Welcoming Your Beagle Home

Love Dog
In This Chapter
  • Transporting your new Beagle
  • Showing your dog around her new home
  • Meeting the pack
  • Introducing the crate
  • Enduring the first night

At last the big day has arrived: Today you bring your new Beagle home. The first 24 hours or so with your Beagle can be a dream come true or an absolute nightmare, depending on how you handle some potentially tricky arrival maneuvers. This chapter gives you the scoop on how to not only survive but thrive during your Snoopy-dog’s first day and night in your abode.

Picking Up Your Beagle

Bringing home your little darling requires more than just motoring to the breeder, animal shelter, or foster-care provider, stashing the Beagle in the front seat, and boogeying back home. A little preplanning makes the trip a lot less stressful for both your new dog and yourself. Here are some suggestions on what to do before and during the trip home.

What (and whom) to bring

Driving home with a new Beagle puppy or dog can be a real challenge. Your new friend may be a little confused and more than a little carsick. She’s very likely to need a bathroom break if you have to travel very far from her old home to her new one. And although you may be tempted to keep your little one in your lap while you drive, reconsider. If you have an accident and the air bag deploys, the impact could kill your dog. By the same token, letting her crawl around the back seat while you drive in the front seat is almost as bad an idea as having her in your lap. If you stop suddenly or have an accident, your new pet could literally fly off the seat and into you, resulting in serious injury to you both.
You can prevent these and other calamities if you bring a few simple items with you when you pick up your Beagle. Here’s what to take with you before you take off:

Another person: Bringing along a second person — preferably over the age of 10 — can make the drive home a lot easier for all concerned. Your new dog can lie on that person’s lap, allowing you to concentrate on driving safely. If you’d rather be the designated lap, then let the other person drive, assuming he has a license.

Tip 

If you’re driving, have the other person sit in the back seat with your Beagle. That way, if the dog gets squirmy or escapes from the designated lap, the dog is less likely to end up on the gear box, the gas pedal, or your lap. If the other person is driving, you should sit in the back seat with your Beagle.

Several towels: Your Beagle may get carsick during the journey home. To limit the damage to your car or your human companion’s clothes, bring some towels and have your friend place one across his lap. That way, if your dog tosses her cookies, the cookies can be easily whisked away. And don’t bother pulling over if your dog starts to upchuck; she’ll be done before you turn off the motor.

Collar and leash: A drive of more than an hour may be too long for your confused or nervous new dog to hold her water or the other stuff. Having her collar and leash along makes a midjourney bathroom break both easy and safe. Make sure that you put the new collar on the dog before you head for home.

A couple of plastic bags: Cleaning up your dog’s poop is essential to being a good dog owner — and you should get in the habit of doing your dog’s dirty work on the trip home. For the poop on how to pick up poop, check out Chapter Managing Your Beagle’s Day-to-Day Health.

A roll of paper towels: You’ll be glad you brought this item along if your little sweetie has a bathroom boo-boo or upchucks in your car.

A crate: If you can’t bring another person with you — or if the only other people who can come are your very young children — bring your Beagle’s crate. Place the crate in the back seat and secure it with a seat belt. Stick a crate pad or a few towels inside to create a cozy nest for your four-legged traveler.

Tip

A doggy seat belt is a great safety option for your Beagle — but not necessarily on the day you bring her home. These devices can be a little bit daunting to use at first, and may add  to any stress you and the dog already are feeling. However,having a canine seat belt is a great idea for future trips. Get the goods on these devices by checking out Chapter Traveling (or Not) with Your Beagle.

A chew toy: Having a durable, medium-sized toy to chew on can distract your Beagle from any apprehension she may feel as she leaves her old home and moves to her new home with you.

Receiving the necessary papers 


Hooray! You’ve made it to the breeder, shelter, or foster home, and you’ve got your new friend. Before the two of you embark on your journey home, however, you should receive a few additional items:

A signed contract: No matter where or from whom you adopt your new Beagle, you should receive a document that transfers ownership of the dog to you. The contract also should specify your obligations and those of the individual or institution from whom you’re acquiring the dog.

Your dog’s health record: The breeder, shelter, or rescue group should provide you with a copy of your Beagle’s health record. This document should include when she was born and/or arrived at the shelter or foster home, and the veterinary care she has received, such as immunizations, spaying or neutering, deworming, and/or other procedures.

