Northeast Coonhound Rescue   

Training Tips

Safety First    

A few pointers to keep your dog safe:
 ------Check leash and collar equipment frequently.  Use a leather collar with a metal buckle. The black plastic spring-pinch buckles can pop open and dogs have been lost this way.  The collar should be snug so that two fingers can fit tightly underneath.  If you can pull the collar over your dog's head, so can he.
NECR does not support the use of prong collars. Please see the following link:
Effective  and safe gear for controlling pulling on lead include the Easy-Walk brand ( or other frontleading) harness, or Gentle Leader.  Both available at most pet stores.
When travelling, be careful when car doors open. Have someone in the car hold the dog's leash or collar. When alone, use extra care, or tie the dog to a headrest while you get out. Keep a leash on your dog while in the car - unless he'll chew it.
Raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, xylitol ( in sugarless gum) and chocolate can be toxic to dogs.  Keep hydrogen peroxide on hand and know how to make your dog vomit in the case he gets into these things.
------Check latches on storm doors. Make sure that door and gates close securely, and that all houseguests and visitors know the rules regarding doors and dog safety.
------Check fencing and gates routinely.  Make sure there are no gaps or digging spots under fences. Gates should be as high as the fence and have secure latches.

Will You Have More Than One Dog ?    

If you are introducing your new hound to resident dogs, follow these tips - this applies to introducing any dogs, but especially rescues who may be coming from a difficult past.
- First meeting should be in a neutral place. Meet in a park or take a walk together in a place away from your home.
-If that goes well, progress to time together in your yard, staying outside the house. If first meetings can occur in a fenced area without leashes on the dogs, it will give them more freedom and confidence to interact.
-When the dogs seem comfortable together, bring them into the house.  Prepare the area by removing dishes with food, beds, and toys - anything that could provoke a conflict.  Leave plenty of room around doors and make sure there is enough space around furniture so that no one gets cornered easily.
-It's often best to feed dogs seperately, in different rooms, or in their crates.  Some rescues have experienced hunger and they can be possessive around food.
-Do not give the dogs 'high value' chew items for several months.  This would include
rawhides, soup bones, and any other toys or items that resident dogs are especially excited about. 
-Offer petting and treats equally.  Have both dogs sit before you for treats, pet both dogs simultaneously, etc.  Having both dogs able to perform a solid 'sit' command will help in these situations.
Follow this link to a good article on the subject:

Dogs and Young Children

You can never be careful enough around dogs and young children, toddlers especially.  Crates and constant vigilance are your best tools to keep everyone safe.  Even if the dog seems fine around your child, every day is a new day as the child becomes stronger, bigger, and more mobile.  Who can predict which day the dog might get to the point of snapping or nipping in frustration?  Some dogs who are well-trained around adults will see children as creatures of equal stature and may challenge them.
Seek professional help from a trainer if a child is entering your life.  Learn to read your dog's body language to sense discomfort, stress or anxiety. A few guidelines: children should never be near dogs when they are eating, nor should they approach dogs who are sleeping.  Games of 'chase' and tug-of-war should not be allowed. These can escalate into dominance struggles.  NEVER leave dogs and young children in a room alone.

Walking on Leash Without Pulling                  

Some of the coonhounds we get have never walked on a leash before.  They are usually accustomed to it within a day or two and will at least walk in one direction, However, it is common for them to pull on the leash.  Many coonhound owners prefer a front-leading harness (such as the EasyWalk brand) used with a retractable tape leash.  Get the retractable leash with tape all the way up  - not the rope type which can give rope burns.  This will give your hound freedom to sniff and the front-leading harness will prevent pulling. Techniques like ‘orbit walking’ are very effective and worth trying before resorting to choke collars. 

 There are also types of collars, like Martingales, pinch and choke collars which can be used to control pulling.  Pinch collars and chokers need to be used properly. A quick, firm (but not violent) "pop" communicates to the dog without doing damage or creating a lot of pain.   Constant pulling should not be allowed.

 Orbit or Radius Walking:The object is to NEVER allow the dog to pull you.  You don't necessarily want to walk a coonhound in the 'heel' position, they typically like more leeway and will enjoy sniffing.  But you do want them to stay within a radius of you ( slightly less than the length of the leash). When he reaches the end of the leash and pulls, stop, or walk in the opposite direction.  Don't yank on the dog, but do hold the leash very firmly against your body so that as the dog reaches the end it results in a solid "pop", rather like the result of a chained dog running to the end of its tether.

Most dogs that want to pull are wanting to "lead the charge". Unless there's something specific to focus on (like a squirrel or cat) they don't really care what direction you're going in; they just want to get there first. In such a situation reversing usually means that the dog will respond by running past you to take the lead again, and by the time he gets there you've reversed again. If I do this with the typical mutt or herding breed I usually have to reverse only a handful of times before the dog gets the idea that running to the end of the lead is counterproductive. Some scenthounds take a lot more repetition to get the message, but they still get it.

