Spring has Sprung!


When a mini heatwave descended this week, indoor work was abandoned in favour of gardening. As always, Beanie and Biggles wanted to ‘help’ with everything.

We have a large back lawn so Beanie and Biggles like to help out by eating bits of cut grass that the lawnmower leaves behind. We’re used to finding bits of cut grass all over the house, but this time Biggles surpassed himself. I walked into the hall and saw something suspiciously ‘poo-shaped’ nestling by the skirting board. I called Paul in to investigate and after a bit of poking we included it was indeed a Biggle-poo. But made 100% of fresh, odorless green grass! We’re pretty sure that it must have gone through the ‘Biggle processing plant’ – how else would it get perfectly poo-shaped? All very mysterious!

Next up was digging the flower beds and planting some new clematis. Beanie and Biggles are very good at digging and they particularly like to dig where we’ve been digging. Needless to say, all of our flower beds end up looking like this:



…which kind of defeats the purpose!

When Paul and I had finished work for the day Beanie and Biggles were still going strong. A Beagle’s work is never done!!

Mad chases around the garden:





Sentry duty:


Fetching that pesky ball again, and again, and again:




And of course arguing loudly over a sock (the neighbours really appreciate this one!):


After all that hard work you can’t beat a nice cuppa:


…and a spot of sunbathing:



Gobby Biggles

After our little setback with gobby Biggles on Conic Hill the other day we’ve been having a good think about why we’re struggling to keep Biggles calm in certain situations. It’s not as if we haven’t worked hard on solving the problem!

Most of the time Biggles is an extremely laid back little boy. He does everything at a slow pace and rarely gets over stimulated at home or on regular walks. I’d go as far as to say that he really is as good as gold most of the time and responds very well to commands and training.


When something (a scent or a ‘pack hunt’ atmosphere – a race for example) does get him going he looses all self control and is oblivious to us. This is true of Beanie too, but she’ll calm down after a moment or two. Biggles keeps it up for hours on end if the stimulus doesn’t go away. This unpredicatable behaviour is both dangerous and antisocial. If he ever got loose in this state goodness only knows what would happen. He’s capable of doing himself damage in his determination to hunt, and the racket he makes really isn’t fair on other people (or dogs!).

We’ve had a degree of success with games that teach him self control. For example, a game of tuggy to get him revved up then make him sit and calm down for a few moments before resuming the game. The limitation of this is that whilst the game is fun it doesn’t tap into his Beagle hunting instincts. It doesn’t help him to learn self-control in a situation where all of his senses are compelling him to relentlessly pursue the trail of some critter (or run with the pack). There doesn’t seem to be a gradual build up towards a ‘hunting frenzy’. It’s an on/off switch. So no opportunity to practice in a partially aroused state.

The other day it dawned on me that there was another situation where he was completely oblivious to us or treats – during off-lead play with Beanie away from home. She’s totally focused on us, but all he wants to do is entice his sister into a chase. There is no tasty treat that would entice him away from her. Despite his obvious excitement he’s not at the fever pitch he gets to when in ‘hunt’ mode so I think we can work with him. Fortunately there’s a nice safe enclosure close to home where we can practice.




The plan is to use the excitement of this situation to teach him self-control. We have close to 100% reliable control of Beanie (she’s completely fixated on us due to hour upon hour of work to keep her close when off-lead) so we simply won’t let her join him in a chase until he calms down and responds to us. But also we plan to work on transferring his fixation from Beanie onto us.

And if it doesn’t work? Well, we’ll all have good fun trying!

Beanie’s Birthday Bash – Part Four

After the disappointment of missing out on our Ben Nevis walk we tracked down a stunning little mountain in Kintail for our final day. But once again the weather was against us. The rain was still pouring down and winds were picking up to gale force on the hills. Forecasts were indicating that it might be a bit brighter out on the coast so we headed off towards Mallaig for a hike over a hill covered peninsular to another abandoned crofting village and beach. And what a good choice that turned out to be! Although there were a few heavy rain showers it was for the most part bright and sunny, and the walk was simply spectacular.


IMG_9338 - The path to Peanmeanach


The muddy approach to Peanmeanach



After a fairly strenuous trek over the hills we finally descended onto a very flat grass plain that leads onto the beach. The little abandoned village of Peanmeanach sits on the edge of the beach with half a dozen or so little crofts layed out in a semi circle looking out to sea. One of the crofts has been restored to create a bothy – the remainder are just roofless ruins. It’s hard to imagine that people actually lived here. It’s so remote, and the only route in is over the hills or by sea.




On the way back Beanie made the most of her final birthday outing by bounding through the heather at the side of the path. It was lovely to watch but it made the walk more taxing. The last thing you need while traversing bogs and slippery wet rocks is an unpredictable and surprisingly forceful sideways tug from a playful Beagle girl, so of course that’s what we got. By the time we crossed the little railway bridge near the end of the walk we were tired out, but what a great trip we’d had!