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A week and a half ago, I received a 4 month old basset hound puppy. I have never had a dog before, much less trained a puppy, and I was not expecting a puppy present at all. I won't lie, the first 2 days were horrible. I was totally unprepared and spent those days in a frustrated panic. But by day 3 I was in love.

So now that I've decided to keep her, I want to make sure I'm training her correctly. I'm a neurotic type, and I worry about creating a demon-dog. Any advice would be most appreciated!

Here's our schedule:

5 am - I walk her
5:30 or 6 - I feed her and then put her outside in the backyard.
* The backyard does have a shaded patio. I make sure she has plenty of water, toys, etc. I am planning to put a doggy door in the garage so she can go freely between the yard and an indoor place. However, the weather is perfect for now.
6pm - I come home from work. I feed her. I play with her inside/outside for a bit and then we go on another walk. I am trying to train her to respond to her name and "look" at me when I say "look".
Bedtime - She goes in her crate.
Midnight - I let her out in the backyard in case she needs to do her business, but she usually doesn't have to go.

Is this fine?

Also, she CRIES AND CRIES when she is in her crate. The people at Petco say that puppies like crates and that it makes them feel safe, but that seems to be all lies. I'm considering abandoning the crate concept. I can't handle her crying. They said to ignore it if she cries, because if I give her attention, it just teaches her that crying gets her attention. But it seems so cruel to ignore a crying puppy! Not to mention the fact that I haven't slept normally in nearly 2 weeks. Though on the bright side, she is now already potty trained. No accidents except during the first 2 days, and that was just because I didn't really get what I was supposed to be doing.

Also, when she gets excited and playful, she gets "bitey". Not in a mean way - I can tell she's not trying to hurt me - but all the same, her little puppy teeth are sharper than you'd think! How do I stop this?

I was told that she is registered with something called APRI. Are any of you familiar with this? I looked them up on the internet, but I can't honestly say I understand what they do, other than breed puppies. Just curious.

ANY advice would be most helpful!!! It's important to me to be a good dog owner. If I'm going to do this, I might as well do it right. :)
 

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First and most importantly, go b-slap the person that surprised you with a puppy. Now that that's taken care of, congratulations!

APRI is not exactly known as a "prestige" registration. I'd guess that the pup came from a pet shop.

Bassets are lovable, sweet dogs that tend to have a mind of their own. They are great company (who doesn't love a hound?), but can be more difficult to train than than other types. DO NOT, under any circumstances, abandon the crate training. Get her to like the crate by using food to encourage the pup to go in, and let her come back out after a short time. Make a fun game of it. If the only time she's put into the crate is to be left alone for long periods, of course she'll hate it.

Good job on the house training, but don't be lulled into complacency. The process takes months before she can be given the run of the house. Typically, a dog will be 6 months old before she can be declared reliably house trained. They just don't have the ability to control themselves much before that. Some take a bit longer.
 

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A good thing to start doing is giving joint supplements. It's never too early to start that with dwarfed breeds, as they have special needs in that department due to the way their bones develop.
 

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Congrats on your puppy, even though it was unexpected. In order to get my pups used to crates, I begin feeding their meals only in the crate until they associate the crate with good things. They also get special goodies only in the crate, such as a food-stuffed Kong.

Wow, it's 1:30 in the morning so that's about all I can offer LOL.
 

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It sounds like you have a good schedule down right now, if she's not messing in her crate. Just one thing to add... I would not let her run around loose in the yard while you're gone. I understand that you want her to be able to stretch her legs, and pee/poop on the grass, but it's not safe for her to be loose as a puppy. There are things that she could get to, ways and means of escape, or people/animals that could get to her, like thieves, strays, predatory birds, awful people who think it's funny to poison dogs, etc.

Also, she CRIES AND CRIES when she is in her crate. The people at Petco say that puppies like crates and that it makes them feel safe, but that seems to be all lies. I'm considering abandoning the crate concept. I can't handle her crying. They said to ignore it if she cries, because if I give her attention, it just teaches her that crying gets her attention. But it seems so cruel to ignore a crying puppy! Not to mention the fact that I haven't slept normally in nearly 2 weeks. Though on the bright side, she is now already potty trained. No accidents except during the first 2 days, and that was just because I didn't really get what I was supposed to be doing.
Trust me -- she's not potty-trained. ;) I wish I could tell you she were... but there will be accidents to come in the months ahead, and Bassets are notoriously difficult to potty-train. I'm not telling you this to discourage you -- in fact, I think you're doing a great job of raising her so far, and I applaud you for wanting to do this correctly – I’m telling you this so you keep up the vigil that you have now. Dogs typically aren’t fully potty-trained till they’re a few months old.

