Kind, calm in nature but powerful and quick witted; the Bloodhound is a great all-rounder. They are also perfect for families and will often let children clamber all over them seemingly unfazed. Outdoors it’s a different story, the Bloodhound goes from docile playmate to energetic explorer. When out and about they do socialize well with other dogs however they can require stern authority and strong commands to bring them to heel.
|Good With Other Dogs|
Stories From Real Life Bloodhound Owners
King The Greatest Bloodhound Pup
I was fifteen years old when my dad brought home King, the larger than life Bloodhound. Our family preferred small, lap-sized dogs, but dad wanted a hunting pup. I was instantly smitten by the long ears and the lazy demeanor of our new dog. He sure didn’t get excited about much of anything. He was a cute puppy that loved to be snuggled. As he began to grow, he quickly developed a permanent spot in my heart.
Teaching King to Use the Potty
King was willful and strong, and he had his favorite spot in the house to urinate. We tried the crate method, but it didn’t work for us. We used signaling. We hung a bell on the door that he rang each time he needed to go outside. Because my mother had brand new carpets, she decided to get professional help on this task. We were told that signaling is a fantastic way to get the dog to communicate with you and they love ringing the bell.
King could only go about four hours without having an accident. Since he wasn’t a fan of the cage, we had to restrict him in one area of the home. We decided on the bathroom since there was little for him to chew on. I will say, he was quite the chewer. I think I lost more than a dozen shoes to him in the first year of his life.
It took about three months for him to fully grasp the concept of using the bathroom outside. He became quite accustomed to doing number one outdoors; number two was something that came much later. I will say, out of the many dogs we have owned in my life, I think King was one of the easiest to potty train. He liked going outside, so using the bathroom out there just became second nature. Once we tackled the potty with success, we had to move on to that chewing problem.
A Dog-Gone Good Chew
If I were to guesstimate the dollar amount of items that King chewed in his first 12 months in our home, I am sure the number would exceed $2,000. I was sure he had little razors instead of teeth in that mouth. While shoes were his preference, he moved on to the legs of furniture. He particularly loved the dining room table, which provided ample wood to sharpen his fangs on.
The vet told us that King was experiencing separation anxiety and that he was “acting out” because we left him alone. One day, we came home, and he had eaten the whole side off my mother’s couch. I thought for sure that mom was going to make us get rid of him. However, he hung around for another 15 years. We tried those fancy sprays that are supposed to make furniture and stuff taste bitter. Well, it didn’t faze King in the slightest bit. He kept on chewing.
We knew that phase would pass soon, so we just tried to restrict him as much as possible. We found that the one thing that worked was a basket muzzle. We couldn’t leave it on him for long periods of time, but it stopped him from chewing, yet it still allowed him to eat and drink. It took about 15 months for him to get out of the chewing phase. He was so headstrong that breaking his will was not something that was done smoothly. However, he hated the muzzle, so I think he got the hint.
Sir Barks A lot
I know that barking is instinctive canine behavior, but it's also very annoying. There is nothing more annoying than the bark of a Bloodhound. It seems to be long and drawn out. King's bark was so prevalent I still swear I can hear it long after he has passed. For my mother, the constant barking was nerve-racking. We tried everything to get him to stop barking. I will say that this is one battle we never won. I believe King loved to hear his voice. So, for the 15 years that we had him, he liked to bark.
Bloodhound Temperament - Taming the Beast
We had to educate ourselves on Bloodhounds because it was a larger working breed that we knew nothing about. The dog that my dad bought to hunt turned into a big lover that lounged with us most of the day, but there was the other part of the day too. The only problem was that as King began to grow, so did his energy levels. We had to remind ourselves that he needed a job constantly. His very design was to work, and without structured activities, he would be like an unmediated ADHD child.
How do you tame a “working dog” with so much energy? Well, you must burn the energy off. There was a dog park down the street that became our second home. At first, King didn’t do very well with the other pups. He had never been socialized. I never knew that dogs, just like people, thrive on socialization. He would often try to jump on the other dogs or become aggressive. However, after a few trips, he got the hang of things. He loved that he could run without being on a leash. Come to think of it; I liked the fact that he wasn’t pulling my sister and me through the park. He was becoming quite strong, and at about 60 pounds, his headstrong will made walking him almost impossible.
