The Catahoula breed is a quick, intelligent, and loyal hunting dog. When it comes to training a Catahoula commitment is required from its owner because they can be quite ornery if not trained properly. However, does a Catahoula really require special training in the basics? Let’s take a closer look. Why is my Catahoula Different?
Training a Catahoula in the basics is not easy. These hunting dogs are among the more stubborn, independent breeds you’ll encounter, and require patience from their owner/s. Without training a Catahoula will take the initiative to do what they like, when they like, and they can be very good at waiting you out to do it.
Many dog owners make the mistake of thinking that their dog is human, or at least thinks like a human. The fundamental rule here is that your Catahoula is a dog. It acts like a dog, and it thinks like a dog. When a hunter treats their dog like a person and the privileges that come with that, they lose the upper hand in their dog’s training. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the actions of your Catahoula can be understood with human reasoning. You have to think like your dog to be able to train your dog.
Remember that if you neglect to put your Catahoula through basic training, you’re actually putting them at risk, and inhibiting their development into an efficient hunting dog. With that strong personality and fiery, hunting will, they can easily get themselves into trouble, or develop unwanted behaviors.
The Fundamentals of Catahoula Training
To start with, make sure you start your basic dog training with your Catahoula when it is young, providing it with as much exercise as possible. A Catahoula is a large breed of dog that can prove to be boisterous and hard to control if they do not receive training. They thrive on being the leader of the pack, and will challenge that leadership at any chance they have. Nuisance barking may be a problem with this dog breed also. The training of this dog must be assertive, gentle and humane. Harsh treatment can produce a frightened and timid animal. With the proper training a Catahoula will quickly learn what is expected of them at home, and on a hunt.
If your Catahoula has the exercise it needs, more than an hour a day, then the training process will be much easier. However, it still needs to be firm, consistent and carefully planned.
Train a Catahoula in short sessions. If you notice your dog losing interest, stop the session, and start again a few hours later or the next day. It is no use trying to train a dog that is not willingly wanting to participate. The shorter sessions also mean that the learning is more profound. There is not too much information you are trying to pass onto your dog in a short period of time.
A Catahoula should be trained in basics like “sit”, “stay” and especially “down”. They should receive training on when it is appropriate to bark. Such as when there is a threat present in the yard. You also need to be able to command your Catahoula to stop barking. This is so when a friend arrives the dog is not constantly barking at your friend which you know is not a threat. Jumping on people should be curbed because a Catahoula leaping at speed has the capacity to knock someone over. Cementing your alpha leadership is a must with this dog breed because they actively seek a strong pack hierarchy.
Deafness can be common in the Catahoula breed, and they are more renowned for their sense of smell rather than hearing. However, basic training that involves a clicker is generally effective for a Catahoula. A clicker with its sharp, single sound is easily identifiable to them. This type of sound is ideal because they can have selective hearing when hunting, or when focused on something in the house yard. Clicker training can be done in short bursts that fit their attention span well.
As mentioned earlier punishing a Catahoula is not recommended due to their loyal and gentle nature. Punishment incorporated into basic training can increase stubbornness and possibly provoke timidity, and lessen assertiveness. Alternatively, use positive reinforcement to reward good behaviors’. A Catahoula will thrive on love, physical attention as well as treats as rewards for good behavior. Basic training for a Catahoula is a trying experience whether you have a puppy or fully grown dog. It takes time, energy, commitment, and a great deal of patience on your part. Remember, to maintain your alpha position within the pack and don’t let your dog get the better of you. Continuously letting your guard down will teach your dog that you are an unreliable leader and you will find yourself being challenged with undesirable behaviors’ from the dog.
Obedience Training for Catch Dogs
Catch dogs as puppies, or showing undesirable behaviors, need basic obedience training. Obedience training is essential for a hunting dog and their owner to share a common understanding. Here is a brief rundown of what you can gain from obedience training and how it will benefit you and catch dogs.
The Benefits of Obedience Training for Catch Dogs
One of the most positive outcomes of obedience training is that catch dogs learn how to respond to specific, well delivered commands. You will also learn. Obedience training is also about you learning how your dog thinks, and the best way to give it commands. This training process is a two way street that you both will travel together. Catch dogs are a representation of their owner’s capability to train them. A dog’s behaviour is more your responsibility than your dog’s. Many owners mistake putting all of the responsibility on their dog to behave, and this is where many problems stem from. In a sense you are a parent, and like a child, a dog is your responsibility. Understand this and you have overcome a huge obstacle in your dog’s training.
Here are some examples of basic obedience training for catch dogs.
Catch dogs view their family as a pack. This family can be a combination of other dogs, and one or more humans. You and other humans in the pack must be positioned above the dog in the pack’s hierarchy for you to have total control over your canine. Alpha leadership is the cornerstone of all good training, and it must be reinforced and maintained constantly. A weak pack leader will be challenged by its dog and this is when unfavorable behaviors begin to appear.
Basic commands include sit, stay, heel, speak, and quiet. These basics will make catch dogs more respondent when it really matters, and they help maintain that alpha leadership mentioned earlier. These basic behaviours will form the foundation that more advanced lessons will be built on.
No Unnecessary Biting or Barking
Unnecessary barking or biting in catch dogs is a problem that hunters experience. Barking and biting can be positive attributes in catch dogs but only in isolated instances. So you want to be able to encourage wanted biting or barking when hunting game but not at other times you deem as unnecessary. The good news is that obedience training provides you with the opportunity to direct barking and biting to where it is helpful and away from where it is not helpful.
Dogs pulling on a leash would seem like it is more of problem people have with household dogs not hunting dogs. However, if catch dogs pull on a leash it can be a sign that your alpha leadership is not strong. Leads can be a great tool to train hunting dogs, and should not be overlooked. There are many skills you can teach a dog while it is on a leash. Plus if another member wishes to take your dog for a walk when it requires exercise outside of hunting, then it will be a pleasure for them to take the dog out.
Maintaining Obedience Training for Catch Dogs
Remember that catch dogs will only do what they are taught to do; they are your responsibility. You must be consistent, reassuring and effective at maintaining the commands you give, and your alpha dog status. When you let your guard done, your dog will challenge you and start showing unfavorable traits.
Training in obedience is important in many ways because it provides the foundation to address all of the issues that might arise at home, and on a hunt. If catch dogs are under a year old or simply do not behave properly, consider obedience training as a solution.