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Old 10-01-2019, 08:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Koba the (grumpy) beagle

Hi everyone.

I have an 8 month beagle, Koba, and we live with two wonderful golden retrievers. Koba is my first beagle, he's a really wonderful boy, he's so playful, loving and has a fantastic howl. He's started to become rebellious recently however which is why I've joined this site, as I need some advice.

His biggest problem is that he's quite grumpy. He's always been a little bit grumpy when he's tired/in bed and a bit of a grumble if you disturb him, but recently he's become very possessive about food. His favourite activity is getting anywhere he can to find food, whether by jumping up on cabinets or getting into the bin. The last two days when I've found him with food or in the bin, he's become quite aggressive and tried to snap at me. He's actually jumping and trying to bite me. He's done this once before at about 6 months, but hadn't done it since so I thought we had fixed the problem. Once he does this, he tends to run around the house. I've put him in 'time out' when he's done this, but I'm worried about this behaviour and need to nip it in the bud now.

He often play fights with the other dogs but this is never in an aggressive way. I wonder if this is normalising this kind of behaviour for him.

Koba isn't neutered, I was going to wait until he's fully grown. I've read a lot of conflicting information about whether this does or doesn't contribute to this kind of behaviour though.

In respect of his other rebellious habits, he's a typical beagle and follows scent. I've purchased a harness for him, so I'm hoping this will help. He also goes to obedience classes. I'm not too worried about this behaviour, my golden retrievers having pulled as puppies and now being perfectly obedient. His aggression however is very concerning.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

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Old 10-01-2019, 12:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Beagles can be aggressive/obsessive when it comes to food. I have to feed my beagles in separate rooms. Be sure not to feed him from the table and make him work for any treats he gets. The neutering should help a bit with territorial issues. You can keep a few spray bottles around and if he gets snarky with you or another dog spritz him and tell him no.
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Old 10-01-2019, 01:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First I'll say that I have one 7.8 year spayed female.
I believe in spaying and neutering as soon as they're old enough around 4-5 months.
Its good your dog is in obedience class but continue the training at home. Talk to your dog and give commands. Get a clicker for training, great cheap training tool. Watch YouTube videos on how to use one. I'll post a picture of mine.
Dogs dont have the reasoning to understand the concept of "time out". Lock up the food or put it in a place like a garage so he doesn't get to it. Consider 3 small feedings a day for awhile to satisfy the hunger until you get this under control.
Next..limit the dog's area in your home...no free access to everywhere. He's acting like your boss because...he is.
Put a leash on him and let him drag it around the house. My dog ALWAYS wears one in the house..they think they're under control. If he chews on it get a chain type.
Make sure chairs are kept in around a table so they dont jump up on it or use chairs as a launching pad.
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Old 10-01-2019, 10:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We didn't neuter Neb until he was 18 months old so he could mature normally and naturally.

We do not have the food bin accessible to the dogs - us only. I would suggest removing Koba's access to the food bin and not allowing him around it when you're preparing meals.

I would suggest instead of feeding from a bowl (do you feed kibble?) having him do obedience commands for portions of his food.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome! I'm glad you joined. I agree with the others. Your dog sounds like my Autumn. She is also grumpy, which is a good way to describe it. If I try to move her when she's sleeping she would snarl at me. There were times I had to put her in her kennel if I had to go out and she was sleeping on the couch. To not get involved in picking her up and making her mad I would just latch her leash to her collar and gently pull her and say come on lets go. It worked like a charm. I don't have to do that anymore but she still grumbles when I have to move her. Now I just say lets go and she will jump down.

As far as food. Autumn also started doing those things. I care for my grandchildren so I think it started when I was feeding them and they dropped things on the floor that she thought was hers. She would run after it and pick it up and snarl if I tried to take it away, so I just latched her to the cabinet while they ate and I cleaned up any food after. I also started teaching leave it. I would put food in front of her on the floor and tell her leave it sternly. If she moved towards it I would say no leave it sternly. It was a work in progress but it worked. It has also worked in the yard if she had something in her mouth that she wasn't supposed to. I would walk up to her and say leave it and she would stop and I could take it out of her mouth. Now it was work and she did snarl at bite at me. I have also been bit. She is still very food motivated but she knows she has to listen to me.

It really is part of her. She's always seems to be searching for food. I would suggest to first make sure yours is getting enough to eat and yes make sure he can't get into any food. Limit his chances to fail and really work with him to set him up to succeed. He's probably always going to be like this but you don't want a bratty dog who is always getting into trouble. Work with him, get him in training and hopefully you will see a change.

Also think of ways you can help him. If we have people over for a meal I put Autumn in her kennel. I don't want her always at someones feet trying to get a dropped piece of food.

Thanks for joining and seeking advice. You have 2 great dog breeds there. I also have a Golden.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Food aggressiveness can be a problem - especially with dogs like beagles that really love their food. Everyone has given you excellent advice. Some more ideas:

To train beagles to stay out of the trash - add hot pepper or hot oil. It will make it far less attractive. You also may want to put dishes of hot pepper flakes wherever he jumps up for food. It tends to make the activity far less rewarding.

I agree with making him work for every bit of food he gets. If you start when they are a small puppy, you can train dogs not to be food aggressive by frequently picking up and putting down their food - Sophie will even share her food with the cats! As he is older, it is more difficult. If he is accustomed to only getting food directly from your hand, it will help.

Neutering him will help - I would do it as soon as possible. I would also have the vet check him out - sometimes behavior changes like this can indicate an animal that is ill or in pain.

Do remember that beagles are stubborn - and don't hesitate to get a professional to help you train him.

Let us know how things go!
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