It seems that after years of trying all manner of training methodologies and occasionally seeking the help of experienced professionals – all to no avail – we’ve finally hit on a way to (temporarily) elicit good behavior from our Beagles. It’s a simple, two-step process:
- Arrange a week-long get-together with Susan’s brother Richard
- Immediately prior to meeting up, tell Richard all our dark tales of Beagle naughtiness
Naughty? Who? Me?
Having only experienced “normal” dogs like Spaniels, Richard wasn’t inclined to believe all those stories about frozen pea swallowing, grape gorging, sock stealing and extended AWOL adventures, and Beanie & Biggles seemed determined to not to disillusion him. For the first few days of his stay he was able to place a cup of coffee on the floor and leave it there without having to extract Beanie’s snout from it as soon as it reached drinking temperature.
Equally there were no attempts to nick food off his plate when he had a snack with a Beagle next to him on the sofa. Obviously Biggles did still roll onto his back and show all his wares in an attempt to charm Richard into food donation, but let’s face it, only the most puritan of households would consider a tasteful display of one’s genitalia during mealtimes to be a breach of etiquette.
Even when the charm offensive failed, Biggles still resisted the temptation to use his most effective food releasing tactic: the power sneeze. It’s a well known fact that most humans instantly become less possessive about their food when it’s been comprehensively sprayed with Beagle snot, yet despite having the means, motive and opportunity to unleash a nasal explosion all over Richard’s nosh, Biggles didn’t do it. Not once.
Biggles’ nose: it’s not just for sniffing
While we were staying at a campsite in Glencoe I got so used to this new, well-behaved version of our Beagles that at one point I accidentally left the caravan door open for a few minutes. Naturally Beanie did take advantage of this slip to have a little unattended sortie (what self-respecting Beagle wouldn’t) but it’s what she didn’t do during this moment of freedom that amazed me. There was no high-speed raid of other people’s tents and caravans, no frenzied emptying of bins, and no swallowing of toxic port-a-potty chemicals to get an emergency visit to a Glencoe vet. Nope, all she did was trot over to Richard’s tent and have a sniff around his portable barbeque.
Sadly, like an upgrade to Windows 10 before all the driver problems and bugs have been sorted out, Beanie & Biggles v2.0 didn’t stay the distance; as the week progressed, it eventually ended up reverting to its earlier version. Snouts went into cups, Biggles’ woofer got stuck in the “on” position during a very long walk, and someone with a furry bottom did a very smelly fart in Richard’s tent. Such is the way of things. But for a few days The Observer Effect gave us a brief glimpse of what it’s like to be owners of Not-Beagles, and you know what? Overall, I think I still prefer Beanie & Biggles 0.9Alpha; it’s much more entertaining!
Yep, we all know what “Keep Away” translates to in the Beagle language
One very positive outcome from our little holiday is that, thanks to Richard’s navigation skills, we now have a different, doggy-friendly and very scenic route up Goat Fell on nearby Isle of Arran. Biggles’ birthday is coming up at the end of this month, and if the weather gods give us a break he and his wiggly partner in crime will be getting to try it out. For now, here’s a couple of teaser shots: