Training Your Squirrel DogsTraining a dog for squirrel hunting start when he is a pup. After you got a dog you must take him for walks, let him crawl on you and things like this. It is very important to make contact with him when he is still a pup. You also must get him used getting in and out of the dog's box. It is advisable to let him run leash-less until he reaches 8 weeks or so, after that period you must slap a collar on the dog.
When he is still a pup you must take him into the woods so that he will get familiarized with the environment. When the dog reaches 8 or 9 weeks he must learn how to lead. The best way to do it is to chain him up and leave him. Although this method might seem cruel at the first sight you should know that it won't be long until he understands that he can't evade the chain. After he has learned this, now it is time to teach him how to "come".
One way to do it is to put your dog on a 20 foot rope and let him walk until the end of the rope and then call him. Before training him to be a squirrel dog he must learn the fundamentals that is why training starts at such an early age. Now, regarding the hunting aspect, the best way to train your dog for the future squirrel hunts is to take him into the woods and expose him to the game, let him walk around and gain the valuable experience that he needs. The best places to take him are city parks and campsites around lakes. In these locations your puppy will observe the squirrels and probably chase them until they climb a tree. Once your dog does this, the groundwork is completed.
Remember this: you must kill everything your young dog trees and always avoid killing anything else the dog doesn't tree. Never help the dog in finding the squirrel because he will lose his efficiency. Make the dog think that you don't know what to do and that you rely only on his instincts. Remember that when you are out working your dog, the important thing is not to kill squirrels but to work the pup as best as you can so that he will end up being an efficient squirrel dog.
Some people prefer dragging hides around for their dog but it isn't recommended. It won't hurt anything unless you do it too much and hiss the young dog to the tree. Doing this, will create a game for you and your dog to play and you will spend more time which is very valuable but all things considered this will not teach your dog to track or tree.
Another procedure which we don't recommend is the caged game. Although a dog might attack a caged game it isn't a certainty that he will attack a "free" game and vice versa. If you do want to use this procedure, only use it for 2-3 times otherwise your dog might not be so efficient in a real hunting event.
Training tubes might be what you need if not overdone. What you must do is show it to the dog enough so that your pup starts barking and is aware about the fact that the creature he is after, is in a tree. That is all tubes can do, once your dog knows that, tubes are useless so we recommended that you shouldn't exaggerate using tubes. Last but not least, have patience; although you won't see any results in the dog's first months you mustn't lose your hope. It usually takes 2 or even 3 years to get things right, so have patience and in a few years you will have an efficient squirrel dog.