- Once you have chosen your breed of coon dog, take him to the veterinarian for a checkup. This is especially important if it a newborn puppy. There is not much point spending many hours over many weeks training a dog that is unhealthy. Be sure to get him all the necessary vaccinations. Furthermore, feed your dog high-quality dog food. Many varieties of dog food contain a lot of filler that provides little to no nutrition. These steps will make your training processes as easy as possible.
- Enroll your dog in an obedience training class very early on. If a dog is going to hunt effectively, he must have a strong and reliable relationship with his master. Making sure your dog is trained in basic skills such as sitting, laying, heeling, coming and staying will create an excellent background for the more specialized coon dog training. Make sure he can accomplish these tasks both on and off the leash. When it comes to obedience training, the earlier you start, the better.
- The next step is to teach your dog how to follow a scent. Given the objective of training him to be a coon hunter, this is best achieved using a raccoon carcass. Drag the carcass around your yard in a winding pattern and tie it to a tree. As coon hunting involves chasing raccoons up trees, it is very important that the dog learns to look for raccoons in trees early on. Each time he finds the raccoon, praise him and give him a treat.
- Before you take your dog out on his first hunt, allow him to become familiar with raccoons up close. Trap a raccoon in a crate and allow the dog to sniff around the cage and engage with the raccoon at a safe distance. If the trapped raccoon does not excite him, continue scent training until he does. If he does get excited, your dog is ready for his first hunt.