I normally let them sight race 4 or 5 times. Whatever it takes for them to start opening on the track. Once they start opening after the rabbit is out of sight, I'll start running them on wild rabbits with an older slow dog. Seems like they have a better chance of catching the scent with just one older slow dog than with 3 or 4 running dogs. I also try to keep them in the same pen as the dog I'm planning on starting them with. They seem less nervous and more likely to stay with that dog while training.
I made this in the multiple choice format so we can vote for more than 1 choice because I personally use 3 different techniques as they come along. After they start taking a line on their own and advancing it , I brace them with an older bracemate that will let the pup get some work done without fighting the pup for all the line. I also solo pups alot and will only pack them with equal pups according to age and ability, till I see how they advance before introducing them to the real world.
I usually run em with an older, trusted, and slower dog with absolutely no extra mouth or with other pups of the same experience level, etc. but I voted for everything except run em with the big hounds.
Ive put em down with the big dogs in the past and if someone still does it that way and it works for them thats great but I dont feel like a pup is going to get much of the race, if anything at all, running with experienced dogs.
I also think it can be a good way to start bad habits like skirting and gambling and just following other dogs around.
This is just my opinion and if someone doesnt agree or has good sucess just putting em in the pack thats fine and youll get no argument from me.
A trusted hound and small pack of equal speed were my choices but I always like to let a young dog hunt by themselves. I believe it helps develop their hunting ability, builds confidence and reduces dependency on others.
my pups are only 7 1/2 weeks old and one is already opening up on sight..i drag a line with a rabbit hide, then let my son run with the hide on a string once they sniff their way to him...i work with them about 15 minutes everyday. started by just throwin some hot dog bits in the yard at 6 weeks and lettin em find them by scent.
i broke my pup by trapping a cotton tail a couple of them, tieing a small twig about 8 to 10 in. long to his back leg and release the rabbit in front of the pup. after a few times he got the idea of sight and scent.
With my current situation. (no running pen and only Saturdays and one or two evenings a week available) I use tame rabbits to get them sight chasing and opening on the line at about 5-6 months old. I then take them out late in the evenings or at night and get them on wild rabbits. As they mature I split them up into groups of equal ability. I run them this way untill they can circle rabbits consistantly. I add them to my seasoned pack slowly and when I think they can contribute. Many never make it. I don't like running pups with an old dog (although I have) cause it slows down thier development as an individual. I like to let them make mistakes and figure them out on thier own. This is a slow process but it has worked pretty well for me. If I had a running pen I would probably do some things different.