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The Question & Answers pages are always "Under Construction".
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Since the Columbia-Willamette Beagle Club set up this website in March 1998, many questions have been asked of it's members. It was our thought that many more may have these same questions. In order to share this information that many of our club members have answered, this page is dedicated to those "Questions & Answers".

Q & A Disclaimer:

The following information is provided by Beagle Owners and Breeders. This information is opinion only and reflects what has worked for individuals. The contributors are not necessarily certified trainers or dog behavior specialists. Neither the individual contributors nor the Columbia-Willamette Beagle Club shall be held responsible or liable for these freely given opinions.

As always, use common sense and appropriate precautions when dealing with your dog. If you feel that you are unable to control your dog, please seek the advice of a professional dog trainer/behaviorist.

Answers for the following questions are forthcoming. Additionally, other websites that discuss these same type of questions will be added.

Questions on Page 1

Click on a question to go to answer.

How do I train my Beagle not to Bark?

What are some of the personality traits of Beagles?

Where can I find a "Pocket Beagle?

How much should I feed my puppy and what type of food should I use?

How much should my Beagle weigh?

How do I keep my new puppy from chewing on shoes or anything else?

Click here for questions on Page 2

What is the best way to potty train my pup (or any dog) and do I have to get up in the middle of the night?

How do I deal with the 'Marking' behavior?

Is crate training considered being cruel to my dog and how do I train him/her?

My dog is mouthy and nips people, how can I stop this?

Is obedience training all that important?

How do I find a responsible breeder and what makes a breeder responsible?

 

Click here for questions on Page 3

Do I really need a fenced yard for my Beagle?

My Dog eats poop, how do I stop this?

What is wrong with buying a dog from the local pet store?

I can't stop my dog from running toward the door, how do I stop this?

What are the primary health concerns for the Beagle breed?

Can you tell me about epilepsy?

 

                   

bulletHow do I train my Beagle not to bark?

Opinion 1:

From TwainHeart Beagles

Beagles bark for different reasons. If you're having problems with your Beagle barking, your first step should be to try to figure out why (s)he's barking and see if you can eliminate the reason.

Beagles will naturally bark at strange people, noises, and animals. Sometimes a fence that doesn't allow the Beagle to see out will reduce barking caused by outside stimulation.

Beagles often bark when playing with people or other dogs. The solution to this is to limit play time to when barking won't bother you or others.

If you are present when the dog is barking and you don't want him/her to, a spray bottle of water or a hose can be very effective in teaching the dog not to bark. When the dog barks, spray it with the water and tell it "No Bark." 

The hardest kind of barking to curtail is barking from being left alone. This barking is usually done out of anxiety and/or boredom. It's hard to stop because usually no one is home to deal with the barking when it occurs. Usually your choices to help control this barking are bark collars or debarking.

There are two kinds of bark collars. The most commonly used one is an electric shock collar that shocks the dog when (s)he barks. They are pretty expensive ($200) and only work when the dog is wearing the collar and the batteries are good. Dangers include the dog getting the collar off and chewing the batteries which could be fatal.

Another kind of collar emits an odor that is unpleasant to the dog when (s)he barks. I haven't heard much about the effectiveness of this collar either way.

Our choice for dealing with problem barkers is a surgical procedure called debarking. There are two methods of debarking and we strongly prefer the procedure that makes an incision through the neck to remove the vocal cords. In our area this surgery is about $200. The other method of going down the throat and "punching" the vocal cords is less expensive, but is not as effective in reducing the sound. We have also heard that the punch may scar over resulting in increased voice, or worse, blockage to the throat that can cause suffocation.

Debarking usually does not totally eliminate the voice. A debarked dog sounds like (s)he has laryngitis.
Many vets will not perform debarking surgery, regarding it as a cruel and unnecessary surgery. Our experience is that it involves the same amount of recovery as a spay and once the dog is healed, the dog suffers no discomfort unlike shock collars which constantly administer discomfort. Our debarked dogs act like they don't know they can't bark -- and in fact will carry on big barking fights with each other. The downside of debarking is that if the dog is in trouble (caught in a fence, for example) (s)he cannot alert you vocally. But when forced with the choice of debarking or getting rid of the dog, debarking was the best option for us.

