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I feel awful. Literally like I am caught between a rock and a hard place. But I'm in such a dilemma with our beagle I have no idea what to do for the best.
I'm currently a stay at home, full time student mother to my daughter, 10, with ASD. My partner works full time. We have pretty hectic lives. I generally only have the time that my daughter is at school to do any uni work (I'm with the OU) and around that I run a community initiative, planning a wedding and am chief cook and bottle washer.
Since getting our beagle 2 and a half years ago - things have only gotten worse. He is incredibly destructive. If he can chew it, he will - especially if it is one of my daughters toys. He is constantly on edge. As soon as anyone walks past the house AT ALL he will bark until long after they have gone. He pees in the house all the time, although he knows to go outside and will do that too. He grabs items he knows he shouldn't have. He has destroyed my £2.5k sofa, glasses, countless duvets (from peeing on them), generated complaints from neighbours and has bitten me at least 3 times and my daughter once. The biting was NOT his fault as a rule, he was resource guarding and we have come up with a strategy to prevent that happening anymore. But he is becoming more vicious as time is going on. If I try to move him off of the back of the sofa he growls and snaps at me every time. It's exhausting trying to clean up/deal with whatever new level of naughtiness he is aspiring to every day.
My other half does not want him to go and whenever I mention rehoming he becomes incredibly stand offish. This is breaking my heart also. I feel like I am being forced to carry on dealing with a dog that is making me ill with stress with no acceptance of the stress it puts me under coming from the one person who should. He just says that we are different types of people (that I am a stress head and he is not) and refuses to acknowledge that he would be less stressed with him as he gets 8 hours break from him 5 days a week where I do not.
We struggle to sit down and watch anything together of an evening when we want to sit and have calm as the dog is so hyper. We can't have a cuddle or a kiss as he barks and jumps over us. We can not eat a meal without being barked at.
For me it's constant. I'm feeling desperate and miserable and I feel like I have failed this dog and continuing to do so, but know if I rehome him I will be forever reminded of it by my other half. I've asked him to walk him regularly which he said he would, but he doesn't.
I am usually so busy during the day and the few hours I have spare to do any uni work/clean the house/do chores/plan a wedding/work for the community initiative/attending hospital appointments (usually over an hour away from where we live) with my daughter/school appts to have the time to walk him.
I'm worried sick that he will snap at my daughter and hurt her, hurt me, and it pulls at my heart strings that he probably feels unloved. We don't spend the time we should on him.
My daughter doesn't want him to go, my other half doesn't want him to go and I wish I wasn't thinking about rehoming him. But I simply can not cope anymore. We don't have the money for trainers/dog walkers/doggy daycare.
This whole thing is making me view my partner in a different light and it's breaking my heart. I need support not derision and I have no idea what to do for the best....
As you said you don't have the money for trainers, dog walkers etc then to stop the destruction you and your DP need to come up with a plan for walking him and providing mental stimulation as a team.
I work full time and whilst my dog goes to daycare I make sure he has my attention before I leave for work and we do things after work so there is no reason why your DP can't do the same. DH and I also act as a tag team so if one of us before or after work has to do chores then the other takes care of the dog so he doesn't get neglected.
You and your DP need to get on board together to work out an exercise plan. If your dog is provided with enough physical exercise then in the day you could provide more mental stimulation through things like kongs, licky mats etc where your dog has to work for food.
Is it a pedigree beagle? Is the breeder aware?
The problem is purely that you have an under exercised and frustrated dog. Beagles are notoriously difficult. They need to exercise their body and minds. A lot.
Bin the community initiative. Is it your wedding? I would enlist your other half to do his half of the weddi stuff or scale it back if it’s stressing you out.
You committed to this pet. You owe it to that animal to ensure it’s trained and exercised. DP has to be involved too if you agreed together to get this pet. Work out a rota?
You need a safe place to leave the dog where it can’t chew stuff up. Toys need to be kept away from the dog. Take it out to pee. Block the window so it can’t see people? Radio on so it can’t hear people?
Poor bloody dog.
No way on earth would I personally keep a dog that bit my children.
And bit you three times?!
I think it would be incredibly irresponsible to rehome him as he has bitten on 4 separate occasions.
He is likely to bite again, maybe more seriously and you would have passed that dog on knowing this.
I think that is unacceptable.
I think that if you genuinely have no money for a behaviourist I would have him pts.
But you have to weigh up pros and cons and decide what to do yourself.
Another thing to consider is how much money you are spending to replace destroyed items versus the cost of a dog walker. Group dog walks are not that expensive and even where I am which is a pricey area they tend to be £10 which is a lot less than the items you have listed as being destroyed.
This dog is aggressive. You cannot in all conscience rehome an aggressive dog, in fact most charities will not take on an aggressive dog. I would have him put to sleep.