Keep the crate, and ignore her crying. I know it’s difficult, but all puppies cry after leaving the litter. As babies, it’s instinctive for them to be terrified when left alone in the dark. Leave in the crate an old shirt or pillowcase that smells like you – that tends to help. I would also put in a chew toy, something hard and rubber and durable…nothing that she can break pieces off or swallow. Nylabones or Kongs are decent options.

Also, when she gets excited and playful, she gets "bitey". Not in a mean way - I can tell she's not trying to hurt me - but all the same, her little puppy teeth are sharper than you'd think! How do I stop this?
These links will help:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_BiteInhibition.php
http://www.dogforums.com/19-first-time-dog-owner/8377-bite-stops-here.html

I was told that she is registered with something called APRI. Are any of you familiar with this? I looked them up on the internet, but I can't honestly say I understand what they do, other than breed puppies. Just curious.
Unfortunately, APRI is a garbage registry which puppy mills and disreputable breeders use to “register” their puppies so they can sell them for more money. This doesn’t directly implicate you or your dog in any way, and as you learn more about dogs and post more on our forums, you’ll learn more about the different registries, and the good/bad/ugly places that dogs come from. In the meantime, I’ll just advise you to spay your dog and refrain from breeding her at any point.

ANY advice would be most helpful!!! It's important to me to be a good dog owner. If I'm going to do this, I might as well do it right. :)
The first thing I would do is look for a puppy class in your area. There is a LOT to learn about puppy raising… besides crying, potty training and play-biting, which you’ve already experienced, there are many other things that come with raising a pup. Appropriate exercise, socialisation, jumping, digging, basic obedience, picking a healthy dog food, healthcare…you have much to learn, young grasshopper :D

I’ll just list a few main points now – I’m aware this post is getting pretty long.

Socialisation. REALLY important. This isn’t an official number, but anecdotally I’d guess that 60% of the “problem dogs” out there only have problems because they weren’t properly socialised as puppies. Fortunately for you, socialisation is easy. It’s just taking your puppy out to different places and exposing her to new sights, sounds and smells so that she doesn’t become wary or afraid of them in the future. She needs to meet new dogs, new people, go to the store, experience being near and riding in cars, see people on bicycles, skateboards, people with wheelchairs… there is a really extensive list of things that puppies should learn about at a young age here: http://diamondsintheruff.com/socialization.html . (This page is generally very helpful for raising your dog through her puppy years and beyond: http://diamondsintheruff.com/behavior.html ) Puppy class is a great way for your pup to make canine friends, and of course for you to meet other puppy owners and learn how to raise her correctly.

Some advice from a fellow scenthound owner – hounds have a reputation for being hard to train. They’re typically very food motivated, but also very stubborn. It can take awhile for them to pick up on things. They have a great sense of humour; unfortunately, what they find funny (eg running off to grab their ball and bouncing it around by themselves when you’re trying to teach them to sit and stay) isn’t always what you find funny. Positive methods work extremely well with them; punishments or aversives have a tendency to make them grumpy and shut down.

They CANNOT be trusted off-leash in an unfenced area, ever… I cannot stress this enough. They are hardwired to follow scents above all other things. I’m sure you’ll discover the infamous scenthound “deaf mode” the next time you’re trying to call your dog off sniffing a bush or a stick on the floor.

Clean her ears often to prevent infections; floppy-eared dogs are particularly prone. Ask your vet to teach you how to do it properly… many do it wrong.

They are VERY mischievous. Puppy-proof your house: pick up socks, shoes, remote controls, iPods, underwear, anything that you don’t want her chewing. If it is left on the floor she WILL chew it. Pick up loose electrical cords or tape them securely to the wall. Put a big rock on top of the trash can (trash cans are BIG attractions for scenthounds) or put the trash out of her reach. If something smells like food you will be surprised at what she will do to get to it. My Beagle has chewed off a cupboard door to get to a bag of cheese. For all of the above reasons, it’s also extremely important that she be crated whenever you cannot supervise her. Yes, I mean EVERY time you cannot supervise her. This includes when you’re at work, when you’re sleeping, when you’re taking a shower, when you are utterly absorbed in the wonders of Dogforums and simply cannot tear yourself away from the computer…

They are positively delightful dogs; they love their owners very much. I won’t lie to you: this dog IS going to bring a lot of frustration into your life. But if you raise her right, she’s also going to bring tremendous amounts of joy, laughs and wonderful memories.

