Info needed about Beagles

ivamaeJune 17, 2012

we recently lost our 12 year old dog with cancer. We got another dog from Animal Control which had been a stray. We were not familiar with Beagles and their habits and although he is a beautiful dog and pretty good the most of the time, we were not aware until after we got him that although we have a fenced yard that it is not adviseable to let them off a leash. We have put 2 of the screw type stakes and a 10 foot cable at one and a 20 foot cable at the other. Both stakes are meant for 100 pound dogs and he is 44 pounds so should be strong enough. I tried to walk him but I'm 81 and he is 4. He was much too strong for me, if he saw something that he wanted to get at. He appears to be good with people and other dogs. I also walk with a walker and can't take a chance at what could happen. Do any of you have any advice about the back yard and if this is suffiecient. He loves company and is pretty good outside if someone is out with him. The same in the house but when he wants something he is pretty demanding and howls and cries like crazy. Is there any way that we can curb the howling and crying? Also he likes to put his feet up on the counter and the table and sniff out food. Although I am trying to be very careful where I set things he got a dish of butter off the table and had it mostly devoured before I caught him. We want to do our very best to train and keep him if at all possible. On the other hand we don't want the neighbours to be bothered by the cying and howling.

All replies appreciated, greatly.


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I feel the Animal control did a poor job matchng you with a dog that is more siuted to you. If you can't even walk him properly with out having a chance of him pulling you over it could end up a problem.Beagles do a lot of howling instaed of barking. I will not be popular for saying this but in my opinion you shud take him back and get an older calmer dog with better manners. I am in my 70's so know what you are dealing with.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 7:11PM
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I have to agree you and the dog are badly matched.

Beagles are high energy dogs that are very vocal. That is bred into them due to their hunting roots. The sound of their voice was easy to follow when the pack of dogs hunted in woods/fields/etc.

You will be much more happy with a much less energetic and smaller dog. Other types that would not be good matches are terrier types, very long haired types(those need a lot of care), and most puppies/young dogs.

Dachshunds, Yorkies, chihuahuas, and similar dogs are good companion dogs.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Beegood and handymac,

You're not helping. Maybe we can try something else? How can you possibly advise someone out of the box to surrender their dog without first trying to fix the situation?

Ivamae, So sorry you lost your old dog :( And on the behalf of everyone involved in rescuing unwanted dogs, thanks for taking on your new little guy.

Whatever the fence, make sure it's stable and too high to jump or climb. I would not leave him out there unsupervised for long periods of time. Get interactive toys for him, to keep him busy, like a Busyball or stuffed Kong.

Can you get a neighbor (or teenager) to give him a good long walk once a day? Or take him to dog training school?

Beagles are are a very special breed. They like to bark and run, but they can be trained. Be sure he's microchipped and always has an id tag on him!

Maybe Mazer will measure in here. He always has good advice. In the meantime, check out this information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Everything beagle

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 5:45AM
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So many poor dogs get returned to shelters because their owners failed to research the breed and make sure it is a good match. Did you do this with beagles? They are indeed high energy dogs and they bay/howl. I don't know why you'd get this type of dog if you can't walk and if you are concerned about the barking noise. Can you let us know?

Frankly, I'm with the posters who say that this dog seems to be a poor match for you. Of course we are only responding to what you told us. Ask yourself honestly: wouldn't you be happier with a more sedentary, quieter dog? There are plenty of these in shelters, too.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 6:07AM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

I have to agree that this breed is a poor match for Ivamae. She did nothing wrong. The shelter is to blame here.

I would also recommend returning the dog. A young, energetic dog is no match for someone who is 81.

I have a neighbor who is 82 and took his son's 50 lb. young retriever mix. That dog pulls him down the street and has already injured my cat so bad, she had to be put down. It is an accident just waiting to happen.

There are so many gentle, quiet, calmer older dogs in need of homes that would be a wonderful match for you, Ivamae. Please don't think that you must keep this dog.

Handymac has made some good suggestions for more suitable dogs.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 7:48AM
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As an owner of a beagle who I adopted in 2007, I agree that this dog is not a good match for you. I did not research properly, and was totally unprepared for what owning a beagle means. Daisy was a stray, about a year old. She is very small for a beagle, only 11" tall at the shoulder, but was an expert escape artist. I did so many things to my fence to keep that dog in! Did you know an 11" beagle can:

1. Find a tiny gap at the bottom of a chain link fence and dig out.
2. Climb a chain link fence.
3. Climb a chain link fence that has been covered with fence fabric.
4. Jump a chain link fence.
5. Build a scaffold to climb over a chain link fence that had an extension added, making it 7' tall.

OK, kidding about that last one, but it would not have surprised me.

Beagles are also independent, and if they are interested in something, they will not listen. If they want to sniff something and they are on a leash, they will choke themselves to get to it. Most importantly, if they do manage to escape and pick up a scent, the rest of the world falls away and they are so focused it is like they can't hear (you calling) or see (the car coming at them).

