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Off lead play???

2333 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Joe Johnston
I am new here, and am trying to understand something.
I have been told countless times that one cannot run a beagle off lead, Or they will , well runaway. Well,,, Follow their noses.
Is this a true statement?
I have a full beagle, JUNE, which i occasionally take for mt bike rides, and she has been nothing short of fantastic on our adventures!,, Before these rides, she would run off while hiking in the woods, But after a few rides, she has become a different dog, and i have had her out for 10 mile rides many times withour her running off.
Is this normal, Or only a false sence of hope!
Thank you for your thoughts!
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I think sometimes they can be trained, but this by no means applies to all of them. We take ours to the off-leash park nearby. He has been there many times on leash, and we worked on training him to come when we called. He now stays within sight of us. He might run off into the woods briefly, but always checks back. And before we get near the parking lot, we leash him, just in case!

Beagles, like any of us, are all different despite some common traits. If you have confidence that your beag will return, more power to you. I know that is NOT the experience of many owners here, though.

For us, that dog park is the ONLY place we let him off leash, because he is so familiar with it, he is not really inclined to wander too far. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif
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Booker has always been 100% reliable off leash - when she was younger we had a dog walker who would take her for 3 hour hikes in the mountains, and we would also go for extended hikes with her and she was completely fine - never had an issue with her at all. Sometimes she would go running into the woods after a squirrel, but would never be gone more than 5 minutes or so or let us get out of her sight (and it was always obvious where she was by the noise)! Popcorn is also fine off leash because she is too terrified to go too far away from us.

Moose is a totally different story but even he has gotten better over time so we now can take all of them on extended off leash walks without problems. And last spring we rented a cabin in the woods in Washington state where they all could run free and they would be gone for up to 1-2 hours but came back every time. So it can be done!
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Basically it is not wise to let your beagle off leash. Our first beagle roamed the area, but we were ignorant in those days. Our last beagle, Spotty, was hell off the lead, so after waiting a few hours for her to return to us we said no more. Our present two cant be allowed off leash, they would panic and be off. I think your beagle might be frightened of losing you, if you are mountain biking. So you are probably safe doing this with him off leash. However, I wouldnt like to guarantee he'll still be near you, if a rabbit runs past or he smells a deer!!!
Rule of thumb:
If you can't outrun & catch your beagle, don't let them off lead.

It is true, beagles are ruled by their noses. Once on a scent, they basically go deaf. Its what makes them such great hunting dogs, but troublesome as family members.

My Summer & Murphy are ON-LEAD beagles. They have escaped before and we had to search for them. Lucky for us, Murphy will head straight for trash cans and Summer will keep him in sight.

As it was said, all beagles are different. Most can not be trusted off leash. June may be different, but if you are riding and she is with you and you turn left and she turns right, what will you do?

Is it a false sense of hope you ask? Only time will tell. I hope she is the rare one.

Now off-leash in a completely fenced in area is a different story.
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My experience with my beagle is he can't be let off a leash unless in a fenced in area. He runs off and will not come when I call him if he does get away. So Lucky is not allowed off his leash! You must be lucky, but still be careful. You never know when they will decide today is the day to run off!
I really don't know what my Li'l Girl would do off leash out of a fenced area, because it's never been tried and won't be. We had experiences with previous beagles that taught us not to let a beagle off leash. Happily, we got those dogs back, but only after their being gone for several heartbreaking days.
My Bagel never "runs" off but he does sniff off. He also will come when called UNLESS he has got a fresh scent when he expects me to come to him. My fears are two-fold if he is off-lead. One, he will encounter a hare (Hares, unlike real rabbits, don't run to their warren, they just run) and two, he will encounter something that is not "prey" and without his tracking harness and lead I can't pull him back. Out-of-site in the desert (If he was in pursuit of a hare) might turn my Bagel into some Coyote's lunch. He has cornered several "non-prey" critters and I have pulled him back from getting too close to the Gila Monster, further disturbing a couple of rattlesnakes, going to play with the badger and sniffing down a 200 foot vertical mine shaft. In town, I worry about the Bagel sniffing into the street as I'm not sure he fully understands cars and trucks! Most of our time in the desert is with a 35" lead and his tracking harness. At off-road races or Multi-tourist areas of National Parks, he is on a shorter leash! I suspect your June stays with the pack (you) like my Bagel but I don't think you have the potential hazards where your biking. Much of my Bagel's sniff adventures occur 30 miles from the nearest human. If he got lost, he would not have a chance of being found!
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We were terrified of letting Elizabeth off-leash in our yard. 3 acres of it is surrounded by an "invisible" fence. The floks at the shelter warned me that she may not do well in it. Our entire 38 acres is fenced, but Elizabeth is a fence climber. We spent about 10 days teaching her the fence boundaries. She's done really great, but we only allow her to off leash within the invisible fence when we can watch her. Her buddy Raider has helped out a lot. When she gets close to the boundary, he herds her back in. A true German Shepherd! Most of the time she winds up sitting on the front steps. Still, I'm not sure I'll ever allow her off leash away from home.
I think the general rule of thumb is not to let your beag off leash. They are ruled by their noses, and will follow a scent without noticing where it leads them. It's not that they intend to run away, I think, just that they are very single-minded when on a scent. I've only within the past year begun dropping Shiloh's leash when she's in our yard, but I stay with her. On walks I always have her on leash. But each dog is different--sounds like June may be an exception to the rule! Do you have any pictures of her?
I never let my two loose, never. I am just now willing to risk it. My friend was at a dog park one night and some guy's beagle caught a scent and was gone. 2 hours later when my friend was leaving, this guy was still looking for his dog. My two listen well but I know it only takes one accident for something bad to happen. I like them within leash length.

If we go hiking, I use a longer lead to give them more space.
Most Beagles who are extensively exercised do not run away...AT FIRST. Beware. All is well until the day where... This is the typical Beagle for you.
Vinny is a dasher, meaning he BOLTS when he has the chance. He has escaped from the yard or slipped off his collar and he ALWAYS takes off running as fast as I can't, with his nose to the ground the whole time.

However, I have a buddy who hunts with Beagles, and of course his 6 Beagles are off lead, and always come back. But, come to think of it, I think he has had problems rounding them up in past, because he has radio tracking collars on all of them.
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