Activities For American English Coonhounds

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Introduction

American English Coonhounds are hard-working, energetic dogs that are known for their loud bay and their speed and endurance when hunting. This breed is loyal and affectionate with their family, and while they will alert you loudly if a stranger enters your property, they will generally behave in a friendly manner towards them, making them excellent watchdogs, but poor guard dogs. They are also quite intelligent and these hounds generally require a great deal of both vigorous activity and mental stimulation each day in order to be at their happiest and healthiest. 

Scentwork

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Scent marker
Treats or other reward
Activity description

Canines tend to have a much more defined sense of smell than humans, typically somewhere around forty times more sensitive. Hound dogs like the American English Coonhound were developed specifically to track and hunt prey, so they were developed with an excellent sense of smell, even for a canine. Coonhounds, in general, have some of the best olfactory abilities of any dog and the American English Coonhound, in particular, is known for their cold nose, meaning the ability to find a trail even after it’s gone cold. Although this activity is great just as a means to provide your dog with exercise and mental stimulation, the natural ability of these dogs to locate scent can be used to assist us in hunting and in search and rescue effort as well. 

Step
1
Pick a place
While scent work can easily be practiced in familiar surroundings such as a nearby park, your backyard, or even your own home, the American English Coonhound is an expert scenthound by nature, and you may want to contact a local dog sports academy for further instruction. The professional trainers at these facilities may be able to help you learn more complex training methods as well as possibly giving you and your pup tips and tricks for entering into competitive trials.
Step
2
Choose a scent
Many pet-parents who are not experienced with scent training may first reach for the high-value food treats to directly tempt their pooches, but most experienced and professional trainers prefer to start with a specific scent. In many cases, introductory scent work kits can be purchased that are already equipped with specific scent markers like birch and anise that can be associated with a motivating reward.
Step
3
Search
Once your dog has connected the scent marker to the reward, you can intensify the search, finding more difficult hiding spots or utilizing timed trials. Most American English Coonhounds get along well with other dogs and may enjoy the activity and energy that can be found at scenting competitions and trials.
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Speak and Quiet

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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

This breed of dog was developed as a hunting dog, which required them to range far from their handler while searching and yet be able to alert them when prey has been found, so they were developed with loud, penetrating vocalizations that can carry over quite a distance. This trait is very useful during the hunt but can become bothersome at home. While teaching your dog to bark on command may seem a little counterintuitive with a dog that likes to make as much noise as the American English Coonhound, one of the best ways to teach a dog how to stop barking is to first teach them to bark on command. 

Step
1
Speak
Give the command to speak and show them their reward, when your dog barks two or three times, give them the reward. Keep repeating this step until the dog barks every time that you tell them to speak. Once this command is reliably entrenched in your dog’s mind, you will be able to go on to the next step.
Step
2
Quiet
Once your dog has a reliable grasp of the speak command, you can teach them the quiet command. In a quiet, distraction-free environment, give them the command to speak, then show them a reward and giving the new “quiet” command. When the dog stops barking to sniff the treat, praise them enthusiastically and give them their reward. Continue working on the quiet command in a distraction-free environment until the dog reliably stops barking.
Step
3
Quiet whenever
When your pooch is responding well to the quiet command in a distraction-free environment, it’s time to bring on the distractions. Slowly adding distractions like people walking by the house or children playing outside can help to cement the command so that eventually, even with the doorbell ringing or a squirrel taunting your dog from the lawn, you will be able to get quiet from your canine with just a word.
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Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 - 30 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

Hide and seek, like scent work, is a natural activity for a dog like the American English Coonhound. This is a fairly simple game that doesn’t cost much, if anything, and can be taught to your pup even at an early age. Coonhounds were developed specifically for their ability to find their prey, and they are sociable dogs who are very loyal and affectionate with their families, traits which will make this game particularly enjoyable for this breed. This game is not only fun for you and your dog, but it also helps your canine companion hone their problem-solving skills, provides practice finding things, and improves the overall bond between the dog and their owners. 

Step
1
Choosing a reward
While treats may be introduced when playing hide and seek, in many cases, they end up being unnecessary as a motivator and can add unneeded fat and calories to your dog’s diet. Your joy and praise upon being found is often all the motivation that an American English Coonhound will need to play this game.
Step
2
Hiding
When first teaching your dog this game it is best to start with just one person hiding in fairly simple location, possibly even a location that is slightly visible to make it easier for your pooch. As your dog gains confidence with this exercise, you can find increasingly difficult hiding spots or even have multiple people hiding to increase the challenge.
Step
3
Take it outside
Taking hide and seek outside can add a whole new level to this game, adding all sorts of distracting sights and sounds to the environment and increasing the challenge. It is important to choose hide and seek spaces that are securely enclosed or to have a handler with the dog if it is not enclosed as the hider may not be able to see the dog when hiding.
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More Fun Ideas...

Group Training Classes

American English Coonhounds are typically quite amicable towards other dogs and enjoy being sociable. Taking a group training class provides your dog with social interaction as well as teaching new skills or reinforcing ones that were previously learned.

Field Trials

Field trials organized by kennel clubs and other gun dog organizations can test skills like retrieving, pointing, and tracking. American English Coonhounds are usually entered in tracking trials rather than pointing or retrieving.

Flyball

Flyball is a newer canine activity that combines a high-speed game of fetch, an obstacle course, and relay race into one exciting sport.  

Conclusion

American English Coonhounds are intelligent and active canines who require a great deal of exercise and activity each day in order to maintain their physical and emotional health. This can be accomplished through a variety of means including common activities like long walks and obedience training, as well as more structured activities, such as flyball and field trials.