Beagles For Dummies


by Susan McCullough





Who can resist an adorable Beagle puppy? If you adopt one from a breeder, you can bring him home when he’s 8 weeks old. See Chapter 4.

Not only do Beagles bark, they howl. You can minimize these canine concerts by keeping her entertained with toys or activities. See Chapter 16.A Snoopy-dog’s sniffer can lead him to mischief. Keep your sense of humor, and you and your pet will get along beautifully. See Chapter 17.

Beagles are inquisitive little dogs. Their looks, intelligence, and playfulness make them one of the most popular dog breeds. See Chapter 1.

Beagles have one of the best senses of smell of any dog breed. They instinctively track a scent, no matter what. See Chapter 2.Kids and Beagles can be a perfect match. Beagles are just the right size to romp with youngsters without worrying about whether one may hurt the other one. See Chapter 6.

Just like you, Beagles need time to rest, especially as they grow older. See Chapter 12.

Training to compete in agility trials gives your Beagle a good workout and allows the two of you to bond. See Chapter 9.A Beagle works at getting treats out of a plastic ball. If your Beagle suffers from separation anxiety, keep him occupied with one of these toys when you leave. See Chapter 16.

Beagles are happiest when they’re getting lots of love and attention from people. That makes them well suited to visit people in hospitals or nursing homes. See Chapter 2.

Beagles were bred in the 1500s to hunt rabbits. Today their keen sense of smell is used to detect termites and mold in houses. See Chapter 19.After a full day of activities with you and your family, your Snoopy-dog will be worn out. A tired Beagle is a happy Beagle! See Chapter 7.

Dog shows measure how well a Beagle conforms to the standard of his breed. See Chapter 9.

If you and your Snoopy-dog spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure to check her for fleas and ticks. See Chapter 10.

You need a lot of time and patience to train a Beagle to behave and perform tricks, but the results are worth the effort. See Chapter 15.Beagles like to explore every nook and cranny they find. You’ll want to Beagle-proof your house and yard before you bring your little hound home. See Chapter 5.

Beagle pups need three meals a day to help them grow up healthy. As dogs get older, they just need breakfast and dinner. See Chapter 7.Your Beagle needs annual checkups with her veterinarian to keep her in tip-top shape. See Chapter 11.

Because Beagles have short coats, they only need a bath about once a month — unless they find something dirty or smelly to roll around in. See Chapter 10.

Choosing a Beagle takes time and thought. You have to decide whether you want a pup or an adult, a male or a female, one dog or two. See Chapter 4.

About the Author

Susan McCullough writes about all things dog for media outlets all over the United States. She is the family life columnist for Dog Fancy, the nation’s most widely read dog magazine, and also has published articles in Family Circle, The Washington Post, AKC Gazette, AKC Family Dog, Your Dog, and Popular Dogs. She also is the author of several dog-care books, including Housetraining For Dummies (Wiley, 2002) and Senior Dogs For Dummies (Wiley, 2004).

Susan belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She is a three-time winner of the DWAA Maxwell Award for excellence in writing about dogs, and won the 2001 Eukanuba Canine Health Award for outstanding writing about canine health.

When she’s not writing or hanging out with friends and family (both two-legged and four-legged), Susan counsels puzzled people on how to deal with the quandaries that inevitably arise when dogs join human households. She lives in Vienna, Virginia, with her husband, Stan Chappell; their daughter, Julie Chappell; and their Golden Retriever, Allie.



For Beagles everywhere


Author’s Acknowledgments

The author is just one member of a team that produces a book like this one. I want to thank everyone else who also made this book a reality, including

bullet Tracy Boggier, acquisitions editor at Wiley, who asked me to take on this project.

bullet Alissa Schwipps, senior project editor, who made our second book project together even more fun than the first.

bullet Nancy Fox, DVM, veterinarian and Beagle devotee, who made sure that the manuscript contains the best available info for those who love Snoopy-dogs.

bullet Stan Chappell, my husband, for reasons too numerous to elaborate on here.

bullet Julie Chappell, my daughter, for being exactly who she is.

bullet Windy Run’s Allie McChappell CGC, who reminds me every day that life is always better when shared with at least one canine companion.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at .

