Learning the names of the hounds in your club can be a challenge… a fun challenge, nevertheless! It’s always nice to be able to recognize your favorite hounds when you’re out hunting, though trying to remember them all isn’t easy. For members who aren’t around the hounds on a daily basis, it can be tricky differentiating all the members of the pack. With hound walking gearing up this summer, now is a great time to get to know your club’s pack better—this way, you can refer to them easily by name anytime you see them.
Here are a few tips to help you...
1. Build a Photo Directory
This is the best way to begin the process. If you can, try and print out photos of each hound—both sides, face, and from the top (don’t forget, this will often be your view when you’re mounted during a hunt). Put them into a notebook or create flashcards—whatever works best for you. It might also be helpful to separate them by color: Tri-color, black & tans, lemons, heavily ticked, etc. This is a bit more difficult if you’re in a club like Orange County Hunt, with a beautiful array of matching red and whites!
Some hunt clubs, like Stonewall Hounds, have their hound rosters posted on their website to let members get better acquainted with their hounds. Others, like Bijou Springs and Lowcountry Hunt, utilize social media to offer fun “guess the hound” contests or tips to help distinguish hounds.
If you’re a bit of a techno whiz, you could also include labeled photos of the hounds on your cell phone. That way, when you’re stuck waiting around at the DMV or some other tedious outing, you can whip out your photo roster and do some studying.
Also, if your hunt doesn’t have a roster, maybe this is something you could volunteer to produce for your club. Sometimes clubs offer hound “sponsorships,” so this would be a nice way for that member to get to know “their” hound better.
2. Start with Unique Hounds
Is there a hound in your club with a crooked tail or a noticeable scar? Maybe there’s one with a little chunk missing from his ear? Look for hounds with distinguishing characteristics. Or maybe your hunt only has one tricolor and a couple lemon and whites--memorize them first! Then, just pick one or two at a time to add to your knowledge-base.
3. Create Nicknames, Rhymes, or Phrases
Coming up with a funny little term to remember the hound by can be helpful. Do they have any interesting markings that look like something memorable? Maybe “Spirit” has a marking on his side that look like a cross or “Orbit” has a star shape on her back. Keep their personalities in mind, too—maybe “Piper” is as sweet as pie. Make little notes about these characteristics in your photo album.
4. Pick a Few Hounds Each Time
Each time you interact with the hounds, whether it’s during a meet or a hound walk, try and pick just one hound or two hounds to concentrate on. Test yourself and look for that hound throughout the whole outing until you can reliably find him or her all the time.
5. Get Involved
Being around the hounds more frequently is also a great way to become more familiar with them. If you can, try and walk out with them or volunteer at the kennels, helping to feed or clean, if that’s an option, or even just spend time with them. You’ll hear the staff call them by name, and soon you’ll pick up on each one. Most likely, this won’t happen during your first outing, but after a few weeks of being up close and personal with the hounds, you’ll start to know them, and each of their unique personalities, better.