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Rescued Coon Hound and Barn Cats

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  • Rescued Coon Hound and Barn Cats

    We recently had a very cute coonhound dumped on our farm. Didn't have the heart to take him to the shelter (kill in 5 days), Humane Society says they are very hard to place. So he's ours.

    He's very well behaved indoors, but, of course loves to run. We're working on boundaries, but this is the most difficult dog I've ever tried to train to boundaries.

    The biggest problem is he is terrifying the barn cats when he gets loose (which happens very infrequently, managed to slip his collar a couple of times). Just "treed" one of my cats up the utility pole. We're hoping to be able to train him to go to the barn, if and when we get the boundary issues solved. Is it a hopeless task? As a side note, we have an older cocker spaniel that just flat out is not allowed near the cats. Haven't been able to break her of chasing, but she knows she's not allowed past the gate to the barn, so I haven't really put any effort into it. She's just as happy snoozing in her basket anyway.

    Any suggestions welcome.

  • #2
    2 words.

    Shock collar

    Flame away, but our hound understands boundaries now - whether at home or away.


    • #3
      I second the shock collar. I have coon hound that is trained to come when a sports whistle is blown. Often, her "ears are put on" (the shock collar), when she forgets her name or the whistle.
      Shock collars are wonderful for training your hound. Be consistent in everything you do in training.
      When your coonhound looks at the cats, be firm in telling him 'no', 'no chase', 'no cats', 'leave it' --- whatever phrase you use with a reminding zap from the shock collar.

      The shock collar I have is a dogtra 175 NCP. I got it from Cabela's.
      Also available at www.gundogsupply.com


      • Original Poster

        Ah, hadn't thought of that. I know invisible fence won't work for my cocker when she's on the scent. Never thought of a shock collar.


        • #5
          My advice: If the OP decides not to go the shock collar route, rehome it with a member of a tree walking coonhound association. The dog will be able to do the job it was bred to do (tree raccoons without killing them--if you need an explanation PM me and I'll be happy to explain it), and will probably be very good in competition. The people who compete these dogs really do enjoy them for this sport, and no one is harmed. Some folks get coonhounds because they are marketed as good hunters--meaning tree climbers. But the person taking the dog is thinking of gun hunting and not tree climbing competitions, and when the dog turns out to be afraid of guns, they dump the dog. If it is treeing your cats, it will also tree squirrels, and try to tree pigeons, most birds, etc. A coonhounds instincts are hardwired in, and the usual disciplinary action doesn't cut the mustard for long here. Some feel that they are both lovable and bull-headed.

          Mine was a tree climber. After we owned him for a while, we loaned him out to a kid who took him hunting in deep woods many, many miles away for a few weeks, thinking was a gun dog (my father forgot to make the tree climbing part clear). The dog took off after the first shot, and three weeks later he found his way back to our front yard. Since we thought he was gone for good, we were stunned to find him sitting there waiting for breakfast when we got out of bed that morning. His survival instincts were fabulous, and he used his nose to find his way home. Since he was in fairly good condition, he either bummed a few meals along the way, or did his own hunting (he was fond of flushing up large birds, then grabbing them, shaking them to death and then eating them). However, he was terrified of thunder from there on in. I have also heard about this problem from blood hound owners as well--miscasting a walker as a gun dog, with lasting repercussions.

          Good luck with your dog.
          "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



          • Original Poster

            Oh, we intend to keep him. We live in Kentucky, south of Lexington (and you can read into that whatever you want). He's a couch potato in the house now and our lab loves him. They are best buds, which takes the pressure off my senior collie. Now she can sleep in the sun in peace.

            Daughter is contacting some bird dog hunter friends to get some ideas on training. I do believe I will try the shock collar. As I said, we had really considered invisible fence, but knowing how the cocker runs through it, was pretty sure it's not a solution.

            By the way, he's great for catching whatever voles the cats miss.


            • #7
              "A coonhounds instincts are hardwired in, and the usual disciplinary action doesn't cut the mustard for long here. Some feel that they are both lovable and bull-headed" I agree!

              As a fellow coonie lover, congrats on your new dog. They make WONDERFUL pets. They are very loving and loyal but can also be stubborn. Your dog is just doing what he is bred to do which is tree small animals. It also will never learn boundaries becuase those are dictated by his nose.

              A shock collar may work but you must be very consistent, and it's natural instincts may still overide it. Also, shock collars have a certain range and if the dog gets past the range it will be ineffective. The very best solution is to keep it fenced in or on a leash (in my opinion).

              Good luck! I would love to see pictures of your new dog!
              Last edited by spotnnotfarm; Dec. 28, 2009, 09:11 AM. Reason: Yikes! Spelling errors


              • #8
                You might want to post your question in the hunting forum.

