Training your scent hound can be difficult, but every bit of effort is worth doing. Although scent hounds are easily distracted by scents and odors, it’s important to discipline and train them to heel. Whether you’re training a bloodhound, beagle, or other breed, scent hound obedience training can be achieved with a few easy steps.
The reason for the difficulty in training scent hounds to heel is how sensitive their noses are to scents. These dogs are bred to follow a variety of prey, including fox, raccoon, rabbit, and a variety of birds. Their brains are wired to pick up on these smells, so it’s no wonder they get distracted when picking up on a scent! While they’re in sniffing mode, it may be hard to get them to heel, but with discipline, you’ll get their attention in no time!
How to Train a Scent Hound : 4 Simple Tips
There are a variety of training tools and methods out there that will help you in this area; however, there are a few standouts we want to mention. First, using a long line or cord at around 15 feet length to start with will keep your hounds close to you, but with some available tracking distance. Over time, giving them more room to track using longer cords will train them to not run off without you.
Calling your dog the same way over-and-over might prove to be a waste of time, especially if your scent hound has gotten used to your voice and calls. It then just becomes background noise while they’re tracking. Developing a new call, one that’s more positive, can get their attention quickly. Using this new call mixed with the long line are great tools.
Calling your hound for something positive, and not something uncomfortable like nail clipping or giving medicine, will instill a habit in your dog to come to you when you call them, knowing it’s not related to something they don’t want to do.
Reward Your Scent Hound
Since your hunting dog is driven by scents and tracking, rewarding them with a variety of games and activities after calling them will build up that relationship. Playing a game of chase or going for a walk after a command is given are great ways to train. Also playing fetch or hiding treats on the trail work as well!
Teach the Word “No”
Scent hounds are generally the more vocal of dog breeds; therefore, they’re more inclined to bark or howl, even if the situation does not call for it. Using rewards to teach your hound to obey commands is only the first step, but teaching them that some actions have consequences is the next. For instance, telling them “no” when they bark or picking them up when they ignore your commands teaches them what not to do.
A mix of tools and methods will ensure success in training your scent hound to heel and obey commands. Training gear including hound collars and dummy launchers can be found at Double U Hunting Supply, a reputable source for gear and helpful tips.