Beagles! Who’d ‘ave ’em?
Just as we’re making progress with Beanie’s pickpocket habit, she develops a new way to stress us out. Her latest naughty habit is leaving the puppy field at the park to roam the paths that surround it. She’s still a safe distance from any roads but it’s particularly annoying to us because we’ve invested so much time and effort on improving her recall. In fact the more we work on her recall, the more she seems to delight in going off on her own private expeditions.
We’re coming to the conclusion that it’s just another of those phases she goes through every so often and if we just weather it as best we can, maybe in time she’ll calm down a bit. It doesn’t help that she’s lost interest in playing with all but the fastest dogs at the park. She seems to have gone up a gear recently, and while this may mean some wins when Beagle Racing starts up at the end of the month, it now takes a whippet-cross to give her any decent challenge in a chase. They are, sadly, in short supply.
By contrast, Biggles is behaving himself remarkably well. We took him to see the head trainer at his obedience class for a little help with his only significant problem – growling when he’s got hold of a sock – and since then he’s been almost angelic. He’s also incredibly affectionate. Male Beagles are as a rule supposed to be more affectionate than the females, and he never passes up an opportunity for cuddle. This morning when he was allowed in our bed for a bit he snuggled around my head. It was like wearing a big warm fur hat, albeit a fur hat that farts.
Our little boy also showed his sensitive side last week at Beanie’s flyball class. The trainers kindly let us bring him in with us and try some of the easier exercises, like retrieving a tennis ball from the flyball box and bringing it back to the start line. He was on lead and doing really well, and spurred on by the flyball chant “hup hup” we started walking the course a little faster. Too fast for me as it turned out, as my well worn trainers slipped on the vinyl floor in the hall and I went flying. My well padded bum saved me from physical damage, but the fall scared Biggles. He wasn’t at all keen on approaching the box after that, and refused to pick up any tennis balls.
To help Biggles get over his shock and to hone Beanie’s flyball skills, I’ve spent much of my free time this week constructing our own flyball box.
Hup Hup! Bring the ball back Dad!
It’s modelled (sort of) on the Canadian style flyball box, and should let us train Beanie to use the more efficient “swimmer’s turn”. There’s no release mechanism for the ball as yet – other than prodding it with a finger (or a paw, as in the above pic) – but it’s good enough for our purposes, and certainly seems to have cured Biggles of his fear!
I don’t know how long it’ll stay in one piece though!
And finally, it looks like Beagle Racing is going transatlantic. I got an email from a US Beagle Owner who’s seen some of the photos and videos from last season and is in the process of organizing his own races. He’s got a blog at http://beagleracing.blogspot.com – I can’t wait to see some pictures!