Showsight Presents The Beagle

Since they don’t need humans to help them fi nd bunnies, they are independent little dogs, perfectly happy to go out on a walk about to see what is out there. At the same time, they are pack hounds and really prefer to live with other dogs. Beagles are prone to separation anxiety when left alone

too much; they need their pack, human, canine or feline. When you live with Beagles and sit down, you will be covered in Beagles (and when you get up you will be covered in Beagle hair. Yes, they shed; the correct coat is a double coat, much like a Labrador). Following the rabbit is solving a puzzle, so Beagles are creative and fi gure out ways to get what they want. Most Beagle owners smile and say “yup” when they view the internet video of a Beagle pushing a chair over to the counter in order to get to food in a toaster oven. You can see the wheels turning. Great for some things, not so great when you are trying to puppy proof your house. Th ey are busy little dogs, again bred to run, chase and sni ff for lengths of time. Many do not settle down until they are two or three, or older. Th ey are inquisitive and like to poke their noses into things; stand on their hind legs and look over things; sit on tall things and survey the world. Th ere is a reason Snoopy hangs out on top of his dog house! Keeping their brains occupied is key to living with them. Look at obedience, rally and agility as a puzzle to be solved. My best working Beagles have had high prey drive and were the smartest. When proo fi ng them—introducing distractions—during training, they work harder and harder to be right to earn that cookie. Th ey look at the pressure put on them by an instructor, or a judge in the ring, as a challenge to ignore. Much di ff erent than many herding breeds, who are very successful in the obedience ring, but more susceptible to the ‘pressure’. Beagles are good ‘multi-taskers’—they are willing and able to train and compete suc- cessfully in many di ff erent dog sports. Some come very naturally to them—tracking and nose work, barn hunt; they are excellent agil- ity dogs, once they discover that running a course is just as much fun as sni ffi ng; most Beagles love lure coursing, the chance to chase moving prey and while most are very disappointed to catch up with the lure and discover it’s just a plastic bag (“WHAT?? Where did the bunny go?”) they are more than willing to try it again. Optimists they are. Obedience and rally can be more di ffi - cult, there is more precision required, more self control (stays), less action, especially in Novice obedience. Although most Beagles

are not that fond of water, quite a few are having fun in dock diving. Like many hunting breeds, there are dif- ferences between show and fi eld lines. I’ve lived with and trained both. Th e fi eld dogs generally are more independent, have more prey drive, louder howls! and are more likely to have separation anxiety. Th e show dogs are in my experience, more even tempered and willing to work with me. My fi rst Beagle came from fi eld lines—he, my fi rst show line girl and my current youngest (show lines) have had the most brain power. If you want to do dog sports with your Beagle, fi nd a breeder who understands the demands put on the dog; look for a sound dog. If a dog can’t cut it in the show ring due to structure, you probably don’t want it for an agility dog. Th ose of us who love our Beagles tend to stick with them and resist the temptation to get an ‘easier’ breed, one that takes less e ff ort to succeed with. Like our hounds, we are tenacious! We love their puppy-ness and their soft brown eyes. Here are some of the things that Beagle owners have learned from their dogs: • “ Th e most important things my Beagles have taught me are patience and joy in the moment. My Beagles have taken me to the moon and the stars and back again, opening worlds of compassion, friendship and challenge that I would never have experienced without them.” • “My Beagles have taught me not to take myself so seriously. Life is short, make sure to laugh and make others laugh.” • “Make the most of what you have. Life may throw you a curveball—hit it out of the park!” • Never trust a dog to watch your food. • Might does not make right. You’ll catch more Beagles with treats! • Sit = please. • Good things come to those who wait. • Don’t forget to play—and to take a nap. • Shake o ff the little things. • Stick with your pack. • And a few wise people who must have had a Beagle in their lives: • “A dog has four feet, but he can’t walk four di ff erent paths.”—Unknown • “When the old dog barks, it is time to watch.”—Unknown

Photo by Denise Nord

Photo by Denise Nord

Photo by Krista Droop

184 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M ARCH 2014

Powered by