Owning a Beagle

Before having a beagle I had never really heard much about them. I knew that they were hounds and that the could be used as sniffer dogs. It wasn’t until I had one that I found out that they are stubborn, willful and very clever. Anyone who I’ve met whose been a beagle owner has struggled to train them and found that if they get out and catch a scent they are off. They also provide the greatest memories, are loyal and have the softest ears.

Now onto my experience with having a beagle.

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When I was in year 11 at school I used to do anything to get out of doing school work. It just so happened that one day I was searching Gumtree as a method of procrastination and stumbled upon an add for beagle puppies.

In my family it is not unusual for us to look at all the pets listed on Gumtree. In fact, it’s a pretty regular thing that we do. We look at animals we like and then we text the link to various family members depending on what animals they like. When I asked my dad if I could get a beagle he gave me his stock standard response “you’ve got two chances” (none and buckleys). I was pretty used to this response as we already had two dogs and two cats, so I begrudgingly accepted it and moved on.

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For some reason (maybe because I’m stubborn and painful) I jokingly asked dad in front of my Oma. She, God bless her, thought it was great idea and said she’d lend me some money. My Nanna chimed in and said that she’d lend me the other half. Shockingly dad said if walked it everyday (which I promised I would definitely do) and paid for it myself I could get a beagle. As soon as he said yes I leapt on it and called the number from Gumtree, excited out of head to be getting my very own pet.

Much to my disappointment they had no puppies left pending pick up.
 I’d finally got permission to get my own puppy and when I found out they had none left, itwas pretty devastating and left me wondering if dad would change his mind and withhold puppy permission.
It was then I decided I didn’t want a dog unless it was a beagle and keenly searched for any sign of beagles on Gumtree to no avail. Again, I was pretty devastated.

About two weeks later, I’d forgotten my quest (a combination of short attention span and increasing school work) until we got an email for the original Gumtree lady. One puppy was left, it was the runt of litter and the sale had fallen through. Again, not to give Dad the chance to change his mind we drove and got it on the weekend.

My beagle puppy was a girl, tiny, had a little belly button (we later found out it was a hernia, it removed when she was desexed) and had the most beautiful eyes in the whole wide world.

On the way home she slept on her back with her little legs in the air and when we stopped we shared our first french fry.
 I named her Bellatrix after the crazy evil witch in Harry Potter, who also happens to be my favorite. I thought it was a pretty clever name because she could get Bella or Trixxy however the second never stuck. She still gets called and responds to other things including but not limited to: Bells, beagle, baby bell, belly, bubba, fat dog, fatty, bombnitrix, Madame Lestrange, Beags, sausage dog and many more. 

Bella is the most vocal dog I have ever met. She makes noise when she is excited, tired, sleeping, lonely, happy, frustrated or upsets. She is also crazy expressive with her face features. I’m pretty sure she rolls her eyes at me at least three times a day and huffs like an grumpy teenager.

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On her first night we tried to put her into bed with our other dogs but she cried so much that I ended up sleeping in the lounge room with her on my chest. And that was also the night I found out that she snored. Loudly. As she has grown, so too has the volume of snoring. I’m used to her snoring now and find it reassuring because I know that she is close; if she is snoring she isn’t getting into trouble.

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For the first couple of months someone was generally always with Bella because she would get upset if she was left alone. She learned to sleep in the bathroom with the other dogs however that didn’t last long. One night she was so upset to be left there that she broke the door, so something had to change. From that night on she has slept in my room, spontaneously on her own mat, on the recliner or mainly in under the covers with me.

However, as we are struggling with co-dependency, she is currently be trained to sleep on her own bed.
At this stage it’s next to me but eventually it will be with the other dogs or outside. She now spends most days in the yard with the other dogs sun baking or, if people are home, she can roam the house.

In her first year, Bella had a habit of chewing anything to pieces; her favorite was electrical cords. She managed to destroy a GHD and a hair dryer despite our constant effort of removing them from her reach. She would also chew books, shoes, paper and pretty much anything she could get her paws on. This was before/during when she would get vaccinations and we couldn’t walk her. To exercise we’d play fetch with rope toys; she isn’t fond of tennis balls and destroyed anything else. I lost a Yoda figurine once and found it later in her kennel.

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Beagles also eat a lot. She wouldn’t stop eating if we didn’t manage her food intake and quickly got the nickname “fat dog”. She eats everything and anything including most raw vegetables and actively hunts out chocolate (we don’t let her eat it, though sometimes she finds it in random places). If someone is in the kitchen Bella is there watching and waiting for literally any food scrap.

The only thing she won’t eat are those liver treats, the ones that look like beef jerky. When we took her to puppy preschool she would perform the trick for the liver treat, taste it and then spit it out. Every single time. Bella is very food orientated which is apparently normal with beagles and hounds in general.

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Due to her constant food consumption we also found out that she has the worst gas ever. Bellatrix has been know to clear rooms, cars and prompt the occasional gag with her distinctively pungent gas.

Bella also has a constant need to be dominant over our other dogs. This is more a problem with our male dog as our other female dog isn’t interested in politics. We don’t let Bella get away with it and put her in her place. A water bottle is really handy to have around; with quick squirt things can usually be calmed down. They fight and carry on, one second they will be aggressively fighting and the next they will be cleaning each other’s ears out. When it’s cold all three of them, and usually the two cats, curl up on the couch under blankets together.

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She loves LOVES walking so much that of you put joggers on, or any sort of lace up shoes and she is already running around with excitement. She is usually so excited that you can’t get the harness on. It’s difficult to go walking by yourself in my family because if you take one dog, all of them want to go. Lately our male dog has been breaking down the gate to follow the walkers. Generally at least two people will have to walk, one with the puppies and one with Bell, who is mighty strong. She really needs to be walked everyday and to be honest, I’m pretty crap at it. We both need to lose weight so I’m trying to increase the amount of walking I do with her.

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I recently went away for a week and she didn’t really like that; she wouldn’t settle and barked a lot. Hence why she is learning to sleep on her own bed, so that we can stop her being so reliant on me (or maybe she just likes the luxury of a queen bed?. Though I must admit, I’m pretty reliant on her too. When I got home from the holiday, she didn’t seem to keen to see me and pretty much gave me the silent treatment. Usually whenever I get home she is so happy her whole body wiggles with excitement and I feel pretty special.

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Random facts about my Beagle Bellatrix:

  • she is allergic to some forms of grass and breaks out in hives, it’s treated with steroid cream but Aloe Vera is also quite affective.
  • she is afraid of things that are small or smaller then her. She is quite happy to take on big dogs but put her in front of a tiny chihuahua and she is a trembling mess
  • she doesn’t like people wearing hats, literally have no idea why she doesn’t but she gets really upset and aggressive towards hat wearers
  • her colour is red and her theme song is “Beneath your beautiful” not the original though, a cover by a band called “Chains”
  • She steals blankets and pillows to cuddle up in

Bellatrix is almost three now and I love her way too much. She still gets away with more then she should, snores and farts like a trooper, but I love her and always will.IMG_5120

Advice for anyone wanting a Beagle:

  • walk them everyday
  • limit their food intake
  • dont leave chewable things around
  • train them when they are young
  • be consistent
  • be firm
  • vibrating bark collars are handy
  • they are very people friendly
  • they can sniff almost anything out
  • beagles are smart
  • they are affectionate so give them it
  • socialize them when they are young
  • use a harness to walk them, they are strong
  • they have sensitive skin

 

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