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Senior Project Editor: Alissa Schwipps

Acquisitions Editor: Tracy Boggier

Copy Editors: Vicki Adang, Darren Meiss

Editorial Program Coordinator: Hanna K. Scott

Technical Editor: Nancy Fox, DVM

Senior Editorial Manager: Jennifer Ehrlich

Editorial Assistants: Erin Calligan, David Lutton

Cover Photos: ” Ausloos, Henry/ Animals Animals Earth Scenes

Cartoons: Rich Tennant ( )

Composition Services

Project Coordinators: Heather Kolter and Jennifer Theriot

Layout and Graphics: Joyce Haughey, Stephanie D. Jumper, Barry Offringa, Brent Savage, Erin Zeltner

Special Art: Illustrations by Lisa S. Reed

Anniversary Logo Design: Richard Pacifico

Proofreaders: John Greenough, Charles Spencer, Aptara

Indexer: Sherry Massey

Special Help Carmen Krikorian

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services




About This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

What You’re Not to Read

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I : Getting to Know Beagles

Chapter 1: Beagles and You: Made for Each Other?

Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog

The Beagle’s Bill of Rights

Why Beagles Are Wonderful

Buyer’s Remorse: Why a Beagle May Not Be Your Dream Dog

What to Ask Yourself

A Final Thought

Chapter 2: The Incredible, Lovable Beagle

Mommy, Where Do Beagles Come From?

The Official Beagle Blueprint

Why the World Loves Beagles

. . . But Nobody’s Perfect

Chapter 3: Gonna Find Me a Beagle

Good Places to Look

Just Say No: Poor Places to Look

Proceed with Caution: Adopting from the Internet

Chapter 4: Choosing Your Beagle Soul Mate

Narrowing Your Choices

Selecting a Puppy

Selecting an Adult Beagle

Pushing Papers

Homeward Bound? Maybe Not

Part II : Starting Life with Your Beagle

Chapter 5: Preparing for Your Beagle’s Arrival

Choosing a Veterinarian

Shopping for Beagle Basics

Designating Beagle Spaces in Your Home

Beagle-Proofing Your Home and Yard

Planning Mayhem Management

Chapter 6: Welcoming Your Beagle Home

Picking Up Your Beagle

We’re Here! Arriving Home

Surviving the First Night

Chapter 7: Beginning a Beautiful Friendship

Bonding with Your Beagle

Visiting the Vet: The First Exam

Starting Daily Routines

Socializing Your Beagle

Fighting the Fear Factor

Part III : Caring for Your Beagle

Chapter 8: Feeding Your Beagle

What a Dog Wants . . . What a Dog Needs

Choosing Your Beagle’s Chow

Getting the Skinny about Your Hound’s Pounds

Attending to Ambience

Treating Your Beagle Right

Avoiding Dangerous Dining

Your Beagle’s Drinking Habits

Chapter 9: Getting Physical: Exercising Your Beagle

Keep Him Moving, Keep Yourself Happy

Trying Everyday Exercises

Great Sports for You and Your Beagle

Adjusting for Age

Chapter 10: Sprucing Up Your Beagle

Giving Her the Brush-off

Establishing a No-Critter Zone

Lather Up! Bathing Your Beagle

Tending to Eyes and Ears

Brushing Those Pearlies

Trimming the Tootsies

Addressing Your Beagle’s Bottom Line

Winterizing Your Beagle

Chapter 11: Managing Your Beagle’s Day-to-Day Health

Working with Your Vet

Can I See Your ID?

Maintaining Good Health at Home

Chapter 12: Dealing with Health Issues

Treating Puppy Problems

Handling Adult Health Challenges

Easing Your Beagle’s Golden Years

My Beagle Is Sick! What Should I Do?

