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We are newbies to this dog ownership, I have not had a dog since I was in my early teens. So as I ramble on with this post I apologise if I appear to be teaching grandma how to suck eggs. Nevertheless I find dog psychology quite fasinating.

To my mind there are two glaring anomolies. The "books" always site the basset as having low aggression and making a good family pet, however there appears to many bassets in rescue with aggression problems, this from an animal that is not meant to be or bred originally to be aggressive.

As a continuing statement I think there needs to be a fundamental look on how Bassets are treated.
From my experience with Belle and Beau and reading on this forum and the net generally, I am starting to believe that bassets are far more sensitive than we realise, and this stubborness, poor toileting, and showing off etc. is all front to hide a very sensitive nature. If this is not realised it is more than likely they will face intolerance, and be open to mistreatment.
Accordingly if the dog is as sensitive as I feel it may be; the dog would most likely be come fearfull and the consequence of mistreatment would manifest its self in the form of fear aggression and then you get in to a downard spiral.

I am contemplating doing a study of dogs coming into rescue to fnd out if there is any validity in what I think. I would be interested in your thoughts to say whether you think I am just kidding myself or if you think there may be some truth in it where a good place maybe to start
 

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Hmmm very interesting! From my tiny sample size of one basset I agree! Sometimes I wonder if I named her Brutus she wouldn't be such a cream puff! She's definitely a lover not a fighter indeed, just ask the neighbor cat! I think though it's part nature and part nurture. I learned very quickly positive reinforcement was the only way to go with her. So maybe her being "well taken care of" brought out more cream puff?
 

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One of my basset books has a quote which I'll try to post tomorrow when I'm on a real computer. Basically it's by an early breeder and he states that you can't train a basset (for hunting) with a whip or harsh words because of their sensitive nature, but if you know the breed "they are not hard to manage, with a little tact"
 

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I think most dogs, not just bassets, respond better to positive reinforcement.
Apart from lengthy toilet training, where Opus peed everywhere but the paper we put down for him at night, ( no really, it took some skill for him to find the one unpapered patch and saturate it) he was not difficult to train as long as it was something he wanted to do or he was 'getting something' out of it. As soon as I realised Opus was the sort of animal who would walk through hot coal for cheese our training destiny was set. It's far better to get a strong willed animals like a basset to think it's his idea to do what you want.
He has never particularly liked children- one too many has pulled out of him as a younger dog, but he moves away from them and knows it is NOT acceptable to chew on them (something I wish parents would learn, not all dogs enjoy being man handled by strange children).
He needs to take a tablet every day because he has an allergy to dust mites of all things, but every morning as soon as he hears me come into the kitchen he hops out of bed, greets me, and goes to wait under the press where the tablets are because I always wrap them in a thin slice of ham. I guess he has me trained too.
My father bred working collies and needed them to be confident and capable of doing their jobs from afar, I don't think I ever saw him be rough with his dogs, ever, and they lived to please him, a kind word and a quick scratch behind the ears and they were in heaven.
I owned a dobermann years ago who was a rescue and had spent the first 6 months of his life locked in a tiny yard with little or no interaction with people or dogs, or society in general. Although young, he was aggressive, fearful, anxious, downright twitchy and it took the best part of a year to turn him around. Had I been rough or impatient with him he would never have settled into the brilliant dog he became- albeit he was always aloof with strangers, but aloof is fine by me, aggressive is not. The biggest battle with him was dog aggression, and boy, that was hard to break. None of it was his fault, he had no idea HOW to act like a dog, poor old thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One of my basset books has a quote which I'll try to post tomorrow when I'm on a real computer. Basically it's by an early breeder and he states that you can't train a basset (for hunting) with a whip or harsh words because of their sensitive nature, but if you know the breed "they are not hard to manage, with a little tact"
Thank you for that:)
 

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Accordingly if the dog is as sensitive as I feel it may be; the dog would most likely be come fearfull and the consequence of mistreatment would manifest its self in the form of fear aggression and then you get in to a downard spiral.
Most aggression in all dogs not just bassets is born out of fear. Harsh treatment can aserbate the situation but it need not be present to cause a fearfull dog. It is the nature of all dogs after an inprintint perion that occurs
early in life 16 weeks of age is the generally accept top end of this period dogs will react fearfully to thinks they were never exposed to ie. men, children other dogs etc. Lack of early socialization and habituation is general the more common cause of fear and poor temperament than rough treatment. And one can not down play the role of genetics.

