How to Train My First Coonhound Pup

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Coonhounds are reliable dogs. Whichever breed of coonhound puppy you plan on buying, it will make a perfect family dog when you socialize it from puppyhood. They are good with kids when they are kept in their presence from the start. But keep in mind that coonhound dogs are innately barkers and hunters. They track opossums, raccoons and bobcats by sniffing the scent of their prey and then chasing it into a bush or up a tree and barking until the hunter arrives. Training your puppy may be time-consuming, but it is a rewarding task.

Things You'll Need

  • Well-bred coonhound puppy
  • Live raccoon (if possible)
  • Road kill raccoon carcass (fresh) or raccoon scent
  • Treats

Teach your coonhound puppy the basic obedience – sit, stay, come, lie down, or heel. Your coonhound puppy should follow your commands when he is off the leash. Do not threat or force, but give praises and treats. You can learn the basics of how to teach obedience to a dog by enrolling at any local dog obedience training classes.

Make your puppy acquainted with the outdoors. Take him for walks through woods or fields for a few hours. This will make the coonhound puppy familiar with the wilderness and will hone his obedience.

Take your coonhound puppy to a shooting range in a crate. Fire your rifle in the opposite direction of the crate so as to allow your puppy to be accustomed to the sound of the gunfire. This is necessary for any hunting dog.

Begin raccoon training when the puppy is 12 weeks old. Start training with the help of a fresh road kill raccoon carcass, or make an alternative by applying raccoon scent to a stuffed animal. Let your puppy play with the scented stuffed animal or raccoon hide and reward him with a treat when he shows interest in it. But hide it before your puppy loses interest in it.

Carry the fresh carcass or the scented object through your yard and place it in a tree. Follow a winding path so that your puppy learns how to track the animal in the tree. Do this every day, and make the path even more difficult for him as time passes. Give a treat to your puppy every time he finds the animal.

Place the live raccoon in a box trap and let your puppy investigate it. If your puppy is excited about being this close to a live raccoon, he is ready for the next level of training.

Release the live raccoon and give it a head start before you set your puppy on its trail. Follow the bark of your puppy. You will find him with the treed raccoon. Continue sessions like this with your coonhound puppy to make him perfect at the art of tracking raccoons or scents of these animals.

Take your puppy for a real hunt when he is eight months old with older and more experienced coonhounds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Continue the scent-trail training until your puppy is eight months old if you do not find a live raccoon.
  • Let your puppy play with the scented stuffed animal or the raccoon hide early in the morning or after a rain as it is at these times that the puppy's scent glands work even more effectively.
  • You can place obstacles during his scent trail training like logs or rocks.
  • Take your puppy with you everywhere during his puppyhood even if he is just a family dog. This will introduce him to all types of surroundings, get familiarized with the other people handling him, and socialize with other dogs. This makes him a good canine citizen.
  • Do not cross roads or streets when you create a scent trail for your puppy's training.

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