Beagle puppy taking over the house

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Gypsy
Gypsy, the 14-week-old beagle, sits patiently on the footstool waiting for her next command. (Mike Tontimonia photo.)

Mrs. T and I had forgotten just how much work a child can be. Then Gypsy showed up and reminded us.

Presently, Gypsy is a pain in the neck. The only time she doesn’t need to be in sight or at least in reach is from 10:30 p.m. until she begins whining at 5:30 a.m.

That’s pretty good for a young puppy now just a few months old but for sure, a future hunter in training.

She is all beagle, from her inquisitive and always active nose to her happy white-tipped tail.

Like any healthy puppy, Gypsy puts on an entertaining show as she rolls around while chasing imaginary objects, real toys, and unattended shoes.

Her bad habits include an insatiable need to chew on anything and everything. Her good habits included a willingness to learn basic commands such as “sit” and “stay.”

She made never need to know such silly things but it does help to establish an awareness that doing things she is asked to do can and will result in praise and reward.

Most recently, Gypsy has been willing to jump up on a small footstool, sit patiently at attention, then leap off when told that it’s OK — just what every rabbit dog ought to be able to do.

Well, maybe not.

Gypsy seems receptive to house training. At 14 weeks, she is pretty good at rushing out the door and taking care of business to the command “hurry-hurry.”

She has earned a grade of B+ on house training, a grade blemished only by a seemingly impulsive need to create a wet spot on the carpet. Fortunately, those “accidents” are few and far between.

We are hoping she soon gets more consistent to announce her needs, but we don’t expect that to happen overnight.

Next up will be some serious woodlot outings where Gypsy can begin to get the footings and familiar smells of the places rabbits might live.

Part of her early field training will be for her to keep track of my movements just as I keep an eye on her and call her in to get a treat for responding to my call.

Beagles are hounds and hounds aren’t dogs that need a lot of human commands or artificial training to achieve their potential. It’s all bred in and shows itself as soon as the first rabbit track that triggers that bred-in response is inhaled.

It may take just a handful of tracks for that to happen or perhaps several, but when it does the future opens for hound and hunter.

She will also get in on some evenings at the gun club where she will be introduced to the sound of gunfire, first at a distance while she and I play to distract her, then closer, as she gets used to the noise.

It’s my belief that future hunting dogs need to be exposed to loud and sudden sounds as early as possible. I like to start by making noise such as loud hand claps and clanking food pans from the time pups are being weaned.

We’ve never had a beagle for anything other than hunting but Gypsy has already claimed a spot in our household. She has become adept at things like snuggling on a lap for an afternoon nap. That plus hiding items here and there, being underfoot, and her favorite and annoying trick of hiding under a bed.

I’ll keep everyone up to date as Gypsy continues to take ownership of our home.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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