How to train a squirrel dog!


Many squirrel dog enthusiasts have various ideas on how to train a squirrel dog. It is my opinion that you should start with good hunting bloodlines first. This will increase the chances of your pup making a squirrel dog. The following should give you some suggestions…

Step 1: Socialize the puppy early. Whether you pick up the puppy at 6 weeks or 12 weeks, give him as much human interaction as possible. If you have children, let them play with the puppy as much as possible. This really is the fastest method of socializing a puppy.

Step 3: Then, around 8 to 12 weeks of age, work on basic obedience and by all means get the pup used to wearing a collar and work on breaking it to walk on a leash. If you do this early, he will save himself a lot of heartache in the future while hunting in the woods!

Step 4: At around 12 to 14 weeks of age, start taking the pup on short walks through the woods of 10 to 30 minutes maximum. This allows the pup to get what I call “Woods Wise”. Woods Wise is nothing more than getting familiar and comfortable with all the different sights, sounds, and smells the woods have to offer. It also makes a big difference in the overall maturity of the pup.

Step 5: At around 3 to 6 months of age, start tugging and playing with the pup with squirrel tails, fur, or dead squirrels. Use this time to get the pup to look up into the trees at the tail, fur, or dead squirrel. Once the pup starts barking trees, move on to the next step. There are many different methods that can be used to make the puppy “look up”…

Step 6: Caged squirrel. This step can be skipped if the pup has already barked at a wild squirrel. Personally, I don’t like to use crated play as a training method, but it can be useful if you have limited resources to get the pup into an area where there are squirrels. Still, trap and place a live squirrel in a cage and place the caged squirrel in a high place such as a stump, picnic table, brush, etc… Casually walk your pup near the area where the squirrel is. caged. This will allow the pup to locate the caged squirrel on its own. As the pups’ curiosity gets the better of her, she’ll come over to check it out! At this time, the sight and smell of the squirrel will excite the cub. Once the pup begins to bark at the caged squirrel, pet and encourage it. You can also do this with the squirrel caged with a rope attached. The rope will allow you to climb the squirrel up a tree so you can make the pup bark. Once the pup barks consistently at a caged squirrel hanging from a tree, move on to the next step. Be careful never to go overboard with the caged squirrel! Once or twice is enough!!

Step 7: Catch and Release! Release a caged squirrel in an area where squirrels’ tree options are limited and let the pup chase it and HOPELY tree it. If it does, reward the pup with treats and praise. Be careful and never release a caged squirrel more than a couple of times!

Step 8: From 5 or 6 months of age, it is nothing more than “Forest Time”. Woods Time is nothing but hunting the pup! This is the key ingredient in making a squirrel dog. Everything else is just tips and tricks to streamline the training process… Good luck!

Please note: all of the above ages can vary greatly, depending on your pup’s progress. Always keep in mind that you are basically dealing with a child, so don’t make too much of it too soon. Let the pup be a pup. If it is in it, it will come out… I have said it before and I will say it again: “I have never been able to teach a dog to hunt or a tree. I can only give it the opportunity to do what it was”. bred to do. Handling, obedience, and bad habits I can work on, but the pup’s instincts and bloodline will take care of the rest.” Again, these are all my personal opinions and nothing more. This is just what works for me. .. I hope this helps.

Happy hunting!