Saying Goodbye to Your Beagle

Chapter 13: Traveling (or Not) with Your Beagle

Taking Your Beagle with You

Leaving Your Beagle Home

Boarding Your Beagle

Part IV : Training Your Beagle

Chapter 14: Housetraining Your Beagle

Going Indoors or Out?

Getting in Gear

Following Five Steps

Addressing Accidents

Declaring Victory

Addressing Bathroom Issues

Chapter 15: Schooling Your Beagle

Decoding Your Beagle’s SOP

Gearing Up for Training

Teaching the Basics Yourself

Enrolling Your Beagle in Obedience Class

Chapter 16: Rehabbing the Delinquent Beagle

Solving Common Snoopy-dog Problems

Picking Experts’ Brains

Part V : The Part of Tens

Chapter 17: Ten Ways to Keep Your Beagle Healthy and Happy

Find a Great Vet

Give Her the Skinny

Keep Her Moving

Do Fence Her In

Take Her to School

Keep Her Pretty

Be Proactive

Trust Your Instincts

Have a Sense of Humor

Love, Love, Love

Chapter 18: Ten Mistakes You Don’t Need to Make with Your Beagle

Not Doing Your Homework

Choosing Too Quickly

Bypassing the Crate

Expecting Housetraining to Be Easy

Failing to Be Vigilant

Thinking That Your Beagle Is a Person

Doing Things on the Cheap

Thinking That Your Beagle Can Train Himself

Playing Doctor

Thinking That You Are More Important Than Bunnies

Chapter 19: Ten Unique Beagle Occupations and Activities

Keeping Out Forbidden Fruit (and Other Stuff)

Shaming a President

Inspiring Children

Nailing the Red Baron

Flying in (Way) Outer Space

Comforting Other Dog Owners

Knowing When to Mold ’Em

Turning Out Termites

Befriending the Famous

Taking Us to Our Pasts

Appendix: Wanna Know More? Additional Resources

Turn the Pages

Divine DVDs

Peruse These Periodicals

Virtually Unparalleled


A sk any prospective dog owner what breeds she has in mind, and almost without fail, she’ll include a Beagle on her list of possibilities. Her reasons aren’t hard to figure out. Beagles have so much going for them: They’re cute, they have easygoing personalities, they’re small, they require relatively little grooming, and they’re fun. And did I mention that they’re cute? (I did? Well, no matter. Their cuteness is an attribute worth emphasizing.)

But inevitably, even a package that appears as perfect as a Beagle seems to be also contains some imperfections. After all, as my father says, “Dogs are only human.” We humans are capable of wondrous achievements and considerable kindness — but alas, we are not perfect. We have enough flaws to make us interesting and then some. So, too, does the wonder-dog we call the Beagle.

Like any dog, a Beagle needs time and attention if he is to become the dream dog you’re seeking. Feeding, training, and multiple walks to the pooch potty are among the many tasks you’ll need to perform to raise a Beagle well. But Beagles also may pose some breed-specific challenges. If you’re not prepared to deal with all of those challenges — general and breed-specific alike — you may find yourself gritting your teeth at your Snoopy-dog instead of delighting in his company.

I’ve written Beagles For Dummies so you won’t have to grit your teeth — at least not very often. Instead, you’ll not only lose your heart to one of these incredibly adorable creatures, you’ll also come to appreciate the many wonderful qualities that Beagles bring to their people.

About This Book

Beagles For Dummies has two reasons for being: first, to be a people-friendly guide that tells you everything you must know about this breed; and second, to give you enough information to decide whether Beagles are, in fact, the breed for you. Between this book’s covers, you find answers to questions like:

bullet What are Beagles supposed to look like and how are they supposed to behave?

bullet Should I choose a puppy or an adult dog? Male or female?

bullet How do I know that a Beagle breeder is a reputable breeder?

bullet What do I need to do to survive my Beagle’s first few days at home? Heck, how do I survive, much less enjoy, his entire puppyhood?

bullet How and when should I feed my Beagle?

bullet What should I teach my Beagle to do? How do I teach him? What if I can’t teach him anything?

bullet What health problems is my Beagle likely to have when he’s young? How about when he grows up — or gets old?

