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Speak to me of beagles

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  • Speak to me of beagles

    Because a starving one just turned up in the field behind my house. He's inside, curled up inside a cat carrier. He's emaciated. I'm feeding him a tablespoon of food every couple of hours. He's incredibly sweet (my cat jumped on him while he was on my lap and he didn't bat an eyelash. (He was probably terrified as the cat is bigger than he is)).

    So here's the question. I've been thinking I need a second dog. But don't beagles follow their noses so they can't be trusted off leash around the farm? Assuming he doesn't have a caring owner looking for him (probably a good assumption) would he possibly make a good farm dog??

    (I guess this is a not so thinly veiled request for enabling! )
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  • #2
    It is true that Beagles follow their noses until taught otherwise. The longer they have not had to adapt to training the longer the training will be required (which applies to all dogs, not just Beagles). That said Beagles have been bred for centuries to work with other dogs and they are one of the few dogs that seem to tolerate more misuse than nearly any other breed. The lack of genetic aggression is a HUGE pull for me. The howling is genetic too, so if you have a low tolerance for that, keep it in mind. There are plenty of Beagles that run off lead in agility and other sports so I know it can be done. I also think Beagles are beautiful dogs to look at. A well bred Beagle is well balanced, covers ground quickly and is usually very pretty in the face.

    They are also garbage disposals and tend toward fat.


    • #3
      To me the "howling" that hounds make is actually singing; and the sound is music to my ears.

      I even love it when dogs who aren't hounds and can't sing, try.

      I adore Beagles. They are almost always the sweetest, most non-aggressive dogs on the planet. Cute as buttons, too. Much as I hate to say this, they do excellently well in kennels. If the dog is a hunting beagle, he'll want to be able to hunt, and so might not make a great house dog. Or he might be so happy to have found a home that he will do like many retired hounds, find a sofa and settle in for the duration. If you get him a kennel and lots and lots of walking on a leash AND train him to your voice or a whistle to come when he's called, you'll adore him.

      Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
      It is true that Beagles follow their noses until taught otherwise. The longer they have not had to adapt to training the longer the training will be required (which applies to all dogs, not just Beagles). That said Beagles have been bred for centuries to work with other dogs and they are one of the few dogs that seem to tolerate more misuse than nearly any other breed. The lack of genetic aggression is a HUGE pull for me. The howling is genetic too, so if you have a low tolerance for that, keep it in mind. There are plenty of Beagles that run off lead in agility and other sports so I know it can be done. I also think Beagles are beautiful dogs to look at. A well bred Beagle is well balanced, covers ground quickly and is usually very pretty in the face.

      They are also garbage disposals and tend toward fat.
      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
      Thread killer Extraordinaire


      • #4
        Ahh Beagles. We had one when I was growing up. Sweetest, dumbest animal on the planet.

        I was walking home from school and saw traffic on the 4 lane road stopped in both directions. There was Barney - his fat butt sitting in the middle on the road waiting for me. I dropped my bags and ran to get him. Of course I wasn't thinking about what I was wearing (80's heals and a mini skirt) and didn't think about the football game in progress either. It took a long time for me to live that down in highschool - lol!

        The SPCA in town knew Barney and would give him the VIP treatment. He was a regular. The dog could escape anything in his youth, until he got too fat. We came home and he had bent the bars of his kennel, eaten through a screen door and jumped the fence.

        He would also eat ANYTHING as a puppy. He ate an entire set of patio door fabric blinds.

        I loved his singing. Anytime anyone sang Happy Birthday, Barney would howl full force. It was his favorite song. He lived until he was 14.


        • #5
          There are also atypical Beagles that never go anywhere, won't climb anything, never try to escape, and don't yodel. It also depends on age, in that some mellow and stop doing behaviors that were a problem when they were younger. If you want to keep this one, maybe you'll have to adapt to this dog, instead of the other way around. Bless you for taking him in, and caring for a lost creature, or maybe dumped.
          You can't fix stupid-Ron White


          • #6
            You know you want him OP. Give it a shot, the worst thing that happens is you'll let us know on COTH that you need to rehome him.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, all. The jury's still out on this dog . . . I'm pretty sure he's a hunting beagle that got lost or abandoned. But he also seems to be very young, maybe still a puppy. I'm having a friend who's a small animal vet come by this afternoon and look at him.

