Coon Dog Trainingby Samantha Volz
Raccoon hunters have long used dogs to help them track and kill their prey. There are a variety of dog breeds that are specially geared for this assignment, including Bluetick, Black and Tan, Redbone and English coonhounds. Other breeds, including retrievers, can be trained for this type of hunting as well. Training as a coon dog should begin when the dog is about five weeks old; this will establish a regular habit for the dog to track and hunt raccoons.
Begin training your dog with basic commands such as sit, stay and heel. Use a system of positive reinforcement through dog treats, petting and verbal praise to encourage obedience in the dog. The dog must first learn to obey you in general before he can learn to hunt raccoons.
Choose a command for entering your car, such as "load up" or "get in." Train the puppy to go to your car or truck and to be comfortable in his dog box or in the back of your vehicle. The more comfortable the dog becomes with transportation, the more prepared he will be for the hunt.
Lay artificial scents in areas of your yard or small wooded areas. Encourage your dog to follow these scents; this will get him used to the scent of a raccoon, as well as give him practice following trails. Reward the dog for following the scent properly.
Use an old coon hide to teach your dog what the raccoon looks like. Drag it in front of the dog as he chases it so that he gets used to following the raccoon. Hang the hide from trees so that the dog gets used to staying with the raccoon even after it climbs. Reward the dog for following and pursuing the coon hide.
Arrange for your new coon dog to go on hunts with experienced raccoon hunting dogs. The younger animal will mimic the experienced dog's actions and abilities and will pick up a lot of techniques from the older dog.
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- Raccoon 12 image by Pat Lalli from Fotolia.com
- Dog treats
- Artificial scents
- Coon hides
- If possible, consult with an experienced raccoon hunter or coon dog trainer for tips and suggestions regarding training your dog.
- Find artificial scent trails and other training supplies at hunting and outdoor specialty stores.
- Provide positive reinforcement in the form of treats and attention whenever your dog does something good in his training. This positive reinforcement will make the dog understand that he has performed well and will encourage him to do so in the future.