Basset hounds can make wonderful companions. However, they are stubborn, strong-willed, and can be difficult at times. Some specific areas of life in which you need to establish some dominance, or at least a plan of attack, are when it comes to food, house training, and their masterful escapes. This article will try to explain and give helpful hints to give you a leg up on your short legged competition.
Basset hounds will go after any food they can find and will hold on to it like... well, like a dog with a bone. The easiest way is to always keep your counters free of all food, but owners of this breed have other suggestions for discouraging this behavior. One recommendation is that you smear a little hot pepper sauce on the edges of your kitchen counter. Once it dries you won't smell this small amount, but your basset hound certainly will with his powerful nose and this is a big deterrent to most basset hounds. Of course, you should use whatever works for you and your hound. This is just an idea for whenever you might want to have the freedom of having food out on the counter.
House training, too, can provide a challenge with basset hounds. Using crates as their spacious but still limited home environment seems to help. They don't want to go to the bathroom where they rest their heads so the skill of holding it in until an appropriate time is quickly learned. After your basset hound does eat or drink though, make sure to take him outside. Maintain a relaxed, positive attitude as dogs can pick up on your level of tension which can interfere with performance at this time. Also, be patient. Have fun spending time with your dog without rigid expectations. Dogs, like humans, learn at their own pace. This patience may be challenged slightly more when he gets a whiff of something interesting.
Basset hounds are natural hunters and trackers. Their powerful noses are perfectly suited to this task, and they're not going to forget it just because food is readily available. When your dog picks up a scent he wants to follow he will head off in that direction without holding anything back. For this reason, basset hounds should always be on a leash when in open areas. They are not the most responsive dogs to commands to return to your side, and there is definitely no guarantee that he'll stay there in the first place. These habits are all about consistency.
Basset hounds are willful creatures and require some effort to train. Still, if you are firm and consistent when teaching them about food training, potty training, and keeping them from running off in open spaces, then a basset hound can be your best friend. You just have to realize that he is who he is and go from there.