It is easy to assume that most dogs in resuce etc experence abuse and neglect and is the cause of the behavior wen in actually it is their behavior that landed then in rescue and shelters. Behavioral issue is the nimber one reason why dog are released by owner to shelters in survey after survey.


I think what people mean by a dogs sensitivity is how it reacts to stress, which in basset and other so called sensitive breeds is to shut down. Do nothing. ie flat basset and other such behavior.

seeMedia Hound, Front and Finish: July 1994

The most striking difference between the two dogs is a personality issue, not a matter of anything that can be labeled "intelligence." Although Coren devotes a full chapter to what he terms the "personality factor," he does not seem to realize how critical a role it plays in the obedience ring. Connie is like many bassets: she's bright and happy to learn if you can convince her that the learning was her idea in the first place (i.e., if you train with food). But she doesn't have a strong sense of duty; if she's under stress or a bit distracted, she'd as soon not obey a command as obey it. Let's indulge in speculation and generalization for a moment, dangerous though it might be. Bassets are perfectly capable of shutting down entirely under stress; more than anything else, their tendency toward negative stress management is the reason why judges see so many slow-moving, tail-drooping, lagging bassets in the ring. Border collies are an entirely different story. Once a behavior is learned, most border collies seem to perform regardless of stress; indeed, many respond to stress by getting sharper and sharper. Dream is not such a successful obedience dog because of her learning ability. She has excelled because, quite simply, she loves to perform in the ring in front of a crowd of spectators. It is this showy sparkle--a je ne sais quoi which would never appear on a personality or intelligence test--that makes Dream unusually good; her learning pattern is all but irrelevant. My basset loves to learn new things and loves to practice but gets a bit overwhelmed in stressful situations, freezing and refusing to work at all. Again, her learning pattern would be impossible to predict in an assessment of her ring performance. In both cases, an obedience judge, based on what she sees at a trial, would be unable to make any meaningful statement about these dogs' trainability. In general, the difference between bassets and border collies is far more a difference of intensity, energy level, and desire to obey commands in the face of adversity than it is a difference of trainability or problem-solving aptitude.
The most striking difference between the two dogs is a personality issue, not a matter of anything that can be labeled "intelligence." Although Coren devotes a full chapter to what he terms the "personality factor," he does not seem to realize how critical a role it plays in the obedience ring. Connie is like many bassets: she's bright and happy to learn if you can convince her that the learning was her idea in the first place (i.e., if you train with food). But she doesn't have a strong sense of duty; if she's under stress or a bit distracted, she'd as soon not obey a command as obey it. Let's indulge in speculation and generalization for a moment, dangerous though it might be. Bassets are perfectly capable of shutting down entirely under stress; more than anything else, their tendency toward negative stress management is the reason why judges see so many slow-moving, tail-drooping, lagging bassets in the ring. Border collies are an entirely different story. Once a behavior is learned, most border collies seem to perform regardless of stress; indeed, many respond to stress by getting sharper and sharper. Dream is not such a successful obedience dog because of her learning ability. She has excelled because, quite simply, she loves to perform in the ring in front of a crowd of spectators. It is this showy sparkle--a je ne sais quoi which would never appear on a personality or intelligence test--that makes Dream unusually good; her learning pattern is all but irrelevant. My basset loves to learn new things and loves to practice but gets a bit overwhelmed in stressful situations, freezing and refusing to work at all. Again, her learning pattern would be impossible to predict in an assessment of her ring performance. In both cases, an obedience judge, based on what she sees at a trial, would be unable to make any meaningful statement about these dogs' trainability. In general, the difference between bassets and border collies is far more a difference of intensity, energy level, and desire to obey commands in the face of adversity than it is a difference of trainability or problem-solving aptitude.
 

