Beagling (Drag Hunting)

Beanie’s growing up fast. At ten months old she’s already got activity levels that are hard for us to keep up with. In a couple of months she’ll get the green light to really ramp up her exercise. But what on earth are we going to find for her to do?

We have some great parks nearby, but already she’s running, sprinting and jumping for perhaps 1.5 – 2 hours solid every morning and not tiring. She always gets a second 1 to 1.5 hour long walk in the evening.

She’s due to start agility in a couple of months time, but we have a sneaky feeling that our little pup might be intent on finding the quickest route from A to B and won’t see the point in climbing all over those daft obstacles when she can go straight through them!! :) She does Beagle racing which is perfect for her – her instincts tell her what she has to do. But agility doesn’t seem right somehow.

We want to give her the opportunity to really fulfill her potential and I’m beginning to think the best way to do that is to let her do what she was orginally bred to do…hunt. What can be more fulfilling to a beagle?

Beagling
Beagling

I can’t find anywhere local that organises this kind of thing so I’ve been looking further afield for information that might help us get started.

I’ve looked at a lot of the websites belonging to packs of working Beagles and it really does seem that these dogs have a fantastic life. Nowadays they don’t chase hare, but instead follow an aniseed scent layed down by a runner with a rag soaked in a mixture of cooking oil and aniseed.

http://www.airedalebeagles.com/beagles.html

I just know Beanie would love to run with them. I contacted a few to see if they know of any groups that organise this kind of thing for pet dogs but they weren’t able to help. (I got the impression that they weren’t keen on the idea of Beagles being kept as pets).

Then I stumbled across the Beagle Club who have a working section.

http://www.thebeagleclub.org/working%20section.htm

They have a good description of drag hunting and also tips for training your hound on their website. They organise a number of drag hunts down South. They tell me that Beanie is very welcome to join them if we’re ever in that part of the country.

Is anyone else interested in trying drag hunting with their Beagle? We could get together and find somewhere nice and safe to start training our dogs. I’m sure we could get some tips from experienced people down South, and once we’ve got our dogs trained perhaps we could all make a little trip to the South of England to let our hounds join a real hunt?

Please get in touch if you’re interested in trying this!!

And if you’ve got experience of this we’d love to hear from you! I know some people (including Paul) are a little concerned that if you teach a Beagle to track you might have trouble with recall. But I’ve heard lots of dog experts say that it’s important for your dog’s self-esteem to let it work – do the things that it was bred to do. They claim that this will often solve problems because you’re channeling your dog’s instincts.

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