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My Barking Basset! (in every sense)

(12 Posts)
wheelofapps Wed 24-Feb-16 13:05:11

Advice pls from any other Bassie owners and any other barking dog owners?

I took on a female Basset (6) just over a year ago, as a private re-homing.

She had been with another Basset and 3 under 5 children all of whom had ADHD. She'd been kept in a small flat and not walked very much.

She suffers horrible separation anxiety from me.
She wont leave the house with anyone else, even a year after we got her.
She sits outside the toilet door and sucks all the air out of the room.
She tries to sit on my knee (she is 34k...)
This is a bit wearing, tbh.

The other issue is her barking.
She is quite anxious and skitters away from any human who tries to approach her. She is particularly nervous of men, and men in hats esp.
She is also scared of prams/buggies/scooters etc.
When someone is walking behind us (even about 5 foot) she will skitter out into traffic to get away from them.
Lots of people approach us as she is a handsome hound, including little kids attracted to her cute / droopy face, but I have to call out: 'she's not friendly' as, although her tail wags furiously, she barks insanely and it is VERY LOUD and very offputting. Even if a 'doggy person' hunkers down and speaks to her skilfully, she wont stop barking.

Any suggestions?
I don't have the £ for expensive 1:1 training.
I don't want to muzzle her or use a 'shock' collar but I am at a loss.
I would like her to be less anxious for her own sake but also for mine and the neighbours (one of whom takes a real delight in 'reporting people' for the slightest thing and HATES dogs sad

I DO understand that both the separation anxiety and the barking / baying are breed traits but she is not improving, if anything she is getting worse

(is there something odd going on atm? shedding like mad, eating like mad, howling at moon, is it some sort of equinox or do I have a Were-Basset?)

pigsDOfly Wed 24-Feb-16 14:29:22

I'm not a behaviourist, just an ordinary dog owner, but it sounds to me as if you've got multiple issue's to work on. She clearly hasn't been socialized at all so you are going to have to start from the beginning with getting her used to all the things she's afraid of. It's going to take time and patience and you have to go at her speed.

Can you take her somewhere quiet for her walks where she can sit and observe things. When she's sitting and you can get her quiet reward her with a treat and praise. Once you've got that nailed you can progress to getting her to sit quietly when a person walks buy, then treating her with praise. And so on until you can move on to the next stage.

She sound as if she's got so many problems that you might not be able to deal with them yourself without calling in a behaviourist, even if it's for a one off visit to give you some advice.

One thing you mentioned in your post, you say you don't want to use a shock collar. Please don't ever consider such a cruel method of trying to control a dog. Bassets are barky dogs, you can work on it to try to control it but again it has to be done with patients and treats and there's not quick fix. All a shock collar does is teach a dog how to be fearful. With a dog like your's who is already scared of everything it doesn't bear thinking about how terrified it could make her.

Floralnomad Wed 24-Feb-16 14:38:27

Have you tried zyklene or similar ,she does sound like she has anxiety issues . My mum used to have a large anxious dog and he was on diazepam which helped a lot.

wheelofapps Wed 24-Feb-16 14:50:00


Don't worry, I wouldnt DREAM of using a 'shock collar' or muzzle on her.
It's just two of the things the neighbours have suggested sad


would I get that from the Vet? I dont want to dampen down her personality, she is a super dog, but if she were less anxious it would be easier for all of us.

She is a star, really, and, breed traits aside, she's obviously not had the best start and that's not her fault. But I do feel a bit like I'm in Basset prison!

Floralnomad Wed 24-Feb-16 15:29:12

Diazepam will be prescription only but I think you can get zyklene from Amazon / pet stores online - they may have something in Pets at Home if you have one nearby ( they seem to be everywhere) . Perhaps a Bassett breeder could advise on how to stop them baying /barking .

bulldogmum Wed 24-Feb-16 15:56:51

I really feel for you as separation anxiety is a handful without the other issues. I used to foster for a big animal charity and had quite a few fosters with separation issues.
Firstly I would chat to your vet who could give you an Adaptil collar and plug ins - they emit a pheromone to help the dog feel relaxed. Depending on your vet they may have homeopathic or alternative suggestions but the vet should be your first call.
Then in your home you need to firstly give her a quiet place of her own (crate with a blanket over the top, bed in a quiet corner) where she can feel secure. Then set boundaries... use baby gates and decide where she can and can't go in the house.but you don't want to allow her to follow you everywhere. She needs to learn that spending time alone is ok. Build it up gradually... Put a baby gate on say the kitchen door and leave the room for 2 mins initially, she can still see you're there but just cant be g;used to you. When you go back to the room ignore her for a minute or 2 then give her a treat when she doesn't hassle you. Build up the time by doing this each day. When you leave for longer can you leave her with something like a stuffed Kong? Give it a few mins before leaving so you're still with her when she starts on it and just get up and go without saying anything or fussing her.
Always when you return ignore her until she stops hassling you for a few mins as if you don't think leaving was a big deal. Then reward the good behaviour.

