Hello everyone, its been a good long while since I’ve posted to the dope and well, I find myself in need of some advice. We’ve recently (two days ago) acquired a 8 week old Beagle puppy and I’m beginning to realise that we REALLY didn’t do our homework first! A little background information:
IOMWife and I live in a terraced house with no garden just off a main road. Its fairly “snug” - reasonably spacious but vertically rather than horizontally. We’ve lived here happily for nearly 3 years and have two wonderful, but pretty independant, cats. She works 9-5 in a bank and I teach, mostly from home at the moment but I’m starting a part time position in one of the local schools in September. The upshot of this is that even though I’m home a lot, I’m working and unable to attend to the needs of a puppy.
The puppy is uber-cute, but of course very, very needy and really not housebroken. IOMWife is stressed out to the point of tears (and this is only after a couple of days) and as much as I’m very patient and nearly impossible to stress out, she’s the one who desperately wanted a dog - I just wanted to make her happy - I don’t have the big “puppy love” and now I find myself cleaning up messes in between teaching maths, trying to keep the puppy from not becoming totally frantic because it can’t have attention every waking second, looking after my upset wife and, well, wondering what the hell just happened! I did a search on google, and a search on the dope and did all the reading that we should have done prior to committing and now that I’m more aware of the extent of the job I’m thinking that not only would it end up being me that has to put in all that work, but our our living and working circumstances (not to mention my wife’s very short fuse) make us incredibly unsuitable parents right now.
I know there’s plenty of folks here who know what they’re talking about when it comes to dog/puppy ownership. I’m not looking to be talked into or out of keeping the puppy - I’m just writing really. My gut instinct is to find a better home for the little fluffball and write the whole thing off to experience - maybe we try and look for an older dog which comes housebroken and trained later on in life when our living circumstances are more suitable. Right now, I feel like this puppy isn’t having a good time with us and I can’t see how that could be fixed.
Puppies are a lot of work, as you’ve found out. If you’re not into being a puppy daddy, then yeah, find him a better home.
I really liked having puppies around (to the point where I can’t even LOOK at one because I just want cuuute lil’ puppy sitting on my lap while I work and being all snuggums and… STOP!) but you pretty much have to have one eye on work and one on the puppy through most of the day. Works best with puppies of breeds small enough that they can sit in your lap all the time. You know right away when they start to get into things, because they first fall off your lap.
I definitely appreciate what you’re saying about “an eye for the puppy and an eye for work” - it would, in my mind be the only viable solution. The problem is that I feel (and quite rightly!) that I should be giving my students my full attention. Not only are they paying good money, but if I’m not concentrating fully on the job then I won’t be able to do that job very effectively. Then again, maybe I’m just wussing out? I don’t know at this stage.
Most responsible breeders will take the puppy back, especially after so short a time. I’d call the breeder.
A beagle may not be the dog for you, and a puppy probably isn’t the best fit, either. Beagles are all nose and need stimulation. Not having a yard to root around in would be difficult for him.
When you’re ready for a dog, go to the local animal shelter and look for a calm adult dog. The shelter should know if it’s housebroken, and would suit your lifestyle. Puppies are often at least 6 months old before they’re completely housetrained.
Good luck. I have 6 dogs and wouldn’t give up any of them, but it’s certainly not for everyone.
Crate training will keep the little one out of harms way and out of your hair while you have to attend to your students and will aid significantly in housebreaking if you decide to keep your wee beastie. No one will think less of you if you decide you can’t, just please take the dog back to the breeder or find a loving new home for him.
I agree that a beagle pup is probably not the best fit for you and your wife. I would suggest a much smaller breed (Maltese, Yorkie, Chihuahua, etc) that won’t require as much space in your home or as much excercise as a larger dog.
You left out the vocal cords. Beagles are all nose and vocal cords, and plenty of days it seems they’re primarily vocal cords. Happy, sad, excited, angry, content, asleep…a beagle will tell you at great length when he feels any of those things. And I do mean great length. My grandfather used to keep a whole pack of them for rabbit hunting. You could hear them half a mile before you got to his house. Thank god all his neighbors were hunters too and didn’t mind the racket.
But a beagle really is usually a bad choice for someone who doesn’t have a yard, or isn’t into hiking or some other dog-friendly outdoor activity. That’s true for all hunting dogs, really, but while people remember that about labs and goldens, but tend to forget it with the smaller hunting dogs like beagles and spaniels.
Puppies are babies, and like babies, they cry and spray poop all over. It’s just what they do. If you can’t cope with crying and poop cleaning, a baby is a bad choice for you.
All in all, it sounds like you’d be best sending him back to the breeder and maybe getting an older, housebroken dog sometime when you lives are calmer.
