Rabbit Dog Training Tips?

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Rabbit Dog Training Tips?

This is a discussion on Rabbit Dog Training Tips? within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; I have a Beagle and Beagle/Bassett Hound that I would love to train to Rabbit hunt. I am a little late considering one is 9 ...

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Old 03-01-2013, 09:52 PM
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Rabbit Dog Training Tips?

I have a Beagle and Beagle/Bassett Hound that I would love to train to Rabbit hunt. I am a little late considering one is 9 months and the other 7 months. Neither dog has really been around a rabbit except a small introduction to a tame one that ended in lots of baying. so how would I start training?
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:17 AM
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You will need a rabbit pelt to start. Some cat toys (hairy mice, will say on the label) are made with rabbit fur.
What are you wanting them to do when they find a rabbit? Are you wanting them to flush it or alert to it?
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:40 AM
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We want them to flush
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:52 AM
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Take the pelt or toy and tight a string to it. Start by dragging it on the ground getting them to follow it (chase it). Once they are doing that really good. Have someone hold the dog(or you hold while some else sets it up) so it can watch you drag it across the ground. Then drop it in on the ground. Walk away and tell the dog to find it..or get the bunny...what every command you choose. Release the dog for it to get it. Do this a few times putting it behind trees..in the bushes etc.. Then do the same but with the dog unable to see (turn them around) once set turn the dog back around and give chosen command. If you do not want them to actually grab the pelt have their favorite toy ready to toss as reward for finding.

When I trained for SAR this is how we introduced the dog to search. They were then taught a bark alert when person was found. When working cadaver dogs we used hair and teeth in a bucket. 5 to 6 buckets one containing the object to find. They were taught to sit and alert to the correct bucket.

Have fun...All will enjoy
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:33 AM
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Beagles and bassets don't really flush like a pointer or spaniel would flush a pheasant. They get on a track and open up, or howl to alert that they have found the track. Rarely will you get a sight chase early on. While on the trail a good rabbit hound gives a steady chop chop chop style bark getting more frantic as they get closer. Rabbit hunting with dogs plays on the natural tendency of the rabbit to circle back to its den. Rabbits are homebodies, when they think they are far enough ahead of the dogs they circle back, not wanting to leave their territory.

Your biggest challenges will be recall/staying in range and running off game like deer or birds.

The most important thing is teach the dog to be vocal. Get pelts, tame rabbits, visit a starting pen in your area (I may be able to help you find one) or make your own pen if you have the space.

Beagles and bassets will never handle or behave like bird dogs. They are different breeds that do a totally different style of hunting. Hounds of any sort are inherently independent and autonomous. thats why it is essential to have your hound well trained and be super in tune with their tendencies in the woods, because once the chase is on, the hound many times will be out of your sight and thinking for himself (the out of sight thing is also why they need to be vocal. A silent trailing beagle is about as useful as a solar powered flashlight)

You'll love rabbit hunting! Beware its addicting, after your first season I bet you'll be set on a few more hounds!

Pm me any time with any hunting questions and I'd be more than happy to help! I've always had hunting dogs and have my first beagle now and we love to bag some bunnies when we get the chance!
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