              We'll see. Certainly for now when I take him outside on a leash he pulls to get back into the warm house.
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              • #8
                It could be the dog was dumped because it wasn't a typical hunting beagle, and never will be. My friend's that I described above was abandoned, and our guess was that is exactly why. The least hunting motivated animal ever, and not food motivated in the least(we've tried every food imaginable, and he's just not interested). As SMF11 says, try and see how it works out, and rehome if necessary. You know you want to try.
                You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                • #9
                  My experience with beagles (my dad loves them; he likes to hunt them and has had a few) is that they're sweet-tempered, but virtually untrainable from an obedience perspective. Each one I've known has been a super-sweet house dog, but outside, if they get on a scent, forget it-- nothing short of a shock collar will get them off it. I imagine that's why so many of them tend to get AWOL.

                  My dad's current beagle is 16, riddled with health problems (CHF, tumors, deaf as a rock), but she just won't die... that poor dog has been accidentally run over by farm vehicles, fallen down stairs, you name it, but she just keeps on truckin'. She still happily eats whatever you put in front of her, continues to be housebroken, and besides sleeping 23 hours a day, she doesn't seem ready to cross the rainbow bridge anytime soon. We joke that we should rename her Rasputin...

                  Our vet's office has a newspaper clipping on the board in the waiting room, listing the trainability of about 50+ dog breeds; beagles are the second-from-the-bottom of the list. FWIW...
                  *friend of bar.ka

                  "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                  • #10
                    They're cute and sweet and stubborn and wander off.

                    Maybe his owner tried to keep him home and tried to find him but the beagle is to blame for being lost!

                    If you can keep him securely contained all the days of his life he would probably be a sweet nice dog.
                    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                    • #11

                      I have probably had (between my father and I) about 100 beagles in my lifetime. We raised them for hunting, field trials, and as companions. As with any breed, there will be individuals which are "smarter" and more trainable for what you would like to have in a dog. Myself, I love the looks of a handsome or beautiful beagle, I love their voice, I love their happy demeanor and since I love to follow the trailing dogs on foot, I love that they hunt! I have also had one who hunted and I could call off a line, and taught him to fetch, most of mine were great swimmers, and Gunner, my Gunny Boy, who would jump in the air if I held a ball, and when told to sit, and would be sitting on the way down.

                      BUUUUT, if I wanted a house dog to interact with me, and an outside dog to follow me on foot with the horse, I would start very young with a puppy that was not obsessively following it's nose at 12 weeks old, because that one will most likely be whatever kind of dog you want in a smaller package. I love 13 inch ones, 15 inch ones, male ones, female ones. I love the black and white hounds, lemon and white, tri-color, the rare chocolate (like my Charlie Brown, of course!). In case you do not guess, I just love beagles.

                      Give this one a chance, and if it does not work out, send me a picture and give me the lowdown. Maybe we can work out a shipment to Washington State!
                      "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                      • #12
                        Dave Barry once said, "Basically, a Beagle is just a nose, with feet." This is true. I had 2 Beagles in my youth; raising a litter of pups from one, keeping 1 pup from that litter when the mother dug out from under the fence, promptly ran out on to the street and was hit by a truck and killed. This fence was buried several inches, as our family raised Miniature Dachshunds before the Beagle.
                        I have known other Beagles and it seems that if they escape they often follow their noses, oblivious to all else. They also have the hound's stubbornness, and if kenneled, will 'yodel' non-stop at everything and nothing. Very adorable dogs though!


                        • #13
                          Everyone seems to think Beagles are dumb. I've had *pauses to think back* 5 as students. The first seemed to be the tiniest little Beagle Girl in the world. I'd have stolen her from her handler in a NY minute, sweet and food motivated, she learned her new class stuff by the end of class. Then came 2 brothers. Beautiful faces they had, and both food motivated. Brother 1 came to the first set of classes and seemed to be doing well, but did not return for another set. Brother 2 had a handler that loved to work her dog and Brother 2 responded. By the time I quit group classes, Brother 2 was a very well started dog in Sue Ailsbys levels (worked up through level 3 I think). He had a slight opinion about many things, especially the speed at which the food was not delivered. The next was a private with a new puppy. Dear God Beagle puppies are cute. He would start howling when he heard me pull in but he was again, a very motivated dog (handler not so much, any bump in the road and she would just throw her hands up in the air). The last one was an outside dog that well, he did not get the care he would have with me (greasy, stinky coat) and he had no use for most people. If you have ever read Bones Would Rain From the Sky by Suzanne Clothier, she describes a dog who is only there because a leash attached the dog to the handler. Polite and distant. That was this dog.
                          So it has not been my experience that Beagles are dumb, but perhaps it takes a motivated handler to work with them.


