Fun at the far end

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It’s surprisingly rare that Beanie & Biggles go off on their own long-distance adventure during the offlead section of our beach runs together, but if they do I can pretty much guarantee they’ll end up combing the rocks near the far end of the shore. On a particularly cold but sunny day last week I figured we might as well cut out the intervening 7km of beach and start our outing right by the fun bit.

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This decision was very well received; the rock pools were full of little seafood nibbles, and birds had gathered by the water’s edge, prompting some high speed attack runs by the Beanster.

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From my point of view starting here had an extra benefit; it kept us further away from the dreaded remains of a dead seal. Beanie & Biggles first discovered the dead seal some time ago, but it’s still hanging around and barely a week goes by without someone rolling in what’s left of it. The absolute worst point came when it turned into a kind of rotten seal soup; Beanie was smelling so bad after a roll in it that no amount of scrubbing in the sea could diminish the pong. The only solution was to frogmarch her into the shower with me and use a potent combination of tomato ketchup and human and doggy cleaning agents on her; I hadn’t needed to such dire measures since she was a pup, and she was huffy with me for days after.

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It was lovely being out there with them and getting to watch all their activities close-up; usually I’d be a kilometre or two behind them, desperately racing along the beach to catch them up and hardly daring to guess what they might be getting up to.

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For the most part they both moved easily between the rocks and the sea, and unlike me had no trouble negotiating the slippy moss and seaweed-covered bits. Still, every now and then Biggles would pause before gingerly taking his next step. I’ve observed the same thing when I’ve accidentally parked the van by a deep puddle; if he can’t properly see what he’s stepping onto, he’s very cautious.

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It’s a surprisingly sensible approach given that he’s a little Beagle boy, and on this occasion it did save him from a few unexpected soakings. The same cannot be said for The Beanster.

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Of course all that caution was abandoned whenever Beanie caught a scent and he had to double-time it to catch her up!

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This was probably the longest time the two of them have been (intentionally) offlead during a walk since they were pups, and I have to say they behaved impeccably.

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Of course all good things have to end sometime, and with the sun getting low in the sky I decided to get them back on lead. I put my camera away, got their leads out and called them to me. Predictably Beanie chose this exact moment to take off on a mad chase after a little group of birds, with Biggles baying his head off just behind her. I watched as they shrank into the distance, but remained unconcerned; something told me they’d be back soon, so I continued to prepare the handful of chicken they always get for voluntary lead re-attachment. Sure enough they came sprinting back to me almost as quickly as they’d left, and we walked back to the van together for a final round of treats before heading home.

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Even a year ago this kind of outing wouldn’t have been possible, or at least would have been cut short by naughtiness. I’m not going to claim they’ve suddenly turned into trustworthy, controllable doggies (I’ve done that so many times before, only to be proved wrong!), nor am I going to get complacent with them, but it was very nice to sample the kind of walk that is often denied to Beagle owners!

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4 Replies to “Fun at the far end”

  1. Susan in Delaware

    Once again, beautiful photos, Paul. And the joy shining through Beanie and Biggles on this adventure comes right through the computer screen, and makes my heart very happy. :) We really don’t have a good place to let Lady and Ringo off lead. We did previously go to a friend’s farm where she had 9 acres fenced that was supposedly escape proof, but Ringo proved her wrong. Last March, in about 3 seconds he followed a scent through the most impossibly small gap under the square wire fence and took off after a deer scent, including crossing a road twice. I was grateful for my obstacle course race training, as I decided the fastest way to get to him was through the raspberry bushes and over the wire fence, rather than walking the long way to the gate and then back along the road. Thank goodness I had treats in my pocket and he took an extra long sniff at a spot where I could display said treats, and I was able to capture him about 2 seconds before the deer broke cover and took off. Phew, I attribute all my grey hairs to my dogs! :)

  2. Paul Post author

    Thanks Susan. It always used to amaze us how Beanie and Biggles would find the weak spots in any fenced area in seconds, but as you say it’s all down to them building on the recon work already done by the local critters; they just latch on to a scent, and either you catch them in time or… have a very bad day.

    I’ll have your desperate cross country chase in my head the next time I’m out running; going after an escaping Beagle is a very good visualization aid for hard training :)

  3. Julie - JB, Cassie and Buzz's Mum

    Hi Paul, sorry I’ve been a bit remiss keeping up with you and the beags of late, but have loved catching up on all your wonderful pics and stories. Regarding bonfire night, we used a tip we found on the internet to help our pups this year. You take a pair of ladies tights and wind them around their body in a figure of eight – around the neck, cross over the chest, under the arms, cross over the back, cross under the belly and tie off near the bum. You do it quite tight and the idea is that the crossed areas press on certain pressure points on the body and helps calm them – it worked! The first night the noise was bad we put a pair of tights on Cassie and she went from being quite bothered to asleep on the sofa in minutes! The next night we did it on Buzz too and by around 9.30 p.m when it started to quieten down we could take the tights off. It obviously has the same effect as a thundershirt and is something you can do when away from home if you keep a couple of old pairs of tights in the van/car. Happy Christmas to you, Susan and pups xxx

  4. Paul Post author

    Thanks Julie. That’s a really excellent idea about the tights. It’s funny how that gentle pressure calms them down so effectively; when we took Beanie into Pets@Home to try out the Thundershirt she almost instantly went from over-excited to docile and chilled!

    Wishing you and your pups a great Christmas!

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