18 months of beagle ownership

Poppy caught momentarily behaving herself

Poppy is 1½ today. She’s my first dog, and it’s been a wonderful, if occasionally trying experience for both Her Indoors and me. The Wikipedia article on beagles gives some agreeable insight into the ups and downs of beagle ownership. This sums up Poppy perfectly:

The Beagle has an even temper and gentle disposition. Described as “merry”, they are amiable and generally neither aggressive nor timid. They enjoy company, and although they may initially be standoffish with strangers, they are easily won over. They make poor guard dogs for this reason, although their tendency to bark or howl when confronted with the unfamiliar makes them good watch dogs. In a 1985 study, the Beagle was given the highest excitability rating.

Merry, easily won over and highly excitable all sound about right to me. But she’s not exactly the most obedient dog in the world. I blame my lack of ability to train her, but this uncanny description provides some crumbs of comfort:

Beagles are intelligent, but as a result of being bred for the long chase are single-minded and determined, which can make them hard to train. They are generally obedient but can be difficult to recall once they have picked up a scent and are easily distracted by smells around them. They do not generally feature in obedience trials; while they are alert, respond well to food-reward training, and are eager to please, they are easily bored or distracted.

Poppy being distracted by a smell on the Downs

Single-minded and determined, difficult to recall, easily distracted by smells. Sounds like my Poppy!