Ask The Trainer
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We are adopting our first beagle and have been warned that beagles can be little escape artists. We have a fenced yard that we THINK is dog secure but want to make sure. Help!
New Beagle Owner
Dear New Beagle Owner:
Chain Link Fence or Equivalent: First things first: start on one side of your house where the fence hits the house. Walk slowly around the perimeter looking for space between the bottom of the fence and the ground; if there is any gap of an inch or more, this needs to be blocked off with bricks. Beagles will look at this as an invitation to dig free. Once that is done, walk around again pushing the bottom of the fence with your foot; if there is any give in the fence, it needs to be secured. Tent stakes hooked over the bottom rung then hammered into the ground usually work well. Start your walk again looking for holes in the fence; itís amazing what a little hole can mean to your beagle. You can get wire that is fairly cheap at a hardware store to stitch up the hole. Once that is done, walk again around the fence checking to make sure there are fasteners between each pole section that hold the fencing to the top pole. My male beagle would actually stand on his hind legs and hook his front paws near the top of the fence then pull down and slip right over without much effort. Use the wire to secure the top of the fence to the top pole.
For those with wood fences, follow the same process, making sure all boards are securely nailed together. Cracked boards have to be replaced
Gates: The only way to be safe is to padlock gates; my kids left my gate open one afternoon, and I had a neighbor call me and ask why my beagles were running in the street! Ahhhhhh! Fortunately, I was able to retrieve them safely. I went that afternoon and bought a padlock so it would never happen again. Also, make sure that there are no large gaps between the gate and the fence.
Maintenance: At least once a week, walk your fence looking for digging around the base of the fence; if you find some, you need to either refill and pack down (sprinkle a bunch of ground pepper on top to deter digging in that spot) or place bricks down in the area.
Vigilance: Itís a good idea to watch your beagle from a window (so he/she canít see you) to find problem spots; they always go there when youíre not outside with them.
If you have just adopted a beagle, itís a good idea to go outside with your dog for at least a week to make sure they donít find something youíve missed. Just because youíve checked your fence doesnít mean itís 100%; some beagles are very clever and can climb over. This can be easily fixed by attaching an underground fence system to the existing fence. Check on eBay for great deals!
Also, watch out for "critter holes": these mean chipmunks, moles, etc. If your beagle finds one of these, s/he will try to follow the same path by digging under; again use bricks to block these off.
And Remember: NEVER leave a beagle outside for long periods, they get bored and start looking for excitement!