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Zbój saw a rabbit the other day. They were sitting and watching each other. The rabbit was probably 8-10 feet away. Zbój did absolutely nothing... He was just staring.

The next day he saw two rabbits crossing the sidewalk - also no reaction.

When do beagles start 'hunting'?
 

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My Maggie has never paid any attention to any animal she has seen on our walks except ... yup, a rabbit! She practically pulled my arm out of its socket. I have often seen her go into the hunting pose with her front leg lifted up. So ... I don't really have an answer for you, just our experience.
 

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Spock was chasing frogs as young as 4 months (and he and Bones both love to watch/chase squirrels, small birds, and bunnies), so perhaps it just depends on the dog?
 

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We live in the city, so monty isn't trained to be a hunter, but if a squirrel or cat comes into our yard...it's fair game. He goes NUTS!!!
 

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Mauka does the same thing. We have a lot of feral cats & chickens here on base and he just stares through the fence at them unless one approaches him. There were two kittens the other night that advanced towards him and he let out a yelp and tried to crawl under my skin. He's pretty much scared of everything except people and birds. I actually had to pull him away from a baby Mina bird that fell out of its nest. Sad, but at least he's starting to show some signs of a little hunter!
 

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Current Beagle, Vinny, is no hunter of animals, though he is constantly hunting for food


However, Beagle #1, Bama, will hunt anything. He proved this to me a couple of years ago while at Sanibel Island. He heard a bird in a stand of Sea Grapes not far from our cottage. He sliped his leash and dove head first into the Sea Grapes. I never saw anything like it. Vinny just stared at the beach probably wondering what Bama was doing now.

When Bama was finally finished hunting he came back to us, obviously proud of himself, laid down and took a nap like nothing happened.
 

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Different dogs have different level of drive. Scenting for beagles is part of prey drive, and whilst the instinct is strong in some dogs (and some lines in particular are stronger than others), others do not have as a high a drive.

Often you can train the dog in a way that encourages their drive, in order to increase it, but it is the reason why so many dogs don't make the cut when it comes to being chosen for working roles (i.e. police dogs, hunting dogs etc).
 

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Can you train them to discourage their drive for scenting and hunting? ha ha Just kidding. When our Sadie detects a scent in the back yard she goes crazy. She can run the scent and sniff and bark for hours.
 

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Instinct can never be trained out of a dog, and personally, I like my dogs to have a good amount of drive because it means that I can use that to my advantage.

There is a lot of information out there about drive training, it is all a really interesting read - drive training gets you to use the dogs instinct to your advantage, to work with it, so that you use that drive to reward them and therefore, nothing else is more interesting than what you can offer them


The analogy a lot of trainers use is you can train a dog to come when called under little or no distraction, but would that dog still recall if a rabbit run in front of them? Drive training works to use that instinct to your advantage
 
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