                There are several whippers-in, Masters and huntsmen that would be very happy to give you some advice. They need to be able to train and control up to 60 hounds at a time!!!

                I LOVE coonhounds - ahem - you owe us pictures!

                And curse the person who dumped that poor thing.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  Ooo, a good coon hound can be hard to find and great to have!
                  They do require some creative training and very consistant handling to not do what their instincts tell them to do though. But if you're up for the challenge , the work is worth it.
                  I'm not a huge fan of shock collars, but in cases of dogs seriously going after other animals like cats or chickens or whatever...it can be a help. But like mentioned...you have to be 100% consistant with it at all times. Which means the dog does not go outside untended and not without the collar ever. You always have to be there with the dog in sight because if he gets shocked it has to be at the right time, every single time. And use a verbal command about 1 second before using the shock. The idea is to wean him off the shock eventually and get him to listen to the voice command instead.
                  Or else I can try to catch and send you Boy Kitty. A semi-feral, semi-outside-pet cat that hangs out here often. A huge tom, has a neck and head like a bulldog and so far I haven't met a dog that has a chance around him. However I'm not sure I could get him in a crate with all my body parts intact.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • Original Poster

                    Looking for a decent picture. I will post on hunting. We are very consistent (just treat the dogs like horses). He is an incredibly sweet dog. I have found he's more difficult to train than any of our others, but once he learns the lesson, it's not forgotten.

                    We are putting up more fence in the yard and plan to run electric around the bottom two boards.


                    • #11
                      I agree 110% with Misty. They are great dogs but need different training. I found treat training is very helpful but like Misty said one time with out the collar and the dog will usually follow instincts. I have used a collar on mine and found it worked ok, I used the one that beeps before it zaps so that way the dog learns to listen to the beep. A fence is your best bet. I can't wait to see pictures!

                      By the way, thank you for keeping him. They are wonderful, wonderful pets!


                      • #12
                        I 3rd or 4th the shock collar for the hound. I have a coonhound and this is the only thing that has made her pay attention.

                        We just put it on her when we let her out. No shocking now, she understands the collar means stay at home...even if there is a squirrel in the woods behind us.


                        • #13
                          If he only does it when he slips his collar, perhaps it's time to buy a collar that fits. Or a martingale collar that tightens when the dog pulls back against it.


                          • Original Poster

                            Working on pictures. He slips the collar with my husband and occasionally sneaks out the door. That's really not the problem. He does come back fairly quickly when called. The biggest problem is I would like to be able to have him off leash. Thanks for all the suggestions, plan to try the shock collar. The lab was WAY easier to train!


                            • #15
                              Hmmm, very interesting! We have a 1/2-tree walker hound and 1/2 dalmation mix. He is bullheaded for sure. We have to teach him the same lessons over and over and over...we also live in a subdivision with no fenced yard, so we just never let him off of his leash outside. It's a shame, because he could use the exercise. He is HUGE and has lots of energy (100 lbs).

                              The shock collar is an interesting idea. I'll have to look into that.

                              He is also a total love and follows my daughter and I around like a shadow. He does have a tendency to chase the cats, though he never hurts them. He is gradually learning not to do this, after 2 1/2 years--though he still wants to chase the new stray kitty we adopted last month. Silly dog.



                              • Original Poster

                                I don't really care if the dogs chase the "intruder" cats. My other two inside/outside dogs know which cats are ours. The collie is in love with the cats and they with her. However, she hates the intruder white cat and, now that her vision is going, mistakes the flea bitten gray for the cat...and that's the 17.3hh ISH!


                                • #17
                                  I am VERY anti-shock collars. If you go that route, my advice is get ahold of a dog trainer who can teach you the correct way to use one in training your dog. I would definitely never use one to teach to respect not chasing cats or to get along with other dogs or not get too excited when strangers come, situations like that. You could very easily end up with an aggressive-fearful dog who now has displaced aggression tendencies-"cats=shock", not,"I chase cats, I get shocked." I can see how in the right hands, it is a useful training aid to ward off a potentially dangerous habit-such as running away, chasing cars, chasing deer, etc.

                                  As has been mentioned, certain breeds have certain traits bred into them and it is very difficult to train them out of an adult dog. The invisible fence may work for certain dogs, but not for scent dogs who pick up and go. I think what helps with those breeds is to have a boundary where the invisible fence is-like a fence or shrubbery, so that the dog has to slow down to escape and then is shocked by the fence, whereas no boundary they are most likely to continue with their momentum across the line.

                                  I worked for a family who had a trainer help to teach their dogs to respect their boundaries with post and rail horse fencing (dogs could escape through the rails) with the electric collar. Worked for them, but again, a professional trained the dogs 1st, then taught humans how to use and all went well. But it is like most training aids, you have to know how to use them properly, how to reward and correct behavior, and be VERY consistent so that the dog understands what he is supposed to do/don't do.