If you are considering a Bloodhound, you may want to have ample room for them to play. I don’t think this is the best dog for an apartment type setting as they have quite a good amount of energy and endurance. After all, they are bread to hunt, so they need that stamina.
The Lop-Eared Teddy Bear
The temperament of the Bloodhound is most impressive. I was older when we got King, but my sister was a few years younger. My sister was quite the active child and her and King seemed to fit together like a hand and glove. It was not uncommon for my sister to put him in her dresses, put headbands on his head, try to tie his ears in a bow, or just annoy him. What I will say about that dog is that he seemed to take whatever she dished out. Not one time did King ever attempt to bite her or move for that matter. He laid there and looked like he enjoyed all the attention.
As King began to age, he seemed to value closeness more than ever. He also enjoyed being pampered, even if it meant he had to wear a t-shirt or a sweater. Yes, my sister even rode him through the house like a horse. He didn’t mind, and he never got all worked up. In fact, there were times I am sure she was hurting him, but he never yelped. You would think that he would avoid her like the plague. Instead, she was his “go to” person in the house. He slept at the foot of her bed, and he followed her around like she was the greatest thing in the world. I think he relished lots of attention.
Overcoming The Hound Smell
One of the most significant differences between a hunting dog and a lap dog is the oils in their skin. Bloodhounds have a distinctive smell. We kept our dog indoors, and he required a bath once a week. If we didn’t bathe him, then he would have such a foul odor we couldn’t stand it. It’s hard to describe the smell other than to say he smelt earthy. All hounds have an oil gland that causes them to stink. We tried doggie perfumes and all sorts of shampoos, but nothing seemed to last more than a few days.
Bathing him every week seemed to dry out his skin. We switched to a powdered base shampoo that we combed through his hair every couple days. As far as grooming, we never one time took him to the groomers. We clipped his toenails, cleaned out those big ears, and brushed his teeth at home. His hair didn’t grow much except during shedding season. He seemed to shed a bit more during that time but what dog doesn’t?
The Best Mouser I Ever Knew
Remember a Bloodhound is hardwired to hunt. We lived in the city, but we had a dumpster close to our property. We would get the occasional mouse that would move in during colder weather. I think old King knew the minute one crossed the threshold of our home. Call it a sixth sense but that dog could smell mouse 100 miles away it seemed. Now, when it came to catching the mouse, he would tear out whatever was in his way to get to it. Yes, King would ransack the house and flip it upside down until he caught that mouse. The good news is the mess could quickly be cleaned up, and I don’t think he ever missed. One of the perks to these dogs is their keen sense of smell.
His Infatuation with the Trash
It’s not just the hound dog in him, as most dogs seemed to love trash. One of the most significant problems we had with King from infancy was his love of the refuse and toilet paper. It was nothing to come home from school and find a trail of toilet paper from one end of the house to the other. I think he loved taking it and seeing how far he could run. The trash was probably purely for fun. It was like a scavenger hunt for him complete with a few scraps of food to eat.
Mom tried trash cans with lids, trash cans that you had to use your foot to open and even trash cans that were hidden in drawers. It seemed this dog could open a drawer, undo any lid, and find a way to get to the trash. Until his last year of life, my mom hid the garbage under the kitchen sink and put a baby lock on the cupboard. Call him a genius, but this dog could open the cabinets. One of the perils of having a “smart dog” is they can outsmart you.
His Last Days and My Heartbreak
At about 14 years of age, King developed a lump on his side. I know in my heart it wasn’t good news. My parents put off taking him to the vet because they didn’t want to hear the real reason he hardly played anymore. He was getting up there in years and had outlived many statistics. The day we got the news it was cancer was they day my world shattered. I was 16 years old, and it was two days after I got my driver’s license. I had dreams of driving around our city with old King riding shotgun. However, my hopes were not going to come true. He was getting weaker by the day and didn’t enjoy car rides anymore.
The vet told us there were many treatment options, but it was probably too late. He was of an advanced age, and the cost may only extend his life by a small bit. Chemo is hard on a younger dog let alone one in their senior years. We took him home that day preparing to say goodbye. One week later, my parents scheduled to have him put to sleep. He was in so much pain and could hardly move. As healthy as he was for all those years, it seemed like he became sick overnight.
I'll never forget that old Bloodhound. He was one of the best dogs we ever had. He was a constant companion, loved mischief, smelled like an old dirty dog most times, but had the biggest heart ever.