Some food: A breeder or rescue volunteer may also give you a few days’ supply of the food she’s been feeding your Beagle. If you aren’t given any food, at least ask what your new dog’s been eating so you can pick up the same product (if you haven’t done so already).

A scent cloth: To get your Beagle puppy’s housetraining off to a good start, consider asking her breeder for one more item: a paper towel that’s been scented with a bit of your pup’s urine. This pretreated sheet will speed up your pooch’s potty-training process. More about scent cloths and housetraining appears in Chapter Housetraining Your Beagle.

From there to here: The trip home

After you have your four-legged friend safely ensconced on a human lap or in her new crate in your car, you’re ready to roll. If your trip home takes more than an hour, give your pooch a pit stop midway through the journey — or whenever you notice that your doggy passenger is getting restless.
Just find a grassy place and pull over. Put a leash on your Beagle before you open the car door, and then take her to the spot where you want her to do her business. To help her figure out where that spot is, place the prescented paper towel that you got from her breeder, shelter, or foster-care provider on the spot where you want her to go — and then let her unload on it.

Warning!

Make sure this spot is away from any other doggy deposits. Until your dog is fully immunized, she’s vulnerable to picking up nasty diseases from other canines — and stool is a prime transmission vehicle. Contact with stool can also put your pooch in contact with roundworms and other parasites.

If your Beagle poops or pees, tell her in a soft, cheerful voice what a good girl she is, and take a minute or two to pet her. Use one of the plastic bags you brought to clean up any poop, and drop the bag into a trash can.

Tip

If your Beagle puppy pees, wipe her urinary area very gently with a clean paper towel, and then put that towel into a plastic bag. You’ve just made a brand new scent cloth that will come in handy when the two of you arrive home.

After your little love-fest, take your new Beagle back to the potty spot to give her another chance to do her doo. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t — but at least you’ve given her a chance. Either way, you can then continue on to your home and know that you’ve already started to not only teach her basic bathroom manners, but also form a lifelong bond.

We’re Here! Arriving Home

You’ve truly arrived: You and your new Beagle buddy are about to cross the threshold into your abode. But before you open the door and are greeted by the other members of your household, consider how you’re going to help your Snoopy-dog handle the first few hours of life in your household.

First things first: A potty break

When the two of you arrive at your home, don’t go inside right away. Car rides often prompt a dog to open her floodgates almost immediately after she emerges from the vehicle. You can use this tendency to continue your Beagle’s introduction to housetraining.
As soon as you get out of the car, leash up your little darling and either carry her or walk her to the potty area you’ve selected (Chapter Preparing for Your Beagle’s Arrival gives you the scoop on where that area should be). Place the scent cloth that you created during the trip home on top of the spot where you’d like her to potty. Let her sniff it — and tell her what a good girl she is when she decides to unload atop it.
If you haven’t already made a scent cloth for your puppy — perhaps because the trip was very short — make one now. The previous section tells you how.
If she doesn’t go, be patient. Give her a few minutes to explore her new bathroom; if she hasn’t done the doo already, she probably will shortly after beginning her investigations.

Tip

Even if your Beagle does take a whiz or make a deposit, don’t bring her inside your house immediately afterward. Many Beagle puppies and even some adult Beagles may need to make multiple deposits or take several whizzes before they’re totally empty.

Checking out the new digs

When you’re reasonably sure she’s done, take your Beagle inside, and let her explore your domicile for a little while off lead. If at all possible, keep the kids and other family members out of her way for a few minutes and avoid fussing over her yourself — just let her do her thing in peace. At the same time, though, watch your little one closely to see if she needs to pee or poop again. Signs of an imminent bathroom event include a sudden stop in her explorations, an equally sudden onset of intense sniffing, and walking in ever-tighter circles.

If you see any such signs, get your dog back out to the potty spot she used before. The scent from her previous anointing or deposit almost certainly will prompt an encore. When that happens, praise her for doing her business where she’s supposed to.

Meeting the rest of the pack

After your new Beagle has had a few minutes to explore her new domicile and, if necessary, take another bathroom break, she’s ready to meet the other members of her family. Make these introductions carefully so you minimize the stress on everyone. You want these initial meetings to be positive and happy; they’ll set the tone for your new friend’s future interactions with her housemates.

