. For the first couple of months, Brit was like a guest in our house- didn't make a peep (he was always very well behaved, having been well trained). After a couple months, one day we heard a big splash in the backyard. Brit had FINALLY jumped into the pool on his own, which is about 2 months later than labs will usually wait to get in the water. From that day on, he acted like he was home! He lived until 15, and was an awesome dog. I'm sure Bigsley will start to feel at home soon. You sound like you really are trying hard, and it will pay off!

On the food: 3 cups a day seems like 1 cup and 1 serving too many. We feed our two bassets 1 cup twice/day (they haven't had 3 servings since they were pups). Both are the same or heavier than your Bigsley, and get a lot of exercise. Some people think they are thin, but it is just that they are leaner than most bassets (which are overweight). You should be able to feel the ribs under the skin, and they should have a bit of a waist.
Cooper&Lyla is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:16 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.3.2 ©2009, Crawlability, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Basset Hound Forum Doberman Forum Golden Retriever Forum Beagle Forum
Boxer Forum Dog Forum Pit Bull Forum Poodle Forum
Bulldog Forum Fish Forum Havanese Forum Maltese Forum
Cat Forum German Shepherd Forum Labradoodle Forum Yorkie Forum Hedgehog Forum
Chihuahua Forum Retriever Breeds Cichlid Forum Dart Frog Forum Mice Breeder Forum