If you’re worried about coyotes encroaching on your territory where your pets roam free or where you keep valuable livestock, then it may be time to consider training your dog or buying a new dog to train to become a coyote dog to protect your environment.
Having a trained coyote dog to protect your property will not only keep coyotes from aggravating and attacking your livestock, but it’ll also stop any possible dangerous situations of them coming into contact with your household pets and any children you may have.
However, training a coyote dog is a little more complex than training your regular pet dog and you’ll need to be thorough with your training schedule to ensure they are confident with hunting coyotes and protecting your land.
In this article, we’ll be giving you the best advice for how to train your coyote dog in a positive way that strays away from aversive methods that can sometimes tarnish the relationship between you and your dog.
Choosing The Right Dog
Unfortunately, not just any dog will be cut out to be a coyote dog, so if you’ve only got little dachshunds currently roaming around your farm, then you may have to think about purchasing a bigger one (preferably one with natural hunting instincts).
Your dog should be of a similar size to that of a coyote, if it’s smaller then it will be easier for the coyote to take it down if a fight does occur after baying up your dog, however, you don’t want your hunting dog to be too big as this will intimidate the coyote and cause it to run off instead of being baited by your dog.
The right dog will be pretty intelligent, eager to learn, and obedient to your commands and sometimes it might be better worth your time to buy a new dog to hunt coyotes rather than trying to train your family dogs, as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
You’ll need to find a breed that instantly obeys your commands but still also has that instinct to chase and hunt when the prey is in their sights and you have instructed them to.
A breed that is fast and athletic to run and chase a coyote is essential but they’ll also need to be well-built and strong enough to fight one-off when the coyote turns to battle them.
Some breeds that coyote hunters use is the mountain cur as it’s a brilliant fighter yet highly intelligent to be able to follow your commands to a T.
However, other breeds that would be suitable for the role are an American Staghound, Plott Hounds, and Greyhounds and there are even some hunters out there that have used labradors to help hunt coyotes.
Nail Down Basic Obedience
You can’t run before you can walk, so it’s essential that you nail down and master basic obedience and have your dog respect you as an owner before you can move on to more advanced coyote hunting training.
You can easily train your dog basic obedience skills at home by yourself using treats and positive reinforcement, but try not to punish them when they get it wrong.
Try to limit your obedience sessions to 45 minutes maximum as the dog will soon become tired and bored, especially if they’re not quite on track that day.
If you’re having no luck, or don’t have adequate time to train your dog, then you can take them to obedience training classes at a puppy school, a local pet store, or even at a local animal shelter.
The basic obedience commands and skills your dog should know before you advance on to further training are sit, stay, down, come, heel, off, and no.
Ideally, your dog should be no younger than 8 months old before you then introduce them to training in the field for hunting coyotes.
This is necessary not only because they need to have been thoroughly trained from a young age, but also because you need to wait for their adult teeth to grow in otherwise they won’t be capable of fighting back if the coyote attacks and could end up getting seriously hurt, or even worse, killed.
Get Them Comfortable With The Surroundings
As well as having your basic obedience under your belt, you’ll also want to have a good relationship with your dog, otherwise, if they don’t consider you as a friend or family, then they won’t respect you out in the field and may become more likely to not listen to your commands.
You’ll want to begin with taking them out into your local environment, preferably a field where there are lots for them to see and take in so they can get comfortable in their surroundings.
However, you must keep your dog on the leash during this time.
Try to find an area that has a handful of other prey that may entice them such as snakes, skunks, or anything else that may move through fields, and correct them when they try to pull and chase them as they’ll need to learn that this is not the prey they are after.
Once they have learned to resist chasing everything they come across and you have good faith in them, then you can let them off the leash and allow them to run loose on your outings during your training sessions in the field.
Introduce The Coyote To Your Training
Now it’s time to introduce a coyote to your training and you can do this by baiting some into the area or either calling them in, but ensuring your dog is tied up in a safe location away from the coyote but where they can still see them.
You’ll also need to make sure your dog is a safe- distance away from your gun to protect their hearing, but if you’re unsure you can put cotton balls in the area to dampen the noise of the gunshot.
You may need to take some time whilst your dog becomes well adjusted to the sound of gunshots. Make sure the coyote is within the eyesight of your dog and shoot it down where they can see it.
It’s now time to release your dog and see if he can find the downed coyote on his own. Once the dog does find the dead coyote, make sure to give them plenty of appraisals so they can understand what you want them to do next time.
Then either you or a friend can drag the shot coyote along the floor to create a scent trail for your dog to track and allow your dog to find coyote scents and track them over long distances.
You will need to put your dog back on a leash or tie them in a safe location whilst you do this.
Before you allow your dog to run free whilst coyote hunting, try to practice your recall with them with and without distractions around them so you know they’ll return to you when you command them to.
Once you’ve practiced enough times, you’ll find you and your dog have fabricated a good partnership to be able to hunt coyotes together.
If you don’t have full confidence in your hunting dog as of yet, then try to go out hunting with other coyote hunting dogs that you may have or those of friends.
You’ll be able to use your dog as a decoy to lure coyotes into the area but they’ll also be able to immediately respond to your commands when you call them back in when you’re ready to shoot the coyote.
They’ll also be comfortable with tracking and recovering wounded animals and coyotes they may come across and deeper into their hunting career they will have encountered a few fights with coyotes and hopefully come off as the stronger contender.
We would highly recommend using a tracking or GPS collar on your dog, especially if you hunt on a large bit of land as hunting dogs can end up running an awful lot of miles and can sometimes run too far from your sight or from where they can hear you.
Whilst your dog may now be able to hunt with you, don’t hesitate to return to practicing coyote hunting with your dog if they need a bit of a refresh.
You’ll also want to make sure you keep a good connection with your dog and always reward them when they’ve done well when out in the field and make them feel appreciated when they return home with you, after all, dogs are a man’s best friend.