The human members: No trauma please!

The other adults in your household, if any, should know how to handle themselves around a Beagle or other small dog, but your kids could be another matter. They’re undoubtedly thrilled with the arrival of this new family member, and they probably can’t wait to cuddle and hug her. However, they may not know their own strength, especially if they’re under the age of 6. They may think they’re giving your Beagle lots of love, but your Beagle may feel as though she’s just met a couple of boa constrictors.
As a parent, it’s your job to make sure that neither your children nor your Beagle are traumatized by their initial meeting. If you haven’t had a family conference with your kids to explain the ground rules — no yelling, screaming or shouting; no rough handling; no squeezing; gentle petting only — have one now. Explain to your kids that your new dog is probably scared and almost certainly doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. Make sure that the kids give your Beagle some space while she explores, and allow her to have time to nap and just relax.

Warning!

Never, ever leave any dog — Beagle or otherwise — alone with a child under the age of 6. Even the gentlest Beagle may nip a small child that pulls her tail or yanks her ears. Kids under 6 often don’t understand that a Beagle is a living creature with real feelings, not a stuffed toy that just happens to walk and bark. For the sake of your dog and your kids, stick around to make sure that everybody stays out of harm’s way.

As for your neighbors, the best course of action is inaction, at least for the first couple of days after your dog comes home. Even if your wonderful neighbors want to give your puppy a welcomehome party, decline politely. Your Snoopy-dog’s got as much as she can handle just meeting you and your family. Let her get used to life within your household before she meets people and other individuals outside your four walls.

The canine members: Don’t let the fur fly!

The other dogs in your family may not be totally thrilled to meet the newest doggy family member. For that reason, first meetings are best accomplished in neutral territory, such as a park or someone else’s fenced yard. Let the dogs have a chance to sniff each other and check each other out.
Tip
Let your dogs sniff and lick each other’s bottoms, even if the sight of such activity grosses you out. Such interactions are proper pooch protocol — kind of the canine version of humans shaking hands.
Keep the dogs on leash, but don’t tighten up. Loose leashes keep the doggies relaxed.
After you’re sure that everybody likes each other — or at least will tolerate each other — walk the entire pack home. Continue to monitor their behavior; use baby gates to separate them if necessary. Meanwhile, make sure that you don’t neglect the dogs you already have in order to lavish attention on the newcomer!

The rest of the critter crew

Without a doubt, you’re thrilled to be adding a Beagle to your family, but don’t expect your resident kitty or other critters to share your enthusiasm. Exercise some caution, though, and chances are you’ll achieve mutual tolerance, if not mutual admiration.
Introducing your new Beagle to your cat requires that you show some respect for the kitty having been in your home first. Place your Beagle in her crate, and let Fluffy the feline investigate the newcomer and her environs.
If no fur flies, and the hisses or barks are minimal, hold your Beagle on your lap and let your kitty approach if she chooses — or run in the other direction if she prefers. Either choice is fine as long as nobody’s getting hurt.
Continue to monitor both animals closely until you’re absolutely sure that they’ll co-exist in peace, or that one can safely escape the other. For those times that you can’t supervise, keep them separated — either behind closed doors or with baby gates — to keep them from fighting like, well, cats and dogs.

Warning!

Other animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, and reptiles generally spend most of their time in cages. When your Beagle’s around, that’s where they need to stay. A dog has a strong instinct to chase and catch prey, which is what these critters will look like to her (especially if the critter is a rabbit). The result, unfortunately, will probably be the critter’s demise. Allow your critter floor time only when your Beagle’s not around.

Introducing (or re-introducing) the crate

If you’re lucky, your new Snoopy-dog has already seen the inside of a crate and will welcome a chance to spend a little alone time there. But that’s not always the case. Some dogs — Beagles or otherwise — have no idea that crates even exist. Others have gotten up close and personal with crates, but need some time to appreciate the virtues of having one’s own den. These latter dogs often are adults who’ve spent way too much time inside crates and have, understandably, come to view these structures as puppy prisons rather than as doggy dens. You don’t want your Beagle to view her crate in such a negative light, because if she hates her crate, housetraining and traveling with your canine companion could become very complicated.
Such complications don’t have to happen. By carefully introducing your Beagle to her home-within-your-home, you can teach her to view her crate as the divine doggy den it’s supposed to be. Here’s how to help your Beagle consider her crate a great place to chill:

Start with an open-door policy. Successful crate introduction is a gradual process that forestalls any events that could spook your little hound. One such event is the accidental closure or slamming of the crate door before she’s fully acclimated to the crate. Prevent such events by tying the door open and leaving it that way until your dog ventures into her crate under her own steam.

