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I have several questions and would really appreciate any advice anyone can give me. I have a 2 year old beagle who is housebroken and trained but has been solely a pet. I have recently decided that I would like to pick up rabbit hunting and am wondering if it is too late to begin training her to run rabbits. She is very smart and knows a great deal of commands, but when she is out in fields off leash she is dead to the world and I may as well not exist. I know this is her nature and she is just smelling around, but I have a few questions for those who have experienced hunting beagles. How disciplined should I expect her to get? How can I be sure she will return to me when I have her out tracking? She is a fairly small dog, even for a beagle, is it bad to have her running rabbits alone? I have heard stories about hunters losing dogs to coyotes and if this is a serious danger I will just walk the rabbits without her. Basically I thought that rabbit hunting might be a way to allow her to do what she was bred for and for us to both enjoy ourselves. I have heard people say that they just take their dogs out and let them run without any real training but I am not sure how effective that would be. She does have interest in tracking scents, and has always been very interested in rabbits around the neighborhood, and is from a prominent hunting family line, so I don't doubt that she would be well suited to it. I don't really have access to another experienced beagle to run her with, which I have heard is the best method of training. Should I just forget it or is it worth giving it a shot? How much time would I need to devote to training her, considering that she is already decently well-trained? Should she be able to heel and come on command in order to take her out? My biggest concern is that she doesn't come when she is off leash because as I said she is busy sniffing everything. Thanks for any help!
 

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If she has good hunting blood lines, she will run a rabbit. As far as catching her, just stay close. She will come to you. I hope she wont be gun shy, but you will find out. I wouldnt shoot close to her until she gets used to it. I would get a training collar for sure, just in case she gets after a deer. Keep her on a leash until you jump a rabbit, then turn her lose. If you could find someone with trained dogs it would be a great advantage.
Hope this helps.
 
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