Socializing your Otterhound is not all that difficult, for a big dog he is not ferocious and dangerous looking at all. In fact he looks like a big goof. The clown of the canine kingdom, the Otterhound loves animals and he loves people.
Otterhounds are well tempered, loud, and can have an independent quality about them that was bred into them for decision making on the hunt. For that reason they can be stubborn when it comes to training as they may want to do things their way. Nevertheless they are intelligent and still trainable. The Otterhound will need to go through some obedience training to become oriented and adjusted to his new home. You will need to have patience; these willful big clowns don't understand why they can't do things their way. However, do not be harsh with your dog, they are very soft and get their feelings hurt. The obedience commands that you teach them should be short, and direct, such as sit, lay down, stop, go, heel, and the ever popular give me your paw or shake hands. There is nothing more adorable than a big shaggy dog holding out his paw to guests in the house and pedestrians on the street. It also puts the public at ease as big dogs can be menacing, you want to show the world that your big goof is just the opposite.
They are friendly dogs and they don't demand a lot of attention. But they do need to understand that puppy or not, these klutzy oafs, are big and they cannot treat a house like the great outdoors. They will need to learn how not to run in the house and topple over furniture, or worst still, your toddler and frail elderly grandmother. A swift quick tail wag can knock off your precious knickknacks from a stand or coffee table. A sudden gesture to get up can cause them to bump their head if they were lying under the table. It is for these very reasons that commands sit and lay down are crucially important for your Otterhound to learn.
Socialize your dog to the outdoors and the environment around him. He needs the exercise. He needs a brisk walk each day and while he is exploring his world he needs to see and associate with people. Take him on car rides, bring him to a busy park, the school yard to pick up your children, hospitals, schools, community centers, nursing homes. Otterhounds make great therapy dogs.
Otterhounds are pack dogs, used to hunting packs. Otterhounds can live in a house with other animals; they get along well with them. If Otterhounds have lived with cats from a pup they will not hurt them either. As hunting dogs, Otterhounds would normally consider felines as prey for the hunt but they can also become playmates if socialized with them from the very beginning.
Though Otterhounds can live without other animals in their home, some Otterhounds may suffer from separation anxiety. If you have ever heard the bellow of the hound dog, you can appreciate how really loud their howl can be. You may have complaints from your neighbors. To avoid possible trouble, sensitize your dog to being left alone. Start by small departures and gradually increase the time you are away from him. Make sure that he is happy, has his food and chew toys around, and do not make a big issue of leaving or coming home. You want him to realize that leaving him alone in the house is a normal part of living there.