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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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