As you have discovered, they are very strong. My beagle only weighs 20#, and it is astounding how strong she is!

I got Daisy after losing a 14 year old dog who was the best dog ever. Then I got this cute (oh so cute!) little HELLION of a beagle! After 7 months, I could not take it anymore. She was not an affectionate dog, she was destructive, stubborn, and figured out how to get up on the counter among other things. And I had another dog at the time, so it's not like she was all alone and bored. I tried to give her back to the shelter, but they had no room. Daisy appeared to have been abused in the past, so I didn't want to give her to the humane society and risk her getting into another bad situation, so I stuck it out.

She has come a long way, but is still stubborn and I can NEVER EVER EVER NEVER EVER let her off leash. I have to watch when people come in/out of my house or she'll slip out. I have to keep the trash in a closet or she will tip the can that is 5x taller than her and have a field day.

Yes, she has good qualities, but she was a poor choice for me. I am lucky that unless she is on a scent in the yard, or sees another dog out the window, she is quiet. I have a new house and the fence is "Daisy proofed", but I still don't leave her in the yard alone much because she is so darned determined to get out.

This is my experience. Some beagles are not like this, but I think the majority do have similar issues and are challenging dogs. They were BRED to hunt, and it is really not possible to train that out of them. Sure, you can get close, but I don't believe you can ever trust a beagle off leash. And after 5 years and many different collars and harnesses, she is STILL not overly enjoyable to walk. I have worked and worked with her, but if she wants to sniff something, forget it. That is actually one of the funny things she does. I will stop, holding her leash firmly, and she will lock her legs and leeeaaann towards whatever it is she wants to inspect. It is really hard to get her to move! I am 53 and in decent shape, but she is tough!

I do love my little Daisy, but if I could do it again, I would not have adopted her. For the first 2 years, it was SO stressful. She is not like all the other dogs I've had, who were sweet, affectionate, good listeners, and trustworthy. Like I said, she has come a long way, but it was a LOT LOT LOT of work, and I really didn't like her very much sometimes because she was so frustrating. It is such a shame, because beagles are SO friendly, cute and funny and can be quite endearing.

Very long story short, I really think you should find a dog more suited to you. I suggest working with the independent rescues that foster their dogs in homes. I got another dog last year from a rescue, and they were able to tell me all of her pros/cons before I made a decision. She is THE best dog! And I will contradict myself here...she is a cattle dog/border collie mix, and both of those breeds are known to need a LOT of exercise and are extremely smart, need a "job", etc. Annie is none of those. She is a senior dog, about 8 or so years old, so that helps I'm sure. That is another thing to consider, adopting an older dog, at least 6 years old.

Good luck in your decision, and please don't let any guilt outweigh the reality of whether or not you should keep this dog. You want yourself AND the dog to be happy.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Ivamae, first of all, I am so sorry for your recent loss.It is always so difficult when we lose our furbabies.
I was a beagle owner for 12 adventurous years and I do have to tell you, at least in my case (and the general consensus for many beagle owners) from the day I adopted her until her last day, she was a handful. Like yours, she was great with other people and (most) dogs and was so sweet and lovable, BUT she had quite the tendency to be naughty. We did obedience training...several times. She learned well, but as a breed, they are stubborn.
I have to say ultimately, I agree with most of the other posters here as far as saying you were poorly matched. However, that's not to say you can't make it work, but it would be alot of work and even with training, you can't really train the naughty out of a beagle (in my opinion), you just have to learn to do thing differently and think like your dog. No leaving food unattended, and when you think you have it pushed back far enough, push it back further. That nose will be a driving force. You might try a gentle leader for walking although I never tried that, it may help or as ellynj suggested, hiring someone to walk as that is really important for getting energy out. Beagles need alot of stimulation. The kong idea ( daily definitely) is a great way to stimulate as well. Also maybe get a trainer to come to you and work with you both!
As much as I believe in the commitment to whatever animal you have adopted, there are situations where regardless of good intentions ( or poorly trained staff in a shelter), it's just not a good match. I work with folks your age alot and a beagle can be more than you may want at this point. If you decide that you are not meant for each other, maybe you could find a rescue that maybe could trade with you?
In any case, I wish you the best...I know it's not easy and you are not in an easy situation.
Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:08AM
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I read your post again and you are saying he can put his feet on the counter and table to steal food plus is 44lb. Sounds more like foxhound or beagle foxhound cross. That shelter for sure was not up front with you about what you were getting. They are supposed to be the ones matching dogs with the proper owners and they failed you.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:11AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I also am with the posters who feel that this dog was a poor match with the owner, and that the shelter should have steered the adopter toward a quiet older dog instead. I think that returning this dog for an senior canine would be a very wise move. So many older dogs are passed over for adoption and need a quiet household to live out their retirement years, that it would be a kindness in the long run.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 1:31PM
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thanks everyone for the wonderful replies. My son is working with him to-day on and off the leash in the back yard and so far, so good, but they haven't seen a rabbit or any big distraction. I have ordered the info from the link suggested. We are going to try very hard before we give up, but in the end may have to make a different choice. I'll try to keep you posted about our success.
Thanks everyone

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Good luck. It's always worth a try to keep the dog.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 3:06PM
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You've gotten a lot of great info so far but if you want to talk to someone who's nuts about Beagles and raises them than you might want to reach out to Beaglesdoitbetter. She hangs out in the Decorating Forum and I'd bet she'd be happy to answer any questions you have or tell you about them.

