As a breeder, I ask lots of questions and I do my homework before deciding upon a breeding and choosing the right stud dog for my bitch. I take many factors into consideration: breed type, structure, health, temperament…and I appreciate the open, honest dialogue that I share with other breeders to ensure that I am bringing healthy, happy puppies into the world that will meet the particular breeding goals that I have in mind for each breeding.
I also appreciate the great questions that I receive from prospective families for my puppies. I like to know that they are giving as much careful, thoughtful consideration to their decision to adopt their new family member as I gave to bringing that puppy into the world. Beagles are great dogs but they are not the perfect dog for every family or every lifestyle so before you make that 15-year commitment it is good to ask lots of questions. As a responsible breeder, I want to ensure that each puppy’s first home is it’s “forever home” and that the new family is committed to properly training and caring for their new family member. It’s my responsibility to support them throughout the life of the puppy and, if for any reason the puppy cannot stay in it’s new home, I will take it back and find it a new home…no guilt, no questions asked, things happen…but, I want to do everything that I can to ensure that I am selecting the most appropriate homes possible for my puppies.
The process begins with the application and the invitation to ask me questions about my dogs or about beagles in general. When the puppies are old enough, I invite families to visit and meet me and my dogs and to ask more questions. Finally, I visit the family’s home to answer any questions about fencing, housebreaking. etc. For me, knowing the layout of the home can help with future questions about housebreaking or other issues.
Here are a few good questions (and my responses) that I have received recently:
Is a fenced yard is absolutely necessary and would not having one would take us out of the consideration? We do have a yard but it is not fenced. We have a fairly large home and I work from home so I will be able to walk the dog when needed. We could fence a small area at the back if absolutely required.
Beagles were bred to be hunting dogs; bred to follow their nose. Many aspects of the breed that make them suitable for this work are also aspects that make them great family dogs: their size, their temperament, and their desire to live as part of a pack, or family unit. They are active dogs, particularly when they are young, and while many will never be used for hunting, that instinct to follow their nose is still very strong. That is why it is so important that new beagle owners understand that a beagle must ALWAYS be on a leash or in a very securely fenced yard.
I have made rare exceptions in the past, based on unique aspects of the family’s home, lifestyle, or experience, but, in general, I am looking for a home with a very secure yard. I’m sitting here tonight, going through the applications that I have already received and starting to invite families to visit my home, prioritizing those that most closely fit the needs of a beagle. Since I have carefully bred and raised these puppies, it is my responsibility to select safe, secure, loving, appropriate homes for them and as a responsible breeder, if for any reason the home that I choose does not work out, I will take the puppy back and find it a new home….no questions asked. I want each puppy’s first home to be it’s “forever home”, so I try very hard to make sure that I am selecting homes that are suitable for a beagle; homes where I know that both the beagle and the family will be happy with the new relationship. The decisions that I make are based on more the 30 years’ experience with the breed and experience in placing beagles in a wide variety of family settings. Very few have been returned to me and I cherish the many families that have welcomed Talbot Hill Beagles into their homes.
If you are unable to provide a securely fenced yard, your application would still be considered but I may have other homes that are more suitable that would be given a higher preference. I try to keep an open mind and take all aspects of the new home into consideration BUT fencing is a MAJOR consideration.
I don’t hear your dogs barking. Don’t beagles have a reputation for barking? What are your thoughts about bark collars?
Barking can be a hereditary trait: some lines can tend to be a bit more “chatty” than others. In many cases, though, nuisance barking is a learned behavior, often occurring when a beagle is lonely or bored. Beagles are pack dogs, bred to live and work in packs and that’s one reason why they are such great family dogs….they love to be at the heart of the family. But, a beagle that is left at home alone may become bored and lonely and develop a barking problem. They are happiest when they are with their “pack”. If barking does become an issue, I recommend debarking as the most humane solution. The simple surgery leaves the dog with a soft muffled voice and the ability to “share it’s opinions” without being an annoyance. Beagles are very clever and can quickly learn to outsmart citronella collars; shock collars are cruel and can cause physical harm.
What do you feed your beagles?
I feed a variety of high quality foods depending on the needs and preferences of dogs. My puppies, young dogs, and my brood bitch are currently eating Acana
, I have had one discriminating palate that has preferred smoked salmon, Taste of the Wild
, and my senior dog has been doing very well on a vegetarian diet for five years, Natural Balance
. All are quality dog foods, worth the investment. You spend a little more for a quality food but what you get is a healthier dog and lower veterinary expenses.
When will you know which puppies are available?
My current litter is four weeks old today and while I have some general impressions of the litter and I have identified two or three puppies that are likely to be offered as pets, I would like to wait another week or two to see how they look and how they move at five or six weeks of age. I had specific goals in mind for this breeding and I’m pleased to see what I had hoped to get in most of the puppies. The current litter is an outcross, though, so I want to see how the puppies develop over the coming weeks before making them available either as pets or as show prospects to other breeders. As a breeder, color and markings are immaterial. I am trying to create a bloodline that corresponds to breed standard