Wolfian - dog is regularly taken out to pee. Toys are kept well out of reach. I can't just "bin the community initiative", yes it's my wedding - not able to scale that back either.
Yes, we took him on. It was naive of us. I'll admit that. I didn't do my research properly and I did take him to training classes. That is beyond us financially at the moment and your comments are incredibly, unbelievably judgemental!!!
We can not block up the windows - we'd be living in the dark! He barks at people he can see and hear, he doesn't have to see them.
I have asked OH to help me out with exercising him - so far he has not. I'm completely stressed out. Unbelievably so. There are only so many hours in the day. I can't split myself into so many parts permanently. Currently I am trying to be all things to all people.
My dog is a pedigree. He is KC Registered (I have his papers). No way on earth I would contact breeder. It became clear about a year or so after we got him that breeder is actually a puppy farm. I would not ever ask a puppy farmer for advice.
I have asked OH to help me out with exercising him - so far he has not.
What world happen if you drew up a timetable. DP gets up 1 hour before work to take dog out for walk. When dinner is being prepared by one of you in the evening the other is given the lead to walk the dog?
I have 2 beagles and think I could offer you some decent advice. Can I PM you? It’s much easier to chat 1:1
Can I just say aswell, on the subject of exercise, that excessive territorial behaviour (the crazed barking at passers by), intense destructiveness and severe resource guarding are all common anxiety behaviours.
While bumping up his exercise will help somewhat, it is in no way shape or form a cure for (what I believe based on your post) an exceptionally anxious nervy dog.
Sooner or later he will develop a tolerance for the new level of exercise and you’ll be straight back to square one!
I suspect, that he has inherited a weak nerved, anxious temperament which wouldn’t be at all surprising considering where you bought him from.
I stand by my original view, that if you can not afford a behaviourist he should be put down for his own welfare as he is clearly suffering and the safety of the people around him.
You have got yourself into a bit of a muddle. It sounds as though the dog is bored and that has resulted in bad behaviour and biting. With his current behavioural problems you would struggle to rehome him and if you could afford it, would also struggle to find a responsible dog walker willing to put up with his antics. Doggy daycare would be unlikely to take him.
Putting to sleep is a last resort
If you can scrape together the cash, a registered behaviourist would really be best to sit down with all of you and work out a plan on how to try and fix some of his issues.
You need to tell your OH to pull his finger out and walk him. Do you have any dog walking secure rentable fields near you? Somewhere the dog can be off lead safely and really tear around for an hour after
a ball without you worrying about other dogs or members of the public.
Exercise is the key component here, without giving a dog like a Beagle the right levels of exercise you get a dog like you have now
When he bit, it was due to resource guarding and is apparently incredibly common with beagles.
Lately he has been snapping (although not connecting with me) when I've tried to move him from the back of the sofa (his usual place to sit ready to bark at passers by). I can't move the sofa, can't keep him out the living room because it's constant barking if I do.
We tried raw feeding him, I've had him neutered. I do walk whenever I have the chance. But I'm struggling. I know that he is likely doing all of this because he is bored, under exercised and under stimulated. Kongs last him 5 minutes. Literally. I've timed him. Anything food related takes him less than 5 minutes to finish with. I've bought a clicker to clicker train, I've watched youtube videos galore (Victoria Stillwell being trainer of choice), and I've tried - I am trying. It's just time. If there was more of that - it would be easier. I just don't have it currently.
It's not the dogs fault. I admit that currently I am failing him. I won't be having him PTS. His biting was resource guarding. He managed to steal things (food related) that he shouldn't have. We trade up now and he releases them. The snapping when I try to move him (for example) is something else and I think stems from his anxiety about the people walking passed the window.
The snapping when you try and move him could be potentially a bit painful!
What do you try and do when he's somewhere he shouldn't be?
If he's food motivated is he trained with the word "down"? Keeping everything happy and friendly, tempt him down from the back of the sofa and when he is down he gets a treat and lots of fuss. When he's where he shouldn't be he gets no fuss, no touching, no attention, just the word "down" said calmly without any malice. I have no idea if that would definitely work but it's worth a try and avoids you getting physical with him and in danger of being nipped.
I think he is incredibly anxious. Prior to moving to this house, we lived next door to the neighbours from hell with an incredibly aggressive pit bull who would throw himself at the fence to try and get to him. The neighbour even said "he'll rip him to pieces if you let him out in the garden" and would then deliberately let her dog out each time we let our's into our own back garden. Her kids would deliberately bang on our door to upset him when we were out (We had CCTV fitted) and due to the behaviour of the neighbours, the house was incredibly stressed out. I had to move out a week before we actually moved to my mothers with my daughter as I did not feel safe.
