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Last week my fiance and I became the proud parents of Miss Magnolia May (or Maggie for short) when her previous owner tied her up to a tree in the vacant lot next to my fiance's house. Neither of us have much hound experience, she's so different from the dogs we've both had in the past. We love that Maggie is great with other dogs, people, kids, and even cats but we don't love how she will bark constantly for 15 minutes or how she relentlessly pursues food. We're also just downright confused as to her peculiar habit of climbing the furniture, not just the sofa, but also, the nightstand, bookshelves, and even the desk. My fiance actually came home to find the F6 key missing from his laptop...we're pretty sure she ate it. We love her very much already and have no doubt that we will keep her so please, spare none of the gritty details :D We'd really appreciate it if you could help us understand the mind of Miss Maggie. Thank you so much!
 

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Bassets. Ya'll are awesome for taking in this hound. Your lives will be forever changed. I'm sure many can chime in about what to do about the little quirks, but Bassets are a great breed who are quirky and not for the weak. Though they have some annoying behaviors (like the barking-My Lily does it too), they are the sweetest dogs ever and once a Basset owner always a Basset owner.

~Heather
 

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We'd really appreciate it if you could help us understand the mind of Miss Maggie. Thank you so much![/b]
The Basset Hound Owner's Surival Guide (Owner's Guides to a Happy, Healthy Pet)
from one reviewer
"The book is not really a step-by-step resource for daily Basset care (although it does offer much good advice); instead, its strong suit is a collection of anecdotes and observations that describe the personalities of Bassets and those who love them. I've found great "ah, your hound does that too?" comfort in the stories in this book, which are written with a sometimes laugh-out-loud sense of humor."


My own insight into the breed is they were bred to hunt. They need a desire to hunt. That desire is a need for food. For the vast majority of basset they will not be sated until their stomachs are so large their feet no longer touch the ground. They climb, they wander nose to the ground for the next morsel. Now you can veiw that as a difficulty or an asset. Yes it can be hard to find some other active that the hound is more interested in but on the other hand you have a known powerful motivator. You want a hound that will listen to you. Remove at least 1/2 the kibble from his food dish. Instead of feeding it as a meal use it as a Reward (not a lure or a bride) whe it is doing something that you want it to do. Being quite when someone, knocks at the door. Lying quitely on it bed rather than crawing over the couch. You get the idea.

REWARDS, LURES & BRIBES
What is the difference between a reward, a lure and a bribe? Explanations & tips

Hard to Train?
look at "difficult-to-train" breeds and the reality of what shapes these canine minds.

Opportunities to Reward

Dogs Do What Works

You Get What You Reinforce, Not What You (Necessarily) Want

as for the barking the following might work for you
"You Won the Prize!"
A less detailed but more colorful discription of the technique and how it works can be found in Insights Into Puppy Mouthing
Something else this makes me think of. I must say I have a different take on the notion of negative punishments. To begin with I don't call them that and think the semantics of them is a problem because of the attitude it creates. I do not want to take anything away from the dog as a punishment so that they will decrease the chance of the behavior happening. I Reward the dog. Just not with the Reward they would prefer

...If my attitude remains that I am having a great time and even better if I am acting like I think that the Undesired Reward is what the dog wants I am not setting up a conflict. But I am motivating the dog to reexamine its choices. I am encouraging the dog to try and educate me as to the best thing to do. And when the dog figures out that biting and nipping me is the stupidest way to get me to play they will look for a better way. And when they think that the reward I offer is not worth the effort it weakens the probability of that behavior continuing to be offered.

If a good friend wants to get you to go golfing every weekend and you hate golf you could tell them how boring it is and keep debating the point forever.

Or you could enthusiastically head to the course wearing the most outrageous outfit you can put together at Goodwill. Hit the ball in the opposite direction because it is so much fun watching everyone's expression (besides you were never much of a conformist) Talk constantly. Hug them and scream with joy at every stroke they make and express your amazement at their skills. Then tell them what a wonderful time you have golfing with them and can't wait to do it again. I bet your friend won't be available for another round for months.
 

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Thank you everyone! Having a basset is definitely very different but we absolutely adore her. We bought a baby gate last night so that she and our other dog can go freely around half of the house but not the front door or kitchen. It seems to be working out really well, I think they like that they can see all the action of the house.

As far as quirks go Maggie has several. While I was cooking dinner last night Bryan, my fiance, came and got me to see that Maggie was viciously barking and growling at the bed sheets and launching herself into the pillows. She would bury her head under them and then jump up and bark at them. Bassets certainly are a wonderful breed. :p
 
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