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disciplining your beagle

26708 Views 16 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  kutyuska
I just bought a Beagle about 3 days ago.... He's 3 months old. First couple of days very calm... today, well WOW!! He's biting all of our cords that are plugged into walls and is starting to bite me when I'm putting his leash on. What I've started doing since yesterday is grabbing him by his nose.... as if to keep his mouth shut... Making sure that I have his atttention .. and then tell him NO... He whimpers a little as I do it ... so I know he doesn't like it. I'm doing this AS soon as I catch him in the act... biting/chewing things or me.
My question is ... Is this wrong? Should I not be grabbing him by the nose or should I just be telling him no? Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thank you
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You should never physically punish a dog -- ever -- with your hand or any part of the body. You have to do with vocal intonation and you have to catch them in the act or it means nothing. Be consistent. Try something loud like the old coins in a soda can thing to be the 'no'. But do not hit or hurt your dog as punishment.

I certainly agree that you should never strike a dog, cause them pain or harm them in any way in an ill-conceived attempt to discipline them.

That said, despite how human-like dogs sometimes seem, they descended from wolves, Canis lupus, and are actually classified as a wolf sub-species, Canis lupus familiaris. The reason that I mention this is because it helps to understand how dogs think and how that thinking differs from our own.

Wolf packs are organized into highly structured hierarchies, where each wolf knows its place within the pack. To a dog, the family that it belongs to (whether humans, other dogs or a combination) is its pack, and it will try to find its place. Each dog's personality is different, but it's entirely natural for a dog to challenge authority as part of how it determines its place in the pack.

It's very important not to let any challenge by the dog succeed. A dog will interpret successful challenges as an increase in its pack status. The interesting thing is that a dog will feel just fine at any rung on the pack ladder as long as there is no ambiguity associated with its position there. Ambiguity in the pack hierarchy causes anxiety in dogs, and this can lead them to challenge authority in an effort to firm up the pecking order.

I was once in an obedience class with a 4-month-old pup. An older lady was also in the class with a bishon frise. It soon became very clear that this poor lady held no sway over her dog at all. The dog would routinely ignore everything she said, and those things usually consisted of asking and pleading with the dog to obey, which it never did.

After about an hour of this, the professional dog trainer who was running the class, asked the lady if it was alright if he showed her what should be done. He took the leash, and began trying to work with the dog. The dog, of course, assumed it was in charge and disobeyed him.

The trainer immediately dropped to his knees, grabbed the dog, flipped it over on its back, bared his teeth, put his face about three inches from the dog's face and, in no uncertain terms, held it there for about 30 seconds while he yelled at it in a low, very firm voice. The dog resisted for awhile, then pee started dribbling out onto the floor.

As soon as the trainer saw this display of submission, he immediately let loose of the dog and, like magic, the dog lost most of its previous attitude and began obeying the trainer. When the dog obeyed, he lavished it with enormous praise, but when it disobeyed, he immediately responded by reminding the dog that he was dominant. I doubt that the older lady ever managed to establish dominance over her dog, but it was a good education to the rest of the class in dog-think.

It's extremely important to always be good to your dog, be friends with it and love it. It's equally important that this occur within a framework that the dog understands and respects. You absolutely don't want ambiguity over who is alpha. If the dog understand that its role is further down the hierarchal ladder, it will usually be just fine with that role — as long as it feels secure, needed and appreciated in its place in the pack hierarchy.

Every dog needs to learn that good things immediately happen when it obeys alpha and that immediate and unhappy things happen when it disobeys. As for pups, they're just learning this stuff, and they're still exploring their way through it all. That being the case, you need to make special allowances for pup (child) behavior, but it's important that you always win each and every disagreement that you have with your pup.

If there's any question over whether or not you'll win, don't fight the fight — you can't afford to lose. For example, if you're teaching your dog to come. Never, ever let it not come when you call it. When it comes on its own, praise it effusively, but if it doesn't come, you absolutely must immediately track it down and bring it back. The dog must understand in no uncertain terms, that one way or another, when you call, it WILL find itself coming back and that good things will happen when it comes back on its own.