Hope this helps.

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Opinion 1:

From TwainHeart Beagles

Of course, we think Beagles are wonderful dogs, but they are not for everyone. Beagles are friendly, easy-going, even-tempered and rarely aggressive, as a general rule. Books we've read about getting a puppy say to beware of "puppy-mill" beagles because these temperament traits aren't necessarily true of them. We have found Beagles to be great with children. They're sturdy and patient enough to put up with the minor abuses children dish out (of course, young children should always be supervised when they play with a dog) and energetic enough to play chase, ball (they'll usually run after it, but won't necessarily bring it back), and other games. They also get along well with other dogs and as well as any dog gets along with cats.

Beagles are curious and adventurous. They are slaves to their nose and can never be trusted off-leash in an unconfined area. They're chow hounds and will swear to you they're starving when they were just fed five minutes ago. They like to get up high on things and survey the territory (Snoopy really does get on top of the dog house) and many is the time we've found one of our beagles perched on the dining room table looking out the window. We finally designated a beagle chair at the window and have fairly successfully taught them to sit there and not on the table. However, Beagles would rather risk getting in trouble than pass up something that peaks their curiousity. If you had to describe a Beagle in one word, it would probably be "rascal." They are bred to live in packs so need companionship -- human or animal -- and don't do well if left alone for long periods of time, although most do fine if left for a normal work day.

Beagles have a reputation of being noisy. Books and people say they howl, bay, and bark. Our Beagles bark, but rarely ever howl or bay. We have found that dogs are like people; some like to talk and some don't. We have noisy beagles and we have beagles who only bark when there's provocation (a strange person, animal, noise, etc.)

Beagles are independent and are not necessarily concerned about pleasing people. They are generally very smart and learn quickly, but are easily bored and if they don't feel like obeying, they just don't. Most beagles will do anything for food, so training with food is the best way to train a beagle. Some trainers don't understand this, so make sure you find a trainer who does. We have friends who have beagles that compete in obedience, so you can train a beagle; it just takes more patience and persistence than some breeds, like a lab or poodle, require.

Both males and females make good pets. Some Beagle breeders think males make better pets, but we think it's matching the personality of the dog with the owner/family that's important.

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Opinion 1:

From TwainHeart Beagles

The AKC classifies beagles as under 13" at the withers (the top of the shoulder blades near the base of the neck) and over 13" but under 15". The smallest adult beagle I've ever seen was about 11.5" at the withers, but most of the 13" variety are 12-13". 13" parents can produce 15" offspring and vice-versa. While knowing what's in the background of the puppy can help predict, there's no way to know for sure what size a beagle will be until it's grown.

There used to be something called ≥pocket≤ or Elizabethan beagles. Sources I've read say they died out during the early part of this century and as far as I know, they no longer exist. I'd be very careful about anyone claiming to sell "miniature" or "pocket" Beagles. They probably don't really know what they're talking about, or worse, they are purposefully dishonest.

Beagles are subject to a genetic disorder called chondrodystrophy, commonly referred to as "dwarfism". These Beagles are often small and can make wonderful pets. But their bones are more fragile than normal Beagles and they need to be placed in quieter homes without small children or rambunctious dogs.

                   

How much should I feed my puppy and what type of food should I use?

Opinion 1:

With each of the three breeders we purchased our puppies from, they were very forth coming with this type of information. In fact, they always provided a care-package with all the initial needs of the pup. This always included a package of food the pup has been eating and the quantities used. (Something to consider if you ever decide to become a breeder.) Most responsible breeders care about the future of their pups and will do what is necessary to help that future. This is my opinion, anyway.

Before talking about how much, lets discuss how many times a day. For young pup's, it is better that they have two or three meals a day verses just one. Puppies tend to grow very fast and cannot usually go 24 hours between meals. If they start getting sick with just stomach fluids coming up, that is a good indicator that you are either not feeding them enough or not often enough.