Bassetts are a naturally barky and howly breed but she seems overly nervous. Do you take treats with you when you go out? Take her to quiet areas and build up her interaction with people slowly. Have you got a couple of friends who could meet you on walks and give her treats or a local dog walker? Start with a few people so she sees meeting others as a positive. Once she relaxes with them then if anyone comes to stroke her hand them a treat and ask them to approach her slowly with the treat.

There's lots you can do but you don't want to overwhelm her with too much, talk to the vet, set boundaries in the house and use a lot of positive rewards when out and about. And do not even consider a shock Pigsdofly said this will make everything 100 times worse aside from the cruelty.

And lastly have a chat with Bassett rescue who should offer plenty of advice despite a private rehome and is there a Bassett Facebook group you can post for advice too? Good luck!

Cheerfulmarybrown Wed 24-Feb-16 16:14:37

I know you say you cannot afford 1:1 behavioural advice but in the long run it may be cheaper than trying loads of stuff that may not work.

Zkylene, Dap diffusers and DAP collars, thundershirts etc all help anxious dogs but they cost loads and you will still have the emotion that makes your dog feel anxious.

A good qualified behaviourist will work to change the dogs emotions and then you will not need longterm aids to keep the dog calm.

Bassests do bay and bark a lot they are not a dog for the faint hearted and needs loads of exercise and stimulation to keep them happy.

So basic things would be to:-

vet visit to rule out physical reasons for the anxiety
increase calm exercise in low threshold situations

increase basic training to give the dog confidence clicker training is great for this

Check the dogs food is a good quality without additives which can make dogs become anxious

Contact a qualified behaviourist (to save you money in the long run)

If you can work out why she is barking eg fear, frustration, just for the hell of it, or is bored then it is easier to retrain the dogs emotions -

Greyhorses Wed 24-Feb-16 16:25:17

I feel your pain as I have a nervous barky one who hates strangers.
I have been told it's more a case of management than cure and things like treating when she is calm etc do make a difference.

I must admit I have gone down the behavuouralise route. At £110 it's not cheap but that includes 4 hours of work plus classes so I hope worth it in the long run!

BagelGoesWalking Wed 24-Feb-16 16:36:15

There is a lady called Lyn Bailey. She's on FB

She runs a Basset Rescue and is really, really knowledgeable about the breed and works with other breeds too, but mainly Bassets. I would suggest you message her and ask for some advice. I'm sure she helps.

I'm sure she'll be able to put you in touch with someone who can help, even if she's too far away from you.

wheelofapps Wed 24-Feb-16 16:43:34

Thank you all, lots of good advice here.

I had a spaniel with Sep Anx too.
When I had to leave him I would leave a stuffed Kong which helped a lot.

The Basset goes on hunger (and water) strike. So, if I have to go out (never more than 2 hours), I will leave favourite food in nibbles around the kitchen for her to find (to keep her occupied) and a stuffed Kong and a bowl of fresh water. None of it is touched when I come back and she then dashes for the water bowl and drinks like she's been in the desert. She then goes frantic baying and spinning (sometimes she urinates in excitement). I tend to just take her straight out the door as this helps.

Poor old woof. She just wants me to sit and tickle her tum 24/7 and is so upset when I can't. sad

wheelofapps Wed 24-Feb-16 16:53:32


thanks - I've just messaged her. Saw one of her pics which is her with 2 Bassets in a pram outside Tower of London. Looks my kind of gal! smile


Yy, I am sure it is 'containment' rather than cure. I was walking her earlier in an empty road and she was sniffing at some grass/trees. My boot made the tiniest noise on the gravel and she jumped about 2 foot. Poor thing. Something in her past has made her this way.
£110 for 4 hours sounds good value, actually.

Lokibuddyboo Thu 25-Feb-16 02:02:29

You could try a thundershirt can buy them online.

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