I highly doubt this is going to read as any major "revelation" to those "die hard Beaglers" out there.
Let us forget about everything, we strip away "the list" : They need to be exercised, they need to be mentally stimulated, brushed, fed, watered.....................
But - what if you give the dog every single conceivable thing that it needs, do exactly what everyone tells you and more, yet you still sit with a problem....?
More often than you would think this is a perception formed by Beagle owners.
So the question looms - what then, is wrong with the dog if I give it absolutely everything it needs? Unfortunately if you are asking that question you need to let reality hit you and realise that you may in fact not be giving the dog everything it needs.
I think at this point the "die hards" are screaming in frustration. You have noticed what has not been mentioned I am sure. For those who have not - I urge you, please take a moment and let the following sink in:
You need a relationship with your dog
This breed in particular needs to feel PART of your family. From that comes a sense of security, respect and mutual understanding. From that comes the rest on which you can build, shape and elaborate to suit you and your life style.
In other words, if you have a problem more than likely the problem ....is you.
(Please do understand, there is a whole different topic that could be brought into account here of dogs with actual behavioural issues and I do understand there is a fine line. It is very important that you do not label your dog with "behavioural issues" that aren't necessarily there. There is a long list of things you need to cross off the list before the decision is made that there is a behavioural "problem" with your dog. Most of the time we slap "known" behavioural "labels" on them because we are too afraid to admit that we may be doing something wrong)
Do not fool yourself into thinking you are going to get the Beagle you want by keeping them at a distance or that they will just slip into your routine straight away.
You can get absolutely everything you want and more from this breed. More than you ever could have hoped for but you need to do the groundwork first and the ground work starts with building a relationship.
This breed is not a complicated breed as some people may tell you. Just do not fight what they are; they are hounds. They are inquisitive, they are intelligent and they have plenty of love to give to spell it out...LET them be inquisitive, intelligent and give the love they have to give. Set boundaries as the relationship grows, don't expect them to understand boundaries and rules unless you show them (sometimes over and over and over again).
To those reading this considering getting a Beagle. PLEASE look past the floppy ears, brown eyes and squishable puppy face. You need to ask yourself some questions and think about some things first and if you say even "uhm" to any of them, do a bit more research, ask more people more questions....
- These dogs get bored, are you up for providing decent and regular mental stimulation?
- They get lonely, are you ready for having something 100% dependent on you, your love and affection for at least 12 - 15 years?
- They are escape artists and scent followers and will potentially give you 5 million heart attacks and be the cause of all your grey hairs in their lifetime
- There will be hair and possibly drool in your bed, on your clothes possibly in your toothbrush and food and every conceivable place imaginable - can you deal with that?
- You are going to get home tired and there is going to be an excited four legged furry body wriggling, barking and extremely happy to see you, can you put your frustrations of the day aside, every day, and focus your energy and attention on your dog and it's needs as opposed to yours?
- Something (or things) will be found and destroyed (regularly) - can you tell yourself "I should have put it away" "these things happen"? Or are you going to tell yourself it's because the dog is naughty
- The neighbours may moan - incessant barking, howling, crying.....how are you going to feel about that and will you deal with it by trying to make a plan or are you going to label your dog as a "bad, noisy Beagle"?
- Your dogs may fight - it is not nice, it is more "shocking" to your system than you could ever imagine. Can you cope with the fact that this is something that happens - they are dogs. Will you be able to step back and be honest with yourself about your situation at home and that your dog's behaviour may be a reflection of that......or are you going to label your dog's as a problem?
- They will sneak up on your bed, your couch, get onto the dining room table and devour a cheesecake or the Sunday roast - dog's fault or yours for not training properly or KNOWING your dog and not leaving it unsupervised in a room with an accessible table full of delicious food?
- Counter surfing and landscaping are generally favourite pass times. They are problem solvers, the problem usually being "how do I get more food?" or "how do I get where I have been barricaded and blocked from going?"
- "Chase-me-whilst-I-have-one-of-your-most-valuable-or-expensive-things-in-my-mouth" a big favourite game. And if you have given in even only once to allowing them on the couch or bed with you despite swearing that those were going to be "Beagle free zones", you will have to learn how to play Beagle Tetris with your limbs.
- There is house training, stepping in puddles or piles when you walk half asleep to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Standing in the wind and rain and saying "Yay good dog!" and clapping your hands like a mad person when your puppy made a 5ml wee.
- Rediscovering what patience actually means, what understanding and unconditional love means and a world of self discovery opening up. These dogs really know how to make you see yourself for who you truly are if you let them.
Your Beagle will have good days, bad days, sick days, clingy days, crazy days, noisy days, naughty days. Your Beagle depends on you for food, for exercise, for entertainment, for love, for affection, for trust, for comfort, for safety, for guidance, for understanding.......for a relationship.
If the above overwhelms you, if it even in the slightest seems like a daunting task. Please please do not get a Beagle. If you already own one and are finding yourself in a position of pulling your hair out in frustration - then do whatever you need to do to make a mind shift, because it is you and only you that needs to change. Without it your situation won't. I urge each and every single one of you out there with whom this struck a cord. If you want a relationship with your Beagle and you don't know where to start. Start with someone that will give you a big dose of reality, hold your hand and support you. Do not lean on the shoulder of someone who 1. Does not understand Beagles and 2. Is only going to tell you what you want to hear.
If you truly and genuinely want a relationship with your dog there are plenty of people you can speak to that can guide you, chat with you, laugh and cry with you and support you.
The "Beagle Die-Hards" understand, really we do. We get it, it's not easy, but it is possible and it is more rewarding than anyone could ever put into words.
That is the simple little secret, a relationship, a healthy relationship of love and understanding.
It's an experience, a Beagle experience............and it's magical.
ALTERNATIVE HEALING & BLOG DISCLAIMER
Alternative healing articles and any other advice featured in this blog do not claim to replace any conventional veterinary treatment. This is an educational blog for Beagle owners to read about alternative options that we as Beagle owners have tried ourselves and seen positive outcomes. We do not post anything we have not experienced positively and will never endorse anything in which we do not believe through positive experience.
Kinesiology and other healing modalities do not diagnose, cure or prescribe, as these activities are the prerogative of veterinarians. Kinesiology may provide a different, energy-based approach to allergy support, and potentially allow for a reduction in the use of corticosteroids. As a kinesiologist, I believe that allergies, just like other ailments, may have an emotional and/or mental aspect which is worth addressing. As such, this modality represents a valid complementary therapy to veterinary care.