Better yet, make friends at a rescue. Find a good rescue (some of them are more interested in judging families than placing dogs), and find someone (or a couple someones) who foster. Tell them you are on the lookout for a “good dog.” You define what that is - it might be small, not shed, housebroken…whatever. When they get one, they will call you.
Puppies are babies. They have a much shorter babyhood/toddlerhood than real babies, but they are babies. He is probably still two months away from being reliably housebroken. He’ll chew your stuff. He’ll require near constant supervision for the next four months or so (or to be in his kennel).
Beagles are wonderful dogs - and horrible dogs. A beagle will very likely be noisy - and may be hard to break of howling when kenneled. A beagle is likely to be more stubborn - harder to train, harder to housebreak - than a working dog breed. I love beagles. I’ve wanted a beagle since I was ten - I don’t have a beagle because I’m not a good owner for a beagle - we have a Shepard mix.
If you choose to keep the dog, get a kennel and learn about kennel training. Get yourself in a puppy obediance class. If you don’t have time, but have money - hire a trainer. Take the puppy on two or three walks a day - with a puppy these are short walks - but with a middle age dog like a beagle plan on at LEAST half an hour of walking the dog every day. (Different breeds have different needs - if the committment to walking the dog is too much, find a breed that doesn’t need much exercise, or one that will get it chasing a ball in your family room.
Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to reply. I hadn’t considered taking it back to the breeders, partly because as you can see from my location we live in the Isle of Man, and actually had to get the dog from England, which involved a fair bit of expense with regards to travel etc. Perhaps that would be the best option - just take the hit financially. I was heading more towards a “find a good home” place, just to minimise the hit on the wallet!
Thanks once again, I’m feeling like less of a wuss and more of a realist now!
I’m not a big fan of the crate training. You could try taking pup for a long walk each morning, noon and night. There’s nothing like a little physical and intellectual stimulation to put a puppy into nap mode. The exercise will also help your tolerance level!
Do this even if it’s just while you are looking for a better home for him. You don’t want to create neuroses by boring the little guy to death in the mean time. Don’t let him lead in the walk, he should always go through the door after you, and follow behind you while walking. Let him stop and sniff only as a reward for 15 min. of straight walking.
Sorry. I’m planning on getting a puppy in the near future. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking, but I guess it’s good to know that I should re-think it yet again - so many people say they weren’t expecting how much work a puppy would be.
Although I am a convert to crate training, I heartily second TruCelt’s exercise suggestion. Exercise won’t cure every dog behavior issue, but you can’t properly address any dog behavior issue until exercise has worked its magic.
The last time I housetrained, I crate-trained as part of the process. I wanted to stay positive, not punitive. My homemade solution was that when she peed in the house, I’d dip a paper towel in it, and take her and the towel outside and put the towel in the grass, make sure she sniffed it (no nose-rubbing or scolding), then praise her. And of course take her out early and often, every two hours at minimum. Vigilance is the key! Relaxation is the enemy – whenever you’re feeling comfortable, it’s time to get up and take the dog out again.
It worked really well, in my opinion. She learned quickly and solidly.
Crate training is very useful. There are times when a dog must be confined, such as overnights at the vet, or recovery from surgery, and things will go much more smoothly if she is not freaked out by being in a crate.
In the past two years we have had to treat two dogs for heartworms. If they had not been crate trained, I’m not sure we could have pulled it off.
Just a thought, if you choose to keep the dog, since you are working with children in your home, could you make taking care of the dog part of their day? If they come to you for an hour of tutoring (is that what’s happening?) take a 5 minute break at the end of the hour and let the kid play with the dog and make sure the dog does his business, and then move on to the next hour/kid.
A puppy can be stressful, and perhaps this puppy isn’t right for you, but there are ways to make it work; otherwise no one would ever have dogs! Kennel training is a good way to go, but you also just have to be willing to put in the time. A dog, even a housetrained older dog, will always require attention from you, and if you don’t want to provide it because it changes your life, then you really shouldn’t have one.
My mom has a beagle, which she got when he was already 7. He’s a wonderful dog.
Good for you. I had an Elkhound who we did rub nose in it and then open door to go out. She saw a squirrel in the backyard and wanted to go out and get it. She ran up to me ,peed on the floor, stuck her nose in it and ran to the back door to be let out. Sometimes the message gets mixed up.
Well now, I hope you survive the beagle puppy-ness. Beagles are hunters and aren’t likely to be grateful to be cooped up inside all day. They are also very territorial and I didn’t see if it were a male or female, but if male, please have it neutered as soon as you can. If you don’t he will mark every surface in sight.
I wish people would do more research into the breeds before they choose a dog. My SIL bought a Jack Russell Terrier with similar conditions to yours. She wanted “Eddie” from Frazier. She got the Tazmanian Devil. That dog is a wound up rubber band 24/7 because he doesn’t get out to do normal terrier stuff.
ETA: I’m also a big fan of Ceasar Millan. A great resource for problem dogs and owners.