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Training your Puppy: Hounds


When it comes to training hound puppies, control of the dog is critical. Once you release your puppy onto a track you have little control. Here is where the yard training of obedience and control is essential. When your puppy recognizes your commands, you can have some control as long as you are within hearing. The problem is that once your puppy is on a track and barking as he’s running away, he can’t hear your commands.

Many houndsmen rely on the expertise of older dogs to help train puppies. Using older dogs is very effective and efficient. These older dogs will not allow the younger one to pull them onto a bad track, and younger dogs want to stay with the group. Whether you are chasing bunnies, raccoons, deer, pigs or fox, this technique is proven effective. However, technology has made this a little easier with the use of remote collars.

Remote collars also known as GPS or ‘shock’ collars have come a long way through the years. GPS collars are very accurate and will track your puppy’s route and allow you to see where he is running. These units are not cheap, but when you consider the price of a dog, and the fact that these collars have a long shelf life and can be used on many dogs. In addition to the GPS collars that show where the dogs are running, the use of a ‘shock’ collar can be very effective.

The ‘shock’ collar has several settings that can encourage proper behavior in puppies. When training raccoon hounds, the last thing you want is for the puppy to get on the trail of a deer. When the handler suspects the puppy is on the trail of a deer, he can remotely send a mild shock to the collar that will instill a negative response to the puppy. In time, the puppy will associate the scent of deer with a negative response or shock and ignore the scent of deer or other non-target species. This same technique is used regardless of the species the hound is being trained to chase. Rabbit hunters use the shock collar to deter chasing deer, squirrels, coyotes etc. It usually doesn’t take long for the hound to learn what elicits a negative response and what elicits a positive response.

Training hounds is a long process and like with all sporting breeds, buying the pedigree is essential for a quality hunting experience. Few moments in the outdoors measure to the thrill of the music of hounds echoing through the forest and fields. When hunting with well-trained hounds the thrill of the hunt is found in the chase these dogs engage in and the excitement to see your dog hot on the trail and treeing or baying its desired species.