A rota could work. I'm happy to try that too. I'll get adaptil collars, adaptil plug ins, anything if it means he can stay and be more calm and less anxious. I think my stress at him is no doubt making things worse, but I'm literally at the end of my tether with it all.
I'm constantly on edge. Meanwhile, OH is out getting a break from it all for 8 hours a day.
I don't think he is a lost cause. But I feel so alone in dealing with it all.
How often is the dog walked and for how long? Beagles are hunting dogs and the poor thing must be bored stupid being kept in for long periods of time. Bear in mind that these dogs can keep up with horses for hours on end.
We fostered one for a few weeks and DH had to go out on his bike with it for a couple of hours and still couldn't tire it out.
I don't really know what the answer is though if you cannot meet the dog's needs because as a PP said, nobody is going to take an aggressive dog with a history of biting off your hands.
When I move him, I'm gentle. He sees that as his place to sit and be and doesn't want to move. It was the same with our bed. He wanted that and would "guard" his right to be there, no matter what.
I'm torn between keep trying myself and giving way to someone who knows the breed better than me. I'm torn between the heartbreak of giving him up, not wanting to give up and the awful stress I feel having to keep trying every single day.
Even for someone who knows Beagles better, you'll struggle to find someone willing to take on his current issues. There's just not enough good people like that in the world!!
With the back of the sofa or "guarding" spots thing - could it be that when he goes to these places he gets a load of attention with various members of the family wanting him to get down, when he is down the attention goes away, so he's figured out if he stays where he is everyone is fussing around him and that's just awesome but if he moves away he gets nothing? It's working out reversing that with everyone in the household, not just you, consistency is key!!!
Teaching him tricks will keep his brain ticking over and tire him out more than long walks.
But this isn’t because he is a beagle!
He has had a number of really stressful experiences and is likely badly bred with an inherited nervy temperament to boot.
Don’t forget that beagles are almost exclusively bred as pets now.
They are arguably not a working breed anymore unlike labradors, Jack Russell’s, spaniels, collies etc that are still bred in large numbers to be working dogs.
They are hardly any working beagle packs left in Britain.
He probably is bored though and would benefit from more exercise and training but that is not the sole answer to your problem and more exercise shouldn’t be viewed as the ‘cure’.
You can't re-home a dog that has bitten so your choices are to keep him and put some work in or put him to sleep. If you son't have the will/time/knowledge to do that then you need to pay someone to help you. You chose to get a dog and now you need to look at your priorities and make sure that you are doing the best for him. He sounds thoroughly miserable and unless you make significant changes then things are not going to get better. Don't pass your problem on to someone else, even if you can find someone to take him then his future is uncertain. You have some difficult decisions to make but if you can't make significant changes to his lifestyle then you would be better off putting him to sleep.
You need to exercise this dog. You take on responsibilities. You pay someone to do it or you or DP do it. Every day. Not when you get a chance.
TBH if arranging my wedding meant I had no time to walk the dog and DP wouldn’t help then I would cancel the bloody thing.
Has this dog always had “accidents” in doors?
Don’t move him. Throw a treat or toy. I use a slip lead to shift mine if she’s unwilling. (Lazy dog!)
I’m going to be a wee bit blunt here...
If you’re physically moving a dog from the back of the couch that you know has resource guarding issues, you do not have enough knowledge and experience to be dealing with the issues your dog has alone.
You absolutely need a behaviourist, it’s not optional at this point.
I won't be putting him to sleep.
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I'll be trying more or less all of the ideas given - a rota looks like a good idea to ensure he is getting enough exercise. It likely is poor breeding (despite what his pedigree implies) he is only young still and I hope this can be sorted. I want him to have a happy life. That is my primary aim. I just desperately need more hours in my day.
I don't want to give up my community initiative but that could end up happening anyway a bit further down the line. I'll see what we can work out. Somehow.
wolfiefan - please read everything properly, It isn't just the wedding thats the issue. I'm also full time carer to my disabled daughter, a full time student (trying to fit it into part time hours around aforementioned disabled daughter) and I work for a community initiative also. I'm also the one at home where it's assumed I'll just ensure that everything gets sorted out and the house will continue to tick over. There simply are not enough hours in my day. The wedding is one part of that. One.
Resource guarding the sofa is a new thing. He never used to. Hence why I did it and then was surprised that he snapped at me.
Honestly, without properly exercising him consistently every day, nothing will change. Beagles need a HUGE amount of exercise every single day twice a day. He will only become more entrenched in his stress relieving behaviours as time goes on. Your DP is being cruel keeping this dog in such inappropriate living conditions. Well done you for trying to sort it. BTW I wouldn't marry a selfish, cruel man and that's what you've got. I know that seems harsh but it's true. The dog is suffering.
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