Training Foxhound for Skunk
Training Foxhound for Skunk-I have a foxhound puppy, aged fourteen months, large and strong and of pedigreed stock. I intended to make a skunk dog out of him and ran him many times with an old and experienced dog and one that gets them. But he did not pick up a trail himself and shows no intention of doing so. He is not gun shy and barks with the other dog when holding a skunk at bay, and if the other dog is held, will hill him.
I have caught skunks in traps and dragged them about a quarter mile and left them, then put the up on the trail, but he only ran it about a hundred feet then off at random; I called him back but he only sniffed and repeated his actions, time after time.
As this is my first dog venture I am at a loss to know what to do with him. He is not afraid of me as I have never struck him and he minds perfectly. I would like other dog men to give their views on this subject as in reading the talks on training, I do no find anything to fit my case.
It is not natural for a thoroughbred hound to hunt skunk. I find a cross between a good hound bitch and a bull dog or spaniel make the best skunk dogs. It is useless for you to bother with him, sell him to some fox hunter and purchase a female hound and raise some dogs that will need no coaxing by the cross I spoke of.
First, I think you are expecting too much of your dog as he is only 14 months old. Second, he is a foxhound and the track of a skunk does not appeal much stronger to him than it would to a bird dog. In the third place, you are starting him off wrong by dragging the skunk too far away from him; he gets tired of the track before he finds the skunk.
You catch a live skunk and tie the pup up; drag the skunk off so he can see you start with it; drag it a few yards instead of ¼ mile and then turn the pup loose, start him on the track, let him find the skunk and kill it when he will see the meaning of him following the track. A few lessons of this kind and he will soon learn to follow the track till he finds his skunk. Keep placing the skunk at a little greater distance each time.
If he should refuse to work as I have mentioned, tie him up, then tie the skunk a few feet away and go away and leave them. He will pull and tug at his chain and want to get to the skunk. When he gets real anxious, turn the skunk loose, let it get a few yards off then loose the dog’s chain from the stake and run with him after the skunk. When he finds it let him fight it a bit then pull him away and give skunk another start and repeat as before. You will soon find him running every skunk to bay that crosses his path. Give these lessons without other dogs.
Hunt him in the field with other dogs; when skunk is bayed, tie up other dogs, dig out the skunk, hold puppy till skunk is a few yards away, and as soon as it darts out of sight turn him loose and see if he won’t find it. Good luck to you.
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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