Experience is the best teacher in the world. I would like to share with you some of the knowledge I have gained mostly the hard way over the years.


Never give a puppy a shoe to chew on-he will always think shoes are to chew on and will not know the difference between the cheap shoes and the expensive shoes. (Actually, if the shoe is expensive leather, your beagles may like it better than the vinyl cheap ones.)All puppies will chew, just like human babies-teething means chewing. Your puppy will chew until about 1 year of age-so have chew toys available to help prevent destructive chewing.

If you find your puppy chewing on something he shouldn't, say "give" and take it way from him gently. Always, give your puppy the proper chew toy in trade, telling him " take" and then"good boy" after he has the "right" toy in his mouth. If he resists giving you the "bad" toy, slowly put pressure at the back of the jaw where the upper and lower teeth meet. Make sure you press with the skin of the cheek between your fingers and his teeth. That way if he bites down he is actually hurting himself. Remember to give the command "give" and praise him after he has taken the trade toy.


Puppies love to play chase and often the human animal is the one doing the chasing. Start with young puppies and teach them that when they run away, you do not chase. Instead, turn and walk a few paces away, squat or sit down and IGNORE the puppy. The puppy will usually come to you to play. Let the puppy touch you and then you scratch, pat and cuddle the puppy. Giving a treat at this time will also help teach the puppy not to run away. Gradually, as the puppy grows, start using "come" to begin teaching this command.


It is natural for puppies to bite and chew on one another;therefore they will playfully do this to their human playmates. It is ok for a puppy to mouth your hand, but biting is not accepted. Think like a puppy playmate. When a puppy bites another too hard, the bitten puppy quits playing. If your puppy bites too hard scream "OWWWW" and turn away. Ignore the puppy. When the puppy plays nicely always praise him. ( This method will only work if the puppy has been left with its' litter mates long enough to learn this lesson- that is what you should not buy a puppy before 8 weeks of age.)Teach your children this and never allow or encourage children to hit the puppy. The puppy will naturally want to "catch" the moving hand and a future biter may be in the beginning stages. The same goes for a puppy that chases and bites. Do not run from the puppy, stop-tell him no and ignore him. Running from the puppy is fun to the puppy. You can teach the puppy to follow by walking calmly, calling his name, and giving a treat. When giving a puppy a treat always say "easy" and never jerk the food away. Encourage your puppy to take food from your hand from the beginning. Hopefully, the breeder has already started hand feeding treats at weaning.


Most diggers do so for specific reasons. Again, try thinking like a dog. Is your dog digging to make a cool bed, chasing a bug, burying a toy, or because of boredom? You can not put a puppy or dog into the backyard and not spend quality time with them. They will find ways to entertain themselves and your freshly planted flower garden (your smell will be strongest there) will be just to tempting!! Mole crickets seem to be my undoing. Regardless on how much mole cricket poison I use, I can not get rid of them!! My dogs are the best mole cricket chasers-resulting in small round ankle-getting holes each spring. Also, some dogs will dig to get out. Again, dogs will get bored and they are by instinct pack animals. If there are other dogs to go play with and your dogs does not get enough attention from YOU then he will seek out other pack members.

Certain breeds like terriers have a strong instinct to dig. When selecting a puppy you need to consider what the instincts are strong in that breed.


The personality of the dog determines the amount of barking, potentially. If you take a dog with the genetic potential to bark and put him in an stimulating environment with other barkers-well guess what he will bark. Other puppies in that same litter may not be so prone to bark. In each of my litters there seems to be a loud-mouth. Often enough that loud-mouth is the dominant dog. Is this nature's way of the dog protecting his pack?? No matter what, barkers can be annoying. First,consider that the dog may be bored or want more attention. Do you spend time with your dog? The next time your dog starts barking, see if there is definite stimulus and if not, try spending time with the dog. My barkers tend to bark when there are other strange dogs near "their" fence or when I am working with another one of my dogs. Most dogs will bark when the owner comes homes, but this is a happy bark and should stop as soon as you give the dogs a hello cuddle. I do have one dog that regardless of what I tried he barked the most irritating bark. I have solved his problem with an electronic bark collar. With repetitive barking he gets a warning beep and then if he barks again, he gets a mild shock. It has worked wonders, and when he does not have it on he barks, freely.

A dog will pick up on the tone of your voice quickly. A good stern no and a quick squirt of water will get many a stubborn dog's attention. Praise and common sense is the key to owning a dog, but understanding what "no" means is very important. Example of this is when one of my gang decided to take a stroll on my dining room table and chew on my favorite sunglasses. The good stern "no" quickly made her change her mind. I use a water squirt bottle to enforce my distant commands like "no". It works wonders and is painless to you and your dog.

Authored and contributed by Ruth Darlene Stewart.