Expert Advice: How To Train Your Dog To Hunt

When it comes to dog training, there are plenty of options. You can teach your dog tricks, or maybe start teaching him how to roll over or play dead. 

But what about teaching him how to hunt? If you want your dog to be able to find game and bring it back for you, then hunting is a great way to bond with your pup while also helping out with dinner!

Training a Hunting Dog | Backyard Dog Training – YouTube
1. Training your dog to hunt requires patience and consistency.
2. Building a strong foundation of basic obedience training is essential for hunting success.
3. Honing specific hunting skills like retrieving and scent tracking can be developed over time with repetition and positive reinforcement.
4. Safety is a top priority when hunting with your dog; providing plenty of water, rest breaks, and training your dog to avoid dangerous animals and terrain is key.
5. Selecting the right breed for your type of hunting and training goals can increase your chances of success and improve your overall hunting experience.

1. Start off slow and simple

The first thing you need to do is make sure that your dog is comfortable with the things that they will be doing. If they are not comfortable, it will make it much more difficult for them when they try something new.

For example: if you are trying to teach them how to point their nose at a bird and then bark at it, but they don’t know how to sit yet because of all the training time spent on other things like walking on leash or fetching sticks off the ground instead of trees (or other objects), then there may be some bumps along the way as far as getting them used to pointing goes.

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2. Find a scenting breed

You’ll want to start with a scenting breed. These are dogs that have a strong sense of smell and can track or trail animals without any training at all. Some common scenting breeds include beagles, basset hounds and bloodhounds.

  • Scenting breeds are good for tracking and trailing small game like rabbits or squirrels.
  • They’re also useful in finding wounded game if you’ve shot something but missed your mark (which happens more often than you might think).
BloodhoundKnown for their incredible sense of smell and ability to track scents over long distances.
Basset HoundHave a keen sense of smell and are well-suited for tracking prey on the ground.
German Shorthaired PointerHighly versatile hunting breed with a strong sense of smell and excellent retrieval skills.
CoonhoundWell-suited for tracking prey like raccoons, thanks to their strong sense of smell and tenacity.
BeagleKnown for their exceptional sense of smell and popularity as a hunting companion for small game like rabbits.

Remember to select a breed that is well-suited to the type of prey you plan to hunt and can handle the terrain of your hunting location.

3. Don’t forget to reward your dog

After your dog has completed the task, it’s important to reward them. You can do this with treats, praise or toys. 

If you’re using treats as a reward, make sure to give them in small amounts so as not to spoil your dog’s appetite or cause digestive issues. Praise and playtime are also great ways of rewarding your pup for their good behavior.

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4. Keep the training fun

Training your dog should be a positive experience for both of you. If it’s not fun, then your dog won’t enjoy learning and will likely give up on the whole thing. 

Make sure that every time you train him or her there are treats involved; this will make them associate training with something positive rather than punishment or negative reinforcement (which we’ll talk about later). 

Also remember not to overdo it; if your pup seems tired or bored after a few minutes, take a break! And finally, don’t get too hard on yourself either–if “sit” doesn’t work right away then don’t freak out; just keep practicing until he catches on!

Kong toysFill a Kong toy with peanut butter or a similar treat to keep your dog occupied.
FrisbeeIncorporate fetching a Frisbee into your dog’s training regimen.
Agility courseSet up an agility course with jumps, tunnels, and other obstacles to improve your dog’s fitness and problem-solving skills.
Clicker trainingUse a clicker to train your dog to associate sounds with rewards and reinforce positive behaviors.
Treat puzzlesUse toys like the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick to make your dog work for their treats and stay engaged.

Remember to tailor your training activities to your dog’s abilities and interests to keep them motivated and happy.

5. Go on walks with your dog

As you’re preparing to train your dog, make sure you’re taking him on walks in the woods. Walk with your dog in areas where there are no other people around and start with a short walk, then gradually increase the distance. Practice walking without a leash so that he gets used to being off-leash while hunting.

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6. Teach your dog the laws of hunting

Dogs are naturally curious, and they may not understand why they shouldn’t chase animals or eat the prey they catch. 

