How to Train Your Bloodhound Dog to Duck Hunt

Hard
2-6 Months
Work

Introduction

Your Bloodhound has lived up to expectations. He’s stubborn, even-tempered, gentle, and affectionate. Not to mention he’s cuddly despite being on the large side. You love having him around the house. He puts a smile on your face when you walk down the stairs in the morning and he’s the only member of the family that won’t talk through your favorite TV show. You also wanted him for another reason though - to hunt duck. He’s definitely up to the task, it’s in his DNA. Bloodhounds have been used to track humans and animals since the middle ages!

Training him to hunt duck comes with a number of benefits. Firstly, it’s a fantastic way to channel his energy into something productive. Secondly, it’s a great way for you both to bond. Finally, it could seriously enhance your hunting performance.

Defining Tasks

Although Bloodhounds possess all the attributes needed to be effective duck hunters, that doesn’t make training a straightforward challenge. You will need to use strict obedience commands to turn him into an efficient hunting companion. Training will also consist of getting him used to his future prey and the hunting environment. Another key element will involve training him to use that powerful nose. His nose will also be the way to motivate him throughout training. Often, with Bloodhounds, the more a food smells the better.

If he’s a puppy, he should be full of energy and a fast learner. You could see results in just a couple of months. If he’s older and not quite as receptive as he once was, then you may need up to six months. If training goes to plan, you will have the ideal hunting partner to take out with you.

Getting Started

Before you can start training, you will need to collect a few things. Get your hands on some duck decoy toys. Also, head online or to a local store and pick up some duck scent spray. Stock up on treats, or break his favorite food into small chunks. Cheese is often an effective incentive.

Try and set aside 15 minutes each day for training. The more frequently you train, the sooner you will see results. You can use a yard and local fields. 

Once you have all that, just bring patience and optimism, then training can start!

The Start Early Method

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Step
1
Day one
The sooner you start training your Bloodhound the better. Take him to obedience classes so he learns all the basic commands, from ‘down’ to ‘stay’. This discipline will prepare him for future hunting scenarios.
Step
2
Hunting environment
Take him out so he’s used to being in hunting situations. The earlier you start doing this, the less scared he will be at the sights and sounds he will encounter later on. You don’t want him bolting at the sound of a gun shot, for example.
Step
3
Encouragement
You need to encourage all the behaviors you want to see later on from an early age. That means giving him the odd treat and verbal praise when he chases or shows any interest in ducks.
Step
4
Tug of war & fetch
Both games will him practice some of the vital skills he will need later on when he’s hunting. So, spend a few minutes each day playing both games. Use treats and be animated throughout play.
Step
5
Reward
You must make sure you always reward your Bloodhound when he hunts duck. To begin with, even give him a tasty treat when he fails. If you don’t, you will often find that he gives up trying.
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The Lead By Example Method

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Step
1
Decoy play
Spend a few minutes each day playing with the duck decoys. You can play tug of war and just really try to get him worked up and excited by the sight of them. Leave them in his bed overnight too. You want to get him familiar with the appearance of his future prey.
Step
2
Draw his attention
Start taking him out hunting regularly. Then whenever you see a duck, try to draw his attention to it. Point to it and talk in a high-pitched voice. Continue until he catches on.
Step
3
Give chase
Once he knows what you are looking at, start running towards the duck. Wave your hands in the air and shout as you go. Bloodhounds mirror their owners' behavior. So, if he sees you always go crazy around ducks and chase after them, he will soon start doing the same.
Step
4
Reward
Once he does catch a duck, make sure you hand over a mouth-watering treat. Bloodhounds need consistent encouragement, particularly to start with. So, even if he doesn’t succeed, still give him a reward.
Step
5
Don’t punish him
Some individuals make the mistake of punishing their Bloodhound when they do not succeed. This will only deter him from trying next time. You must stay animated and encouraging throughout.
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The Scent Adventure Method

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Step
1
Scent spray
Apply some duck scent spray to the decoy toys. Then spend a few minutes in the morning and evening playing around with those decoys. You want to get him familiar with both the sight and smell of his future prey. The more worked up you can get him, the more eager he will be to hunt duck later on.
Step
2
Setting up
Now head outside and create a scent trail with duck scent. Have it leading from the door, around your yard and finishing with a hidden decoy. You’re going to teach him to sniff out his prey.
Step
3
Head out
Secure him to a leash and take him to the beginning of the trail. Encourage him to follow the trail by pointing to the ground and keeping him on task if he starts to lose interest. Make sure you always lead him to the very end so he knows something is always waiting for him.
Step
4
Reward
Once he’s got the decoy, let him play around with it for a couple of minutes. Give him lots of verbal praise and hand over some tasty treats too. The greater the reward, the more he will want to play again.
Step
5
Change it up
Create these trails in your yard and practice every few days. Once he gets good, start making trails out in local fields. You can then spread the scent trails out and make them more challenging. If you do this regularly, he will soon start naturally hunting duck at any given opportunity.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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