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I SWEAR THEY LOOKED GREAT LAST TIME I RAN THEM

If anyone ever tells me after we run a dog that he normally runs real good but can't seem to understand why he ran so hit and miss today, I never doubt them until I have seen the dog run two or three times. Some beagles will always look better than others in their running due to their talents, but on some days the scent, the rabbits, the wind, and the weather just helps or hurts the run. There have been days where I thought everything should be perfect to get the dogs out and chase a few bunnies but they couldn't keep a track going without hitting and missing the scent. There has been other days where the the ground was as dry as chalk and the wind was blowing around 20 mph and they where almost glued to the scent. I have read different things about how the humidity and the air pressure affect how well a scent will hold but it doesn't always hold true. Anyone who has run dogs on a cold frozen morning knows how a hound will run smooth in the weeds and when they hit a bean field they have to work hard to keep the chase going. The difference between a good one and a fair one is being able to slow down when scent gets light and really dig for each track. I see alot of dogs that when they hit a hard spot will either start swinging out in big loops trying pick up the scent or will just keep going back to where they lost it and never make any progress, eventually giving up on the scent line and look for another rabbit. I'll bet that quite a few times when someone says that rabbit went to a hole they should have said my dogs lost that one. There are very few beagles that won't lose a rabbit once in awhile either due to a hard check or the rabbit really going into a hole, but be honest in your evaluation of why the race stopped. By the way, my hounds do lose a rabbit now and then.

BUYING A PUPPY OR STARTED DOG

Anyone who has tried to find a good quality beagle that will make a good hunting dog has probably been either missled or flat out conned once or twice. There is no easy way to find a puppy and be sure that it will meet your expectations as an adult. Even by studying their pedigree and seeing the parents run, it will still be somewhat of a gamble. Each pup in a litter will have it's own traits and personality. By buying a dog that is line bred one can cut down on the chances of getting something that doesn't suit them, but it won't be a totally sure thing. Line breeding is a system that breeds within the same basic family of hounds to reproduce certain traits on a more consistant basis. If you buy a pup from a litter where you don't know what type of style their parents run, or if anyone has any of their offspring, it will be a matter of getting lucky with how it looks at two years old. Getting a dog on rabbit and putting time in the field with it will make a world of difference, but it won't change it's basic style of running a rabbit. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a pup and spending time and money on it, not to mention getting attached, to only have it never be what you really wanted in a beagle. So if you are looking for a puppy take your time and remember that you are getting a dog that will be with you for years to come. I know this is a disposable world but it's a shame when people apply this to a dog that is just doing what it's genes are programmed to do. If a started dog is available this might be the better route to consider. By getting an older dog you won't have to deal with the puppy stages and all the headaches that go with it. A word of warning though, in the fall before rabbit season opens there are people that will sell you any thing that will bark on a track, and it still won't be cheap. Before buying a started dog make sure that you see it run several times before you commit youself. All dogs look good on some days and all dogs look bad on others. Some things to look for in a older dog are how it takes to you and reacts to it's owner. If the dog is shy towards both you and the person that feeds it beware. If the dog is shy of you but goes up to it's owner in a friendly manner then chances are it will warm up to you also. I have seen some beagles that were so shy from lack of attention or poor breeding that they will never come around. Look at the dogs coat, eyes, and gait. The coat should be smooth and have a slight sheen to it. A lot of beagles coats are on the coarse side which is good but it should still have that same sheen to it. A dull coat is almost always a sign of worms or other health problems. The dogs ears will tell you quite a bit of whether or not the dog has spent much time in the field. If you look at any beagle that has had it's share of chasing rabbits it's ears will show it to some degree. Some people speak of a bench leg beagle, which refers to the front legs being crooked at the lower joint and pointing outwards, this is a definite fault and will cause the dog to wear down in the field. Watch the dog trot at a fairly fast pace, it should have a smooth, fluid flow to it's movement. Both the front legs and the back legs should be in proportion with each other. The feet should be solid but not overly large or splayed out. There are many a fine rabbit dogs which have one or all of the faults that are mentioned but they shouldn't be bred to reprodce these faults. When taking a beagle to the field which you are considering try and see it run alone and with a pack. Running it by itself will tell if it can keep a run going and will show it's style of running. If possible next run the dog with three or four others hounds and see how it handles the pressure of a pack. Many beagles run great by themselves but will get wild and loose when it thinks that the other dogs are beating them to the scent line. Some people get lucky and find a great rabbit dog for $100.00 and others pay much more. It boils down to spending time looking for the type of running style you like and what you plan on using the dog for in the future. If the beagle is going to be used for pleasure running or hunting one can over look some things, but if breeding is in your plans, by all means choose the best you can afford and ask yourself if you would buy a pup from this dog.

