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Beagle help(13 Posts)
Hello, I'll try to give as much info as possible without waffling.
SIL has 4yo male (neutered) beagle. when they first got him they lived in a flat and now freely admit were young and naive to how much work a beagle can be.
He's destroyed four sofas, floor, skirting boards, doors etc. He's extremely clever but not particularly obedient. BIL and SIL have no children and have adjusted to accommodate him, ie because he's terrible around food they put him away to eat when they eat, he sleeps on their bed. They've made a gated space under the stairs to house him while they work all day so he won't destroy their house. Now they have a house they like to host more but he's a handful, snatching food off counters, licking drinks, jumping and knocking kids over.
He bit DHs arm a few months back. DH was locked out and he went there to get our spare key was siting on sofa having a chat and dog walked along sofa towards DH, so DH lifted arm to stroke him and he got hold of DHs arm, SIL jumped up to get him off and dog snapped at her.
It came up in conversation with MIL, where she told us that he had bitten her too, MIL says it was her fault as she was leading him by his collar into his gated area and he doesn't like being touched on the collar, she was there to let workmen in and he was getting in their way.
DH has said he's not happy having kids round there, however, they are hosting Christmas (and have said they won't board him, they usually do at events so they can relax). Since the incident they've had some advice and have worked with him on his resource guarding, ie he's no longer sleeping on their bed, only on sofa when invited etc. so we agreed to go around in the lead up to Christmas and see his behaviour around kids and get kids to do some treat training and fetch to get a bond going. We went today and unfortunately he wasn't great, he was barking at kids and standing stiff near them keeping watch on them, wasn't interested in distractions etc was alert and on guard. A few times when SIL/ BIL redirected him he mouthed at them in protest, we were all on edge.
Does anyone have any advice on how I can work with my in laws to help settle the dog around our kids.
I should say we have a dog, so my kids do know not to touch face, tails, don't take treats from dogs etc. Today they were playing with their toy cars and wrestlers, not interacting with him.
Honestly, you don't have the time to settle him around children between now and Christmas and it'll take much more than the odd visit (and may not ever be totally succesful). It sounds to me like he has been VERY clear that he does not feel comfortbale around children.
I'd listen to him.
Keep them seperate throughout Christmas (baby gates, crates etc).
Christmas activites and visitors, change of routine etc are stressful enough for dogs. I would not add to it by expecting him to cope around children as well without also expecting it to end in tears.
There is no way it is going to be safe to have your kids around this dog at Christmas. You'll be on tenter hooks the whole time and it could only take a second of inattention for there to be a disastrous incident.
You are going to have to explain to your SIL that if the dog is there then regrettably you won't be. He's already bitten 3 adults I can't imagine any training regime that would make him safe around children in a matter of weeks.
Do your in-laws work full time? Is the dog being left alone all day?
I appreciate we won't be able to sort this before Christmas. They have said during dinner and present opening he will be away in his gated space. So DH and I have said that we will explain we're unable to stay after that.
Obviously we would like to resolve this, with no timescale attached to it, any advice on things we could try to get him more comfortable?
Yes unfortunately he is left for a majority of the day on his own in a small space. Since DH was bitten they have taken to walking him daily, which has, as you would expect, helped.
OP They are being VERY cruel to this poor dog, leaving him cooped up in a small space ALL DAY alone, and they have only just taken to walking him daily...he bit MIL because she was leading him back into a tiny place and he is so distressed.
Of course he will have behavior issues, a beagle is a sociable working breed that NEEDS a couple of hours off lead exercise each day, and company. He shouldn't be left alone for more than around 3 hours and that is after a good hours exercise.Of course he is tearing up the house!
As someone who has always had dogs this is my advice,
They need to get an experienced dog walker/trainer to take him out for an hour, mid morning and an hour in the mid afternoon.
They need to take him for a short walk before work, min 20 minutes, and again for 30 minutes in the evening.
Stop putting him in the space he hates, utility or kitchen with baby gate. Stop him getting on the furniture, put his lead on and tie him when you eat, so he gets used to being quiet whilst a meal is in progress. Untie him and feed him straight after.
The issue is lack of exercise, it is very cruel and l am horrified no one seems to realise a dog needssubstantial exercise daily and NOT to be left alone all day.
I couldn't agree more dragongirl, and we have let our feelings be known, and offered advice etc but it's not made much difference, until he bit DH and then they had to listen, and they are trying.
They refuse to put him in kennels when they holiday because they think it's cruel, so they have a home boarder. Now I don't think they like shutting him in at home whilst they're at work, but equally they've not put the work in to allow him to have the run of the house when they're out, I don't think they see the irony when they say it's cruel to kennel dogs while you're on holiday!?
He obviously isn't trained well enough in recall to be off lead, so that's also sad, he never gets to run at full speed.