Oh yeah – and they bark. To be more specific, they bay. But I’ll let her teach you about that herself.

Lastly, PLEASE have a chat with the person who gifted you this puppy and discourage him/her from giving pets as presents in the future. I know you’ve probably heard all this from your local humane society, but pets are BIG responsibilities. They are an extra couple of hours, if not more, of responsibility every day; they are a financial burden; they require LOTS of time and energy. Not everyone can spare that. You were willing to take this hound in forever, but not everyone else who receives a pet for their birthday is. You don’t want your friend to think “I gave danahammer a puppy and she completely loved it! Puppies make great presents.” Puppies make AWFUL presents. Really. I LOVE dogs with a passion but I would rather receive a hit on the head than a puppy right now.
 

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I agree, do not give up the crate training. I use to think it was cruel and now I have three dogs that are all crate trained. They LOVE their crates, they go in on their own. We don't use it as punishment, we use it as a safe place. In the wild they are use to having a den, this mimicks that. I have one really scared girl and she loves to go into her crate as it makes her feel safe. So if she is unsure about something, she goes in there.

Puppy classes are a must, must must! Try to find someone in your area that does positive training. I really enjoy using a clicker it does take some time to get use to, but it makes training so much easier.
 

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Oh yeah – and they bark. To be more specific, they bay. But I’ll let her teach you about that herself.
To my way of thinking, it is one of the most joyful sounds on planet Earth. Don't be surprise if your neighbors don't share my opinion.
 

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to get your new dog used to the crate, toss treats in there leaving the door open. Feed her her meals in the crate for now OR take her meal and toss it, kibble by kibble, into the crate with the door open. As she goes in the crate to get the kibble, say the word "crate." Only feed the kibble in the crate. It will take time but it creates an association between the crate and good things. She will also learn that the word "crate" means to go in there.

Get a chew toy called a "Kong" and fill it with Peanut Butter or Liverwurst and freeze it during the day while you are at work. When you go to bed at night and crate her, put the Kong in there for her to chew on and work on to get the food out.
 

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not sure if someone said this yet, but its been a rough week and my ability to read and process things has gone out the window.

for crate training you want to associate it with something positive, like everytime your pup goes in they get a yummy treat like a stuffed kong. also when she whines/barks in the crate DO NOT let her out until she is quiet. i like to use the 10 second rule. if she is quiet for 10 seconds then she can come out. if you let her out when she is whining it will reinforce the whining.

congrats on the puppy. it sounds like you have a pretty good schedule going for her so far. puppies are really cute and fun but they are the biggest pains in the butts on the planet.

pictures are a must!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow! Thanks everybody for the helpful advice! I will try some of these things for sure. Haha, I definitely noticed that she's a michievous one. My house is in total lockdown. All doors must be closed. No shoes can be left anywhere, ever. She got my laptop cord already. But yeah, fortunately I have a sense of humor, so we'll get along fine, as long as I can get her to stop at some point.

I have been feeding her in her crate, and trying to make sure she has toys and treats. I did get a kong at the pet store, which she loves for about 20 minutes. So I'll just have to keep working on it until she's not so scared in there.

Again, thank you everyone! :)
 

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It sounds like you're doing great so far! I can't imagine getting a puppy unexpectedly as a gift....

I agree, pictures please? Basset puppies are adorable. :)
 

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Freezing a stuffed Kong makes it last longer... it's harder to chew that way. There are also lots of low-calorie options for Kong stuffings instead of peanut butter or the filling Kong provides, which can really mess up a dog's tummy (and calorie count).
 

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when we got our dog last year it was not a surprise but it was our first dog to raise on our own. i completely agree with the people who suggested puppy classes! i learned more than iorek did in the puppy classes. they were so much help for my husband and i.

good luck with your puppy :) and please, pictures!!! i love basset hounds!
 

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Typically, a dog will be 6 months old before she can be declared reliably house trained. They just don't have the ability to control themselves much before that. Some take a bit longer.
Good to know! My dog is over 4 months and I keep thinking she's fully house trained, then she goes and has an accident inside. Although, the accidents are not caused by inability to hold it — she's taken outside to pee regularly, but on rare occasions, she holds it until she's back inside on my floors (not very often, but enough to make me question what's up). I'll keep up with her house-training and worry if it continues in a couple months!
 

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If you have not done so yet, check out the dog food section, i made the mistake of feeding my dogs a low quality food for about 6 moths while thinking it was a great brand the whole time, id like to see you avoid that same mistake and get off on the right track :)
 
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