As far as how much, it is not always a good thing to feed according to the directions on the bag of dog food. Our dogs always gained too much weight, and they are fairly active dogs. Puppies will start off with a fair amount of food, say a cup a day. This is only a guess, as the quantity may be different for different dogs. Then when they really start growing fast and get bigger, the amount will also increase to about double what an adult would get. As the dog approaches maturity, the quantity will need to be reduced.

Free feeding, where food is always left out is usually not acceptable for beagle health. Beagles are not the type of breed that can handle having food left out. Some can, but the vast majority cannot. They will usually gorge themselves silly, all the time, thus giving you a very fat beagle. This is one of the reasons that you have to control their diet. If your beagle is gaining too much weight, then reduce their food. We vary the amounts we feed our dog based on time of year. They are not outside as often in the winter, for obvious reasons, and require less food since they are less active. During the summer, they get more because they are, of course, more active.

Concerning types of food, we usually use a premium dog food. It would be wrong to list the various types here, but ask a Vet or go down to a local Pet Store and ask their opinion. We also try to use the same food as the rest of the dogs are eating, to save confusion, and we do use the adult food for the puppies we bring home. This is a matter of choice and our dogs get along fine with that.

When you do have to change the food, change it slowly. By changing from one brand to another, without giving the pup a chance to become accustomed to it, you are asking for trouble with diarrhea. Slowly introduce the new type of food over a couple of days to provide for the change in diet. Honestly, it will save you a mess at whatever age the dog is at.

Opinion 2:

From the CWBC Beagle Rescue Package:

Beagles and Food

Beagles, at least 99% of them, love to eat! While a healthy appetite is important, Beagles often take this to extremes. It is sometimes astonishing at the lengths they will go in order to get the smallest crumb. And with that powerful nose, they can ferret out food in amazing places. Without training, they will attempt to steal food from your hands, from your table, even right off your plate. However, with training, your dog can learn to behave around food. Here are some tips:

  • Never never never feed your Beagle from the table. Do it once and you will have a hound that will hang around your table at every meal. If you must give people treats, then give it to him/her away from the table, or, in his/her food dish.
  • If you drop a piece of kibble under the stove or refrigerator, save yourself the anguish and get it out right away. Otherwise you will have a Beagle hanging around the appliance all night, determined to get that one piece.
  • Store dog food in an airtight container and put the container in a cupboard or pantry where the Beagle canít get to it.
  • Keep dog cookies, treats and other delectables out of reach of your Beagle.
  • Practice your dogís sit/stay or down/stay while eating dinner, or put your hound in his/her crate during meals.
  • Donít let small children walk around with food in their hands, Beagles will often take advantage and that can be scary and frustrating for a youngster.

Because of their love of food, many Beagles end up overweight. You must learn to steel yourself against those pleading eyes. Your Beagle may tell you heís always hungry, but really he isnít. Free-feeding, or leaving a big bowl of food out for your Beagle will also often end up in an overweight dog. Most people find itís best to feed your dog twice daily, morning and evening. And itís important to know how much you are feeding your dog, so measure out how much you give him at each meal. If more than one person is responsible for feeding, make sure everyone knows how much your Beagle is supposed to get.

Treats are great for training and also just as a treat. But you must also be careful not to give too many. Dog cookies are like human cookies, a few are nice, but a lot and we end up with extra on our hips. Buy small cookies and break them in half. Dogs are more concerned with getting a treat and size doesnít really matter to them. If you are doing a lot of training with treats, then reduce the amount of kibble you are giving. Or, you can also train using your dogís dinner as your training rewards.

Nutrition

With so many different dog foods on the market today, choosing a good food for your dog can be overwhelming. There are several things you should keep in mind when shopping for a food. Price, quality, and palatability. However, the bottom line is to find a food that your dog likes and thrives on.

When it comes to price, to a certain extent, you get what you pay for. But that doesnít mean a very expensive food is the best for your pet. Each dog is an individual and some will do great on some foods and some wonít. That said, the premium dog foods are generally better. The manufacturers use higher quality ingredients and are more digestible. Increased digestibility means you need to feed less food and you clean up less stool. So while the more expensive brands may appear to cost more on the surface, because you feed so much less, the price can, in reality, be similar to the grocery store brands.

