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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a very nice looking Beagle male that is 6 years old. I just purchased him for competition from a very well known kennel but he isn't working out well. I have him with a very good trainer and he has tons of bad habits that the trainer feels will stick due to his age so he is coming back home. He has run AKC SPO southern and UKC Performance Pack and is always picked up. He swings, leaves the check area too soon and is looping in front. I am not a field person, so I guess this means he runs past the dogs on the line to get where he thinks the rabbit is, leaves the trail too soon after losing the scent and tries to find a new one and runs a trail up front, loses it and then loops back around to find it again. I am very disheartened and you would choke if I told you how much I paid for this 6 year old boy. The up side is he is very well put together with tons of head and could have finished an AKC show Championship if I would have gotten him at an early age. Now that he is older he is not only gray but really tattered from running with patches gone on his tail, chunks out of his ears and scars and so on. He also never runs off game and is very very gentle with all dogs and pups, kids, loves attention and listens well no matter where we are. He is also a very willing and talented breeder and easy keeper. To me he is still valuable to me as a breeding dog and so I am still hopeful that we will get something really nice out of him. So here are my questions -

1) I understand that the bad habits he has may be genetic but when a dog swings, loops and gives up are they most often learned issues or genetic traits?

2) Before screwing up my breeding program is there a way to tell if his pups will have these issues and at what age will it start showing?

3) Some people have suggested running him alone to see if he will get better. I think that is a good idea but really, how much could this help at this age?

4) I will never run him with any dogs that are not very experienced as I do not want younger pups learning anything he has to teach but will running him with other experienced dogs
also be a bad idea?

On another subject or two here are more questions please -

1) I have nothing that runs besides the dog above and lots of pups to start. I am sending them off with a wonderful trainer but I always will have a few here between rotation.
Should I purchase a reliable old bitch or dog that is solid, slow and has no bad habits to keep my pups started and help them with confidence or to get them out and about hunting?

2) If so... any other words on this you can share? I know this has quite a bit to do with trusting the person that is selling the old dog to you and I don't want to get another that is
simply not safe to run with younger pups so I will be sure to send this old dog to my handler just to evaluate and give the blessing before doing it but anything else you can tell me is
greatly appreciated.

3) Have you found that pups that really love food will hunt hard when they realize they can eat a rabbit or are there any traits as a young pup that seem to go along with being a
solid hunter with desire or does it seem very random who turns out to be superior hunters and no way to really know for sure which pups to keep initially. I really do not want to keep
an entire litter but I will if there is no way to tell for sure.

4) Any words of advice for a fairly new person who's goal is a true dual AKC Champion?
 

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Lane;

I'm no expert, but I think some traits are built in. I have three pups from the same litter. My two males started barking track at around 13-14 weeks. I have "run" them every day since they were eight weeks. Granted, those first trips were more walks, but everything is new to a pup whether eight weeks or six months. We busted through thickets and briar patches, grassy fields, and I kicked brush piles for them. The males are finding and running their own rabbits and pack together. I just started running them with older dogs as I plan to enter them in SPO trials this winter. They have a very high prey drive. My female is just now starting to bark track. She often quits after losing the track. I think killing a rabbit or two will help her a lot. We'll see. I've been running her alone once in a while and she's improving. It just takes longer with some dogs.

Every pup is a crap shoot. I don't know anyone who can look at a litter and pick the champion. They can all have good days and bad. Every time out is a new condition: too wet, too cold, too dry, etc. A friend, who has bred beagles for years, used to pick the boldest, most curious, etc. Now he just picks the one he likes best. I think it has a lot more to do with time on the ground and patience. Don't give up too soon. I think you are wise to not run young dogs with this male. They'll learn his bad habits. Keep in mind, whatever you let the pup do is training. If you let him not come when called, that's what he learns. On the other hand, they can do nothing wrong the first year, except run off game. Be patient; there's no need for harsh punishment. Use a leash or a check cord to teach them to come. Calling an eager beagle off a track goes against everything in his fiber.

You say you are new to this. Talk to other breeders, dog people, trainers, etc. Have a plan. What do you want to accomplish with your breeding program? A goal is great, but take time to enjoy the trip. It will mean a lot more when you make that dual champion. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me. It is greatly appreciated.

I only walk my pups together to get them used to traveling out a bit and do some leash work with them. Then I send them to my trainer. I am a show person and besides not having time to do both show and field I also only have about 5 acres of field with no game at all on it. I tried joining UKC clubs and worked for a few years and became a conformation judge even before I purchased my first Beagle and show people, especially women with no land, are not asked to go out with the guys sady. I do have a couple of people I can run with and they have very steady dogs with no bad habits so I am lucky there and I am very careful.

I am new to Beagles so have only had them about 4 years but have had Labs for 25. I think I am ahead of the game in understanding health care, breeding, genetics and have a very good eye and idea of what I am breeding for. My goal is a true AKC dual Champion and want one that is fully deserving of both. I have a plan and tend to like somthing very different than what the usual AKC show Champion looks like. I like a classic head that isn't overdone, more bone and substance and a much better front than the vast majority of show Beagles. I am very particular and I know how difficult this is going to be but it will be fun and I will enjoy it...I hope. :)

Thanks again - Alayne
 
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