Let her check out the crate. Let your Beagle walk around and sniff the exterior of the crate. After a couple of minutes of investigation, place a treat or toy just inside the crate door. If she enters the crate to retrieve the goody, praise her extravagantly and let her enjoy the treat or toy. If she’s unsure about setting foot in the crate, encourage her to try — but don’t force her. Allow your dog to decide when she’s ready to enter her crate on her own. When she does, tell her what a very good girl she is.

Playing the name game

If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time for you to give your Beagle a name. Your Snoopy-dog is a distinct individual and should sport a moniker that reflects her endearing, irrepressible individuality. For adult dogs adopted from shelters or rescue groups, a new name can take on an added significance: The new appellation reflects the dog’s new life in a happy household.
But coming up with the right name for your little hound may be more of a challenge than you anticipated. To help you negotiate those challenges and come up with a name that truly fits your magnificent canine companion, consider the following suggestions:
Pick a name that says something about your pooch. For example, a good name for a Beagle might be Elvis, reflecting The King’s classic song “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog.”
Choose a name that’s easy to learn. Most experts suggest limiting a name to one or two syllables. Such names take less time for a dog to recognize than a longer one does — and will be easier for your kids to use, too.
Pick a name your dog will grow into. Sure, calling your Beagle puppy Baby Snooks sounds cute now, but that name will sound doggone undignified when your puppy reaches adulthood.
Avoid sound-alike names. Names that sound like either the names of other people in your house or common commands will confuse everyone in your home, including your Beagle. For example, the name “Kit” wouldn’t work for a dog, because it sounds too much like the word “sit.” Similarly, if your husband’s name is Manny, don’t name your dog Fanny.
Don’t choose a name associated with negative behavior. Prime examples here: aggressive names for dogs. In other words, don’t name your Beagle “Killer.” And even if your Beagle has had an accident or two, avoid calling her “Piddle-puss.”
Pick a name you can use in public. Okay, okay — your Beagle has made an unauthorized deposit in the middle of your Berber carpet. Worse, you have tween-agers who think potty humor is the greatest thing going, and they want to immortalize that deposit by christening your Beagle with a name that rhymes with “sit.” Tell them no. If they accuse you of being an uptight fuddy-duddy, refer them to the “Avoid sound-alike names” suggestion.
Google for some ideas. The World Wide Web has a gazillion sites that list common dog names. Just type “common dog names” into a search engine and you’ll come up with scores of sites that are stuffed to the gills with suggestions.
Follow the leaders. If you can’t come up with something suitable on your own, consider what’s worked for other people and pooches. For example, PR Newswire reports that the most popular names for dogs in 2005 were Max, Bailey, Buddy, Molly, Maggie, Lucy, Daisy, Bella, Jake, and Rocky.

Shut the door — but not for long. When your Beagle consistently chooses to enter the crate to retrieve a treat or toy, take the next step: shutting the door quietly for just a few seconds. While the door is shut, praise her, then open the door and coax her out. Praise her again and give her another treat. Repeat this sequence, gradually increasing the time the door remains closed, until your dog stays calmly in the crate for five minutes or so.

Leave the room. When your dog can spend five minutes in her crate without getting hysterical, try leaving the room while she’s inside her little den. Lure her into the crate with either a safe chew toy or several treats (not just one). When she’s in, shut the door quietly and leave the room for just a minute. When those 60 seconds are up, come back and see how she’s faring. If she’s content, leave again and come back in a few minutes. Continue checking until she’s finished her chewing or eating, or acts restless or distressed. At that point, let her out of the crate and praise her for her remarkable achievement. Keep practicing until she can stay in her crate alone for about 30 minutes.