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Here it is, it's from the writings of a houndsman in the late 1800s:
Let me advise any one trying Bassets for hunting not to attempt to teach them with the whip and harsh words, as they are very sensitive, and easily frightened, and in some cases never forget a thrashing. Headstrong they certainly are, and fond of their own way - but this failing must be put up with; to those who know the breed they are not hard to manage, with a little tact.
It was in the book by George Johnston.
 

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Maybe, sometimes its just the luck of the draw. Knowing how to handle a situation. I raise litters around plenty of noise although my household is generally quiet. My English Mastiff was much more sensitive than any basset I've ever owned.A sharp "NO" had to be toned down so she did not over react to or be afraid of disipline. I personally do not think bassets are any more or less sensitive than any other breed of dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It is easy to assume that most dogs in resuce etc experence abuse and neglect and is the cause of the behavior wen in actually it is their behavior that landed then in rescue and shelters. Behavioral issue is the nimber one reason why dog are released by owner to shelters in survey after survey. [/FONT]
Hi Mikey

You cannot deny that, but is there a case to suggest what would be considered reasonable behavior by an owner for displining a dog, would have and adverse effect on a basset.

I want to find out if the sensistive nature of the Basset leaves it at odds with conventional wisdom when it comes to their treatment and training etc.
 

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"Conventional wisdom" tends to be highly flawed in the first place.
 

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Our basset puppy Virga is pretty sensitive at times. If you raise your voice, even if you aren't directing it towards her, she'll cower and tuck her tail. That's how we discipline Doppler is by saying a sharp and loud "NO" and basically scaring him a little bit. But with Virga we have to be a little gentler with it. Otherwise she'll tuck her tail and roll over presenting her belly. But she's gotten less timid as she's gotten older. She's starting to be able to tell when we're playing with her. Before, she wouldn't let us chase her. She'd tuck and roll. But now she'll run from us barking her fool little head off! So it taken a bit of work but I think she'll still be a little timid for the rest of her life. Whereas Doppler is a very confident dog. It's kind of funny to see the difference between the two of them.
 

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Annie is the same as above...a no in a loud tone anywhere in her general direction and she cowers in fear. I've had her since she was tiny and she hasn't ever been physically disciplined and the only time she really gets in trouble is when she picks my tomatoes before they are ready.

Speaking of sensitive though...I think she is really sensitive to excitement. When we play with the other dogs at the park she gets gushed over by the other humans. I think she gets overly excited and then sick to her stomach which cuts our walks short.
 

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how sensitive is my basset...? Fred was chewing up her wubba and I very sternly said "fred stop chewing up your kong!" She stopped and hid under the table for 10 minutes now has avoided her kong all day. She wouldn't even lay on her bed because her kong was next to it.

I didn't yell or hardly raise my voice even :( .
 

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While she's prone to pouting when not able to get her way, Squishy's not phased by much at all.
When giving a stern ,"NO" or any other distraction word, she'll usually turn around and look at you as if to say, 'What? I wasn't doing nothin' Depending on her mood, she'll either give up at that point and find a toy to play with or she wait and try again. EIther way, I'd say she isn't very sensitive.
On a side note: My fiance has a very loud and booming voice, even when he's not trying. I think him "yelling" (I call it yelling even though he says its not - but I don't think he realizes how LOUD he can be even with a slightly raised voice ;)) has got Squishy alittle de-sensitized to verbal corrections. While she'll stop or get down, she doesn't seem bothered too much by them.
 