                          • Original Poster

                            Well it sounds like this beagle is the complete opposite of my current dog, who's an English Shepherd: he's HIGHLY trainable, never wanders off, etc etc.

                            This beagle may have been debarked, he's "barked" but it comes out as a whisper. Either that or he's really hoarse.

                            I put up a couple of pictures on the farm's facebook page if anyone wants to see him.

                            I'm thinking he might be slightly more trainable since I'm sure he knows I've rescued him and I'm the source of food. On the other hand, any time a new animal comes into the house it is WWII 1/2 because my husband never wants another animal . . . (we balance each other out! )
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                              So it has not been my experience that Beagles are dumb, but perhaps it takes a motivated handler to work with them.
                              This is an ongoing discussion in our household. Mr. rivenoak thinks that the scent hounds we've had are dumb, especially the females. I argue that they are smart, just not in the way he wants.

                              Our current beagle, whom we've had since he was 6 months old, has good & bad traits. He is somewhat trainable, in that he has some commands & tricks. He is so far untrainable in not zipping out the front door if given half an inch.

                              He is mostly quiet, barking only at feral cats & singing only to me when I get home.

                              His sisters, of whom we had two, were harder to train, louder, etc.

                              Of the foxhounds, the male took to his obedience training much better. He aimed to please. The female did it only because you asked, and then sort of begrudgingly.

                              They're not for everyone.
                              ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                              • #16
                                My only experience with hounds was a great humane society find - puppy that was coonhound/shepherd cross. He had the "loves the world" personality and the hound voice, and the brain of the shepherd. Only once in our many park hikes did he go out of my sight and was shortly back again. I would have cloned him if I could, he made me laugh every day for almost 14 years...Its been 7 years and I still miss him.
                                But the puppy school trainer told me I'd have to figure out how much his nose would rule over his brain before too much off leash activity outside.
                                We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                                • #17
                                  It does sound like descriptions I've hear of debarking. Sometimes the voice comes back, from what I've been told.
                                  You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                  • #18
                                    I love Beagles. My grandmother's Beagle, Clyde, was the first dog I ever knew and bonded with. He was soooo sweet. He had quite a trick repertoire, as well.

                                    I don't think they're "dumb" either. Just seems as if they may take a bit more work to unlock the trainability center in their brains. There are quite a few of them working in detection at the Atlanta airport; it's a perfect fit, really - Beagles with ''nose jobs"!


                                    • #19
                                      Someone I know, who is a wonderful, life long dog owner, had a beagle once. While a picture of the departed hound hangs on the wall, she affectionately recalls that it was the "worst dog ever," and says, hey, do you know of anyone who EVER got a SECOND beagle?

                                      I have never met such a person.

                                      After fostering one for a few months, I get it, too.
                                      I think beagles are really adorable and fun to play with when somebody else owns them. lol
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                                      • Original Poster

                                        What you describe is my concern, meupatdoes!

                                        However, now that the vet has seen him, it may not matter b/c apparently he is in really terrible shape. He's also a puppy, no more than 7 months old. My friend (the vet) is worried that his kidneys are damaged from the starvation b/c he's only peed once since he's turned up (now going on 24 hours). However, she did a physical exam so I guess he's not in immediate danger from that. She thinks he's anemic too and his gait is very wobbly and his face is assymmetric so that may be something too.

                                        She said the best thing I can do is feed him as much as is safe and let him rest. The dog warden hasn't called me back and I'm not going to pursue it b/c I doubt my town would pay for vet care and would put him in a kennel somewhere and in his state my vet friend said she didn't think he'd make it. So I'm committed to giving him a lot of tlc, and my friend's going to do bloodwork, fecal etc on Wednesday -- she'd donating her time, which is good b/c I can't really afford a lot of vet expenses right now.

                                        I guess I'd better ask for COTH jingles for him now. I didn't ask her what she thought his odds were but from her demeanor, I'd say there's a pretty decent chance he might not make it.
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