Dean Smith on Critters 360 explains that after a coonhound is taught to track and find a raccoon skin, it is time to begin work with a live raccoon. Trap a raccoon, and release it so it runs up a nearby tree. Set the coonhound to follow the short scent trail to the treed raccoon, and praise the hound for finding, sounding and working the treed raccoon.
Smith explains the process of training a coonhound to hunt from puppyhood. He says that at least 20 minutes a day is necessary to train a coonhound. The first step is to build a bond with the puppy and to train basic obedience commands. Next, the puppy is rewarded for showing interest in a raccoon skin. The raccoon skin is then dragged to leave a scent trail and hidden, and the puppy is rewarded for finding it. The scent trail is made progressively longer, and the skin is made more difficult to find. Work with a trapped raccoon is then introduced. Once the young hound is proficient in treeing a trapped raccoon, training the dog to hunt raccoons commences. Smith explains that the best way to train a young coonhound to hunt is to send it out on a hunt with an experienced coonhound.