Like I said, ambiguity in the hierarchy will make an anxious dog, and that ambiguity will invite challenges to your authority. The dog will be happy as long as it's knows its place in the pack hierarchy is secure, important and appreciated by you, the alpha. And just to be clear, never hit your dog — you don't want a fearful dog. Instead, you want a dog that loves and respects you as the leader. And it has every right to expect that you will love and respect it as the follower.
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I don't know that I agree with those tactics. I wouldn't want that done to my dog anymore than I would for my child. I do know that the face offs have to go to the human.

I wouldn't suggest it for anything other than a way of establishing some ground rules for a serious dog disciplinary problem.

A couple of months ago, I was walking our beagle in the neighborhood when I came across a couple walking two larger dogs. We stopped to talk while the dogs did their usually dog greetings. All of a sudden, the larger of the two dogs growled and bit our beagle, Mable, right on the back. Then the other dog jumped into the fight. There was all kinds of barking and yelping and commotion going on. We finally got the dogs separated, and the other couple was seriously embarrassed over their dogs' aggressive behavior. Mable didn't seem to be any worse for the encounter, so we all parted company.

Twenty steps in the other direction, Mable stopped, looked back, turned, then did her dog shaking thing like dogs do. Then she immediately resumed sniffing everything in sight, her tail was in the air and her nose to the ground — she was as happy as could be, just as if absolutely nothing at all had happened.

Sometimes dogs seem so human that we forget that they're really not like us. They have their own rules, their own behaviors, their own expectations and their own conclusions that they draw from their experiences. When working with dogs, I've found it very useful to try to think like them and do things in ways that they understand.
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I went through the same thing when I first brought Badger home after a week he was nipping, chewing things, and displaying bad behavior. I got frustrated and the more frustrated I got the worse he got because he knew I was just going to give up. I eventually broke down and spent the money on some one on one training with a trainer. Since then Badger has made great improvements. I have learned that it really is all in your body language. I am a big reader as well and have read some really great books on dogs and beagles as well which have helped me.

I found Web site helpful because my dog Lucy going through the biting stage.
I have to agree with Orrymain.
And don't forget the dog is only 3 months old.
You never punish the dog, you have to train him. The coins in the can work like magic. Anyways the biting will stop after teething.
The trainer immediately dropped to his knees, grabbed the dog, flipped it over on its back, bared his teeth, put his face about three inches from the dog's face and, in no uncertain terms, held it there for about 30 seconds while he yelled at it in a low, very firm voice. The dog resisted for awhile, then pee started dribbling out onto the floor.
You said you don't want a fearful dog but that is exactly what that method achieved. A dog urinating in submission is TERRIFIED.

I would be furious if anyone handled my dog in such a manner, I am an obedience instructor and I would never ever condone anyone handling their dogs in such a manner in my class.

Anyone who did would be taken aside and given a talking to about what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to how we handle our dogs. If I was student in a class and saw an instructor treat a dog in the manner you outlined above I would never ever go back to that class. Disgusting.

There are lots of ways that we can train a dog to respect us, my beagle is a real challenge but I've never needed to alpha roll her to teach her to respect me.
I am from a family that has raised working dogs of all types. What Aarooogh said is right on. It is when we forget our dogs are not humans that we have conflicts. Each dog has its own personality. Each dog has it's place. For a while my pups decided they wanted to fight whenever they got together/ Some of these fights were real knock-down-drag-outs! It took me about 30 seconds to put an end to it all INSTANTLY. I put the girls that where fighting into the kennel with their dad. As soon as the door shut, the girls went to fighting. My male ran up to them, knocked them both down, and growled. They never fought again. I can even feed them one at a time and they wont fight. They NEEDED to learn their place. If they didn't, they would be miserable... fighting all the time.

