The world loves beagles.
Beagles are cute. They have winsome eyes and a soft muzzle. They have sad eyes but everything else about them is happy, happy, happy.
Beagles are low-maintenance. Because beagles are small, you never have to lug an 80-pound bag of dog food from the supermarket. You will never have to untangle their coats or book an appointment with your local dog groomer.
Beagles are versatile. They have super noses that can sniff out everything from lost kittens to termites and improvised explosive devices for security services. They are great to show dogs, but they also learn to play games a lot more advanced than fetch.
And beagles are great with kids. Your beagle is a canine companion for your kids that isn’t so large that they will accidentally knock your kids over. On the other hand, your beagle is large enough that your kids won’t accidentally injure their dog.
Kids can have lots of fun with beagles. In this article, we’ll tell you how your kids and your beagle can live together happily ever after. Or at least until your kids are more grown-up.
Ten Ways to Make Sure Your Beagle and Your Kids Are Happy Together
Many families bring a beagle home “for the kids.”
Beagles and kids make great playmates, but the parents in the family will need to act as both pet parents and people parents to make this happy relationship work.
Here are 10 suggestions.
Make Sure Your Kids Don’t Overfeed Your Beagle
Beagles are chowhounds. They love to eat. They will eat anything you feed them. They will jump up on the table to steal your lunch.
Your kids need to know that a thinner beagle is a healthier beagle.
Their beagle will live longer and have more fun with them if everyone avoids overfeeding
Make Sure Your Kids Keep Your Beagle Moving
Is your idea of the ideal beagle a loving dog that snoozes in your lap?
Your kids can help with that. Ironically, the secret to getting your beagle into a couch potato state is lots of exercise at other times in the day.
The last thing you want is a beagle that is rarin’ to go that has no place to go.
Encourage your kids to play with their beagle outdoors. Wear out your beagle so barking and howling are too much work. But don’t forget the next rule.
Keep Your Beagle Fenced In
Beagles and cars can have tragic encounters. Your beagle needs lots of outdoor activity, but on a leash, in a dog park, or in your fenced yard.
Don’t rely on electronic fences. Many beagles overcome their fear of shock collars to chase a rabbit, a squirrel, or the neighbor’s cat. Rely on physical fences and leashes.
Take Your Beagle to School
There may be days your kids can take their beagles to school, on a leash, safely. That’s fine.
But the school beagles need to attend is obedience school.
A well-trained beagle is just as much fun, and your dog’s ability to respond to commands can save her life. Just make sure your kids learn how to give your beagle commands, too.
Dog training classes are a great way for you and your kids to get to know other beagle owners. Share what you learn about your beagle.
Make Sure Your Kids Groom Their Beagle
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep a beagle pretty.
But giving your beagle regular combing reduces flea problems, ensures that skin conditions are recognized early on, and gives your kids a chance to bond with their beagle. Even more important:
Teach Your Kids to Brush Their Beagle’s Teeth
You know what would happen if you never brushed your teeth.
Your breath would smell awful. You’d get tooth decay. You would develop gum disease and your teeth would fall out.
Similar problems arise in beagles fed commercial dog food without help from their owners to keep their teeth in good condition.
If your kids know how to brush their own teeth, they can learn how to brush their beagle’s teeth, too. Special toothbrushes and dog-favored flavors of toothpaste, like liver, are needed.
Your kids need to brush after every meal, but it’s OK to brush your beagle’s teeth just two or three times a week.
Choose a Great Vet
Everyone will be happier if your beagle stays in good health. To that end:
Invest in Pet Health Insurance Early
You can’t get coverage for canine health conditions once they have been diagnosed.
An affordable monthly premium can save huge veterinary bills later, and spare your family some difficult decisions about continuing care.
Maintain a Sense of Humor
Just as kids will be kids, beagles will be beagles. Learn to take mishaps in stride.
If you need to change your beagle’s behavior, do ir with positive reinforcement.
Love, Love, Love
You love your kids. Love your beagle, too. Beagles sense your devotion to them and will return it.
Ten Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with Beagles and Kids
As beautifully as kids can bond with beagles and beagles can bond with kids, there is room for something to go wrong.
Fortunately, the most common mistakes that pet parents and people parents make with beagles are predictable and preventable.
Not Doing Your Homework
Before you adopt a beagle, there are some lifestyle factors you need to consider carefully. Beagles do better in houses with yards than apartments.
They are highly vocal canines that don’t just bark. They love to howl. Bringing a beagle into your apartment with kids can be a challenge for everyone concerned.
Choosing Your Beagle Too Quickly
You have decided that a beagle is a dog for your family. You see a beagle in the pet shelter and home the dog goes to start a new life with you and your kids.
Our advice would be “Not so fast.” With beagles, haste leads to heartbreak.
It’s never a good idea to adopt a less-than-healthy beagle from a less-than-reputable source. What are some places to get beagles that you need to avoid?
Classified ads. Reputable beagle breeders don’t need to advertise in your local Penny Saver paper or in your city newspaper’s online classified.
