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BLOODHOUND, THE FAMILY PET

This is a tough one! Of course, I think everyone should own a Bloodhound, just as a family pet to love! BUT...the reality of it is that not many people, even those who claim to be a dog lover can put up with our  characteristics! Personality wise, you couldn't ask for a better, more loving pet than a Bloodhound. Our drool, size, strength, maintenance, and more, however are "downers" to a pet owner.  Dog owners like to have their slippers brought to them by their beloved dogs, and Bloodhounds will do this, too, but by the time we get your slippers to you, they will either be filled with slimy drool, or slightly ripped apart, just because we can't help ourselves.

But, let's take this step by step...You think you want a Bloodhound, so the first thing to do is find one...NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy a Bloodhound pup from a pet shop or puppy mill.  Any good Bloodhound breeder will never sell pups to these places. If you find a pup at a shop or mill, it is fair to assume proper care DID NOT go into breeding the pups and you could be asking for trouble or heartache. If you're going to buy a Bloodhound pup, find a reputable breeder.  I, of course was found during an internet search.  But, my Dad and Mom did not buy the "first found Bloodhound", they talked to lots of people and breeders until they found one they were absolutely confident they were buying from a good decent breeder. I would also recommend talking to your veterinarian prior to purchasing a Bloodhound.  They may be able to recommend a good breeder. Be prepared to spend lots of money. Bloodhound are not at all cheap! You can expect to pay anywhere from $600.00 (pet/working grade) to $2,000.00 (breeding/showing grade). That's just for the initial cost of the Bloodhound. Most times, you will find the breeder you have find is a half a country away and the pup has to be flown to your home, which is costly.  (In cases like this, a good breeder will provide you with information and photos of the pup and the pup's parents.) Of course, I would recommend that you try to visit the kennel and pick out (and up) your pup, but many times, the miles in between are just too many.  If you have to have your pup fly home, be prepared for a scared little puppy. Not only, did the pup just get taken away from the only home and parents she'd (or he) ever known, but she just spent several hours at an airport and in the luggage compartment of a plane.  Don't expect too much right away.  Just hold and love your new Bloodhound. She will come around. OH>>>VERY IMPORTANT...the first night you bring your Bloodhound home, don't say to her: "you can sleep in the bed...just for tonight", that is unless of course you want her in your bed EVERYNIGHT! We do like to sleep on something soft and comfy, but a pet bed would be alright.  Bloodhounds will have a reduced risk of leg problems if they do sleep on something soft as opposed to anything hard, such as a floor.

Okay, so we assume that you now have found a breeder and now have that little (not for long) Bloodhound puppy.  What now? First, take that little pup to the vet.  Most breeders require that you take your new Bloodhound to the vet within 72 hours.  Make sure your pup has all the shots and that your pup is healthy. Talk to your vet about training methods, because that's the next thing to start.

Training a Bloodhound is quite the challenge! But the first thing you want to do is teach us to do "potty" outside the house...The bigger we get, well, the bigger our, well, I'll let you figure that one out. I was "crate" trained.  This worked very well for me.  It was my vet's recommendation and it worked. It's simple, when you leave the house, you lock your Bloodhound up in a crate. Just make sure it's the right size.  We need only enough room to get up and turn around. Here's a good rule of thumb.  Our age by month is how long we could "hold it" before we have to go.  So, if a pup is 2 months old, she will be able to hold her pee for 2 hours, 4 months, 4 hours, etc. This is pretty accurate up till about 8 to 10 months, then it doesn't matter. After 10 hours, wouldn't you have to go, too? If you have to leave your pup alone for that long, it is recommended that you try to find a neighbor (or service) that will take us out. If you don't, chances are we are going to go anyway, crated or not. Once you return home, immediately take your Bloodhound outside and give her a command, such as "do your business"; praise her when she goes outside.  Play time should not be confused with potty time, so while potty training, as soon as your Bloodhound does her business, take her back in the home. Potty trips should be frequent in the early months, (even expect it through the night...we are so much like real babies), but will become farther and fewer in between as we grow.  NEVER put us out without a leash unless you never want to see us again. Bloodhounds will follow their nose, wherever it leads and that could be miles away from home.  A Bloodhound must always be leashed or fenced in!  While potty training, should the Bloodhound have an accident, (almost guaranteed), scold her and take her outside immediately. Please NEVER "beat" your Bloodhound.  We are such a sensitive breed and it would just crush us! Crate training your Bloodhound is not cruel! It keeps us safe, too.  A wandering pup will get herself into all sorts of trouble.  You can leave home knowing you will return to a lively, uninjured pup. We kind of get used to our crate. In fact, many times, we will go in there all on our own when we want some quiet time.  Please, talk to the vet if you have any questions on crate training or ask for their suggestions.