Surviving the First Night

The first night or two home with your new Beagle can be, well, challenging. Your friend is likely to have difficulty settling down for a good night’s sleep in her new home. And if she has difficulty, you’re likely to have difficulty as well. But before you get too frustrated with your sleepless sidekick, consider why she may be having trouble sleeping.
Yes, your new dog is beginning a wonderful life in a fabulous new home with you — but she hasn’t had time to realize how terrific this new phase of her life is going to be. If she’s a puppy, this is her very first night away from the only home she’s ever known. Gone are her mama and brothers and sisters, not to mention all the sights and smells she’s grown accustomed to. Instead, she’s all by her lonesome in a strange new place. And even an adult Beagle may have some issues the first few nights. She may be wondering what’s going to happen next after having endured one or more moves to new homes, a shelter, and/or foster care.

Understanding what your Beagle is going through can help you respond with kindness and sympathy to her bedtime issues. Happily, too, that same kindness and sympathy also can help you keep those nighttime cries and whimpers to a minimum. Here are some suggestions.

Keep your Beagle with you . . .

Yes, you’ll be tempted to put your noisy Beagle and her crate in the kitchen, basement, or laundry room so her nighttime vocalizing doesn’t keep you awake. But having to sleep all alone in a strange place will only worsen her distress. Better to keep your Beagle with you — and if you do it right, you’ll not only reduce her need to vocalize but also help her realize that you’re her new best friend.
Just pull your Beagle’s crate close to your bed — close enough so you can dangle your fingers right outside the door. Such close proximity allows your new family member to see you, smell you, and hear you breathe — all of which helps reassure her that she’s not alone and that you’re there to take care of her. If your Beagle sleeps in a wire crate, you might want to drape a towel or sheet over three sides to block out light or other distractions.

. . . But keep your bed to yourself

You may think that bringing your canine companion up on your bed to snuggle with you will help calm her even more. And you’re probably right. However, by inviting your dog up on your bed, you may open a Pandora’s box of other problems For one thing, she may have a bathroom accident on your bed. In addition, she may become confused as to who really is top dog in your pack. So let your little darling stay in her crate. Bringing your Beagle close to you at night doesn’t mean that you should surrender your personal boundaries completely! Chapter Preparing for Your Beagle’s Arrival offers suggestions on where your Beagle should sleep.

Play some (not so) funky music

Soothing music can go a long way toward helping your four-legged friend relax. Think classical or New Age fare: Vivaldi (not Beethoven or Wagner, please!) or Enya or something else along those lines is perfect. You may find yourself falling asleep faster, too.

Use your hands

If your little one is still fussing, consider using your hands to help her settle down. No, this doesn’t mean using your hands to open the crate door and scoop your Beagle up and under the covers. Instead, try the following:

Keep it dangling: Your hand, that is. Dangle your hand in front of the crate door or slats so your dog can sniff and maybe even lick it. This superclose proximity to your scent and your person can help even the most unhappy new puppy feel better and settle down to sleep.

Give a pat: To the crate, not the canine. If your dog still refuses to wrap up her nighttime concert or otherwise won’t settle down, give the top of the crate a little pat and tell her “Jessie (or whatever her name is), go to sleep.” This maneuver works better if you’ve chosen a plastic crate rather than a wire crate for your dog, because the plastic crate has a solid surface that makes a sound when patted.

Have your shoes ready

If your Beagle’s whining or restlessness awakens you from a sound slumber, she probably needs a bathroom break. Grab your shoes, her collar and leash, and your coat, and take her outside to the designated potty area. As she poops or pees, praise her extravagantly — but then go back to bed. Stand firm if she thinks now’s the time to play. Give in to her playtime invitation now and you’ll have a hard time convincing her a few nights from now that the two of you need to get some sleep.

Tip

Keep your outdoor gear close by the first few nights your Beagle is with you. You’ll get her outside more quickly, thus preventing more than a few potty accidents. Few aspects of dog ownership are worse than cleaning up dog doo in the middle of the night!

Be patient

Repeat after me: This won’t last forever, this won’t last forever . . . I promise you that your Beagle will learn to sleep through the night. After a few nights she’ll decide that sleeping in a soft warm doggy den next to you beats nighttime concerts anytime! In the meantime, do what you can to help her feel that she can count on you to be there for her and help her through this transition from old to new.
by Susan McCullough

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