Training Bloodhounds to Come

Treats are a great motivator for bloodhound training.

Treats are a great motivator for bloodhound training.

Bloodhounds are among the most difficult breeds to train. The bloodhound's powerful nose never takes a day off and it's almost impossible to redirect your dog if he catches a scent. Luckily, you can use his working nose in your favor while teaching your bloodhound to come on command.

Stand directly in front of your leashed bloodhound while holding a treat in your hand. Hold the treat directly in front of your dog's nose and allow him to sniff and lick the treat, but do not allow him to eat it yet. Say, “Come” once and quickly start walking backward. Keep moving backward until your bloodhound catches up and then give the treat while praising him enthusiastically in a high-pitched voice.

Move to an enclosed yard and remove the leash. Unless your bloodhound knows the “Stay” command, ask a volunteer to stand behind your bloodhound and lace his fingers around your dog's chest. Allow your bloodhound to smell the treat and then step back 10 feet. Say, “Come!” and have the volunteer release your dog as he runs toward you for a reward. Be sure to praise him in a high-pitched voice. Be excited about your dog's accomplishment so he's excited to perform for you.

Encourage scent-tracking inside the house using the “Come” command. Have a volunteer hold your bloodhound with laced fingers around your dog's chest, or give the “Stay” command. Allow your bloodhound to get a good whiff of the treat and move to a different room in the house. Have the volunteer release your dog and yell, “Come!” The bloodhound will quickly track the scent of you and the treat, so reward your dog again with lots of praise and the treat.

Items you will need

  • Treats
  • Leash


  • Pick a treat with a potent smell to reward your bloodhound. Liver treats and hot dogs have a strong smell and most dogs find these treats delicious.
  • Perform these exercises seven times per day. Exercises must be done seven times or more before they're embedded in the dog's mind, according to Clyde Watson of the Alliance of Search K9s (TASK).


  • Never allow a bloodhound off a leash in an unfenced yard. If your bloodhound catches a scent, his instinct will drive him to follow the trail. This can lead to a tragic accident for your bloodhound.

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About the Author

Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Photo Credits

  • Steak Shaped Dog Treats image by from