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Redbone Coonhound

Got this guy from the pound last month. He was raised in a kennel with other hunting dogs and he’s around two years old. We’re trying to make a pet out of him and he’s turning out to be a real handful. He’s smart, stubborn, and likes to run. He’s already treed both of our cats and almost killed one of them. I’ve known other redbones and they weren’t like this, but I think they were socialized from a young age.

Despite all that, he’s super sweet, very affectionate, and great with our kids. He’s also bonded with us, and even though he’s escaped and run off three times, so far he always comes back. So we feel like he has potential.

My question is, how do you train a two year old coonhound to be a pet? Is this a lost cause? I’ve read that coonhounds require specialized training methods…any resources you guys can recommend?

Thanks!
 

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I’ve read that coonhounds require specialized training methods…
Ya, they're HOUNDS. Therefore, use FOOD, and lots of it ! lol

Seriously though, aside from hunt training which I know very little about, ... if it's a pet then by all means follow the general rules which apply to training any breed. My favourite method is R+, which is probably most suitable with these guys as I understand they can be somewhat 'soft'.
 

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First, FOOD :) Treat for everything you want him to do. tiny tiny treats, even just single pieces of his dry food works for daily training.

Then, set him up for success. Like the escaping... don't let him. Yeah, I know it might seem easier said than done. But you gotta do it. Leash on when outside, everyone in the family works on not letting him rush the doors, gates should be latched always (if you have forgetful kids, get an auto-latch for any gates leading off your property) and if he can jump the fence, he should not be left outside unattended at all. You can use a tie-out WHILE SUPERVISED but it is generally a bad idea to leave a dog alone on a fixed tie-out.

Everything he does that you don't like- think of what you want him to be doing instead, and promote that. Get him to do the good thing and treat. You can also play fetch or tug or some other short game as rewards to mix it up some from the treats but hounds generally go for food rewards quite happily.

Hunting instinct-- the problem with the cats is that the hound sees them as prey. He was trained to chase and maybe to kill small game and the cats are just small game to him. It will take serious time to socialize him with the cats but it can be done. I got my hound and he caught a neighbor's cat (on my property) by the neck and tried to kill it (cat was ok, I intervened quickly) but after about 1 year of working with him, he will chase cats on my property but just to get rid of them, not to hurt them and will leave cats alone on walks and such.

Give the cats a safe room if they spend time indoors- use a baby gate to block entry to one bedroom or area of the house so the cats can jump it to safety but the dog can't. If they are outdoor only, unfortunately they will just have to get used to running for the trees but honestly, there are so many dangers to outdoor cats that the dog isn't really their biggest problem.

Put the hound on a leash, get him within sight of the cat, and ask him to sit. treat. Walk a step, have him sit, and treat. If he's too hyper over the cat to sit, turn him away from the cat and treat him if he turns away from his "prey" willingly. Continue to reward CALM behavior around cats. You can try having someone hold the cat (not running=less prey like) and ask the dog to sit calmly and treat for that. He might never be safe to be left alone with cats but he should be able to stop trying to chas and kill them

Basically, train like any other dog. They are good family dogs and good natured. Luckily they are so food motivated that training is generally easy. Make sure to provide plenty of exercise, most hunting dogs are quite the athletes and used to long treks and runs.

Edit to add: If he isn't neutered, get him neutered. That may or may not help with the escaping but at least if/when he does get out, he won't be making any little hound pups to end up in shelters.
 

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1st off get rid of the flex-lead, go to local feed store and purchase 15 ft or longer 5/8ths inch nylon cord and dog snap, rope clamp and make your own outside lead. It's actually soft on hands and much easier to grab to control dog etc. A good Martingale collar adjusted properly will close to neck but not choke dog. For in home control a thinner nylon cord/dog snap, this can just be tied to snap and 4 to 6 ft long your choice. This at least gives you some control at door etc and if he decides to mount the kitchen table or bolt out door and other assorted in home problems. Some control is 1st step in your long journey of a mannerly dog program. You cannot train what you cannot catch.
 

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Myself, I'm a sucker for good 'ol hound, I think they make excellent pets. As you've learned, they're great with their own families, but heaven help any prey animal gets caught between those jaws.

As far as recall, as you've also learned, when he "runs off" he really hasn't run off -- he's working. Those dogs will hunt, right out of the box, no training required. You have to train 'em to *not* hunt, unless you want 'em to. Shell has given you a good start.

The best consistent recall I've managed (not that I've tried all that hard), with various types of hounds, is to where they come when called, at their own pace, examining each scent along the way, in excruciating detail. Hopefully, yours will mellow a bit as he matures.
 

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People have given a lot of good advice.
But, my only tid bit for you is:
Expect this to take a long time. Converting a hunting dog to a house pet is serious work. It's like the fast pace of the military and armed forces coming to a sudden halt and slow pace of life. It's going to take a lot of work, but keep at it!
 

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IMO the one thing that will go the longest in helping him become a pet will be letting him run and exersize, if he can get rid of his energy he will never be able to calm down and listen.

He is hunting bred and raised and he is probably trained to range long and come back. If he has a good recall take him out and hike off leash, letting him use his nose and run his legs is gonna keep him happier then all the treats in the world.
 
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