Here is a link that might be useful: email for Beaglesdoitbetter

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Ivamae, if you do end up needing to find yourself a calmer dog, I have just one suggestion to try. It may not work, but worth a try. If you can seek out rescues in your area maybe you could explain the poor match issue and try to work out some sort of 'trade' adoption. Of course they'd probably want to still receive a fee for a dog better matched to your needs, but they may take your beagle and keep him out of animal control which would be good for him and good for you since you do appear to care about him.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:51PM
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We have a beagle, one bagel (beagle-basset mix) and one foxhound. We had two beagles before one of them passed, so we are pretty experienced with hound dogs.

It is possible to keep them in a fenced area, with *lots* of forethought, and thinking like a beagle. When we build a fence, it will be a wood fence (no chain link - they can see animals/people outside of it and that's that.). You should also put chicken wire on the bottom of the fence going down about 4' and curved inwards at the bottom to prevent digging (more if possible).

Anyhow, they can be a lot to handle, but we would not trade them for anything in the world. You just have to recognize the way they are and work around it. Ours are determined to no end to get food and garbage. Oscar the beagle has an addiction to garbage I would liken to crack. So we've had to get a special garbage can, but it still doesn't work.

Also, we can't keep Oscar running around the house when we're gone-he'll get into way too much trouble, you have no idea. Also, we can't let him have free run of the house while we're here even so we use baby gates to contain him to the family room, kitchen, dining, and living. The other two dogs aren't as big trouble-makers.

I agree with another poster, it sounds like you have some sort of beagle mix - a normal beagle cannot reach a table or counter (our foxhound helps get the food down for the others!).

They can be trained with lots of resolve, consistency, and understanding. We trained our hounds to totally ignore the cats - we didn't want to risk any prey drive coming out, so instead of teaching them to be friends, we taught them to ignore. it took time, and consistency, but we did it, and everyone lives happily now. Likewise, we trained our beagles to walk well on a leash but it took tons of consistency and training. Every single time they would sniff at something and start going off the sidewalk, I'd pull the leash and say No!. When they would walk in a straight line for a while and not get distracted, I would make sure to praise them. Eventually, they got the message and they did well with walks. They know that when they are on concrete they are not to sniff and go crazy. We allow them to sniff and be beagles around the yard on the grass.

I'm not sure if at the age of 81 you have the resolve for all of this, especially never having had beagles before. But you can certainly try, and who knows, it might work out!!!

And I must reiterate what others have said...NEVER LET THEM OFF THE LEASH OUTSIDE OF A FENCED AREA. They will leave, and possibly never come back. They are not trying to abandon you - they can't help it. They also try to worm themselves out the door if someone is coming in.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:26PM
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I agree that a beagle is a bad match for you. They are escape artists and have a will of their own and will not listen to you when you call. And, this dog is way overweight! I think they're as cute as can be, but would never have one, and you're finding out why. A lot of shelters will give seniors a good deal on an older dog, and an older dog of a different breed will be easier for you to take care of.

Here is a link that might be useful: AKC - is your beagle fat?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 11:27PM
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I had this all typed and it disappeared on me.

Thanks for all your replies.
For the first while, we really thought
we were going to have to take him back,
but we persevered and the last couple of weeks
he has improved tremendously.
We are so pleased, as he is really a beautiful dog.
We know other things may happen but at this point we are very pleased and taking it one day at a time.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Thanks for the update! So glad to hear things have improved! Beagles can be an adventure, but ya know what? I would not have traded my sweet beagle adventure for anything...she stole my heart!
I hope it continues to go well for you!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:00PM
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My husbands pap has had beagles his whole life and they all been good. His current dog is off her leash in the yard and he can be in the house all day and she will still be there. You would need to teach it how to stay in the yard and from pulling you if you did take it for a walk. Beagles only howl not really bark to much. If a beagle sees a rabbit it could take off but then again it might not. If a person wants their beagle to hunt then they teach it when it's still a pup. But if your beagle wasn't taught to hunt then it will probably stay around. Beagles are good dogs for the simple fact that they let you know when someone is at your house. Beagles are the most friendliest dog ever trust me. Just make sure you teach the dog to listen and to stay in the yard and the dog will do just fine. Just give it time before you decide to take it back. It would be hard for the both you and the dog. Hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 8:54PM
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