Guide to Basset Hound Exercise Needs

Basset Hound on grass

Basset Hounds are real characters and one of the nicest natured breeds you will meet. They are very social and love the company of people and other dogs.

Basset Hounds can also be very independent and even stubborn which makes them more difficult to train. They are also prone to quite a few health issues.

How much exercise does a Basset Hound need

Basset Hounds have moderate exercise needs of between 30 to 60 minutes daily. Exercise is important for Basset Hounds to maintain their overall health and wellbeing. It is also crucial to prevent boredom as Basset Hounds can become a little mischievous if they become bored.

Excessive exercise and over-exercising them can put extra strain on their joints and cause other health issues. See overexercised dog symptoms for signs to be aware of.

Their daily activity requirements can be grouped into three categories.

  • Daily Walk
  • Free Play
  • Mental Stimulation

You should avoid certain types of activity and exercise with your Basset Hound due to their long backs and short legs. Basset Hounds are not suitable as a jogging partner for running long distances with. Running up and down stairs should also be avoided.

Avoid too much exercise with a Basset Hound puppy

The exercise suggestions here relate to a healthy adult Basset Hound. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.

The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your Basset Hound puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is up to 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your Basset Hound puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.

For more on  exercise for your Basset Hound puppy read “How to exercise a puppy

Basset Hound Health Problems

Basset Hounds have a life expectancy of between 8 to 12 years of age. They are also prone to quite a few health issues.

Due to their long back and shorts legs, they are particularly susceptible to spinal problems, including IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). They are also prone to elbow dysplasia which is a degenerative disease that affects the elbow on either one or both front legs.

Basset Hounds love food and can become overweight or even obese if their diet and exercise aren’t managed well. For a guide to calculate if your dog is overweight see here.

By providing daily exercise, many of these health issues can be managed or even avoided.

Basset Hound Walking Needs

Basset Hound walking

A  healthy adult Basset Hound will require a daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes. It is better to go for shorter walks daily than to do nothing all week and have a long session on the weekend.

The pace of the walk should be a relaxed comfortable speed for them. Excessive running and high impact activity should be avoided.

If your Basset Hound has good recall, off-leash walking or play at the park is ideal. The majority of Basset Hounds aren’t good off-leash. This is because they are a hound dog and if they get the scent of something the chase is on.

 Basset Hound Exercise Ideas

Free play in your yard or at the park is a great way to burn pent up energy, provide mental stimulation and have some fun. Here are some suggested ways for providing the opportunity for your Basset Hound to play and exercise.

Play with toys

Provide your Basset Hound with a good range of toys. This will help encourage them to be more active. To learn about the different type of dog toys and how to use them see here.

The best type of toys for Basset Hounds are ones that cater to their natural instincts and traits. For suggested toys for Basset Hounds see here.

Digging

Digging is a natural instinct for Basset Hound. They are a hound dog that was bred to dig up burrows to get to rabbits and other prey. This isn’t a problem unless they are digging up your yard and garden or even your carpet.

You can’t train a natural instinct completely out of a dog, but you can redirect the behavior. One of the best ways to do this is to provide toys and activities that cater to this natural digging instinct. For more on dog toys for dogs that like to dig see here.

The latest toy for dogs that dig is the iDig Go from the people that have brought you the iFetch automatic ball launcher. See “Automatic ball launchers for dogs” to learn more.

This is the first dog toy that has been specially designed to cater to your dog’s natural digging instinct. You simply hide their favorite toy or treats in the flaps and let them dig away to uncover the hidden treasure. Not only will the action of digging help burn off pent-up energy, but the mental challenge of working out how to get to the goodies will help to tire them also.

Check out the video to see how this works or view the iDig Go on Amazon.

Fetch

Fetch is a favorite game for most dogs. It not only gets a dog moving but is also a great bonding activity for you both. Remember not to overdo it and end the game if they are panting excessively or showing signs that they have had enough.

Keep this a controlled game for your Basset Hound so they are not turning too quickly which can put pressure on the joints. A soft surface such as on the grass is best.

Play with other dogs

Basset Hound play

Provide the opportunity for your Basset Hound to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Basset Hounds love the company of people and other dogs.

Tug of war

A classic dog game and one that is loved by most dogs. Make them use their strength to crouch and pull back. Many dog trainers are opposed to this game as they feel it encourages dominate behavior. As long as your dog takes and releases the tug toy on command and you control the game this is not an issue. A great exercise to strengthen muscles to provide protection for their joints and back.

Doggy Squats

This is similar to human squats. Have your dog sit and then stand. You can use treats to make this easier. If they don’t stand when you say just step back and offer the treat. After a week or two, you can increase the resistance of the exercise by putting a backpack on your dog and add weight, but not more than 10% of their body weight.

For more muscle building and strengthening exercises for dogs see here.

Treadmill

Walking your Basset Hound is a good way to ensure they get exercise when the weather outside is bad.

Mental Stimulation for Basset Hounds

Your Basset Hound will get some mental stimulation and enrichment from their daily walk and time spent with free play. However, it is a good idea to provide other activities that stimulate the mind. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise.

Many dog behavior problems are a direct result of boredom. Read “Mental enrichment and mind stimulation for dogs” to learn about the six categories of enrichment for dogs.

Some ideas to provide mental stimulation include;

Snuffe Rug

Snuffe Mat is a great way to provide for your dog with feeding enrichment and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffe mat is a mat that is made of fleece and you can hide dry food or treats into it. If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself or check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon.

Nose Games

Being a hound dog, Basset Hounds have a keen nose. It is often said that their brain is ruled by their nose. Playing scenting and nose games is a great way to provide a mental challenge for them.

For ideas of scenting and nose games see here.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. Check out “Top puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs”.

Puzzle toys are great for times when your dog is home alone. Basset Hounds love company and many have separation anxiety when left alone. If your dog is home alone while you are at work or out you may find some helpful information at “Leaving a dog alone while at work”

Learning

Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.

Chew Toys

Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs and has many benefits including maintaining dental health and keeping them occupied. It also as mental health benefits. When a dog chews it releases endorphins to their brain making them feel calm and relaxed helping to lift their overall mood.

For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys for your dog see here.

Food enrichment

Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Basset Hound to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.

Enrich their environment

Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.

Basset Hound puppy exercise

The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Basset Hound. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. Any activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.

The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys.

Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your Basset Hound puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your Basset Hound puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.

For more on exercise for your Basset Hound puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

How much exercise does an older Basset Hound need

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

Summary – Basset Hound exercise needs

Basset Hounds have moderate exercise needs of between 30 to 60 minutes daily. This should include a daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes, free play and mental stimulation. Daily exercise will help to maintain good health and manage weight, keep their muscles and joints strong and prevent boredom.

Let us know in the comments how much and ways you exercise your Basset Hound.

One thought on “Guide to Basset Hound Exercise Needs

  1. Mine is walked way way more than this we’re out for maybe 6 hours some days. But this isn’t ever a 6 hour walk although we have walked 8 miles in one go. Typical would be a 30 minute lead walk to the shop. Maybe if I bought myself a beer or something and it’s a nice day I’ll sit out in the park with him for an hour. He sniffs, chases other dogs and plays with me. Then a half hour walk back home. Maybe an hour walk in the evening through all the different parks and usually another one after dark. But he’s always been like this. I am how ever a little worried as he has about 4 times now had a minor limp on one of his front legs.

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