Training Hog Dogs

Training Hog Dogs
Training Hog Dogs (Image: Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Purchase a Hog

In order to train your hog dog, you will need to purchase a suitable live hog to use during the process. Michelle Mears of High on the Hog Kennel recommends starting the training process when the dog is three to four months old and to purchase a shoat (young hog) that is the same size as the dog or slightly smaller. This will keep the dog from being intimidated by the hog and help it build confidence in its abilities.

Introduce the Hog

Introduce the dog to the hog under controlled circumstances. The dog should be in a contained area where it feels secure and can readily see the hog. One of the best places is from the inside of a pen or in a fenced yard. Tease the dog as you show it the hog until it is barking, jumping, and generally worked up. Repeat this process every few days for the next two weeks. The dog should act aggressively, trying to get to the hog. If it doesn't, it may not be suitable for use as a hog dog. If it never develops any interest, you can abort the training. If it responds to the hog consistently, give it lots of praise for positive reinforcement. Keep the sessions short, as young dogs have a limited attention span. You must stop before the dog loses interest.

Introduce a Vehicle

Because you will generally be driving the dog to hog hunts, teach it to associate your truck or other vehicle with going out to see the hog. Take the hog out to another area, then drive the dog to the area and let it see the hog without being able to get to it. The dog should act the same way it did during introduction. When it gets excited or aggressive, praise it. Take the dog back home before it loses interest.

Track the Hog

Take the hog to a wooded area and lead it around so it creates a track for the dog to follow. At the end of the track, hobble it so it can't escape before the dog reaches it. Michelle Mears of High on the Hog Kennel recommends wearing rubber boots so you don't leave your own scent. Otherwise, the dog might focus on your smell rather than that of the hog. Bring the dog to the beginning of the trail and encourage it to find and follow the scent. The first time, you may actually have to lead the dog down the trail, praise it once you get to the hog. After you've repeated the process a few times, the dog will learn to connect the scent with finding the hog.

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