The best beagle breeders have waiting lists. They are only able to support the breeding, training, and socialization of a few litters of beagle puppies every year. They will want you to come in and get to know the puppies before they let you take one home.
Beagle breeders who need to advertise haven’t developed a reputation by entering their beagles in shows. They aren’t known to vets and pet food stores, because they don’t take their puppies to vets.
They don’t spend a lot of money on premium pet food. They don’t take the time to find just the right AKC (American Kennel Club)registered sire to stud just the right AKC registered dam.]
In Canada, the dog authorities are the Canadian Kennel Club, CKC. In Australia, it’s the Australian National Kennel Council (AKNC). And in the UK, it’s just the Kennel Club (KC).
Backyard breeders. Your neighbors down the street have a bunch of beagles. They know they can’t provide a good home to all of them, and they’ll give you a beagle, or half-beagle, or sorta beagle puppy for free!
Do you take them up on their offer? Our advice is no.
Your neighbors may be kind and ethical people with the best intentions.
But if they aren’t experts in beagles, if they don’t enter their beagles in shows, if they aren’t authorities in beagle-ology, unexpected and tragic things can go wrong.
It’s especially tragic when gift beagles die of viral diseases that could have been prevented with a simple visit to the vet at the right time.
Pet stores. More and more states are passing laws to prevent pet stores from selling dogs from puppy mills, but you still need to be cautious.
A puppy you find in a pet store may have been socialized to be happy around all kinds of people and animals. After all, lots of people go to pet stores, and pet stores have lots of animals.
But if you aren’t absolutely sure the puppy has had a great mother and father (whom you ideally should have a chance to meet), just say no. Most pet stores aren’t great places to buy beagles or any other dog.
But pet stores can be a great place to look for an adult rescue beagle.
The Internet. Every beagle breeder who is on the Internet isn’t bad. The American Kennel Club has links to over 600 registered beagle breeders who maintain the highest standards of puppy care. But beware of any online beagle seller who isn’t associated with the AKC.
Bypassing the Crate
Every beagle needs an experience with crating when you first bring them home. Making sure your beagle is happy in their crate will give you and them a happier life later.
Crates fulfill your beagle’s urge to live in a den. Dogs instinctively want to keep their dens clean. They collect items that have the scents of the people and dogs they know to keep them company.
After all, for your beagle, smelling is believing.
Healthy beagles won’t pee or poop in their crates if they can avoid doing so.
Getting your beagle used to a crate makes timeouts a lot easier for both your beagle and your kids. Don’t bypass crate training.
Expecting House Training to Be Easy
Beagles tend to “go” the same places where they “went.” You can’t leave even a tiny trace of household accidents and expect your young beagle to become house trained. You have to be fanatical about housekeeping to make house training work. Your kids should understand this, too.
Failing to Be Vigilant
Beagles are opportunists. If you leave your ham sandwich on the table to answer the doorbell and your beagle is unattended, you can bid your sandwich bye-bye. If you leave your clothes on the floor and let your beagle roam in — guess what! Your beagle has a new blankie.
Both you and your kids will have to be careful leaving possessions around where beagles can get to them.
Punishing Your Beagle
Beagles are intelligent dogs but they don’t understand punishment. They won’t even know what they did wrong. Punishment and expressions of anger just make them think you are mean.
You and your children will have to shape your beagle’s behavior with positive reinforcement. The whole family needs to understand that you can train beagles to do what you want them to do, and you need to keep them busy so they don’t do what you don’t want them to do.
Not Training Your Beagle
Beagles can make great companion dogs. They are a hit on visits to hospitals and nursing homes. They can sniff out insects, bombs, and diseases. They can learn intricate routines for dog shows.
What beagles can’t do is to learn all these things on their own. If you want your beagle to be brilliant, you are going to have to invest time in training.
Supposing You Are More Important than Bunnies and Birds
Your beagle knows you provide food and protection. Your beagle loves to play with your kids. But all of this affection vanishes with “Look! There’s a squirrel!”
Beagles were bred to be hunting dogs. You and your kids need to make accommodations for your beagle’s temporary ADHD in the presence of other animals.
Even if you play vet on TV, if you aren’t a trained veterinarian, you shouldn’t guess how to take care of canine health issues. It’s always better for beagles, for kids who play with the beagle, and you to see a vet when a canine health issue comes up. Get a veterinary opinion. Don’t guess what to do.
Taking Care of Your Beagle on the Cheap
Dogs can get expensive. Beagles don’t run up the food bills of, say, a Shepherd Dog or a Newfoundland, but beagle care expenses can add up, too.
Better dog food results in fewer veterinary problems. Challenging puppy toys result in less damage to upholstery and furniture.
Visiting the vet to keep acute problems from becoming chronic saves money in the long run, and keeps your beagle, your kids, and you happier.
We’re not saying you need to buy your beagle a diamond tiara or a Gucci harness.
If you want to invest in these doggie designer goods, that’s your choice. But don’t cut corners on beagle care. Your beagle and your kids will be happier for it.
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