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Training Of Katie And Sadie - Part 1

by Michael W. Hurley


          This is going to be a three-part article that will walk everyone through the training process of Katie and Sadie. These Beagle pups are currently 3 months old and are from the bloodline of Still Water Tiny Bull. I hope that everyone will read this ongoing article and enjoy it for its different views of puppy training, as we do not all do things the same.

          Katie and Sadie were whelped on the 30th day of September 2000. Their dam is Adkins Polecat and their sire is Hayden's Lone Ranger. The pair is owned by Bruce Munzy of Mt. Hope, West Virginia and are both excellent rabbit hounds with a lot of great qualities I like in a dog.

          I picked the pups up on their 8-week birthday; filled all the puppy papers out and promptly sent them to AKC to have them registered. We wanted to have two names that were close sounding so my 4-year-old daughter came up with Katie and Sadie.

          The first couple of days were typical puppy days; lots of sleeping and a whole lot of whimpering. After the first few puppy days we saw an overnight change, they wanted to run, chew and bark at anything and everything. My wife was having second thoughts about this puppy thing at this point in time. After the first two weeks they understood the word “NO” pretty well and started realizing who was in charge. (Not that it means anything to a Beagle.)

          We would go out to the yard and I would run so that they would follow and bark as if the were in hot pursuit of a rabbit. This made me feel pretty good at that point. We also worked on the “Down” command and the “Here” command, as these are the simplest commands to teach a dog.

          Rewards are the single best teacher I have found to help in the area of puppy training. A puppy this age is always more than ready to eat and if he knows he does something good, he gets a treat…. so he’s going to do something good. The thing to remember about this type of training is to never feed the dog before your training session is to start. This makes the puppy sleepy and he will not respond to you well. This 'command training' as we will call it is a ongoing process and should be done for no more than 20 minutes, because a puppy's attention span is not that great. At this point teaching a puppy to use his nose is also important. This can also be done through the treat (reward) method. Cut a piece of ham or another type of tasty meat up in little chunks, spread it in a small area and let the puppies find and eat these tasty morsels of food, not only relying on their eye sight to see it but their nose to smell it. You would not believe how quick my puppies picked up on this “Hunt for the treat game”.

          After they mastered the treat game I had a rabbit in the freezer from an earlier hunt just for the purpose of training. I would let them chew and pull on it just to get the accustomed to the smell of a rabbit as not being “Bad” and that it was OK to Play with the rabbit. At this point I started to see that Sadie was a bit more aggressive than her sister. She would really work that rabbit over. Katie was a bit more laid back, she would bite and shake the rabbit, but not to the degree as Sadie. I did this for a week or so and the sessions kind of got boring for them. I think they figured out the rabbit wasn’t going to run or fight back.

          So, I went to the Local man who raises San Juan rabbits and bought one for $5.00. I thought this was not a lot of money to see if the girls would really chase a live rabbit.

          I returned home and Pulled the rabbit out of the cage, and turned it loose in their kennel run which is about 12 X 10 chain link. They chased the rabbit for a minute or so, caught it, and proceeded to try and tear him apart. If I would not have separated them they would have killed the ol' rabbit.  Since then I have kept the Rabbit in its cage. I think I will wait until the pups are a little older and can handle the track once I turn the rabbit loose in the woods. I don’t want to spoil them with those good ol' sight chases.

          Now the pups are 3 months old and they are in excellent health, they can use their nose, they listen pretty well, and they really like rabbits. I think its time to take the rabbit training sessions to another level for them.

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).