How Our Hounds Are Raised

Socialization With Puppies

Socialization starts at Day one. Puppies are socialized starting at birth. Birth is monitored closely and constantly. Many moms get very tired towards the end and need assistance. Kids are involved from the start

  • Puppy socialization begins with the breeder and continues with you.

  • Expose your puppy to different people, places, sights, and sounds.

  • Well-run puppy classes are a good way to socialize your pup to other dogs.

Socializing your puppy is the key to ensuring you’ll have a happy, confident, and well-adjusted dog. Below, learn the best time to socialize your puppy, how to do it right, and why it’s important.

When to Socialize Your Puppy

During your puppy’s first three months of life, he will experience a socialization period that will permanently shape his future personality and how he will react to his environment as an adult dog. Gently exposing him to a wide variety of people, places, and situations now makes a huge, permanent difference in his temperament.

When you buy a puppy from a responsible breeder, the socialization process should start before you even bring your puppy home. Gentle handling by the breeder in the first several weeks of your puppy’s life is helpful in the development of a friendly, confident dog. As early as 3 weeks of age, puppies may begin to approach a person who is passively observing them, so having a knowledgeable breeder who encourages a positive experience with people – adults and children — will help shape the puppy’s adult behavior. As their puppies develop, good breeders allow them to experience safe inside and outside environments, car rides, crates, sounds, smells, and gentle handling.

Why Socialize Your Puppy

The idea behind socialization is that you want to help your puppy become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from being fearful of children, for example, or of riding in a car, and it will help him develop into a well-mannered, happy companion.

Having a dog who is well adjusted and confident can even go as far as to save his life one day. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, improper socialization can lead to behavior problems later in life. The organization’s position statement on socialization reads: “Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.” Start taking your dog out to public places once your veterinarian says it is safe, and he’ll learn to behave in a variety of situations and to enjoy interacting with different people.

How to Socialize Your Puppy

As mentioned earlier, your breeder will start the socialization process as early as the puppy’s first few days of life, by gently handling him and allowing him to explore his surroundings. But when the puppy comes home with you, the crucial socialization period continues, so your job is to keep the process going. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  • Introduce the puppy to new sights, sounds, and smells: To a puppy, the whole world is new, strange, and unusual, so think of everything he encounters as an opportunity to make a new, positive association. Try to come up with as many different types of people, places, noises, and textures as you can and expose your puppy to them. That means, for instance, have him walk on carpet, hardwood, tile, and linoleum floors; have him meet a person in a wheelchair or using a cane, children, a person with a beard, wearing sunglasses, using an umbrella, or wearing a hood. Think of it as a scavenger hunt. Here’s a comprehensive checklist for puppy socialization that can be used as a guide.

  • Make it positive: Most importantly, when introducing all of these new experiences to your puppy, make sure he’s getting an appropriate amount of treats and praise, so that he associates what he’s being exposed to and the feeling of seeing something new as a fun experience. Don’t forget to break the treats into small pieces that will be easy for your puppy to digest. Also, don’t be stressed yourself — dogs can read our emotions, so if you’re nervous when introducing your puppy to an older dog, for example, your puppy will be nervous, too, and may become fearful of other dogs in the future.

  • Involve the family: By having different people take part in the socialization process, you’re continuously moving the puppy out of his comfort zone, letting him know that he might experience something new no matter who he’s with. Make it a fun game for the kids by having them write down a list of everything new the puppy experienced that day while with them, such as “someone in a baseball cap” or “a police siren.”

  • Take baby steps: Try to avoid doing too much too fast. For instance, if you want your puppy to get accustomed to being handled by multiple people he doesn’t know, start with a few family members and slowly integrate one stranger, then two, and so on. Starting this process by taking your puppy to a huge party or a very busy public place can be overwhelming and result in a fearful response to groups of strangers in the future.

  • Take it public: Once your puppy is used to the small amount of stimuli, move outside of his comfort zone to expand the amount of new experiences he’ll have. Take him to the pet store (after he’s started his vaccination series), over to a friend’s house for a puppy playdate, on different streets in the neighborhood, and so one. At seven-to-ten days after he’s received his full series of puppy vaccinations, it’s safe to take him to the dog park (but be sure to follow dog-park safety protocol.)

