How to Start A Coonhound Puppy to Hunt Raccoons
Coonhound training should start when the puppy is about 12 weeks old. The dog should be trained early in the morning, or after a rain. The wet ground helps the puppy's scent glands work more effectively. You also want the puppy to get used to walking in water and mud puddles.
Apply the contents of a bottle of raccoon scent to a "drag" of some sort. It can be an old rag or a retrieving dummy. If you find a recently road-killed raccoon and aren't squimish, skin it and use that as your scent drag.
Let the puppy play with the scented dummy or coon hide. Reward the puppy with a treat for showing this interest.
Take the drag away from the puppy before it loses interest. This is referred to as "putting them away hot." Repeat this procedure for three days.
Attach the drag item to a rope and pull it around your yard. Leave the puppy in the house while you do this. Leave the drag on the ground, but not in clear view.
Bring the puppy out and place them on the ground near where you started your dragging. Reward them cheerfully for showing interest in the scent. Encourage them to find it with a verbal command like "find the squeak toy."
Let the dogs play with the hide/drag once they find it, but "put them away hot." Repeat this play for about 10 minutes every other day for two weeks.