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I have a 5 year old coonhound that I adopted in December. He was immensely pampered in his old home, and I have been able to get a lot of basic obedience training instilled since. But unless I have food in my hand, he typically ignores me when I command him to come. It's particulary concerning when he goes to run trails with me. I prefer to have him off leash because he can run at his own pace, but I really need him to listen when I call him back for safety. He knows the command and responds great on a training lead but when it really counts, he brushes me off. Any suggestions on how to work with him?
 

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I have a 5 year old coonhound that I adopted in December. He was immensely pampered in his old home, and I have been able to get a lot of basic obedience training instilled since. But unless I have food in my hand, he typically ignores me when I command him to come. It's particulary concerning when he goes to run trails with me. I prefer to have him off leash because he can run at his own pace, but I really need him to listen when I call him back for safety. He knows the command and responds great on a training lead but when it really counts, he brushes me off. Any suggestions on how to work with him?
Hounds are notoriously fickle off leash. This isn't to say you shouldn't keep training a recall command (and you should - you may also have to use a different word at this point, and only give it when you can enforce/reward it) but they're not bred to stick close to their owners or listen well to commands. They follow their noses, and are meant to work afield from the hunter, and the hunter to come to them, rather than other breeds who want to stay close. All I can suggest is training on a long line, rewarding when he comes (take advantage of that food drive) and repetition.

And not to ever, truly, trust a hound not to follow a scent trail. It's probably going to trump you.
 

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Hounds are notoriously fickle off leash. This isn't to say you shouldn't keep training a recall command (and you should - you may also have to use a different word at this point, and only give it when you can enforce/reward it) but they're not bred to stick close to their owners or listen well to commands. They follow their noses, and are meant to work afield from the hunter, and the hunter to come to them, rather than other breeds who want to stay close. All I can suggest is training on a long line, rewarding when he comes (take advantage of that food drive) and repetition.

And not to ever, truly, trust a hound not to follow a scent trail. It's probably going to trump you.
+1

In the beginning stages you might want to try a flexi rather then a long line. It will be easier to play out and control. Long lines have a tendency to tangle and knot, especially when you are trying to play them out in short lengths and/or under field conditions.

There IS a way to stow a long line so that it can be played out in sections and not get tangled or knotted. It is difficult to explain it in words and even a video is not much help - you really have to be shown hands-on by someone who knows. If you can't get that, then using a flexi for a while should be considered. Once you're out to 20' or so on the flexi, you then can go to the long line.
 

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Not all hounds are difficult to train. Not all hounds feel the desire to follow every scent they get and ignore their owners.
Redbones, for example, are bred to check back in, unlike other hounds. If they do not get an active scent, they will naturally come back to their owners.
I don't know how many people may have seen the video I posted of the Redbone coming to me when I called him. That's not the first or only time he did that. His recall was ace.

However, all dogs are different and not all of them can be trusted off leash. While strongly feel they can be taught recall, hounds are meant to follow scents. It's completely natural to them. I honestly wouldn't take a dog, even if it had good recall, on a trail off leash. It the dog did wander, it's not only in danger of becoming lost but in danger of being attacked or stolen, or anything.

At 5, unless he has a medical condition he should be able to keep up with you. Hounds are actually very athletic and should be able to go long distances at decent paces.
 

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Just to clarify:

ALL bigger hounds are supposed to circle back to their master and 'check in' - *if* they don't find or lose the scent. Once they HAVE that scent, it's another matter, and they're probably gonna run it, till they hit the tree. Then, ideally, they stay on the tree until the hunter comes to them. They aren't supposed to break that trail once they have it and come back - they keep tracking, away from the hunter. Leaving the tree is a big, bad 'no' in hunting. Calling a dog off a tree, especially from a distance, can be danged hard.

I don't think they can't learn recall. I don't think they're dumb. At all. I think they're exceptionally smart - they're just hounds. I wouldn't trust a pit lose in my home with other dogs (and I learned that from pit advocates), and I wouldn't trust a coonhound not to track and tree a 'coon, is about all I'm saying, here.

(That said, I don't have a problem with dogs off leash in the proper environment, with the proper training. Heck, I don't even think breed necessarily determines it - my rat terrier has less hunting instinct than a pineapple. He's run AWAY from squirrels before, but mostly just fails to respond to them. My beagle/chi mix puppy out retrieves (in water!) the labs we know. Sometimes you have to look at the individual animal. Just in this case, the hound seems to be acting- houndy.)
 

