Tips for Training Scent and Sight Hounds

Doxie Scenting
Many scent hounds have independent personalities, the result of an inborn tendency to be self-sufficient when working at a distance from their handler.

Motivating Your Hound

During training, choose rewards that will motivate your specific dog. For instance, if you have a scent hound who is driven to follow smells and pulls on leash, a successful heel can be rewarded by getting to walk (on a loose leash) after a scent. The desire to follow a scent can also be used to teach come when called: Start your hound off on a shortened portion of long line and call him to you. When he comes in response to the command, reward him with the full freedom of the long line. This will teach him that coming to you results in being allowed to pursue all those interesting smells around him.

Since sight hounds are motivated by pursuit, you can reward your hound for responding to a command with a game of chase. Create a safe game of chase using a stuffed animal on the end of a rope, or a Chase-It or Longshot Toy. Running away from your hound to incite a game of chase can be fun for your dog and also helps reinforce the come-when-called command.

Hounds are often pickier eaters than other dogs, but food can still be used as a motivator. For choosy hounds, it’s important to use treats wisely. Feed your dog structured meals throughout the day and train just before each meal, when he is hungriest. Treats should be kept in pea-sized pieces or smaller. Keep training sessions short — 1 to 5 minutes at the most — to keep your dog focused. Clicker training can be an effective way to teach new behaviors to dogs who are uninterested in following a food lure.

Hounds have high energy and a desire to work. Your hound needs a variety of exercise options, all of which utilize his natural instincts. Lure racing is a popular sport for sight hounds, while scent hounds may enjoy search-and-rescue work. You can also create your own games at home, such as hiding kibble or treats in food puzzles, or grabbing a ball for a round of fetch.

Read more about various hound breeds by going to Vetstreet's dog breed guide or by clicking below:

Afghan Hound, American Foxhound, Azawakh, Basenji, Basset Hound, Beagle, Black and Tan Coonhound, Bloodhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Borzoi, Cirneco dell'Etna, Dachshund, English Foxhound, Greyhound, Harrier, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Norwegian Elkhound, Otterhound, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Pharaoh Hound, Plott, Portuguese Podengo, Redbone Coonhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound Sloughi, Thai Ridgeback, Whippet


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