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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you may remember me joining the board about a year and half ago when we rescued a beagle—who happened to be me first dog. I named her Millicent von Beagle, and she’d been used as a breeder. Her previous owners had dropped her off in the parking lot of our business and she waited an entire weekend, in the snow, for them to return for her. When the didn’t, my husband was finally able to coax her to him on Monday morning—she was exhausted, hungry, and cold, so she finally let her guard down. Against our better judgment, we brought her home and she has become an important part of our family. We couldn’t love her more! She gets along well enough will all of our cats, loves to cuddle, go for walks, etc. It took us about 9 months, but we were finally able to work out her potty issues and she no longer sleeps in her crate at night and understands waiting to be let out instead of going inside. She had heartworm when we brought her in, and just passed her one year test for being negative.

Millie overcame her fear of my husband and with some effort on my son’s part now understands her place with him. Millie will never snip at my son, she lets him take her bone away, goes outside for him, and has even recently begun to “play” a little in the yard, something we never thought we’d see. Her great relationship with both of the males in the home required patience and work, but her relationships with the three of us are all rock solid now.

We have two major issues with her still, one of which I think we may be working out. She has no problem going into her crate and even slept there during the night for the first 9 months or so. However, she FREAKS OUT if we leave. We even taped her and she just goes crazy the entire time we are gone, which of course upsets us. We’ve tried Rescue Remedy, leaving the TV on, sneaking out, etc. Lately I’ve been leaving her out of the crate when we go for relatively short periods of time, but I have to block the cat door to the garage because she crams thru it to get to the cat food and litter box! She seems better able to deal with us being gone if she can sleep on the couch by the front door and watch/wait for us to return. We haven’t tested this long-term yet, though, so if we are going to be away for an entire day I’m not sure how it would go.

More importantly we need to address her aggression toward people who enter our house—in particular my father and my nephew, both of whom send her into complete “protector” mode. I suspect that it’s a combination of her dislike for males, her anxiety over them coming into our home/toward her family, and something about their particular voices or demeanor. She doesn’t bite them, but will nip at them, bark loudly, and charge them if they approach one of us. She’s also done this to my SIL, who is typically liked by Millie. But the SIL was in our office and Millie wanted her to stay there, not come into the living room, so she charged her (I liken it to the way she would treat one of her puppies—along the lines of “I want you to stay there, so do it”--A bark, a hard nudge with her nose, and nip if needed!)

Obviously this is completely unacceptable. My family is around enough that they are not strangers to Millie and it gets frustrating to always have to put her in her crate when they are over for fear of her “attacking.” Of course my nephew is afraid of her now, which doesn’t help. We’ve tried expressing our disapproval over her behavior, having our nephew sit with her quietly, having her submit to him, having him ignore her…..none of it seems to work. She has just come to be on “high alert” around strangers and more so around these two particular family members.

She’s a fairly stable dog overall and I think understands her place in our pack. I expect barking when someone comes to the door as long as she quiets down when we tell her to, which is usually the case. But once they enter the house, she feels as if they are fair game to bully and/or badger if and/or when she chooses.

I feel as if this is our last major hurdle with her, so any advice will be greatly appreciated!!!!
 

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I don't really have advice, but my Toby was always wary of men. It's gotten better over the years, but he used to bark, growl, pee on himself, etc anytime a man came into the room. That said, he never tried to attack anyone. He more ran for the crate. I think the crate helped with his fear. He always knew he had his safe place. I think that helped it get better because he knew he could always go there. We never forced him to deal with the stranger. He is much better now, but still barks more at men and when a stranger (to him) comes over we have to crate him for a little while then he will warm up to the stranger. However, he has never warmed up to my brother (who doesn't love dogs!!)!!! I am sure Millie senses the fear of your nephew - making it worse.

A trainer or behviorist may be able to help you help her with the aggression, but until/without training I think you just have to be patient and let her work through it without you forcing it. I am sure it all stems from how she was treated and left by her previous owner - poor lil' girl.

Keep us posted!
 

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I think I agree with Smeagle, look for a behaviourist.  It sounds like she's worked thru her other issues, she should be able to get thru this one too.

I see you're in Ohio, what part? We're in Southeastern Ohio.
 

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<span style="font-style: italic">She seems better able to deal with us being gone if she can sleep on the couch by the front door and watch/wait for us to return.</span>

You might try what I did: Put her crate in front of a window. I did this with Daisy, just because I felt bad for her being in her crate all day with nothing interesting to look at. I put a table in front of the window and set her crate on that. I covered the table with a grippy backed rug so the crate wouldn't somehow slide off.

Daisy *loved* it, and it helped her behavior in general. She used to destroy things in her crate, now she just takes them in there for enjoyment. I don't lock the crate anymore, but left it up since she loves hanging out there most of the day, watching the world


It's not the finest example of high-end decorating, but with a dog, your priorities change




Passersby get a chuckle out of it too - I have had more than one person stop me on a walk and say Oh - I know where you live -- I see your dog in the window all the time! Hehe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<span style="font-weight: bold">Smeagle</span> and <span style="font-weight: bold">Buffy</span>….I hadn't even thought of a behaviorist. I guess I keep giving myself away as a first-time dog owner! I was thinking yesterday about my first time here at the board and someone suggested a Kong for Millie, and I was completely clueless. (FYI, she loves her Kong now, I fill it with natural peanut butter and freeze it….she's in heaven!)

<span style="font-weight: bold">KSycamore</span>, we are on Lake Erie, between Cleveland and Toledo. I hope there are some behaviorists nearby, otherwise I'm not sure what we'll do!

<span style="font-weight: bold">DtDD</span>—Interesting about Daisy and her destructive tendencies in the crate, Millie is the same way. She loves her crate, but the minute we leave she begins destroying the bedding we have in there for her. But she does not engage in any destructive behavior if we leave her out of the crate while we are gone. She just gets on the couch, snoozes, and waits for us to get home. She is such an odd girl! And I love Daisy's little crib.


I will try looking for a behaviorist and see what I come up with. Our vet will probably know of one if I can't locate one on my own. Thank you for the advice and support, I'll let you know what comes of it!
 

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We got Snoopy from a rescue and he was HORRIBLE with crating when we left...we used rescue remedy and everything...poor thing..finally we started leaving him out..and it has made 100% difference...I wish we would have done it earlier (took us about 8 months to do it b/c we didnt know how he would be)
I can tell you he has happily been out of the crate now for over 2 years!!! He just sleeps on our bed all day long...and a MUCH happier beagle for it.

Start out testing him by leaving him out a little at a time, you may find it makes a huge difference??

Sorry I have no advice about the aggression issues.

Manda
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<span style="font-weight: bold">Pegasus</span>, like you, I feel terrible that we didn't leave her out sooner. But to be honest, I'm not entirely certain it would have worked at the time. She was out fairly early in her time with us and there are scratch marks all over our front door. And it took so long for her to understand not going potty in the house that the few times she got out while we were gone we did come home to huge poop/pee messes. So I try to remind myself that most of what we are doing has to take place in stages.

For example, she is still not <span style="font-style: italic">totally</span> comfortable with us leaving. She still whines at times, but I give her a stern NO and she stops. Several times I have been able to walk out the door w/out her commenting and w/out me having to even acknowledge her. So my hope is that this is just part of the stages and we will eventually be able to leave w/out any drama at all.

Snoopy may have needed those 8 months to adjust to getting to the point of comfort he is at today. And it sounds as if he's happy with the current situation, which is what matters the most.
 
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