This book answers all of those questions and a whole lot more. The great thing about this book is that you can find the answers to those questions and any others in any way you want. If you want to know everything about living with a Beagle, you may want to begin reading here and continue to the end. But if you have a specific concern, such as how to keep your Beagle out of the clothes hamper or why he tends to wander, feel free to skip the preliminaries. Instead, just scan the Table of Contents or Index and, from there, head to the pages that tell you exactly what you want to know.

Conventions Used in This Book

To help you navigate, this book, and all For Dummies books, include the following conventions:

bullet Italics emphasize and highlight new words or terms.

bullet Boldfaced text indicates the action parts of numbered steps.

bullet Monofont indicates a Web address.

As a writer who specializes in dog topics, I’ve added some conventions of my own. For example, most editors like to refer to dogs in gender-neutral terms. In other words, unless you’re talking about a specific dog such as Prince or Princess, you’re supposed to refer to members of the canine species as it. In this book, I break that rule.

Any dog, even when spayed or neutered, is clearly male or female and deserves the dignity of being referred to in that manner. For that reason, I refer to any dog as he, she, him, and her . I alternate between male and female pronouns in each chapter, using roughly an equal mix of each pronoun throughout the book. Either way, any of those pronouns apply to both genders unless I state otherwise. I also use the word who , not that or which , to refer to our four-legged friends.

I also like to write the way most people talk, even when the talk refers to a dog’s bodily wastes. Consequently, I talk about when dogs poop and pee, not when they do number one and number two, or tinkle or urinate or defecate. Sometimes I also use the term potty to refer to bathroom matters. I also don’t favor euphemisms when discussing important subjects. That’s why I refer to the decision to end a dog’s life as euthanasia, not putting the dog to sleep.

What You’re Not to Read

This book is full of important, even essential, information to the would-be or actual Beagle owner, and I’ve assembled that information so you can find it easily and understand it the first time you read it. That said, not all of what you read fits the category of essential or even important; some falls under the interesting-but-you-really-don’t-need-to-know-it category. To help you distinguish between what you must know and what you can do without, I’ve made the latter easy to recognize. The material in the following list may be interesting — but if you skip it, you won’t be a deficient Beagle owner. Promise!

bullet Text in sidebars: The sidebars are shaded boxes that appear here and there throughout the book. They contain interesting tidbits that make you an even better Beagle owner — but if you skip them, you still know everything you need to know.

bullet Anything highlighted with a Technical Stuff icon: The information in these paragraphs is also interesting, but essential only if you’re looking to go way, way beyond the basics of Beagle ownership.

bullet The stuff on the copyright page: The material on this page isn’t even interesting, except to the publisher’s legal department. Feel free to skip this page unless you’re really into publishing or copyright law — and in that case, I’m sure you’ll get more information on the subject somewhere else!

Foolish Assumptions

Every book is aimed at a certain type of reader, and this book is no exception. In writing this book, I’ve assumed that:

bullet You’re thinking about adding a Beagle to your family, and you want to find out more about the breed before making your final decision.

bullet You can’t decide whether to get a male or female Beagle, or whether to adopt a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog.

bullet Your Beagle will arrive home soon, and you want to know how to get ready for his homecoming.

bullet You’ve either never had a Beagle before, or you had one in the distant past — and, either way, you need to find out as much as possible about Beagle care in the shortest possible time.

bullet You already own a Beagle and want some help schooling him in basics such as housetraining, coming when called, and sitting when told.

bullet You’re having trouble training your Beagle, and you need some guidance to surmount his (and your) learning curve.

