My husband and I just adopted our first beagle from the local shelter. We have no experience with the breed but would consider ourselved experienced dog owners as we have owned dogs our whole lives. Our new baby is named Penny and she is a 1-2year old beagle that appears purebred. She has been good so far (we have only had her a few days). She doesn't bark, chew, or dig. She has wonderful manners, doesn't steal food, doesn't pull on the leash. She is been ok with our young son but she does stiffen her body posture when he pets/hugs her. She seems to get along well with our other dog (a 6yr old female yellow lab) but she did have a few spats of growling. She sequestered herself under the table and growled at our other dog when she came near and then again while on my lap. We got her a dog bed so she has her own "space" hoping that would solve the issue. I have also walked them together hoping that would help as well. I have always owned labs so I was wondering while she follows us around the house she is slow to respond if we tell her to get off something or to come to us. Will this improve with time? Also we love to hike and fish and camp will our girl be able to come with us? I am afraid that she will run off or get lost if we don't tether her to us or the ground while we hang at the lake. I only ask this because on our walks she goes into total beagle mode and is nose to the ground zipping up and down next to me and has no clue that I am trying to get her attention if I say her name. (it could also be because she is a stray so we made up her name) Any suggestions would be appreciated. We love our new girl and are trying to help her fit into our family.
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Penny is new to your home and needs some time to settle in. The growling could be a fear aggression from being around larger dogs and new surroundings. I would give her some extra space and let her interact on her terms. Basic obedience work will help a lot as for how Penny responds to you at home and on walks. We have several threads on the forum that cover this general topic, "Having trouble with my Beagle" is one that comes to mind.
Every day training can be fun and easily worked into your routine.
Beagles are hunting dogs and thus hard wired to track and once on a trail they will follow that scent. You can do regular obedience work in your house and outside with distractions and this will improve things a lot. As for going camping and hiking with Penny off leash no one knows at this point. Recall work will be key here...
When Penny stiffened up around your young son this is probably fear. I would put space between your son and Penny for now. I am sending you a PM.
we always bring Dexter with us when we go camping. We tether him to a tree with a long rope; that way, he can still snuffle around but not run away. The same rope was used when going swimming with him. DSCN8397.jpg
While I am certainly no dog trainer, it sounds as if the dog is afraid and unsure of itself. The stiff body posture around the child is something that bears watching. Do not leave the child around the dog unsupervised and do not allow them to interact when the dog is stressed. Make sure that their interactions are always a positive experience for the dog. I had a problem with a completely untrained beagle that came to live with us at age 2. She wouldn't come when called, couldn't walk on a leash and wasn't completely potty trained. She seemed pretty social but had a lot of fears...she was petrified of my stand lamp and entertainment center (weird, right?); for example she would shy away from sounds like fireworks and sirens and loud bangs. I, too, had a large dog that she was really not very sure about. Food motivates my beagle. She couldn't or wouldn't focus unless I had food. So her first training included a lot of food rewards...many repetitions...many repetitions. The food taught her to focus and got her attention until the words associated with the action were firmly implanted in her little mind. Then I used reinforcement (her first command was "Come")...any time she came toward me, I used the word and would reward her with attention and greeting protocols. Eventually, I used this reinforcement technique on our walks. I would call her towards me or use the word when she would spontaneously walk towards me. The next step was to use a long tie out to further reinforce the desired behavior...using come...sometimes with treats and sometimes without treats. After that I added distractions (with the beagle still on the lead and me holding the other end). I kept upping the ante so to speak until the word engendered an automatic response in the dog. Eventually, I could take her outside with a ball and leave her off leash while we played using "Come" every time she ran towards me. Next I had a neighbor that the dog liked a lot, call her...off leash across the yards and then, after she raced towards her greeting her, I would call her back to me with the command. Now she is 8-9 years old and I can take her outside in a partially fenced in back yard to play ball or to the car to go for a ride with little fear of her running off. What the basic training allowed me to do was to discover what motivated the dog, establish a relationship with the dog and develop her attention span. Would I trust her off leash at my sister's farm? Nope. In the woods? Nope. If she saw something that she thinks needed tracked? Nope. My girl came from a long line of hunting beagles and she is driven by that nose of hers and I guess I accept that. She has in her repertoire, a whole list of useful commands to make life better for both of us. I have heard it said that beagles aren't very smart and I disagree