Training your Bloodhound on other issues, such as obedience or tricks is far more challenging than simply potty training. I'm not saying that it is not possible to train a Bloodhound, it just requires more patience than it would with another breed.  It is not at all that we are stupid, we're just stubborn! I have learned to sit and stay and catch...but "come" is something I still choose to ignore.  I know what it means, but usually I just don't listen. I learned the word "off". This is where I'm not allowed to take something, like from the table or out of the garbage.  But, as soon as everyone is not looking, you will find me with my head in the garbage or paws on the table. Boy, do I get in trouble...but, I'm right back at it. If there's something smelling yummy anywhere, I'm there. I'm sure you can expect the same behavior from your Bloodhound...Hey, I warned ya! I strongly recommend you talk to your vet about obedience training. There are also lots of videos that your vet may have and let you borrow for proper training techniques.  Training a Bloodhound can be done, with patience and time!  BUT, the one thing we can never be trained to do is walk unleashed.  Our nose will never allow it. It's in our God-given blood to "follow our nose".  DO NOT LET US RUN FREE...EVER!

Okay, so now you have your Bloodhound, she's potty trained and you're still working on other training. What now?

  •  Have you clipped our nails or cleaned our ears lately? You have to clip our nails...clean our ears...weekly. 

  • Have you taken us for our mile walk everyday? There's lots you must do daily to maintain your Bloodhound for the best of health. We need lots of exercise and running through the house once a night isn't going to cut it.  You have to walk us everyday (I would recommend you switch arms, though, or you will find one day, that one is longer than the other!)  or let us run free IN A FENCED IN YARD. 

  • When was the last time you brushed us? We should be brushed daily to keep our coat clean and shiny. Once a week, we need to be wiped down with a damp cloth to keep our wrinkles clean.

  • Have you given us lots of love today.  We need your love and approval. 

  • Are you feeding your Bloodhound the right food, and the right amount? Don't over-feed or under-feed.

  • Have you checked her eyes for irritation or goop?

  • Have you forgiven your Bloodhound for the shoes, socks, toys, door, floor, carpet, curtains, coffee table?  Never expect to leave the house, with your Bloodhound allowed to roam free and come home to the same house you left. I'm not saying to continue to crate your Bloodhound, but perhaps, restrict her area buy using childproof gates. And should you come home to an absolute mess, count to 10, take a deep breath and look into those eyes...the eyes of your Bloodhound baby. Know that you made the conscious choice to take her home...knowing her bad side.

  • Have you succumbed to the fact that your Bloodhound is what God made her and that the slobber stuck to your walls, windows, clothes and appliances is not really her fault? Can you look at her, drool hanging 6 inches down her mouth and hug her?

  • Can you overlook her size when she comes running to you with a toy...do you play with her? When she knocks you over with her strength or when she wags her tail so hard and it hits you like a whip, can you still tell her you love her?

  • When you've just put dinner on the table, not just for you, but for your in-laws, and you leave the room to call everyone to the table and you come back to discover your Bloodhound helping herself to your filet mignon, can you refrain from killing her? 

  • Can you and your in-laws settle for take-out pizza? 

If you answered no to any of these questions...you are not ready for a Bloodhound, if you answered yes to all the questions, Congratulations...you are a Bloodhound person, a true slave to the breed.

Now, you decide...is the Bloodhound the right family pet for you? Perhaps, you would prefer one of those little lap dogs!

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