Bloodhounds are renowned for their impressive tracking abilities and loyalty to their owners. But can these noble creatures be trusted to stay put? The answer, it turns out, is more complicated than you might think.
Imagine a bloodhound slipping its leash and running off into the night: an image that evokes both danger and freedom at once. It’s a scene that has played out countless times throughout history, inspiring stories of daring escapes as well as tales of mischievousness gone wrong. But what is the real truth behind this?
To find out, we must look beyond the myths and delve deep into the science behind canine behavior. Though they may possess an adventurous spirit, research suggests that bloodhounds can be trained to remain obedient when properly managed – but only if their owners understand how to motivate them correctly. In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to keep these dogs from straying too far from home.
Why Do Bloodhounds Run Away?
Bloodhounds are a breed of hound known for their strong sense of smell, determination, and loyalty. However, their temperament varies greatly depending on how they are raised and trained.
Bloodhounds that have been well-socialized with other animals and people from an early age tend to be friendly and sociable. In contrast, bloodhounds that have not been exposed to these same social stimuli can become fearful and shy away from contact with unfamiliar creatures or humans.
If they are afraid of a situation, like most other dogs, they will look to get away from it as soon as possible.
Bloodhounds have a strong attachment to their owners, which can lead to separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety can often look to escape to find other people or animals.
On the other hand, bloodhounds’ hunting instinct is strong. While they do not have a strong prey drive like some hunting dogs, this breed will instinctively follow a scent if given the opportunity.
Therefore, it is important for owners of these dogs to ensure there are good fences around the home or garden areas in order to discourage them from running off chasing scents.
Females in Heat
Finally, female dogs in heat have a hormonal drive to escape to go and meet the local canine Romeos. Never underestimate the power of a strong sex drive!
But just how do you stop a notorious escape artist like a bloodhound from escaping in the first place?
Preventing Bloodhounds From Running Away
One key measure is to ensure the dog is kept in a secure area, such as a fenced yard or kennel. This will minimize the risk of it getting out and running away.
To secure your garden, you will need at least a 5-foot fence (1.5m), or even a 6-foot exterior fence if they are particularly determined or athletic. This will need to be sturdy as they are strong dogs, eg wooden panel fencing or chain link fencing.
Also, make sure you use chicken wire to ensure they cannot dig under it. We would not recommend electric fences as this can instill aggressive or fearful behaviour in your dog!
It’s also advisable to make sure that any gates or doors are locked so that no one can unintentionally let the dog out by accident.
Do not be tempted to reply on a virtual fence or electronic collars. Bloodhounds have been bred to track prey through all manner of bushes, rocks, and water, so they will have no problem ignoring a small electric shock
Responsible owners should also ensure that their bloodhound wears an identification tag at all times in case the seemingly inevitable escape attempt is successful.
That way, if they get lost, a collar with tags will allow the finder to contact you directly.
Bloodhounds are intelligent and always looking for something to do. Good puzzle toys will keep their mind active so they don’t become bored.
You can also play games with food or toys. Try hiding their favourite treats and getting them to find them.
Additionally, it is wise for owners to make sure that the bloodhound gets plenty of physical exercise. Daily exercise out in the world will make them less likely to want to explore on their own. This can help reduce the risk of them running away when out in public places.
In addition, regular exercise for your hound might also reduce its inclination to run off; when well-exercised, it will be less likely to have energy left over for wandering around looking for trouble!
Taking these precautions means you should be able to have peace of mind knowing that your beloved pet won’t wander off into danger or become lost in unfamiliar territory.
The next step is training your bloodhound. Training is an important step for ensuring your furry friends are obedient and reliable.
Training A Bloodhound
Bloodhounds are renowned for their intelligence and loyalty, which should make them easy to train. However, they possess another trait that can hinder this; stubbornness.
As with all breeds, it is important to establish pack leadership early on by setting boundaries and consistent rules. Bloodhounds need to have an understanding of their place in the hierarchy and what behaviors are expected of them. This is especially true in regard to running away; if a bloodhound senses that it is not subordinate to its owner, it may be more likely to take off without permission.
The key to successful training with a bloodhound lies in creating an environment where they feel safe and secure.
Positive reinforcement is the most effective approach as it reinforces desirable behavior while giving them a sense of control over their environment. It also helps build trust between a dog and its owner by providing rewards when they obey commands.
Do not lose your temper and shout or raise your hand as this will just create fearful or aggressive behaviour in your dog and potentially make them more likely to want to escape. Be a confident owner and give them clear commands and then reward the right behaviour with a delicious treat or make a fuss of them.
Good training is essential for a well-behaved bloodhound; it helps them understand expectations and keeps them focused on following commands even in distracting situations.
Ultimately, having a well-trained bloodhound requires patience, consistency, and dedication from both the dog and its owner. With proper guidance and positive reinforcement, however, both parties can create a bond that will prevent any unwanted behaviors such as running away from occurring in the first place.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that while bloodhounds have a strong desire to follow their noses, they are also highly trainable and loyal companions. Owners must take the time to invest in their training, socialization, and exercise needs in order to prevent them from running away and becoming lost. With proper care and attention, a bloodhound can be a loving, faithful companion for life – like a lighthouse guiding its way through stormy seas.
It is also essential that owners provide their bloodhounds with an adequate outlet for their considerable energy. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are key components of keeping these dogs content and happy – much like helping a drowning man find his footing in the water.
Finally, always remembering that prevention is better than cure, attentive owners can ensure that their beloved bloodhounds don’t get too far away from home by providing them with sufficient structure and boundaries. With patience and dedication, anyone can create a secure environment for their four-legged companion where they can roam free without fear of running away.
Sam is an award-winning canine photographer and runs Farlap Bloodhound breeders and Kennels in Devon and is the secretary of the Bloodhound Club.
Sam Clark has a passion for bloodhounds and their amazing ability to track a scent, and was one of the first in the UK to train her dogs to either track humans or other dogs for canine rescue.