Get Your Young Hound Started Right

Video how to train a coon dog

Are you looking to transform your young coonhound into an exceptional trailing dog? Well, let me tell you one of the most crucial aspects of training: teaching independence. In this article, I’ll share the fundamentals of how I accomplish this and provide some valuable tips that you can incorporate into your own training routine.

Building Confidence and Individuality

When selecting a pup, keep an eye out for the one that displays self-assurance and follows its own path. You want a dog that isn’t overly concerned with what others are doing and can avoid distractions. Once you identify that special pup, maximize your one-on-one time with them. This way, the pup learns about you while you learn about them. This bond is essential for effective disciplinary actions when necessary.

Trail Training with a Drag

At around four months old, I kickstart a pup’s training by having them trail a coon hide attached to a drag. Initially, this activity takes place in the yard. However, as the pup becomes more proficient at finding the scent, I gradually increase the length of the drag to provide a greater challenge.

Skipping the Caged Coon

While many trainers progress to using a caged coon that the dog can sight-chase, I take a different approach. I believe in allowing the young dog to hunt in the timber with an older, more experienced dog. This way, the pup relies on its instincts and develops its ability to trail using its nose. Either the dog figures it out this way, or it doesn’t.

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The Ideal Season for Woods Exploration

Spring is the prime season for introducing your young dog to the woods. With an abundance of young coons roaming around, there’s an ample scent for them to work on. During this period, the pup will experience both successful and unsuccessful trails. Just like humans, dogs learn from their mistakes. This invaluable learning experience cannot be replicated by simply chasing a caged coon.

Cultivating Independence

When working with a pup that possesses an independent attitude, invest a significant amount of one-on-one time with them. Provide numerous opportunities for finding game and allow them to learn through their own exploration. However, be cautious of dogs that continually lag behind others. If you notice this behavior, it’s essential to separate the dog from the group and dedicate time to individual training. These dogs may benefit from the chance to sight-chase a coon to ignite their drive.

Advancing to Solo Hunting

After a young dog has run with an older, more experienced dog and acquired some knowledge, I revert to hunting them alone. It becomes their responsibility to figure things out independently. For instance, they might have to work on a cold trail, but if they succeed, it’s a testament to their individual skills. By hunting them on their own, they grow and improve. Often, people make the mistake of constantly running dogs together, causing dogs lacking independence to become reliant on others. However, once you have an experienced dog that’s two or three years old, you can confidently hunt them with other seasoned dogs without worrying about negative habits.

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Choosing Excellence

So, ask yourself, what kind of dog do you desire? Are you content with an average hound that blends with the pack, or do you aspire to own a top-notch dog capable of surpassing all expectations? If you’re aiming for greatness, then investing quality time in the timber, chasing wild coons one-on-one, is the path to success.

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