One of the questions I am asked most is, "how do you control so many hounds at once?" Well that's easy: you need a good multiple dog training system like the SportDOG Brand® HoundHunter® 3225 with 2 mile range. Then you need to know each of your hounds individually. Hounds on a rabbit will spend 75% percent of the time out of sight. You must know by sound what they are doing.
When training with multiple dogs, it is important to first find the appropriate correction level of each dog. All dogs have a certain tolerance level to the correction delivered. I have one female that will “down” or “come” back to me with just the tone feature. I have a male that you must hit on a high level just to get his attention. These things are important to know. Especially when dealing with more than one collar at a time. I set up each collar for each hound, and then make sure they get that collar every time out.
In my case Jim is Orange, Deamon-Blue, Gracie-Yellow, Maddie-Red and so on. After just a few trips, you don't even need to look at the transmitter to know which button to hit. For instance, if Jim is popping off in a check, I know the transmitter needs to have the toggle switch up and he is the top button on the front of the unit. By using the same collars on the same hounds, I can control each hound independently while walking, running, or moving through the brush. I know by sound who needs a correction, what collar they have on and what button to push without ever taking the time to look at the transmitter. If they need more correction I simply click the dial up one position at a time.
Your question now may be “How do you know what your hounds are doing?” Each hound has a very distinctive voice and type of bark. Each hound has different barks for what they are doing. I can tell when one is lying to me or popping off (barking out of place). I can also tell when they are cold trailing or on a hot track. Most importantly, I can tell when they are on off game such as a deer. I can do these things because I spend countless hours in the field with my hounds. You can't know this stuff if you never work your hounds! It takes time to learn these things about your dog. If you're not sure a hound needs correction or is on off game, always give the hound the benefit of the doubt until you know. Eventually, you will learn when your hound is on the right track, and when he needs guidance.
Your more experienced hounds can help with this. If I have a young hound down and he is babbling on a line and one of the older hounds goes over and doesn't open. I will tone the young hound, if he continues I will hit him on 1 and so on. Once he is off it, I encourage him to get back to hunting with the pack.
The key to handling multiple dogs is to start with the basic ground work at home. Know your dogs as individuals, the sound of each hound’s voice, the different barks each has. You learn this by spending time in the field watching them. Use the same collar for each dog every time out, and have a good set of e-collars like the SportDOG Brand HoundHunter 3225. You know SportDOG asked what we houndsmen needed, and we told them we wanted at least 2 mile range (deer chase gone bad), multiple dog system (a pack is 4 plus hounds), tone feature on all collars, smaller/lighter collars and transmitter (these hounds run all day when hunting) and waterproof is a must. Well, SportDOG delivered in a big way with the HoundHunter 3225, "Gear the way we designed it!" It sure has made my training a lot easier. Thank you SportDOG!
Always check your local and state regulations related to dog training and the use of game birds on private and public property.