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It is easy to assume that most dogs in resuce etc experence abuse and neglect and is the cause of the behavior wen in actually it is their behavior that landed then in rescue and shelters. Behavioral issue is the nimber one reason why dog are released by owner to shelters in survey after survey.
I have never heard this before and would be interested to see a source. I wouldn't find it terribly surprising but I find in my first hand experience there are more dogs that end up in shelters because their owners were moving, couldn't afford them anymore (including for illness), or even died. Some reasons that I see just plain don't make sense, like one dog that was brought in with the reason "doesnt love enough".

That said the VAST majority of dogs in shelters around here at least were picked up as strays and never claimed. So the reason of the owner for not finding them is unknown.

You must also consider that the shelter environment is very stressful for a dog, and dogs often develop behavior problems while in the shelter that they didn't have before. This is why most decent no-kill shelters will eventually send a dog to a foster home or to a less stressful rescue environment if they aren't adopted after a certain amount of time in the shelter, also freeing up a spot for another dog.

Anyway 9/10 dogs in the shelters that I work with have no noticeable behavior problems. Most of them are well behaved, though perhaps too energetic for me personally.
 

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Francis is as sensitive as a Mack truck. He could care less what I think and feel. 'Where's the dinner bowl?' and 'When are we going to the park?' are the primary motivators around this house.
We get along wonderfully.
 

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Behavioral] Reasons for Relinquishment of Dogs and Cats to 12 Shelters
Mo D. Salman, Jennifer Hutchison, and Rebecca Ruch-Gallie
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University

The Regional Shelter Relinquishment Study sponsored by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) is a national research project designed to
explore the characteristics of relinquished dogs and cats, their owners, and the reasons for relinquishment. The NCPPSP Regional Shelter Study found that behavioral problems,
including aggression toward people or nonhuman animals, were the most frequently given reasons for canine relinquishment and the second most frequently given reasons for feline relinquishment.

I have never heard this before and would be interested to see a source. I wouldn't find it terribly surprising but I find in my first hand experience there are more dogs that end up in shelters because their owners were moving, couldn't afford them anymore (including for illness), or even died. Some reasons that I see just plain don't make sense, like one dog that was brought in with the reason "doesnt love enough".
the result are different if what onwner say with out an interview are taken at face value. Most owner do not want to say the dog has behavior problems for fear it will more likely be euthanized rather than a suitable home found. It is why there is a large number of stereotypical answers in survey that just use the owners stated reason without the interview process.
 

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I work with a no-kill shelter so there is no fear of euthanasia.

Also we shouldn't underestimate behavior problems that are the direct result of an inexperienced, lazy, or otherwise "bad" owner. The 3rd reason listed on the study you give is "escapes". Was the dog not neutered and roaming? Was there a hole in the fence that they didn't bother to patch? The next 2 are "destructive". Destructive behavior is often the result of dogs being under stimulated or under exercised. If you don't exercise your 10 month old boxer, yeah he's going to get into something because he's bursting with energy.

You'll also find with more research that the vast majority of dogs relinquished for behavior, over 90%, never had any obedience training. I'd be more inclined to say that the #1 reason they end up shelters is that owners don't make the effort to fix or prevent a behavior problem.

Also it's worth noting that the data from the study you linked was collected in 1994-1997 (http://www.petpopulation.org/research.html). Dog education and training has come a long way in 15 years. Just about anyone living in a decent sized town can go down the street to their local Petsmart or Petco for basic puppy or obedience training.
 

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Well, first off, I had to Google teaching grandma to suck eggs, because I'd only ever heard it in 'Happy Happy Joy Joy', and figured it was supposed to be absurd gibberish. Imagine my surprise to learn it actually means something.

Second, Rosco and Layla don't seem to be too sensitive. Rosco has major jealousy issues and tries to intercept any toy or attention Layla gets. He gets hollered at sometimes but it doesn't send him off to pout or hide. The only time he really pouts is if he has to wear his shock collar for misbehaving.
 
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