I think the frustration with hounds comes from a lack of understanding of them and what their original purpose for being selectively being bred. 

Hounds do not believe that they NEED you. You are a lovely part of their day - like a favorite coffee cup or a favorite pair of shoes. If the cup is broken or the shoes are lost, we can get along just fine with another.

 

Let me explain: 

Where other breeds of dogs like Labradors, Shepherds, Border Collies, and a host of others are bred to work WITH man; their original bred temperament is to work alongside man in cooperation to achieve a goal. The Border Collie follows man's commands to herd the livestock. The Lab follows the hunter's commands to get the quarry - so and so forth. They are a teammates of man. Neither can do their work without the other --- and so they have been bred for eons to have that in their make up --- to be anxious to please. Even the worst behaved Labrador cares when mom and dad are annoyed. It is in their DNA to make man happy.

 

Hounds... not so much... 

 

Hounds have been bred for eons to be taken out to the edge of the woods or field and be let loose to go out and do what they do with NO INSTRUCTION from the hunter or handler. They go out and do their thing, all on their own. They make their own decisions and do their own work. And when that work is done and they have found their quarry, they command/call the hunter to come to them with those beautiful voices. (Who is working for whom in that scenario?)  Do you see how your hound thinks differently?

 

Life with a Hound is far more like having a spouse than a dog. It is far more of a "cooperative effort" with all the give and take that implies. Hounds are not going to do what you say just because you have said it. You are secondary to their desire. There has to be something in it for them. There has to be a trade off. If there is no reward or benefit for the Hound, the Hound cares little what you are asking him/her to do. People incorrectly refer to this as being stubborn - or worse, stupid. Hounds are actually neither of those things - they are just independent and cunning. They prioritize things differently than do other breeds. They prioritize differently and *you* are not always their priority. And, This is EXACTLY AS THEY SHOULD BE. They were bred to be this way. It is all necessary to be a Successful hound dog.

 

When working with a Hound you have to always be thinking: 

How do I make myself the priority? What do I have to give this dog to make me more important than what it smells - or wants? (and do not expect that anything will ever be 100% successful every time - always be looking for your Hound to act like a Hound.)

 

We humans always think we are in charge of things. We think that we are top of the chain, the head honcho's...and we naturally approach training our dogs and living with our dogs this way - as though we are in charge. Your Hound doesn't see it that way. Your Hound - at best - sees you as a family member or as a sibling (if you are very fortunate - as a parent). Do you walk into your sister or brother's house, start barking orders and they hop to? Mostly your Hound sees you as a good friend. And what do we do with our friends? When a friend does something for us, we return those favors. There is give and take. When a friendship is out of balance - when one friend takes and takes but does not give - the friendship suffers.

 

Hounds are happiest when their humans are humble and work with their character. A bond with a hound is not an easy one to create. There is a lot of ground work involved but when it is established and the balance is there, it’s a beautiful thing. So if you have a hound or want one, love and appreciate them for what they are and not what they aren’t.

 

(This is a repost from a few different areas on the web where the author is unknown. If anyone knows of the author I would be happy to give credit)

The Partnership with a Hound

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