Basset Hounds are not built for speed. Their legs are not exactly the perfect design of a speed machine. When you take a look at a Basset Hound the first thing you notice is that big nose. It gives him that distinctive look you just can’t ignore.
It also gives him an incredibly sensible and talented sense of smell. Dogs have a naturally gifted nose for some reason. It’s estimated that a dog’s nose is at least 1000 times more sensitive than a human’s. If you had that great sense of smell, wouldn’t you totally rely on it?
Since Basset Hounds were originally bred as scent hounds (hunting using smell) you can expect they’re even better than the average dog. A dog’s nose size doesn’t count for much in terms of smelling powers, but there’s another reason for that long snout.
When you’re hunting using smell you’re basically tracking the scent of whatever it is you want to catch. If you’re doing that you’re going to be with your face in the dirt, so to speak. One problem with flat-faced dogs is that they can hurt their eyes from grass and so on. This is where the long, broad snout comes into play.
Scent Games Are A Brilliant Addition For Your Basset Hound
Scent games are primarily going to work on three important levels. First of all you’re going to be providing mental workout to your dog, and I don’t need to tell you how important that is.
Second of all you’re spending time with him in an interesting way, and that decreases boredom. Thirdly you’re getting a stronger relationship because of the special things you do together.
There are lots of scent games you can incorporate into play. One of the easiest is the shell game. If you find that it’s too difficult for your dog start with holding the treat in your hand and asking which hand has it.
Play The Shell Game With Your Basset Hound
Get some paper cups and a bunch of treats. Make a big presentation of how you’re putting the treat under a paper cup. At this point it’s important for your Basset Hound to see everything you’re doing. He doesn’t know he should rely on his smell yet.
Making sure he sees everything, you place a treat under one of the cups. Now ask him to find it. He will probably timidly go to the right cup. Let him knock it over, kick it with the paw, push it with his nose and whatever else he wants to do to it.
When he figures out the correct one give him the treat and praise him for doing such a good job. If he doesn’t get it, lift the cup with the treat under it, show it to him and tell him to find it. Don’t cover it up again. Just let him have it.
Work your way to where he can consistently pick the right cup from his first sniff. Now you can add some spins. Start with only one rotation, keep it simple. In time your dog will become so good at this game you’ll be thinking of joining the circus.