The Root of the Behavior
The original American English Coonhound was the result of mixing of a variety of different types of Coonhounds and Foxhounds to create the perfect blend of temperament, drive, and conformation that we know and love today. The breed has undergone many different name variants before finally settling on the name it bears today, a proud throwback to its heritage as both an American and an English hunting hound. Many seasoned hunters proclaim the American English Coonhound to be their hunting dog of choice and state that if they can't own one, they would rather not own a dog at all. Loyalties to this breed run quite high amongst hunters and families alike. This dog breed is attributed to be the fastest of all of the hound breeds, making him a valued asset on any hunt. American English Coonhounds were bred specifically to hunt in groups of dogs, and they are most at ease when in a pack. This breed is exceptionally friendly to both people and other animals. One distinctive hallmark of the breed is his unique hound bay employed at times of high excitability or to alert the hunter to the presence of detected prey when on a hunt. So, if the American English Coonhound was bred to participate in team activities, how come he resists any efforts you make for the two of you to work as collaboratively?
Encouraging the Behavior
Since your dog intuitively craves team-building activities, building on his hardwired in strengths is key to learning new behaviors. There is no doubt that the American English Coonhound is not the for the inexperienced dog owner. Breed experts share that it takes an inordinate amount of patient interaction to teach this type of dog a new skill. Others are also off-put by his sharp baying which can be quite loud and is impossible to ignore. As with most hound breeds, American English Coonhounds are particularly motivated by food. However, since food engages their superpower (potent scent detection), they can become so focused on the food that they become obsessed with how to get the food out of your hand instead of complying with your command. For this reason, it is best to use a lower value reward when training your American English Coonhound. This will help reduce frustration for both of you during training sessions. To date, this breed is bred nearly exclusively as a hunting dog as opposed to a family companion, though the dog's temperament makes him equally well suited to both endeavors.
Other Solutions and Considerations
American English Coonhounds are incredibly difficult to call back if they have taken off on the wind of a scent. A solid recall is an important command in every dog's "trick" repertoire, and it is no different with the American English Coonhound. However, it will take an inordinate amount of time and practice to accomplish. You may need to roll in a dead raccoon's carcass to aid your efforts. Well, not really. This breed is highly intelligent and possesses a "never give up" attitude. If channeled appropriately, these can be excellent qualities to use in training opportunities. However, due to the nature of this breed, it is unlikely that your American English Coonhound is destined for competitive obedience greatness. Since the American English Coonhound is primarily a nocturnal hunter, his bays can often be heard during nighttime forays into your yard much to your neighbors' chagrin.