I have seen a lot of negative feedback when it comes to electric collars. I fail to see how a PROPERLY employed e-collar is a bad thing. The dogs immediately associate the discipline with the bad behavior... not the handler. Before anyone uses my collars on my dogs, they have to try it. I have them put the collar on a wrist and I operate the control starting with just a vibration and amp it up to nick (shock). They learn quickly that, just because the collar has 10 strength settings, they don't need to go higher than a 3. This isn't a shock. If you have not put one on yourself, you would not understand the sensation. It is a mild tingling sensation. It is just enough for the dog to turn his head to see what touched him. Eventually, they can be trained to respond to the "beeper" on the collar. I still have a safe way to stop something bad from happening. I have seen my dogs sniffing around marked traps. Pushed the button, dog jumped back, he was safe. I snake-trained them by allowing them to approach a snake and I pushed the button. I have seen people abuse the collars. When you hit the dog with enough juice to fold it up and drop it to the ground, you might as well kick him.

My dogs are well adjusted members of OUR pack. They know their role and it is enforced. I believe they are happier for it. My dogs don't cower from us. The collar gives me the latitude to let the use his problem solving capabilities but still empowers me to protect the dog... even if it is from himself!
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I don't have a problem with e-collars when they are used properly.

What most people fail to realise is that in wolf packs, the alpha roll is actually a myth. An alpha dog does not need to forcefully roll lower pack member over, the alpha stands on top of the dog and it willingly submits. There is no force.

Enforcing rules and boundaries is really important, as is being a good leader. But these things can be done without force and without using confrontational methods that result in your dog urinating out of absolute terror.

When I think of a submissive dog, I think of a dog who averts his gaze and refuses to make eye contact, who slinks around with his head down, his tail tucked between his legs, loses control of his bladder and urinates. That's not ever body language I want my dogs to display around me. I want my dogs to be confident and excited when I give them a command, they cannot comply fast enough, I want a dog who maintains a good attitude the whole time it interacts with me - head up, eyes bright, ears and tail alert. I never want to see "submissive". My beagles competes with my in obedience and we have just started agility and my number one requirement when I go into the ring is that my dog clearly loves to work and is happy to be there.

The very idea - as an obedience instructor - that a trainer would take a dog from a student in his class, pin it down, shake it and growl in its face until it urinated out fear disgusts me beyond belief. We all have difficult dogs in class, and handling one in such a way is NOT the answer.
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I know thye can be frustrating at times but physical punishment in any way never works and can lead to a frightened dog or one that bites. Try to remember that your puppy doesn't know what is "right and wrong". You have to be the one to teach him. What I do if I find my dogs with an item that is not theirs, I take the item away and say "No" and give them an item that they can have. You can use a can full of coins to startle also. Be sure to use the same method each time so your pup won't be confused.
How can you use loud noise to punish the dog but still expect it to perform when it is close to gunfire? The last thing I want my pack to fear is loud noise
I am currently raising a three month old pup along with two six month old and one seven month old. We have had a great deal of success with the biting (teething) issues by just saying "No" and replacing the inappropriate chewing item with one that is appropriate and acceptable. Also, when you are away from home, don't leave your beagle to roam freely around the house chewing. He should have a crate (which he considers his den and safe place) and put him in that when away. It will save you a lot of aggravation if he is crate trained. I have raised over 30 beagles who have all been crate trained and have been in the house at one time or another. They have all been well behaved and very good house pets as well as hunting dogs. I would also highly recommend Cesar Milan's books. They are very insightful and we have learned a lot about training a dog just from reading them. I must admit that these last four pups are the best, well-mannered, well-behaved loving dogs we have ever raised. I attribute it to the lessons we learned from reading and watching Cesar. And don't forget, pups have a very short attention span and look for things to occupy them. If they are bored, they will chew. Keep his mind occupied, exercise, walks, etc. all help.
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From the limited experience that I have , having a dog is a two way street . You adapt to them and they adapt to you . Perseverance and patience is essential when dealing with a beagle , in time they become great companions . Dino is 8 months old now and has settled down really well .
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