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Troy Hills Natalie

by Joe West

 


          This is a story about an actual hound here in our kennel. We'll not go into great detail of her life but offer some of her ups and downs to illustrate the development of a good serviceable hound which by my estimation Natalie is.

          She was born in a litter of two pups and from the start it was apparent that Natalie was special. She's a well made 13 inch hound and as a pup she was strong, bold and outgoing. Extremely tractable she took to manners training naturally and learned very quickly to handle well. At a young age short walks in the woods seemed to make her happy and she was always romping and playing or exploring. She soon found rabbit droppings and as many pups do she enjoyed eating them. Perhaps it is the rabbit smell that lures the pups to these droppings. That tantalizing smell that they really don't know why it is so but is sure interesting to them. It didn't take long for Natalie to contract a tape worm and require worming.

          Next she started finding pieces of dead rabbit and was very pleased with herself when she joyfully brought them back to me to share her find. It wasn't long before she forgot all about the dead rabbits and started taking an interest in the live ones. At first she showed her joy upon finding the scent of a live rabbit by talking with her tail. The swift and vigorous wagging of her tail told me that she indeed did smell live rabbit. At first she tried to follow the scent silently but was not able to go for more then a few yards. As she found more rabbit scents she began to yip while trying to follow the line of scent but was still unable to go very far before loosing contact with the line.

          Then one day it all seemed to come together for her and she bumped a line of scent and opened with a loud bawl as she made progress on the line. This rabbit she also lost but now she was on her way. Soon she was running rabbits regularly and accounting for more of them all of the time. At this point her only problem was her voice is not the loud booming voice I like so much in hounds, her voice is rather weak. She was developing a chop and bawl mouth chopping when the scent was really hot and bawling when the scent was good but she was farther behind the rabbit. Still she showed remarkable intelligence and poise in her work which more then made up for her weak voice.

          Excellent line control and strong nose she knew exactly where the point of loss was and worked it first on a check often sticking her nose into the exact point where she lost the scent and wiggling her butt around until her nose was pointed in the right direction and off she'd go again. Her dam ran in much the same fashion and she was to date my best field hound. If only Natalie can be like her I thought.

          The time came when Natalie was looking pretty good and although she was just a young teenage hound I thought I'd take her out with an older experienced bitch just to see if she was as good as I thought she might be even at this young age. She performed wonderfully. Clearly outclassing her older and more experienced brace mate.

          In the kennel Natalie developed what appeared to me to be an unnatural attachment to one of her kennel mates Darla; another young hound near the same age as Natalie. The two became inseparable in the kennel and Natalie would follow Darla around wherever she went almost frenzied to be constantly near her. Then Darla came into season and the two started fighting. They had to be separated to keep them from fighting and to this day they are inseparable except when one or the other is in season in which case they can't stand each other.

          This strange relationship carried over into the field. I decide one day to run the two of them together and took them to a favored hunting spot. Both had been there before and enjoyed the abundance of rabbits but this day was different. Just as in the kennel all that they wanted to do was romp and play with each other and never did once put their noses down to find a rabbit. On their next occasion out together it was in a small pack with other young teenage hounds and they still only wanted to romp and play with each other. Soon one of their pack mates got a start and the chase was on except for Darla and Natalie who seemed to not even hear their pack mates and just continued to romp and play. They were like a love struck couple who could neither see nor hear anything around them except each other. It wasn't long however until the rabbit passed close to where they were playing and right behind him were their two pack mates. Now with the other hounds so close they seemed to be shook awake and Natalie stopped in mid stride to turn and listen to the call of the pack. It was too much for her and she harked in. Darla seemed to want to continue to play but when Natalie opened on the line she fell victim to the call of the chase as well and the race was on.

          Not long after that I had Natalie in a small pack back at this same spot and they split up to search for their game. Natalie was the first to open and her pack mates ran to hark to her but soon after were seen searching the brush again. Natalie was still tonguing and so I went to investigate. there I found Natalie, my hopes for a future great hound throwing her tongue all over the place and not running a rabbit at all. Just running around and barking, playing again. I was crushed. This then could spell the end of Natalie. I would not, could not, tolerate a mouthy hound. Still, she was young and would be given ample opportunity to see if she would out grow this most annoying fault; and she did. I had my Natalie back and all I had to do was give her some time to figure it all out.

          A few months later we were back at this same spot with Natalie and a couple of older females. There was some snow this day and they had split up to go and search. I could see Natalie working along the edge of some brush and she had a little scent as was evidenced by her tail. She let out a couple of yips as she tried to work the line which brought one of the older females that was close by over to check on her. The older female, Candy, came up and stuck her nose down and then walked away. Natalie still appeared to be trying to work out the line so I went over to investigate.

          Upon reaching her I gasped loudly. Natalie had her nose stuck in a fresh deer track and was acting real happy to be doing it as she tried to work the line up. IN as harsh a tone as I am capable of, and I'm pretty capable of being harsh, I gave the "Natalie No" command. She immediately left the track and came up to me. I gave the "ware deer' command in a conversational tone to her and scratched her neck affectionately. She then left me and put her nose right back in the deer track and this time I gave the "Natalie No" command harsher still followed by the "ware deer" command with horror dripping from my voice. Again she trotted up tome with tail wagging and I petted her affectionately. She then left me and went straight back to the deer track and this time she got hold of it and opened and was off. I screamed the "down" command and she complied and then I shook her and gave the "ware deer" command again while pointing my finger in her face. I stood up and after a second she stood up and then she turned and looked at the deer track in the snow. When she did I repeated the "no" and "ware deer" commands and she turned and looked back at me and then trotted off into the brush where her pack mate was last seen. They got a rabbit going and since then, knock on wood, she hasn't shown interest in deer.

          Natalie's field work continued to improve. Very intelligent with a strong nose and great line control she seems to have inherited the style and ability of her dam. She is dedicated to the line. On her second heat cycle we bred her. She had difficulty due to oversized pups. We tried in vain to help get the pups out and had to take her to the vet. A c-section was not necessary however the pups were lost during birth. We plan to breed her again to a different stallion after skipping a heat cycle.

          She has maintained her affection for Darla although they are separated right now. Darla is busy with a new litter of her own. Three nice females which we have high hopes for. Since Darla is not kenneled with her right now Natalie has taken up with Darla's sister Nell. Those two now romp and play all day. Nell needs the extra exercise as she's a bit fat. Natalie will have her trimmed down in no time though. Meanwhile it's hunting season and as we wait for Natalie's time to be bred again we are happy to have her available to enjoy in the field.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).