  • Go to puppy classes: Once your puppy has started his vaccinations, he can also attend puppy classes. These classes not only help your puppy begin to understand basic commands, but the most important advantage is that they expose him to other dogs and people. Skilled trainers will mediate the meetings so that all dogs and people are safe and happy during the process. You can find puppy classes through local AKC training clubs and dog training facilities.

  • Earn a S.T.A.R. Puppy title: Show off your puppy’s hard work by letting him earn his very first AKC title — the S.T.A.R. Puppy, which stands for socialization, training, activity, and a responsible owner. After completing a six-week training class, your puppy can take a simple test given by an AKC-approved evaluator. The puppy will be tested on allowing someone to pet him, tolerating a collar or harness, allowing you to hold him, and more (see a full list of S.T.A.R. Puppy test items here). Also, you must pledge to be a responsible pet owner for the duration of the dog’s life. This program is open to purebred and mixed-breed dogs up to one year old.

child socializing basset hound puppy

How We Raise Our Dogs

We've been asked many times how we raise our puppies.

So I figured it might be helpful to put a page up and give you some details!

  We raise all of our dogs in our home, this includes our puppies! They are raised nearly the same way we raise our other hound dogs. We take the hands on approach with our pups as we try to lay a strong foundation built from birth on of trust and socialization. We are very active with our girls during labor as many things can go wrong if not supervised and breeding alone poses its own risk and for the safety of our moms, we like to be as involved as we can be. Once our puppies are born, we take birth pictures and record weights so we can monitor how they are progressing over the first week. They spend the first few weeks in our bedroom/bathroom where they can be monitored very closely. We check weights two times a day for the first week just to make sure everyone is gaining at the proper rate. Day three or four our mothers and pups see our veterinarian for well check ups. From week three and on, our pups are primarily raised in our living room/kitchen so they grow experiencing normal household sounds such as things dropping, clanging of pots and pans, vacuuming, kids playing loudly, people coming to visit etc. We have three children and they are very active in the whole process of raising our babies. We have friends and family who come to help socialize them once or twice a week. I'm sure you've heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" well the same applies to our puppies, we want them as confident as can be, that is why we take the extra steps! Puppies are introduced to mush which is a formula of kibble that has been soaked and goats milk starting at three to four weeks and at three weeks, we start litter training! If you read through our testimonials, you'll see this system that we have works wonders not only while we are raising your next family member but well after they come home. We've had people tell us they have had their puppy potty trained within three days of coming home due to our system we use with litter training (it really makes a difference)!! Puppies receive vaccines at 6 weeks, micro-chipped and dewormed if necessary and are seen by our Licensed veterinarian to make sure all is well prior to the take home period at eight weeks. 

  Our hounds are very much a part of the family, we prefer them raised in the house as a family pet prior to any breeding that will ever take place. In fact we have dogs that simply are just pets and have no place in our breeding program. Our adults usually go with us on family trips and vacations but in the event that we cannot take them with us, we have a professional pet sitter that comes into our home and stays with our dogs the duration of our time away from home. Our dogs are just like any other pet lovers dog, they enjoy walks, car rides, trips to the groomer and tagging along to go to the park with our family and trips out to the lake. Often in the evenings or at night they are either on the sofa or dog beds or on the foot of our bed while we sleep. Our retired adults are usually a permanent member of our family. Our dogs love to go outside weather permitting and all the hounds love the snow. But they come in most of the time and are not left outside. However we occasionally decide to retire a dog to a pet home where they can have one on one attention and love. We do not believe any dog, especially a basset should be left outside in a backyard or in a kennel - outdoor pen setting. Bassets thrive on attention from the family.

The benefits of litter training have us in awe! We are so happy we decided to litter train and will never go back! Our puppies go to their new homes already used to going to a certain place to go potty and seek it out. They go to their new homes already 75% potty trained! This is a LIFE SAVER and I promise you will be happy! Buy the same litter we do- equine pine pellets from Tractor Supply, make a litter box for your pup in an exersize pen and then slowly transition to outside and then pour some of the litter directly on the ground where you want your pup to potty and it will be the easiest training transition ever!

In case you were wondering... Now you know! This is how we raise our puppies!