If you don't think you can readily master this technique, then "just stopping" is easy, and will eventually work, though it takes longer. One important point is that the dog must learn that he will NEVER get to go where he's trying to pull you. If he succeeds even occasionally, he'll "play the lottery" to see whether THIS time he can get away with it. The other important point is that you have to use a collar that's appropriate to what you're doing, and you don't ever want to have the dog on a choker or prong collar if the situation will allow continuous, strong pulling. You can also carry small treats with you, call the dog back to you and reward,  If she looks back at you and slows or stops her ‘charge’, also reward. There are videos on which illustrate these techniques.     

           Orbit Walking Video

Crate Training

Having a crate-trained dog will make life much easier.  There may be occasions when children are visiting, non-dog-lovers are visiting, or you’re entertaining with food around.  You’ll want to set things up so that the dog regards his crate as a secure spot, his ‘den’, a place to nap and have downtime.  This can be done by making it comfortable, giving him treats when he goes in, and not confining him for too long a period of time.  Some people feed their dogs in the crate as a way of insuring that the dog has positive associations with it.  Get a crate big enough for your dog to stand up in. If it’s a wire crate that he can see out of on all sides, you may want to cover 3 sides with a blanket or beach towel.  This will make it quieter, and there will be less visual stimulation if he’s not so aware of family being around nearby.
Never use the crate as punishment. Puzzle toys, like kongs or hollow balls where treats can be hidden will give your dog some stimulation while in the crate for a period of time. Take your dog out to potty before putting him in the crate, and immediately on release from the crate. Never let the dog out if he’s barking or whining.  Wait until he’s been quiet for a bit.  You will only reinforce that barking/whining will result in getting out. For puppies 4 -6 months old, about 3 hours duration in the crate is max; for older puppies and adults 4 – 5 hours should be the max without a break for potty and play. There’s plenty more on the internet if you google ‘Crate Training’.


Carry a treat with you when you go outside to potty.  Give your dog the treat and praise immediately when she goes – or even while she’s peeing.  This is better reinforcement than rewarding back inside the house. Crate training is a big help with housebreaking.  Your dog will need to go when released from the crate, so this helps to time and predict his need to go out.  Take him out immediately on release from the crate.  Then he can play loose in the house for a while. Take him back out before putting him back in the crate as well. Dogs often like to go in the same spot, so you’ll have better results if you take your dog to a spot where he previously peed.  If you’re having trouble getting him to go outside, take a paper towel with pee on it to a spot outside and let him sniff that – he may get the hint. If you’re traveling, visiting, or on a walk somewhere else, take your dog to a similar surface he’s used to peeing on (i.e. if she likes leaves, find a spot with leaves; if she likes crushed stone/gravel, find a spot with that surface)  Males are a little easier because they usually just seek out a vertical object.

General Obedience 

A dog who's had some obedience training is easier to handle for many reasons.  Not only is it useful to have your dog 'sit' or 'come' on command, but the process of training reinforces your role as the 'Alpha' being and pack leader.  It also gives your dog confidence to experience that there are predictable outcomes for certain (positive) behaviors.

Positive-based training works best with most dogs, especially coonhounds.  Some of our rescues have come from a difficult past and can easily develop trust issues if treated harshly.  Good pointers for positive-based training can be found here:

Training class are a great way to spend time with your dog, and a useful environment for establishing obedience routines with distractions ( other dogs and people) present.  Also consider bringing a trainer to your home once or twice - that can be a much better way to work on behaviors you experience there like counter surfing, barking at the doorbell, etc.


It's tempting to react when a dog is barking for attention or food, but it's important to avoid rewarding this behavior.  If your dog is barking to get something from you, turn your back and ignore him.  Don't turn your attention back to the dog until he's quiet. Practice using the word 'quiet', and then reward after the dog has stopped barking for a bit.  It sometimes works to whisper and be very quiet yourself while keeping your dog in a quiet state.  If you yell, the barking can escalate.  Never let a dog out of a crate when he's barking.  Make him be quiet, then let him out.

Introducing Cats and Dogs

 Working with Dog and cat introductions takes time.  It can take a few days or a few weeks or longer.

The key is supervised introductions and each animal should have time to be out and about while the other is in a crate or room.  Trade off blankets with the dog's smell to the cat and vice versa.
The cat should have a safe place to get too where the dog can not go. The dog should be leashed when the cat is in the room.  DO NOT let the dog chase the cat.  If he wants to chase the cat redirect him to something else.  When he is behaving how you want him to around the cat praise him with treats and soft gentle words.

You can not rush this.  They may never be best friends...but they may be.  I have a cat now who was wonderful with dogs at the shelter...we got him home and he was going to eat my dogs for dinner.  It took time and doing lots of what I explained.  Rotating cats and dogs in and out of rooms, etc..Letting them see each other...but not escalate to chasing or hurting each other.
This cat that was going to eat my dogs for sleeps with them:)  But it took time and did not happen over night..more like 4-8 weeks.
The best thing you can do is invest some time and patience and let them gradually get comfortable with each other, but monitoring them together and GRADUALLY introducing them.

Below is a link to some additional info

This article mentions feeding the dog and cat on opposite sides of a closed dooe.
I have not tried the feeding on opposite sides of the doors, as where I feed my animals , there are no doors.  But I could see treating them on opposite sides of a door.  Or when it is safe maybe a secure baby gate between them with the dog still on a leash.

Resource Guarding

Follow this link to a good article on resource guarding and food:

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