Progress of a pup

So many times I get asked questions on how to start a pup or how it prefromed at a given age, and many times my memory isn't quite what it should be, so this will be an attempt at keeping a journal of one of my pups. The pups name is Niehaus' Hot Shot Romeo, he is out of FC Thorn Gap Dark Hot Shot and Niehaus' Only Uno. Uno is a 12" tri-clor bitch that has excellent conformation and is on the slow side of medium speed. She is very close on the line but is just a tad slower than I like. In a pack with overly competitive dogs she can keep the race going. She hunts hard but is somewhat short on mouth. Before you think that this dog sounds like she has too many faults I'll let you know that I look at a dogs faults before I brag on it's good points. If more stud dog owners would do this the breed would be improved in my opinion. Uno's pedigree includes Fc Thorn Gap Josh, FC S And S Posion Pete, FC Canoe Creek Burt, Deer Park Spike and Deer Park Toby along with FC Del Ray Stubby. FC Thorn Gap Dark Hot Shot's pedigree consist of Thorn Gap Dark Ralph, FC Thorn Gap Dark Valene, Deer Park Ike, FC Thorn Gap Bad Jack, Swallow's Flopsey, Deer Park Spike and Sunnyline Ralphie. Romeo was born on April 18th 1998. Romeo is a tri-color male that should stay well under 13" and at this point is a very nice looking pup. As time goes by I will try and get a picture of him as a grows and keep you posted on his progress or lack of. Romeo is just a tad shy, but I'm sure that he will get over that as time goes by. I try to handle him at least once a day and let him out to romp around and play the the older dogs.
7/8/98
Ran two one year old bitches yesterday that are starting to look like rabbit dogs. After trying to figure out a couple of baby bunnies they got on to an adult rabbit and handled it fairly well. The rabbit took to the gravel road and I was surprised to see one of the dogs was able to trail the scent on the dry dust. If this bitch conyinues to look this good I think that I have a keeper. Romeo got his daily play time and is getting more friendly each day.
7/24/98
Romeo is getting bigger almost daily and now he is coming right to me and looking for attention or a treat. I went to the Silver Creek beagle clubs picnic on Sunday the 17th and there sure was a crowd there. If you have never been to it it's worth the trip. They hold an auction which has all sorts of beagle things and sell a few hounds. Quite a few dogs are sold outside the auction but be prepared and wear some tall boots, if you know what I mean. We have finally got some weather in the mid to low eighties so the hounds have gotten some much needed running time. Romeo is still to young to be out with the big dogs but he has been allowed to go outside of the fenched in yard a few times, he isn't to sure of what to think of all the smells and new things but isn't shy about checking them out.
8/14/98
Romeo really is going through a growing spurt and seems to be getting bigger daily. I'm still puzzled as to why he continues to be abit shy. Last Monday I brought him up to the house and kept him overnight. He slept on the couch with me and by the next morning he was following me around and seemed to be totally over his shyness. After I took him back to the kennel around 4:00 he would come right up to me like he should. By the next day he was starting to revert back to not wanting to come to me. I'll keep working with him, but I sure can't figure him out at this point.
8/19/98
Things are going well with Romeo, his now will come up and want to be petted. Still can't figure him out with his shyness, he will bark and raise heck when I'm at the kennel and jumps on the fence for me to pet him ,but when I go into his pen he takes a minute or two to warm up to me. Two litters were born this week. Mary had 5, 3females and 2 males. Dosie had 6 last night, 4 females and 2 males. All are looking good and healthy.
8/31/98
Romeo has been allowed to follow me through the fields several times, he will get in the brush with an older dog but still comes back to me if he gets to far out. Today one of the older dogs caught a small half grown rabbit and I let Romeo have it. He carried that rabbit for almost a half an hour before he found a place in the brush to bury it. He was trotting around like he had just gotten a trophy. So far he isn't afraid to go into the thick stuff and is showing some interest in getting down to using his nose.
9/6/98
Had Romeo out the last two days and I'm still having trouble with him being shy. He will be fine for a while then he will just turn shy and won't come or let me pet him. I have seen dogs that were shy but they always came around to me after spending some time with them. This pup was born and raised right here and has had plenty of attention given to him and has been handled alot. I'm just about ready to either cull him or give him away to someone who thinks they could have better results than I seem to be getting. I have never had to cull a pup before, always found a good home for it. But in this case I'm not sure if that would be the best thing for anyone. Unless he makes a big turn around soon he probably will never be right. He certainly won't be bred with this fault and if he is given away to someone I have my serious doubts that he would make a good pet due to this problem. In a couple of weeks the decision will be made on him and I will post an offer to anyone who is willing to give him a try with the understanding that he is a special case and might not work out.
9/13/98
Well once again I jumped the gun, on my last post I was just about to give up on Romeo and his shyness. Over the last week or so I have spent quite alot of time with this pup and sure enough he is coming around just fine. Right now he is asleep on the couch and although he still is a tad shy he now comes up to be petted and jumps up on the couch to sit with me. I guess someday I'll learn to have more patience.
9/18/98
Iv'e been working on putting a permant roof over the runs and Romeo follows me everywhere I go. He now wants to play and will come up and sit by me to be petted. What a difference a couple of weeks make!
10/17/98
Romeo opened on a track this week and is showing stronger intrest in scent. He now comes to me without hesitation when in the field.
01/30/99
It's been awhile since I have recorded Romeo's progress, he is looking good in the field and hunts hard in the brush. On the line he is close but still gets hung up now and then, he needs to get a little more foot to him but that should come with age and experiance. I took him to an NABR trial and entered him in the bench show and he took Best Puppy and Best of Show so if nothing else he has great conformation on him.
02/23/99
Been running Romeo alone and with a pack at least 3 days a week and he is coming on strong, holds the line and has decent foot to him. I'm very pleased with the way he has come along and if he continues to come along he will be a part of my breeding next year.
03/05/99
Romeo is turning into one nice hound, solo or under pack pressure he is always under control and runs nothing but scent, I can't wait to see this dog at two or three with the way he runs at under one year old. The only real fault that I see at this point is he is a little bit short on mouth but that still might change, better than being too mouthy I guess.
04/19/99
Now that spring is here it's been nice to get the dogs out in warmth and sunshine. romeo is developing into one fine beagle, he is using his mouth right and won't open unless he has the line. I have taken him to two field trials and at this point he refuses to pack up with strange dogs but I think he will get over this with more exposure. He took another 1st on the bench in NABR at Hoosier land Beagle club this month. another six months will show if he has what it takes and at this point I think he does.
05/20/99
The scenting conditions this time of year are always tough, with all the young bunnies that can't run far and the does still on the nest it makes for some spotty runs at best at times. Most young beagles at one year old just havn't matured enough to be able to do good work in these conditions but Romeo is the exception to the rule. After looking back over the previous post it really amazes me how far he has come from that shy strange pup that I wrote about. In the field Romeo hunts close and handles like a charm, he can really handle a rabbit in a pack or solo even on tough scent days. The only fault I have with him at this point is he is just a little short on mouth if the scent gets tough, but when he heats it up he has a fast chop mouth. With this said I am going to bred him to Suzie, I normally don't bread a male till he is around two but with the way he has matured I'm going to see if he can reproduce his traits. Suzie is a nice dog and is smooth on the line but might have just a tad too much mouth, not what I would call mouthy but she will open a bit in the check area at times before she really has the line. I plan on keeping a pup or two out of this breeding so check back for the results.


