A difficult beagle.

Smudge Rossmaith

Here is alpha beagle Smud Rossmaith.

Not at all easy. First fourteen months were hell. Really hell. Low protein feed is essential. No treats, operate a hierachy constantly. He eats last – always. Think pack animal – its all based on food.

I used to joke that this fella is one chromosome from a coyote!

We couldn’t play with him as a puppy, he wouldn’t allow us, therefore it was straight into training. NEVER HIT A DOG LIKE THIS. He will quickly turn into your worst enemy. Use hierachy, food, who initiates play and finishes play. Be fair, no matter how he tries your patience, many times I wanted to whack hell out of him. Keep calm.

He’s only a dog, as a human you must be the master. Use the voice to show displeasure, develop standard words and manner. As a last resort stare into his eyes, unflinching, tho only as a last resort and never more than several times a year.  He’ll get the message. Please do not hit your dog, an occasional light smack on a back leg for something naughty, tho no more than this.

Have a basket for him and from day one let him know its his little place and its pleasant to be there. Don’t go ott on this, this isn’t a prison sentence. For him to develop he must know he is safe, whacking will not help.

Thank goodness not so much now, tho six months to eighteen months he would bring me pretend ‘kill’ after we had all eaten in the evening. He wanted me to prove I was quick enough to snatch the cushion/raggy item away then (Smud giving the strangest of glances throughout all this) then immediately he wanted to mount my arm! No fear bonny lad. A very ritualised and set performance. Obviously I was having to pass a simple test to show I was worthy of receiving his bloodline. This is alpha……

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I cannot stress strongly enough how difficult this dog was for the first fourteen months at least. Through him I have far less reserves of patience with anyone or anything. Only now at twenty six months do we feel affection, a bloody long hard road.  

Since abt twenty months he wants me to spend time playing with him in the evening, he barks in his corner of the sitting room while I’m usually over at the pc for an hour or two. Unfortunately I often end up going over (he should come to me) and we lark on for a few minutes. Gradually play sessions are extending from a minute to five minutes over the last few months. Essential that it is me who terminates the session. His tendencey to get randy (even with the snip) also means I terminate before he shows any sign of changing play into something else.  

Another point is that with him being alpha it is essential that it is a lady vet he sees, consultation with a male vet would be some performance.

Everyone that he comes in contact with must be briefed to keep things ‘low key’, no raised stupid “who’s a pretty boy” crap and no fussing or petting. Let him be himself, on the floor and he’s happy enough. Often when we meet new dogs he disengages after a few seconds apparently uninterested, not at all – a minute or two later he circles in fast and and gets up close –  barking, egging them on. He’s been weighing them up, impressive huh?


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