The Beagle Question
Now to weightier matters. A reader writes:
My question doesn't concern politics, torture, Iraq or the pope. We've adopted a beagle from the shelter in June and she just isn't getting the housebreaking thing. I was wondering if you have experienced anything similar with your beagles or are we alone in our urine scented dilemma?
For some reason, beagles seem to be among the hardest dogs to house-train. Even when you have house-broken them, they can regularly pee or poop on the floor when they feel like it. Think Snoopy. My office became one of our beagle's latrines for a while, and I had to install a gate. Even now, it's hard not to smell the residue - and of course, the smell itself provokes further peeing. All I can say is that you should crate them when you leave, walk them three times a day if you can, reward them when they pee or poop outside, and scold them verbally if you catch them in the act. It's also important to scrub the floor or carpet with a product that can remove the scent. Beagles are really noses on four legs and they respond more swiftly to smells than many other breeds - so getting rid of the scent trigger is vital. After years of this, you'll make progress, but still wake up some mornings to a pool of urine or a freshly minted turd. I've lived with it for years. And I guess it says something about how adorable they are that we don't throw them out or love them any the less.
If anyone else has any bright ideas, by all means let me know and I'll share. Maybe Cesar Millan reads this. I doubt it, but you never know.