Training a hound NOT to hunt?
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Author:  windsoftheheart [ Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  Training a hound NOT to hunt?

This may be an odd question for the forum, but I hoped that consulting experts in hunting dogs could be helpful!

My spouse and I recently adopted a dog that we were told was a lab mix, but who turns out to be a redbone coonhound. He's 2 years old and we don't know much of his history. It's possible that he was intended to be a hunting dog, but likely wasn't trained much in that capacity. He shows the usual penchant for chasing rabbits and squirrels, but with the hound determination that makes it very difficult for us to refocus him when he's "on the scent" or actively chasing something.

We want to be careful about NOT training him to hunt small prey because we also have two pet rabbits in our home (we actually adopted this dog because his fosterer said she'd seen no evidence of a prey drive, but obviously dogs only show their real personalities months after a home change). The dog and rabbits are kept fully separate right now, and we may try very slow introductions in the future to see if he is able to distinguish between "family member" rabbits and "outside" rabbits. Even if this training went spectacularly well, we would never permit the dog and rabbits to have full access to one another; we just want to set everybody up for success.

My question for all of you hound-savvy people is: what would be helpful for me to know about hounds so that we can have a content, non-hunting dog? What kinds of training, play, or games might help him fulfill that instinct without encouraging him to chase small animals? Or maybe, how would you train a hunting dog "backwards" - how can we train him opposite what would be typical for a hunting dog?

He is a sweet, fairly shy, food-motivated dog who has been easy to train in obedience and agility. We exclusively use positive (reward-based) training techniques. He's had some trouble with reactivity towards other dogs in the past, but only when on-leash (some of his behavior suggest that he might have been bullied by a larger dog when he was young).

Thank you for any thoughts and suggestions you might have!

Author:  jeeppro [ Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Training a hound NOT to hunt?

The main thing to realize here is that, for the most part, hounds have been bred almost exclusively to hunt for many years-(in some cases, like the plott hound, centuries). Our modern coon hound breeds are mostly descendants of fox hounds, which have been hunted since the 1500's in europe.

There is a MAJOR difference between what is "Trained" and what is "Instinctive" (in the nature of the dog). The desire to hunt game is not something that we as trainers can "put into" any dog(sometimes we WISH we could!) They are born with this, and although you can discipline a dog to keep this desire to hunt in check, you will not "train" the desire to hunt out of a dog. The only times I have seen this happen is when someone severely abused a dog trying to correct it and ruined them.

What will help you in your case is to spend plenty of time with him and let him use his endless energy doing things he enjoys that are ok. A 1/2 mile walk isn't going to wear him out(it will help though), but he may enjoy swimming or running around the yard, or even playing fetch. Redbones love to please their owner, and usually respond fairly well to gently corrective measures.

He may will learn that YOUR rabbits aren't there for him to hunt, but he will still follow his nose trailing critters whenever he gets a chance

Author:  windsoftheheart [ Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Training a hound NOT to hunt?

Thanks, jeeppro, that vocabulary is definitely helpful! He is an eager-to-please dog (and very sweet).

One of the issues we're having the most trouble with is that once he gets on the trail of something (sees a rabbit or a squirrel), he tends to bark at it constantly and can't be calmed. We tend to get a solid half hour to an hour of barking/crying whether he can see the game outside the fence or whether we bring him inside. We do what we can to keep him from getting in situations where he is frustrated by seeing something he can't chase, but does anyone have suggestions about how to redirect and eventually calm him once his chase instincts have kicked in and are being frustrated?

Author:  SHC's Walkers [ Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Training a hound NOT to hunt?

What you are te trying to do is going to be almost impossible, lol. As mentioned before, you can keep the dog occupied by walks, toys he or she likes, ect.. But when it comes down to "reverse" training a hound I would have to say about your only option would be is a shock collar. Put the collar on the dog & let it outside the fence. When it gives chase or upon the first sign of it taking interest in the rabbit or squirrel, bump it a little. Some hounds are more stubborn than others so this may have to be repeated several times. As far as the hound barking inside the fence at game on the outside, a no bark collar will cure this. Other than this, I have no idea of how to break it of "hunting" so to speak. Lol, I've never really heard or seen a request like this either of a hound. Good luck though!!