Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I have recently come to the conclusion that what we humans call stubborn and bull headed in a dog - the dog is just acting true to his nature. There are a lot of people out there who vehemently refuse to have a Beagle simply because of their nature. They take life on THEIR terms - the Beagle does. Once we humans accept that then we can accept them into our lives in harmony. I don't mean that we need to change our lifestyle - rather look at Beagles for what they can become with proper & responsible training from the owner - intelligent but challenging & loving companions.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A few thoughts about dog trainers

Ok - so this blog isn't just about MY Beagles or MY dogs or even dogs. Who knows what all I will write about here. Tonight I am writing about how I feel about certain dog trainers - not just about specific trainers either. I have a problem with one dog trainer bashing another.

First a little background - I am fairly new to training my dogs, especially when I have a certain goal in mind when I am doing it. I have been around dogs most of my life - most were family pets when I was growing up - they were trained to be good, family pets and considering what I know now - we were really lucky they turned out as well as they did. Oh there was no abuse or physical harm but by today's standards, our family method was a bit archaic. Even when I moved out and had my own, I admit that I was somewhat ignorant of just what the dogs could learn and at that time, I felt that there was really no need for formal obedience training.

More background - then, when I got my first Beagle - Shiloh Beaglebrat - a little over 6 years ago, all that changed. Of course by that time the Internet played a role in my life as I started doing some research on the breed. Then I joined a couple of online groups about Beagles as well as a couple of groups for people with any breed - purebred or mixed. The MAJOR theme in raising Beagles I was told, Beagles NEED obedience training - a class or with a trainer 1:1. The class was preferred because of the socialization your Beagle gets and if you can start when the dog is still a fairly young pup, that is even better. So a couple of months after I got Shiloh, we were off to our first obedience class. It was ok but there were only a couple of other members in the class and 1 of those dropped out after a couple of classes - we completed the session and Shiloh learned a handfull of basic commands. Since that time, he has completed 3 additional levels of obedience training, has earned his Canine Good Citizen standing from the American Kennel Club, is now into his 4th year as a Delta Society Pet Partner (we visit places like nursing homes and a hospice as well as he has gone to a shelter for victims of domestic violence) and he is a Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.) where we go to our local library where children can read to him. When I heard that the breeder I got Shiloh from was now breeding(responsibly) his sister, I decided at that time I would love to have one of those pups if at all possible. So that is how Shasta Beaglebrat joined our little family in November of 2006. From the very beginning I decided that I wanted Shasta to follow in her uncle's pawprints - we are beginning what I hope will be our final level of obedience training tomorrow and then she will be evaluated for her CGC and therapy dog standing this fall (2009).

Ok - now back to the original theme of this writing - why does one dog trainer feel the need to bash another? So in comparison to many who train dogs especially those professional dog trainers - I am a relative newbie. But I feel like I have learned a lot in those few short years. And it's not just the classes I have been to with Shiloh or Shasta but the research I have done online or in books, seminars I have attended or even watching television shows about training dogs. I don't advocate any one certain trainer. What I do is try anything from ANY trainer that I think will work with the Beaglebratz. If one thing doesn't work then I move on and try something else, whether it be from the trainer I like or not. The one underlying theme I do insist on - that of positive reinforcement. I will not use punishment to get any dog to do what is best for BOTH of us

Ok - this installment in my blog is now way more than I first intended. Besides, it is bedtime for me and the Beaglebratz.