Although I am willing to work with other breeds, the focus of this page is primarily on training Catahoulas
Catahoulas are loyal and intelligent. They are often aloof to strangers, but not unaware. They are protective over their owners, families and territory. If trained well, they can be an excellent guard dog.This is not to be confused with aggression. A Catahoula who is properly raised, will be more inclined to ignore a stranger than to challenge them. This breed requires positive, reward-based training, good socialization and consistency, and is often not the best choice for inexperienced dog owners. Catahoulas are strong-willed, intelligent, and many seem to have a penchant for mischief. As puppies, they get in trouble every day at my house. I accept this as part of owning Catahoulas and do not hold it against them. It is a reality not a judgement. They will dig under, tear through, and climb over fences, and worse they will open latched gates. Many people underestimate my dog's level of intelligence. I am often out foxed on a daily basis.
Despite their grit and athletic, sometimes imposing exterior, the Blair-bred Catahoula has a sensitive side. Excessively harsh training methods that might be tolerated by a hound or other working dog will likely backfire on a Catahoula. For this reason, I do not own a shock collar. The Catahoula accepts correction as long as it is fair and justified, and as long as it comes from someone he knows and trusts.
I cannot stress this enough: "rough treatment ... should never be administered to these dogs, especially when they are young. They become very shy and elusive with handling of that kind." If you are too harsh they will squat and piss and may never go out and do what you are hoping which is to become a strong proud hunter.
Every dog has a unique personality and disposition. Because of this, every animal needs to be trained individually. This requires a unique trainer, with patience and a wide range of experience and a wealth of knowledge. Whether you want to train a young animal, or an older one, you need expert guidance to effectively train your animal. If you love your dog, and create a desire in that dog to serve you, you can count on me, Marcus de la Houssaye, to train with a focus to meet your individual needs and an understanding of the dogs personality.
An effective part of training and proper handling of a Catahoula hog dog, cow dog, pet, guard dog, or blood trail dog should include giving that dog a job as an all around working dog or as a member of the family. That also applies to other breeds as well. Many people believe a good working dog should be allowed to operate under one service only or the dog is prone to be confused. I think it is the owner who is often confused as to the dog's range of working abilities and emotional needs. A large part of my success involves educating people, then their dogs. If I train your dog and not you he won't listen to you. If you plan to have your dog trained by me, bear in mind, that you must also be willing to come to classes and be trained to handle that dog, other wise the dog will be obedient to me and not respect you. To effectively handle a trained dog you must understand the language that the dog communicates in. A dog that is trained to obey in a certain language, must be spoken to with the same language that the trainer used in training. later you can expand and adjust your communications, as your relationship with the dog and personal needs change. Just because you send the dog to school to be trained does not mean it will work for you unless you understand what was taught and operate in that program. I attempt to understand your special needs as well as the abilities and limitations of the dog and find a balance to serve the owners and dogs best interests.
Me with Patch at 2 years old and Scarlet at 4 months old
Photo by Andre Comeaux