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My Attempts at Training a Beagle

My student. Shades of "Blackboard Jungle".

I live in Costa Rica. It is not the Third World but it is definitely not the First World. I say that because you may ask, "why don't you just take your beagle to an obedience class?" Or you might say, "why don't you just exercise her on a long leash?". Well, there really aren't any obedience classes here and I love to see a dog run free when all of the risks are kept to a minimum. I have had some experience training dogs in the past so I thought I'd see what I can discover about training beagles.

This part of the site is not only where I'll show you our progress but, I hope, you will offer your suggestions, share your experiences and offer me some support.

Fresita is a very well behaved dog in the house and when on a leash. She knows all of the basic obedience commands and performs them well and quite dependably. If you are a beagle owner you know the problem begins when you are not on your property and the beagle is off leash.

So far there is one thing I am sure of and that is that Fresita wants to please me with all her big beagle heart and soul. The problem is two-fold. When she is seriously running and sniffing she doesn't hear a thing and she knows I am her papa but she loves every other person she sees.

My job, as I see it and please correct me with an e-mail if I'm wrong, is to find a way to get her attention when she is in the beagle twilight zone which I am quite sure is a very cool place. Once I have her attention she is really a very obedient dog.

I plan to put up a series of videos depicting our work and short descriptions of my thoughts about what and how we are doing. Hopefully the quality of the videos will improve with practice.

These video files are in Flash format. Clicking on a link below will launch a pop-up window.

August 22, 2006 - I start every session with Fresita on a sit-stay which she really does very well. I feel it establishes the ground rules. That is, we are going to have fun but you have responsibilities. In this video you can see that she literally can't hear me until a get her attention between sniffs. When she hears me she comes running.


August 29, 2006 - Today was a sort of difficult day. Yesterday I didn't run Fresita at all. She was inside all day. I think she didn't want to play whistle too much. Anyway this video is indicative of the beginning of about a 90 minute run. From the time I blow the whistle until she came to me 64 seconds passed. We have some work to do but at least she came back.


September 11, 2006 - Today is a good example of what I suspect is about as good as Fresita will ever be in responding to a whistle. It's odd but in this video I am using am using a high-frequency whistle that I can hear but it didn't record on the video. Well, what I've learned is Fresita seems to know the boundaries of her freedom but she comes back to my hoots and hollers in a beagle's version of quickly. So far so good. I tried barking like a dog, using a very high pitched voice but she seems to respond best to a kind of forceful gruff voice to get her attention and then a happy encouraging voice when she begins to do the right thing.

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