I am not sure I understand when you would go long or short futures contracts. For instance if you own the portfolio does that mean you are long the asset and so you will short the futures. Any assistance would be appreciatiated.

Futures can be shorted even by long only funds. They have or can have similar betas or duration as their stock or bond cousins which means they are ideal as hedge candidates if you want to reduce some kind of risk exposure ( btea or duration). Sometimes you even want to increase the risk exposure because of expected performance so you can go long futures. You can equitize cash , or cover currency risk. But in answer to your question: certainly if you own the asset the futures can be a natural hedge

It depends on what you want to do.

As a hedge, you will sell futures if you own an asset. But you can also speculate and add systematic risk or duration by going long the future if you own the asset.