Couple of dog questions

  1. Is it true that you can never teach a hound to be reliable off leash? The teacher at the class my dog went to said almost any dog can learn recall eventually, but I have books that say to never even try it. I know hunters let their dogs off leash, but a huge field is different than a park.

  2. How accurate are the feeding guidelines on the bags of food? My dog eats about half of what’s recommended for a dog his size most days. He doesn’t seem to like any of the foods he’s tried, and only eats it out of desperation. He’s very active, so he should need the full amount of food.

  1. Depends what you mean by reliable. I know of several hounds (I’ve owned them myself) that don’t run away. They’d ask to be let in and out to do their business, but stayed in the property. I once worked at a kennel that raised whippets and fox terriers. They had kennel dogs, house dogs, and outside dogs (of both breeds). The outside dogs hung around the property. The whippets would chase deer in the woods, but always came back and wouldn’t miss a meal.

They didn’t obey obedience commands as in returning right to you and sitting at your feet when called, but hounds aren’t that precise. I think that to a hound, coming to a person means stay in their general vicinity.

  1. The feeding guidelines are just that - guidelines. Ideally, dogs should be fed to their keep their condition at an acceptible level. This means a condition score in the middle of the 1-5 (or 1-9) range. Basically, you should be able to feel boney protuberances and ribs but not see them. If you can see the skeletal outline they’re too thin, if you can’t find ribs or back bone by pressing with your hands they’re too fat. If your dog is a good condition, I wouldn’t worry too much about his intake.

We have a little beagle who swears that the feeding guidelines on the Iams bag don’t provide enough sustenance to keep body and soul together. We feed her more than the guidelines, plus the occasional tidbit from the kitchen, and she’s in pretty good shape. I would guess that she sleeps (or tries to sleep) roughly 22 hours a day.

My beagle book says not to count on a beagle to be reliable off-leash.

We have sighthounds we let offleash, but only well away from cars. They have no car sense and would chase a rabbit or squirrel right out into traffic, otherwise their recall is spotless. Tahoe’s used to be so good I called him off a deer once when we lived in Oakland and were hiking in the surrounding hills. I would never walk them offleash in an urban setting like I see people with labs doing though.

Does your dog seem too thin? I wouldn’t worry about it if you can’t see his ribs. Our boy was picky for a long time but healthy. Better to be a little under than over.

I have a beagle too, and was expecting a canine garbage disposal that other beagle owners talk about, not the dog that won’t finish his meals.

My beagle book says the same thing.

Sometimes you can slightly see a bit of indentation in the rib area if the light hits him the right way. He has a definite indentation in the waist area (right behind his ribs, and before his hips). He’s also shiny and active, so it’s not like he’s starving. He went to the vet a couple of months back, and he (the vet) said he looked good then, and recommended that we wait and see for now, instead of ordering a bunch of tests.

Thanks for the off leash info. I wouldn’t be comfortable with him deciding to stay in the general area, instead of actually coming. He’s good at coming straight to people in the house, but of course there are less distractions inside. My parents have a five acre field that their dogs run in. My beagle would enjoy it, but I have visions him running off of our land and into the sunset.

If you’re talking about dry kibble, try dousing it with beef or chicken broth. Low-sodium type preferably.

  1. Sighthounds are notoriously bad off-lead. Doesn’t mean they can’t be trained. But I had an Ibizan hound for about 13 years, and I never trusted him off-lead. Scent hounds might be different.

  2. I think
    a) guidelines are just that. YMMV, and whathaveyou.
    b) this

sounds like you’re changing his food around a lot in an effort to please him. I did that. This could be a big mistake. If there’s nothing wrong with him (food allergies), then you’re teaching him that it’s okay to refuse food because something different will come along. I eventually found that lamb and rice worked for my dog, and I stuck to one brand/variety until it became impossible to buy locally. When I switched brands, I found another lamb and rice variety.

There’s also the instruction (I never followed it very well, to my shame) that you leave food down (i.e., make it available) for 20 minutes - 1/2 hour tops. It’s not that you want him to eat out of desperation, but you don’t want him taking food for granted.

  1. The best you can get is a dog who’s outstanding off the leash - but you never know what will happened when they are suddenly presented with a cat, squirrel, deer, firecrackers, gunshots, thunder, etc. In other words, nobody’s perfect. :slight_smile:

  2. My dog eats about half the recommended amount. Always has. The vet never fails to comment on how he sees so many overweight dogs and that she is the perfect weight. So there you go.

That’s true. I raised Borzoi and despite what many said, our bitch learned more than 15 commands. “Stay” was indeed the hardest to teach her, but she learned eventually.

IMHO, all dogs can be trained, but it depends upon the owners’ patience, persistance and temper. :smiley:
Most people give up too quickly. Even when a command has been learned, it has to be reinforced continuously, or the dog will “conveniently” forget it.

Over and over and over and… is the way to go.

Hounds, by their very breeding, are more difficult, as they have to be able to operate on their own more than many other breeds, so resist training.

Just get a bigger whip. Kidding, kidding, kidding, kidding, don’t call PETA.

Truer words were never writ. No matter what breed the dog is or how reliable they have been in training, I would never, ever walk with a dog off-leash where there’s the potential he could get hit by a car, or get in a fight, or injure himself. There’s always the chance for that one time that the dog does not obey you. Yeah, dogs are happier off-leash being able to romp and play, but I have a responsibility to protect my dog from its own stupidity.

There’s a fenced-in ball diamond in my city park and as long as you clean up the poop, they don’t mind if you play with your dog in there. It’s plenty of room to play frizbee and whatnot. You might have something similar in your town.

I have a Basset Hound, and when we adopted her, we were asked specifically if she would be kept in a secure environment. She has gotten out a couple of times (when I would be working in the front yard and leave the door open) and followed her nose until she was lost. Both times someone called our number from the tag we keep on her collar. Although she was never more than about 4 blocks from home, she was completely lost. I would think that this could be a problem for scent hounds.

I have a beagle as well, I followed the suggestion of my vet and the guidlines on the back, the end reuslt is an overweight beagle. I have recently cut back on her food from 2 cups to about 1.5 cups a day. Other than a just found hot spot on her back I’m gonna have to call the vet about tomorrow she is doing good for a 12 year old dog. So the answer to #2 is guidelines just depend on your dog. My dog was a very picky eater when I got her and the vet I spoke with said it might be an ingredient that she didnt like he suggested a switch and everything was great.

#1, my experience with scent hounds like a beagle is once their nose is in something everything is blocked out. You can smack their butts, yell, holler etc but the only way to get their attention is to physically move them away from the smell. Sha and another beagle went chasing after somehting in an off leash area and found away out of the fenced area onto the highway. We had the park rangers reporting sights of them several miles away. they eventually circled back after several hours and we were able to snag them. They had a great time and gave their owners several grey hairs.

I always say it is a good thing she is so cute cause she can be a major pain in the butt. I love her to peices.

My friend got a rescue greyhound, and the rescue society lady told him that when a greyhound is chasing something that its other senses basically shut down. So they aren’t ignoring you when they don’t come - they just may not hear you if they’re already in the chase.

I have a psychic border collie who is almost pathetically attentive, so I haven’t dealt with this particular problem, but I’d never trust her off-leash if there were people around.

Little kids just look so much like sheep to her…