Very young dogs are started learning how to scent raccoons; puppies as young as 5-8 weeks can be taken out and given access to raccoon scent to track, although you will not want to allow such a young dog access to a live animal where the dog could be injured. Scent trails should involve varied terrain, and your dog should learn to look up trees for quarry as this is where a raccoon will retreat to escape hunting dogs. Hunting raccoons is often done with a pack of dogs, and training a pack, or accessing someone with other dogs to work with, is common. You will want to train your raccoon hunting dog to locate raccoons by scent, not by sight, as coming across scent trails is much more common--raccoons are nocturnal and can be reclusive and difficult to find visually. Although verbal correction when following scent trails may be necessary to keep your dog on task, you should avoid punishment, as this is discouraging and confusing for the dog. While training dogs when they are young to get excited about following raccoons, and scent trails is common, hunting live animals and in packs is usually resolved for more mature animals, as an inexperienced dog can be injured or separated from the pack and become lost in open areas.
Consult with experienced coonhound trainers with packs of experienced dogs to get advice and access to experienced dogs. You can train your dog to scent raccoons using a scented drag. Raccoon scent is available commercially, or an old raccoon pelt with scent applied can be used. Basic obedience commands and good off-leash commands are important for your dog's safety, and so you can recall your dog if they put themselves in a dangerous or hazardous situation. If you will be traveling to raccoon hunting sites, dogs may be transported in crates or kennels in off-road vehicles to hunting sites, and getting your dog used to loading up will be useful. Dogs should also be acclimatized to the sight and sounds of guns prior to the hunt so they do not become frightened and bolt when a gun is fired. Using tracking collars on hunting dogs is another safety measure many hunters employ to ensure that dogs do not get separated from pack members and handlers.