To ensure your dog stays safe and out of trouble when hunting, teach it to obey hunting laws. This will also help you teach your pet how to behave when out in the field with other hunters and wildlife so that everyone involved has an enjoyable experience.

7. Know where you’re allowed to hunt

While it may seem obvious, it’s important that you know the rules of the area where you plan on hunting. 

This includes understanding what land is public and what land is private, as well as knowing if there are any restrictions on hunting in those areas. 

For example, many national parks prohibit hunting altogether–and even if they don’t, there are usually rules about how close hunters can get before being asked to leave by park rangers or police officers working security for that particular park at that time (this could range from 100 yards away from wildlife down near where visitors are walking around all day long). 

In addition to knowing this information ahead of time so that nothing comes as a surprise during your trip out into nature with Fido by your side!

Here’s a table outlining the hunting permits and regulations for common game animals in the United States:

Game AnimalHunting Permit RequiredHunting SeasonBag Limits
White-tailed DeerYes (varies by state)Fall – WinterVaries by state and sex
Wild TurkeyYes (varies by state)Spring – FallVaries by state and sex
Black BearYes (varies by state)FallVaries by state
ElkYes (varies by state)FallVaries by state
Waterfowl (duck, geese)Yes (Federal and State)Fall – SpringVaries by species and location

Remember to check with your state wildlife agency for regulations specific to your location, as hunting permits and bag limits can vary widely depending on location and season.

8. Get into shape, physically and mentally

You should also be in good shape physically so you can keep up with your dog. If not, don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of ways to get fit before hunting season comes around again.

In addition to being physically fit yourself, it’s important that your dog is used to running long distances and being active for hours at a time. 

If they aren’t used to this kind of activity, then it will be difficult for them (and therefore for you) when it comes time for hunting season.

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9. Take advantage of training tools like scent sprays, training bags and dummy rabbits

These are all great ways for your dog to learn how to hunt in the field. You can use them to help teach them what their prey smells like (the scent spray), how fast it moves (the bag) and even what it looks like (the dummy rabbit).

10. Practice makes perfect!

Training your dog to hunt is a lot like training a child. It takes time, patience and practice. If you want your dog to be able to hunt on their own when they’re older, it’s important that they are able to understand what it means when you say “hunt.” The best way for them to learn this is through repetition and consistency–and lots of love!

With so many approaches to dog training, it can be tough to know where to begin. Our comprehensive guide to dog training covers 13 different areas of expertise and offers expert advice to help you find the right approach for you and your dog.


There are so many ways to train your dog to hunt, and the best way to do it is by having fun with them! 

If you have any questions or concerns about training your dog, feel free to contact us here at Unified Paws. We will be happy to help you out with any issues you may have encountered during this process

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you train your hunting dog:

Hunting Dog Training First Steps: Turning Your Puppy Into a Hunting Partner: This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to get started training your hunting dog, from selecting a breed to introducing basic training.

Tips for Hunting with Your Dog: This article provides helpful advice for anyone looking to hunt with their dog, from selecting the right breed to safety considerations.

How to Train Your Dog to Hunt: This step-by-step guide covers the basics of training your dog to hunt, including selecting a breed, introducing basic obedience training, and building up to hunting-specific skills.


How do I select the right breed for hunting?

The best hunting breed for you will depend on the type of hunting you plan to do. Some common hunting dog breeds include retrievers, pointers, and beagles, each of which has specific abilities that make them well-suited for certain types of hunting.

How can I start basic training for my hunting dog?

The first step to training any hunting dog is to establish a foundation of basic obedience training. This includes teaching your dog to follow commands like sit, stay, and come, as well as getting them used to wearing a collar and leash.

When should I start training my hunting dog?

Training should start as soon as you bring your puppy home, but it is important to begin with basic obedience training before moving on to hunting-specific skills.

How can I teach my hunting dog to retrieve?

Retrieving is an important skill for many hunting dogs, and can be taught using a variety of techniques. One common method is to start with simple games of fetch, gradually introducing a toy or bird that smells like the type of prey you plan to hunt.

How do I keep my hunting dog safe in the field?

Safety is a top priority when hunting with your dog. Some tips for keeping your dog safe in the field include using a GPS tracking device, training them to avoid dangerous animals like snakes, and providing plenty of water and rest breaks.