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You really have to get recall down inside, then start again outside, though hounds with a scent in their noses are only doing what we spent hundreds of years breeding them to do.

With Kabota, who definitely smells like he has some hound in him (and he's got the ear shattering bay down pat), I've expanded recall training to being around me always being rewarding. If he approaches me at any time, he gets either a treat or a petting session (I try to make it 50/50). I will interrupt anything to do this. I want being around me to be so rewarding, he chooses it on his own, not just when I call.

I've noticed that not only does he check in with me regularly at home, but yesterday at the dog park, he actually checked in with me a few times on his own. Would this work in the face of a rabbit trail? I doubt it.
 

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We recently adopted a plott hound from a shelter. formerly a stray. i owned a great malinois so i have worked with strong bright dogs... but ... i find the hound is a little passive aggressive? like if the recall fails ...in the yard - (and she IS getting better, it's only been 4 months). She doesn't blow off recall just because she's interested in the birds in the tree....but she'll take it up a notch jumping into the vegetable bed. or if she does one thing bad - and gets a correction, she'll go right back to it or even to another thing that she knows that's not allowed. It's like, oh yeah, make me. attitude? the malinois was just so hungry to please that this desire for negative attention is just hard to figure out what to do with.
 

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We recently adopted a plott hound from a shelter. formerly a stray. i owned a great malinois so i have worked with strong bright dogs... but ... i find the hound is a little passive aggressive? like if the recall fails ...in the yard - (and she IS getting better, it's only been 4 months). She doesn't blow off recall just because she's interested in the birds in the tree....but she'll take it up a notch jumping into the vegetable bed. or if she does one thing bad - and gets a correction, she'll go right back to it or even to another thing that she knows that's not allowed. It's like, oh yeah, make me. attitude? the malinois was just so hungry to please that this desire for negative attention is just hard to figure out what to do with.
You are now working with a dog of a breed who was bred to work independently of people. People don't tell hounds what to do - hounds do what they do, people trail along behind them. She has very little desire to be with you or listen to what you say; it isn't part of her genetic makeup, the way it would be in a herding breed. If you want her to listen, you're going to have to give her a reason to WANT to. As they have high pain tolerance, corrections aren't going to do it. You're going to have to get out the treats and make it worth her time. Hounds aren't working without a paycheck.
 

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yep. i'm getting that. and you're right the treats really do work. and we do that ...but i worry that as a stray she made her living getting food from people so food does works in training but after a while if the training session is for over a half hour ...she gets - really amped - almost food OCD?

what i wonder though is why instead of just not minding/following her own agenda - does she go the extra "oh yeah make me" step, of doing something kind of in your face? is that something i'm doing wrong?
 

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yep. i'm getting that. and you're right the treats really do work. and we do that ...but i worry that as a stray she made her living getting food from people so food does works in training but after a while if the training session is for over a half hour ...she gets - really amped - almost food OCD?

what i wonder though is why instead of just not minding/following her own agenda - does she go the extra "oh yeah make me" step, of doing something kind of in your face? is that something i'm doing wrong?
If you're using a physical correction on her... that's probably actually it. They're crazy smart, but your agenda just doesn't matter. And while I don't believe dogs retaliate out of spite or whatever, they sure as heck will blow you off with FLAIR.

Honestly, shorten the sessions, give her a break when she starts getting antsy and let her blow off some energy, then bring her back to it. Maybe lowering the value of the treat and using her kibble if she's getting entirely overexcited by the 'good' stuff.
 

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right - i shouldn't put human emotions on this. she's not really saying, neener neener neener.
i think the treat value idea is good. i usually save the really yummies for hard things like recall or OFF from something seductive. but i could tone the rest down. and just keep slowing increasing the training times. she is smart enough though to know that if she starts acting out - i'll stop the work. ... so i'll have to stay balanced on that.
thanks for your time!
 

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right - i shouldn't put human emotions on this. she's not really saying, neener neener neener.
i think the treat value idea is good. i usually save the really yummies for hard things like recall or OFF from something seductive. but i could tone the rest down. and just keep slowing increasing the training times. she is smart enough though to know that if she starts acting out - i'll stop the work. ... so i'll have to stay balanced on that.
thanks for your time!
You're welcome and good luck!
 
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