Look for high-quality ingredients listed specifically on the bag. Catch-all terms, such as meat by-products, can mean anything, so you want a food that lists exactly what it contains. If the first ingredient is corn or rice, you know there is a great deal of filler in the food, so look for a food whose first ingredient is a meat of some kind. Lots of filler often results in lots of waste production.

Thankfully, palatability isnít usually a problem with Beagles, however it is still important that your dog like its food. If your dog seems to pick at its food, then you might want to think about switching brands. However, you donít want to constantly be switching food, as you can create a picky eater.

Feeding

We recommend that you feed your dog a set amount either once or twice daily, with twice daily being more popular. Knowing your dogís eating habits can be very important if your dog should become ill. Beagles will often continue eating even when they are very ill, but they may not eat as much nor as quickly as when they are healthy. If your Beagleís eating habits suddenly change, you will want to take your dog to the veterinarian.

Quantity needs to be determined by your dogís condition. The amounts listed on the dog food bags are often too high for the average pet and are more suitable for very active dogs. When your Beagle is standing, you should be able to feel his ribs easily, but the ribs should not be prominent to your eyes. If your Beagle seems too fat or too thin, adjust the quantity gradually until you find an amount that works well for your dog.

Stainless steel food bowls are the best choice as they are easily cleaned and do not harbor bacteria as plastic and clay bowls may. Remember to wash your dogís food and water bowls daily.

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Opinion 1:

From TwainHeart Beagles

A 15" Beagle should weight between 20 and 30 pounds, depending on how much "bone" (s)he has. The best way to determine if your Beagle is at the right weight is visually. When you look down on his back, he should have a slight identation between where his ribs end and where his hip bones begin; a slight "hour-glass" figure. The other good test is to feel his ribs. You should be able to feel the definition of his ribs with your fingers -- not *see* them. If you can see them, heĻs too thin. But if you have to press hard to feel the definition of the ribs (or if you can't feel them at all), he can stand to lose a few pounds.

Weight is a problem with Beagles because they do love to eat. We recommend a quality dry food that you buy at a pet store or the vet that has 21-23% protein. Most Beagles do fine with 3/4 to 1 cup of such food twice a day (morning and evening meals). Two meals is better than one for their metabolism. No table scraps and limited treats. As with people, the best way for Beagles to lose weight is to *gradually* cut down on their food and encourage them to get more exercise -- chasing games, "fetch" (if he will), playing with other dogs that get him to run.

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How do I keep my new puppy from chewing on shoes or anything else?

This can be a tough problem to resolve, and with a little patience and firmness, you too can have a puppy that does *not* destroy an out of town friend's $200 pair of sunglasses!

Here are a couple sets of answers to this particular question:

Opinion 1:

From Email:

About your little problem, Beagles like to chew. No doubt about it! There are several things that you can do to help prevent him from chewing. Here is what I would suggest

1. Start crate training him for when you are not around. This works for a few hours, but no more, since nature still calls. A dog run is good also. Oh, crate training is not bad as long as the dog isn't abused. Our dogs sleep in their crates at night so we know where they are. Or one or two are let on the bed with the bedroom doors closed.

2. Provide an abundant amount of chew toys. (Rawhides, nyla-bones and dyna-bones, hand balls (my dogs love to toss a hand ball around, and it doesn't fall apart like a tennis ball), Kongs, old jeans torn up and tied in knots, or anything that you can find that would be ok for him to chew.

3. Provide a consistent training environment. The initial training may take a week or however long it takes for you to trust your dog, but keep a sharp eye on the dog during this time. Your have to catch him in the act of chewing on the wrong thing, and stop it right away. If you punish after the fact, then he won't know why he is being punished. Give him something that he can chew and praise him as though he went potty for the first time outside. It's that important, and he wants to please you.

4. Start taking obedience classes. This will help you learn how to teach him, while teaching him the basics. It's good thing to do once or twice, for consistency.