TBH - they shouldn't have a dog if they lock him in a confined space when they go to work, regardless of whether he destroys things. Beagles are working dogs who need a lot of mental exercise and because his needs are not being met he is finding his own ways to be mentally stimulated, ie - destroying the house. It's not the dog's fault. He is bored. The dog should really be rehomed somewhere he can start enjoying life as a beagle. Wrong breed for them I'm afraid and cruel on the dog to keep him in this environment. I'm sure their intentions are good and I don't doubt they love him, but sadly this is not the right lifestyle for a beagle
Thanks for all your replies, you're just echoing our own thoughts on this, I can see that we can't fix his behaviour with the kids until they fulfill his beagle needs!
They do adore him and would never consider rehoming him, our fear is their hand will be forced when, as a pp said, there's a moment of inattention, and the worst happens. I'll make sure it's not my kids who are involved.
I wouldn’t allow my kids to visit I am afraid.
And I have to defend the dog to a degree on the whole working thing.
It comes up all the time on mumsnet.
While the lack of exercise definitely won’t help it won’t ONLY be down to that.
On top of being underexercised and bored he is also poorly trained and poorly bred.
This is why he is aggressive and destructive.
This is not because he is a working breed.
I have a working breed.
Not a dog of a breed that used to work and is now mostly bred for the pet market (beagle) but an actual working bred dog, with working parents, grandparents, siblings etc.
When she was entire I would keep her in for the entire 4 weeks of her season, she has never trashed my house.
Nor has she ever shown aggression to any people.
She is a little dog aggressive, but was very tolerant until she had one bad experience them repeated little bad experiences.
I know lots of people with working bred dogs - labs, spaniels, collies.
ACTUAL working bred dogs and you know what?
They are calm in the house and non aggressive as well.
It is down to training and breeding.
A dog with poor training will always be troublesome and if that dog is badly bred with a nervy inherited temperament you are going to have even bigger issues.
They've just started walking him daily?!! Surely that's as essential as feeding him? Do they have a garden? I had a beagle as a child and he lived outside and trotted around the garden all day. That worked more or less.
This isn't a beagle problem, this is a badly trained dog problem.
I have a beagle and he's fab. But he gets two walks a day, one where he can run off-lead and explore, another that involves training - so lead work, scent work, sitting and walking to heel on command. He also gets fed out of toys etc. or has his meals frozen so that it takes him longer to eat (and tires him out). He has licky mats, snuffle mats and loads of food puzzles, as well as kongs and horns that get stuffed and frozen for him.
If this dog jumps, steals food and has bitten then it's not safe to be around children. Yes, beagles are stubborn and food obsessed but they're also affectionate, loving and incredibly smart, you just need to think like a beagle! They need totally different training and stimulation compared to a Labrador or a spaniel.
Has this dog ever been to training classes? What about something like obedience, or a specialist scent-work class for working dogs?
Beagles need to be kept occupied or they get bored and destructive. Ours has never destroyed a sofa or carpets because he's never given the chance! It's about environmental management - if we're at work, he's at daycare. If we're at home, he's downstairs with us at all times so he can't get into any mischief!
I took my dog and had a long walk with them today. Fortunately they know there's an issue and weren't defensive when talking about it.
I explained that things won't be resolved until he's living his best beagle life, being mentally stimulated, physically stimulated and have regular company.
They are now walking him daily, he gets one hour per day during the week and 1.5hrs during the day at the weekends, they do have an 8m training lead and he was running a bit when prompted by my dog, but mainly his nose was to the ground. And whilst I know he could have more exercise, it's a huge step from what they were doing a couple of months ago.
With regard to being left alone, she leaves the house at 8am and her husband comes home around 3/4pm. She knows from the cameras inside that around 3pm he starts whining. Sometimes she works from home, sometimes he's home earlier. So we spoke about having a walker come in for another walk and a fuss around lunchtime.
To help mentally stimulate him, I suggested training him in hide and seek with a toy, scattering his kibble in and around the garden etc. He does get frozen Kong's. I've suggested puzzles before, they seem to think he'll just manage to crack/open rather than delicately move pieces, I may just give her some of our puzzle toys so they can see for themselves how he is.
They did take him to obedience class as a puppy, and she spoke today about how he follows commands but if they stop practicing them he can slip back, I agreed and said dogs need constant input! And encouraged her to keep trying our new tricks so that he gets stimulation from that. They also had a trainer come to help with jumping up/excitement, and walking without pulling. I wasn't aware there are scent training classes, I'll mention that to them too.
It's all a bit sad, he's a lovely thing, I'm very fond of him, he's just not being done right by and that's not his fault. In a strange way, biting my DH was the best thing he could have done, because DH didn't keep quiet and take the blame himself like MIL did, and so they've had to face up to it now and actually right the wrongs.
Well done op, l was feeling very upset for this dog, at least it sounds like things are beginning to improve, please keep up the pressure!