TRUDY'S STORY

One never knows when a true friend will come along or from where they will come, the following story is about a friend of mine that I lost a few years back. My wifes aunt lives in the southern part of Indiana and called one day to ask if I would be interested in a beagle that they had found sleeping in a phone booth in the small town where they live. At the time I had the room and not wanting the dog to starve I said that we would take her. They had named her Trudy and she was a mess, she was full of worms and she looked like she was at least ten years old. She also was hard of hearing and had a slight limp to her back leg. After getting this dog I thought at least she will have a good home for the little time she has left. Before we took her they got her spayed and wormed,but she still looked to be on her last leg. We let her be the yard dog thinking that she might as well enjoy herself. Trudy had a real talent for finding and jumping rabbits when other dogs just couldn't seem to find any, once the rabbit got up she was slow on the track but could stay with it. Trudy ended up being with us for almost 8 years and every winter she would make her home in the garage and each year we thought that it would be her last. As she got older her hearing became worse and unless she saw you she would have no idea that anyone was there. Many a day I would take the beagles out to run and Trudy would always go along, she would jump a rabbit and run it for a few yards and then she would come and sit by me as the younger dogs would chase it. If they lost the rabbit the old girl would get up and wander off and soon she would open up and get them another one to run, then come back to sit with me. How that dog knew they had lost the rabbit with her hearing being what it was I have no clue, but she sure enjoyed watching the other hounds run. I have seen alot of old beagles that when they get that old either loose intrest or just won't hunt, but Trudy must have still loved the time in the field so much she had to do her part. Trudy was like my shadow around here, everywhere I went she was always there. One rainy fall day I went down to the kennel to clean the pens and feed the dogs, of course she followed me. As I was backing the truck up to head to the house I felt a bump and as I looked in the side mirror I saw Trudy dragging herself and yelping, I thought" my god I just ran over her" and the way she was howling I went straight for the house to get a gun to put her down. When I got back she was just laying there panting and looking at me. I should have did the right thing but I thought maybe she had a chance to pull though so I rushed her to my vet. After an x-ray and exam he said that her pelvis had been broken and shifted off center. I asked him if she had a chance to pull though and he said you never know but we could try. With her injury being as it was all we could do was give her cortisone and wait and see. I kept her in the kitchen and the poor girl couldn't get up to relive herself so she would bark till I came and cleaned her up then she would go back to sleep. This went on for almost a week and I was beginning to think that she might pull through, but one night when we were headed to a function at my daughters school she looked bad and I told my wife and daughter that I was going to stay home with her because I didn't think she was going to make it. My wife and daughter got to the end of the drive and came back to be with her also. Trudy died in my arms about one hour later. Looking back I should have either put her down as soon as I hit her or at least after the vet brought in the x-ray, but thinking of me instead of her only made her suffering longer. If you ever have a hard choice such as this to make do what's good for the dog, as hard as it may seem at the time it will be for the best. Trudy now rest in our yard where she used to lay in the sun and sleep. Very few dogs develop the bond we had together in the field and home so if you are lucky enough to ever be blessed with such a friend enjoy them while you can.