5. If you are having troubles with one particular thing, get some Bitter Apple. It has some isopropyl alcohol in it, as well as other bitter tasting ingredients and dogs hate the taste of it. Spray it on whatever and they 'usually' leave it alone.

These are only suggestions. They have worked for us through 2 Harrier pups, one Beagle pup, and one adult rescue who was also a Beagle.

Good luck, and let me know how it works!

Opinion 2:

From the "Ask Ginger" column in the Beagle Bugler:

Dear Ginger,

We have a 9 month old beagle named Penny that we can not stop from chewing everything that in not nailed down and most things that are. My wife and I both work and we have to leave our dogs on the large deck of our condo (we also have a 5 year old named Sarah). We do not want to have to leave Penny locked in her travel box while we are gone during the day. My wife comes home around 2:00 p.m. to let the dogs out for awhile. We have found teeth mark on the bottom of our dinning room chairs, anything that is left on the deck is fair game to her cushions for the deck chairs, wood for the fireplace, the cover for the BBQ, and anything else she things might be nice to sink her teeth into. We have tried "time-outs" in the box, scolding her when we see her chewing on things, and are almost to the point of muzzling her during the day. She always has a chew toy or raw hide available to chew on. Any assistance you could offer would be appreciated.

Gene, Susan, Sarah, & Penny (soon to have dentures)

Dear Gene, Susan, Sarah, and Penny,

You probably know that we canines must chew. Itís how we develop our jaw muscles, and strong jaws are closely connected with survival in the wild. Our ancestors didnít have the luxury of safe yards and canned dog food. Chewing is a behavior to be channeled not discouraged. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you havenít done so already, check Pennyís teeth and gums carefully or ask your vet to do so. Youíll want to make sure that Penny doesnít have a tooth or gum problem that is causing her insatiable and annoying chewing.
  • Good/safe chews are a necessity. Things like rawhide, pigís ears, and a kong with a cookie inside will hold Pennyís interest for a while. Remember that praise for desired behavior is immeasurably more powerful than correction. One "good puppy" is worth thirty time outs and much easier to administer. Timing is absolutely crucial with correction and Ė not to brag but - beagles rule when it comes to speed. Also Pennyís crate (dog box) should not be used for overt correction. Respite for humans is okay, but Penny should not connect her crate (her safe place) with correction.
  • At our house staying inside, unsupervised is a privilege reserved for older dogs. Puppies are too busy and become bored too easily to be in unsafe territory. Think about whether you would leave a toddler home alone. No house or yard can be made completely safe for a curious, exploring, and unsupervised puppy or toddler. Penny will be safer in her crate or in an outdoor run.
  • As Penny matures remember to give her a job. We dogs, like humans,want to contribute. Guard dogs, guide dogs, herding dogs, hunting dogs Ė we take our work seriously. Without work we become bored and are forced to create our own excitement by chewing, barking, digging, and chasing. You might say we write our own job descriptions.
  • My last suggestion is to remember that every undesirable behavior is a training opportunity. If you havenít taught Penny to obey a "leave it" command, begin now. The time you invest in teaching may someday save Pennyís life.

Thanks for askingÖ

Ginger

Opinion 3:

From TwainHeart Beagles

All puppies chew. It's the owner's responsibility to keep them away from things they don't want chewed. A crate is a good tool for this as well as for housebreaking. I will send an article on crate training. Usually dogs outgrow their chewing by 12-18 mos. Three to six months is usually the most active chewing age.

You can buy a spray called Bitter Apple to spray on things you don't want your puppy chewing. Usually this is most effective for problem areas that the puppy seems to return to. It's not really practical to spray everything in the house.

The number one rule is don't let the puppy out of your sight. If he starts chewing something inappropriate, correct immediately with a scruff shake and sharp "No" and give an appropriate chew toy. Give the puppy something that is like the hardness of what he was chewing on. If it was a chair leg, for example, give him a hard nylabone. If it was a slipper, give him a soft lambskin toy. When puppies are teething (as they are until about 5 mos.), different types of chew things feel better at different times.

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