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The Beagle: A Dog Breed for Hunters and Kids

By Sue Sammarco

Beagles are pack dogs that thrive in a group environment because they were originally bred to hunt. But that doesn’t mean the breed won’t thrive in your home. In fact, your family becomes your dog’s pack. Beagles are outgoing, affectionate dogs; they don’t have a vicious bone in their bodies.

I love that the breed happily shares a house with other pets. Beagles and cats get along great, and I’ve placed my dogs in homes with bunnies and guinea pigs too. You should just be present when the animals are introduced.

Your Beagle wants to be integrated into your home and family activities. I hear people say they know Beagles that are howlers and barkers. Well, that’s because the dogs are lonely. If you work and need to leave your dog home alone all day, a Beagle isn’t your ideal breed. Left to their own devices, they can get into trouble.Invest Your Time in Training

I require potential owners to visit my kennel, where I take them through the worst-case training scenarios. Beagles can be easy to train because they’re very food-motivated, but you do need to keep them engaged. Create rules and regulations for your family’s interactions with your dog, and teach those to your pet.

I make sure to discuss crate training with future Beagle owners, since it makes housebreaking so much easier. What’s more, when you’re not at home, your dog will enjoy sleeping in the crate: his ancestors are wolves, and wolves like being in caves or dens. A crate serves that purpose, plus it helps protect your property. If your puppy gets wound up, the crate offers a place to calm down too.

I really don’t trust my Beagles alone until they’re 1 1/2 to 2 years old and understand the household rules. They’re a sweet, loving breed you can eventually even trust to sleep with your kids, but you should make sure a puppy is observed closely.

About Beagles as a Breed
Beagles are medium-energy, medium-sized dogs that are best known for their cute long ears. They’re not overly active; your dog will likely be active in the mornings and afternoons and sleep in the middle of the day and through the night.

They’re wash-and-go, easy-care dogs. Those big, floppy ears need to be cleaned with alcohol once a week, but during shedding season, you’ll probably also only need to brush them once a week.

On the Hunt With the Beagle
For those of you who really love to hike and camp, a Beagle might not be your best choice: If he gets on a scent, he can’t help but follow his nose for miles and miles. He must be in a fenced yard and on a leash when hiking or walking.

Beagles are sometimes also diggers. Your fence should be buried at least 1 foot below ground level and stand at least 5 feet tall. My dogs have structured, connecting tunnels (the “Beagle mound”) where they hang out every morning.

Some owners enjoy doing hunting trials with their dogs, and Beagles love to hunt and chase things. Even if hunting doesn’t bark up your tree, you should allow your dog to use its natural scent talents. I spread little dog treats throughout the yard and the house and let my Beagles use their noses to hunt them.

One word of caution: Because Beagles are so friendly, they’re easily tempted away from home. If a stranger is friendly, a Beagle will readily leave with them. That’s another reason to secure and carefully watch your Beagle.

Friends for Life
Beagles are absolutely worth the training they require as puppies. They have very few health issues, and they’re easy to care for. They’re wonderful companions throughout their lives, and they live a long 13-15 years.

Copyright (c) 2012 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.


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