For years, raccoon hunters have used dogs to track and kill the preys. Types of coonhound breeds that are picked for this hunt include Black and Tan Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, English/American Coonhound, Bluetick Hound, Plott Hound, and Treeing Walker Coonhound. Although they are specially geared for coon hunting, they still need particular instruction. The training is extremely complexed and requires effects and patience. To help you easier in teaching coonhounds, in this post, I am going to give you tips and detailed guide to train coon hunting dogs.

Before Training Coon Hunting Dogs

There are tons of questions when you begin to use dogs to hunt raccoon. When do you can teach them? Which training method is suitable for your dogs? To answer all, you should remember the following tips:

Tip #1: Selecting Dog Breeds

Choosing a suitable puppy will decide the whole hunting trip, especially making the coon hunting dog training easier for you. Focus on the breed as well as family history. Once again, keep in your mind all types of dog breeds that can be useful in your hunt.

Choosing a suitable puppy will decide the whole hunting trip, especially making the coon hunting dog training easier for you. Focus on the breed as well as family history. Once again, keep in your mind all types of dog breeds that can be useful in your hunt.

  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Bluetick Coonhound
  • Plott Coonhound
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Treeing Walker Coonhound
  • Traditional English Coonhound

Of course, they are just some good recommendations for hunting raccoon, but many other dogs can turn out to be a great coon hunting dogs too.


Tip #2: Don’t Skip Pet Dogs

Many hunters always think that their pet dogs don’t have the capacity to hunt raccoon. However, it is not true. In fact, many pet dogs are also great coon hunting dogs, even better coonhounds, because they are closer to the hunter when living together. So, the combination of them is great.

Tip #3: Understanding the Breed Characteristics

This is an important step in training coon hunting dogs. To have an effective training, you should carefully make some in-depth research and learn from more experienced coon dog trainers.

During finding out more about your dogs, you definitely bump into terms of coonhounds. So, learning some of basic coon dog terms is quite useful. Here are a few examples of valuable terms:

  • Babbler or lose mouth coon dog: A coon dog that will start barking as soon as you let it loose, even though it does not smell anything.
  • Backtrack: A dog that is backtracking is running in the wrong direction, i.e. is not getting closer to the game.
  • Cold nose dog: A cold nose dog is a coon dog which can detect old track that has lost a lot of its scent.
  • Hot nose dog: A hot nose dog is naturally the opposite of a cold nose dog. The hot nose dog will only follow a fresh track.
  • Pressure tree dog: Coon dog that will stay at the tree until the hunter arrives. A good pressure tree dog will not leave the tree even if it is distracted by other dogs or game.
  • Pup trainer: A pup trainer is an older and well-trained coon dog that will hunt with young coon dogs and teach them.

Tip #4: Choosing the Suitable Training Time

To train coon hunting dogs, you should start when they are about 12 weeks old. This is the best time for establishing a regular habit for coonhounds to track preys.

Tip #5: Preparing Needed Items

What are necessary to train coon hunting dogs?

  •  Dog treats
  •  Artificial scents
  •  Coon hides


hunting dog training

Puppy Training

This part decides the disciplines and self-control of your coonhounds. So you should start the training as soon as possible, the younger, the better. In this period, you can teach them the basics, for example, spend time with your transportation and travel arrangements.

  1. Loading – Teach your dogs to load up and walk them to the truck. The more comfortable they are to your truck, the better they will ride and load in the future. Choose a command for entering your car, such as “load up” or “get in.”
  2. Dog messing in box – Train coon hunting dogs to be comfortable in his dog box or in the back of your vehicle.
  3. Leash breaking – Leash training can be more difficult with coonhounds than with other dogs, because they are good for tracking scents, even ignores the calls when they are on trail. So, this will be an ongoing process. Attach a leash to your dog’s collar and let them become acclimated to being on a leash. Walking with your dog and reward them with a small treat when they stay by your side. If they pull on the leash, stop walking and do not move until the dog returns to you. This way, they learn that the walk will only continue when they behave on the leash.
  4. Nuisance barking
  5. Strengthen the command – Continuously call your dogs’ name and train them separately at first so they know what to do individually. Keep up with training your dog with commands like “get in” to keep them excited and know when it’s hunting time.

Continued Training

Next you should implement continued and advanced tracking task, like discovering scent.

  1. Discover scent

Scent is the sense that coonhounds rely on the most during the hunt so you want to begin to acclimate a puppy to following a scent early on. Teach them the smell of the raccoon, even as puppies. You can choose an old coon hide which is a great way to get the scent buried in their mind.

  • Use a scent drag – Purchase raccoon scent from any outdoor or sporting retailer. Then apply it to a drag. You can also use fresh raccoon, but your need to procure a new one to train with, as the old carcasses deteriorate.
  • Accilimate your dog to the scent – Let your puppy play with the scented dummy so they become acclimated to the smell. But take the drag away before they lose interest in it. Repeat this process for at least three days, continuing to put the drag away while it’s hot.
  • Drag the scent – Attach it to a line or rope and drag it around to create a scent trail. Remember that you have to do this while your dog is inside and cannot see you pulling the line. The trail will ultimately end at a tree, where you’ll hang the scent drag or carcass.
  • Follow the scent – Lead your dog to the area where you began dragging the line. They should be on a leash. Encourage them to find the scent and pair it with a verbal cue, like “find it” or “find the scent.” If your dog does not seem to understand, lead them around the area where you pulled the drag and let them sniff the ground along the way. Their scent instincts will eventually take over. Practice this for every other day for at least two weeks.

2. Desensitize your coonhound to gunfire

Puppies may be starled by gunfire. Keep them calm!

  • Fire at the target – You should be within a dozen feet of your dog’s crate whn shooting. If they seem frightened, stand farther away and repeat it. Say calm and encouraging words to them.
  • Repeat this exercise – Repeat this process until your puppy is no longer startled by the noise. This may take a few weeks.


Advanced Training

For the advanced training, using a live bait is the best solution. Capture a live raccoon and release it for a practice run, so you can train coon hunting dogs for the real deal. Make sure that there are a few trees present for treeing the raccoon. If they are unable to find the raccoon, you will need to stop them from searching from the scent and revisit scent training.

Note: For any training task, remember that it is important to have a prize and something for your dogs at the end of every track.

On the Hunt Training

Your new coon dog should be arranged 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. So the better the role model, the better the future dog will be.

Lead your dog to places that a raccoon would be, like a corn field. If they get bored and come back to you, move on to a new location.

Make sure that your dogs are tough and in shape, and can handle killing a raccoon before letting them tree a raccoon at the first stages of your dog career.

Final Thought

To turn a young coonhound into a top-notch trailing dog, your have to focus much more on training. This not only provides necessary hunting skills for your coonhound, but also practices their tenacity and courage. They can catch the prey and save you during the hunt. The better your coonhound is, the sweeter your hunt is.

If you found this article, please share it. If you have any questions about training coon hunting dogs, please feel free to leave it in the comment. Thank you for reading!

You May Also Like

More From Author