How This Book Is Organized

If you read any part of Beagles For Dummies, no matter how small, you’ll add to your knowledge of how to raise and care for these wonderful dogs. Here’s how I organized the book to help you live happily ever after with a Beagle and to deal with any challenges that come your way.

Part I: Getting to Know Beagles

A decision to open your heart and home to a Beagle shouldn’t be made in haste. This part tells you what you need to know to choose your dream dog. You discover the breed’s origins and about how a healthy Beagle should look and act. You also discover good places to look for a Beagle and how to evaluate the puppies or dogs you see when you get there.

Part II: Starting Life with Your Beagle

Now that you’ve selected the Beagle of your dreams, what do you do? Part II answers that question by guiding you through the whole process of preparing for your new dog’s arrival: bringing your Beagle home and not only surviving, but thriving, during the days that follow the homecoming; puppy-proofing your house before your Beagle arrives; figuring out where your new dog should eat, sleep, poop, and play; coping with the hectic first day and night; and starting to bond with your Beagle. It’s all here.

Part III: Caring for Your Beagle

This part covers the nuts and bolts of Beagle care: what and how to feed your dog; common health issues and how to deal with them; and how to take great care of your Beagle whether you’re tending the home fires or out seeing the world. Here you get some ideas on how to sift through the dizzying array of feeding options for your dog; how to work with your vet to keep your Beagle healthy; and what to do when, inevitably, something goes wrong. Here, too, is where you find information on health conditions that are common to Beagles.

Part IV: Training Your Beagle

Charlie Brown may have said, “Happiness is a warm puppy,” but when that puppy is a Beagle, happiness also is a trained Beagle. You are your Beagle’s first and best teacher, and in this part you find the information and direction you need to mold your four-legged friend into a model citizen. You find out how to teach your Beagle proper potty protocol, which is a crucial component to living happily ever after with one of these dogs. You also discover how to teach basic commands and what you can do if your Beagle proves to be a challenging student. Also included are pointers on how to work with experts such as dog trainers and animal behaviorists.

Part V: The Part of Tens

Here’s where you find information that provides extra hints on how to keep your Beagle healthy and happy and describes common mistakes that Beagle owners make. In addition, a final chapter lists some interesting facts about how Beagles — canine and otherwise — affect our lives.

Finally, if you want additional resources that provide more information about Beagles, I’ve included an appendix chock full of information and ideas at the very end of the book.

Icons Used in This Book

To help you find particular kinds of information as you read this book, keep your eyes peeled for the following icons:


This icon appears whenever an idea or item can save you time, money, or stress when taking care of your Beagle.


Any time you see this icon, you know the information that follows is so important that it’s worth reading more than once.


This icon flags information that highlights dangers to your Beagle’s health or well-being.


This icon appears next to information that’s interesting but not essential. Don’t be afraid to skip these paragraphs.

Where to Go from Here

You can read this book any way you choose. If you want to jump-start your knowledge of all things Beagle, start at the beginning and continue through to the end. On the other hand, if you need to read up on just a couple of specific issues, mosey on over to the Table of Contents or to the Index to determine exactly where to find the information you need. For example, if you already have your Beagle and need to teach him to do his business outside rather than inside, head to Chapter 14. On the other hand, if you’re still trying to decide whether to get a Beagle, check out Chapters 1 and 2.

Finally, this book is meant to be a reference manual and guide, but it doesn’t replace the advice that veterinarians, trainers, and behaviorists can give in person after they work with you and your one-of-a-kind dog. If the suggestions here don’t work for you or your Beagle, or if you can’t find an answer to a particular question in this book, don’t hesitate to consult any of these professionals.

Part I

Getting to Know Beagles

In this part . . .

S o you’re thinking of adding a Beagle to your life? Good for you! Life with these little hounds can lead to years of merriment, entertainment, and love — if you do your homework beforehand. Part I gives you all the information you need to make sure that the Beagle is the right breed for you and advice on choosing your own very special Beagle soul mate.