Are you considering adding a beagle to your family?
The beagle’s small size, adorable looks, and friendly and loving personality make it a very popular family pet. The decision to purchase or adopt a beagle (or any pet for that matter) should be made only with careful consideration and planning. There are many things to consider before making the decision to adopt a new pet. Ask yourself the following questions:
Are you ready to care for a beagle for the rest of his or her life? Beagles live on average 12-15 years. Be sure you’re ready to make a lifelong commitment to your pet.
Are you financially prepared to support a beagle? The cost of purchasing or adopting a dog is only the start. Don’t forget dog food, toys, treats, bedding, routine and emergency veterinary care, and kennel expenses if no one will be able to care for your dog when you go away.
Will you be able to exercise your beagle once or twice a day? Beagles are high-energy dogs and need daily exercise to burn off that excess energy. And, being scent hounds, they need to “get out and sniff.”
Are you prepared to train your beagle so she or he will be a well-behaved family member? Beagles are very clever, but they are inherently stubborn and can be mischievous or even destructive when it comes to acquiring food (beagles are notorious “chowhounds”). They respond well to diligent and consistent training, particularly if a positive approach with a food reward is used. This is true for puppies as well as adult dogs.
If you’re a parent, do you want a beagle just as much as your children do, and are you prepared to provide the majority of its care? Don’t make the mistake of getting a dog “for the kids” and assume they will take care of it. You will have the ultimate responsibility. And if your children are toddlers, are you prepared to supervise all interaction between them? This is an absolute necessity in order to prevent accidental nipping or worse.
Still with me? Great! Let’s talk about puppies versus adult beagles.
While beagle puppies are adorably cute, they don’t remain that tiny ball of fur for long, and they require much effort and training during the first year. Puppies need to be housebroken, and until they are a few months old they need to go out several times during the day and once or twice at night. Make sure your work and family schedule can accommodate his or her needs. Puppies are little whirlwinds of energy when they’re awake and they need to be watched constantly so they don’t get in trouble. It’s like following a 2 year old around. If puppy care isn’t for you, then consider adopting an older dog.
Now lets discuss a few of the negatives. First, when beagles are outside, they must always be either on a leash or in a securely fenced area. If they are loose, they will run away. While they are busy tracking whatever scent gets their interest, they will not pay any attention to cars. Next, most beagles will bark and howl on occasion, and this can be a great source of annoyance for neighbors. And lastly, beagles shed a lot. This is how all short-haired dogs maintain their coat length. If you have allergies or consider yourself a “neat freak,” beware! If you’ve read this far, you might be saying to yourself, “Gee, is there anything good about beagles?” Of course there is! Beagles are cute, funny, loving, and a constant source of delight, but please make the right decision! Make sure that a beagle is the right dog for you.
Is Older Better? Adopting a Senior Dog.
You’d love a dog, but the thought of training, potty messes and chewed shoes are keeping you from getting a puppy. So have you ever considered bringing a mature dog into your home? Here are some of the reasons for adopting an older dog.
That Youthful Spirit: An older dog can have just as much of a youthful spirit as his younger counterpart. After all, happiness doesn’t depend on age – it depends on love, affection and a healthy environment. Also, an older dog usually is much calmer than a puppy, leaving you more time to relax together rather than spending hours teaching him/her right from wrong.
It’s Exercise Time: Sometimes owners who work long hours hesitate getting a puppy because of the huge amount of exercise and activity needed. The great thing about an older dog is that he/she usually requires less exercise. But remember, an older dog still needs some form of daily physical activity such as walking or swimming. All dogs need to be exercised.
Training Days: An older dog generally comes with some basic training. Typically, older dogs understand the “no” command, are housebroken, and are less likely to turn your couch into a chew toy. An older dog is also receptive to learning new tricks.
Older dogs are more experienced than younger pups – so they have an easier time focusing on new things.
Also, older dogs can be easily integrated into a new family. This is because they have previously experienced living with people and within a pack. A Bonding Experience: Chances are an older dog that has been left in a shelter will have experienced a life of neglect and loneliness. Once placed in a new and loving home, a dog will learn to trust his/her new owner, and quickly forge a bond as strong as if they’ve lived together for years.
What You Need To Ask
When adopting an older dog remember to ask questions.
1. Why is he/she at the shelter?
2. Was he/she handed over to the shelter by his previous owner or found as a stray?
3. Ask the shelter for his/her medical history, so that you know how to properly care for him/her, and so that you can inform your vet.
4. You should also want to learn about his/her breed, and temperament.
Lastly, learning a little bit about the dog’s history, why he/she ended up in a shelter and becoming familiar with any poor behavior traits can help you with your new dog. This information gives you a better understanding of the dog’s temperament and help you gage whether or not behavior training is necessary.
Older dogs are patient, loving and true companions.
Best of all, by adopting an older dog from a shelter, you make two dreams come true – yours and his/hers.