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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have rabbit hunted for years with beagles, but just this year decided to purchase a puppy and try to train him myself. In the past I have always purchased a year old dog that was already started. Because of this I have no idea what to expect.

I did make sure to purchase a dog that comes from "good hunting stock" to try and increase my odds of having him work out. When he was 12 weeks old I took a dead rabbit which I killed the last day of rabbit season and showed it to him. He got super excited about it. I then proceeded to drag the dead rabbit through the woods behind my house. When I put him on the trail he followed it like he had been doing it all his life. I was astonished since he was so young. He did not bark, but he would anxiously follow the track. Over the next several weeks I would take the rabbit out of the freezer and lay more intricate tracks for him to follow and again he would figure them out no problem. He even let out a few little yips.

Recently now that he is in the 6 to 7 month range I have started taking him to a fenced in rabbit training pen. It's about 30 acres. Based on how he had been doing with following the dead rabbit that I dragged I was expecting that he would take immediately to running live rabbits.

The first night out he pretty much stuck right close to me. When I jumped a rabbit, he would work the track 10 yards or so and then run back to my side. The 2nd time out was pretty much the same until a young rabbit got up right under his nose. He took this one about 50 yards barking all the way and then came back to me. The 3rd time out again he took a rabbit about 50 yards and came back. Last night while on his leash he saw a rabbit and began going nuts, howling and barking. I let him off and he ran the rabbit about 100 yards before the rabbit checked and he again came back to me.

My question is, is this behavior of running it a short distance and coming back normal for a puppy. I guess I'm noticing progress each time out and he definitely has interest. Just hoping that at some point he will stick with the track instead of running back to me.
 

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My question is, is this behavior of running it a short distance and coming back normal for a puppy. .
YES.
Not suprising that he didn't take right to running a live rabbit after following a dead drag. I run and train like I hunt. Out in the field on wild rabbits.
Sounds like he is starting to gain confidence that when he comes back to the spot he last saw you, you'll be there. That is extremely important!!! I rarely move from the spot a pup gets the rabbit going. You can move more with mature dogs because they will learn to come back in, cross your scent trail, and follow it up to you.
He'll keep stretching it out further until he won't pull off of them.
From your description of his behavior up until now, that pup is right on the verge of turning it on.
Is he opening up on track? If so, he'll likely circle one back around before long. Once you have him bringing them back around you may want to get together with someone who really knows how to deer-break a rabbit hound with an E-collar. It could save alot of boot leather and heartbreak.
That pup will be ready to gun over this season. By next spring he should be running the hide off of them.
 

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id guess he is doing fine, keep him out playing and havimng fun in the field. as he gets stronger he will run farther and get closer to the rabbit and stay on him .
 

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Training Beagle Puppy, What to Expect?


Headaches...frustration....anger.....torn up shoes, chairs legs and anything else they can get in their mouths. However, all that will be forgiven as it gets it together and circles that first rabbit.
All the negatives will be replaced with pride and joy as it continues to improve and become your new best friend.

Good luck
 

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I'd say right now he depends on you a lot. That will probably change as he becomes a teenager :) Your building his confidence. Mine is 10 yr old and still looks for me when off scent.
 

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Sounds about right. Although a 30 acre running pen is best for pups that have been started. Most starting pens are only about an acre or so in size. This gives a pup that isn't really sure what he's doing more exposure to rabbits. But better a pen that's too big and only has rabbits than taking him to an open spot and having him accidentally jump a deer.
Kepp taking him out and showing patience. If he's from hunting stock then continued exposure to rabbits is the best thing you can do for him. He will have to learn alot on his own, but they learn quick. Enjoy your time together. Good luck.
 

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Hows it going? My experience, is every pup is different, alot of it is in the breeding or line of dogs. There's a lot of patience on the part of the owner. Some pups will start on the first sighting of a rabbit. I remember the first pup I started, she watched rabbits through the screen door, after a few days of her intense attention to them I opened the door and off she went tongueing and all. The second pup started almost as easy. Then there were a few that were a little tougher. What to expect starts with the pups parents. Never hope for apple juice from an orange. One thing I can add, is take the pup as much as possible. Let them explore at their will, sometimes you'll get one that will spend to much time at your side. tough rabbit hunting when you have to jump the rabbits for your hunting dog.

good luck keep your expectations low
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Actually, shortly after I sent out this original post, I took the pup out one evening and everything finally came together. He jumped a rabbit and took it around for a full circle all by himself, howling all the way. I guess he just had to overcome his fear that I was going to leave him. Really looking forward to getting him out this fall and winter. He appears to have a pretty good nose and really seems to hold the line well, while moving the rabbit at a pretty good pace. Still a lot of work to go for sure, but definitely have a good foundation started.
 

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Congrats! Sounds like you have a rabbit hound. He'll get steadier and more reliable with experience. Just keep getting him on rabbits.
 
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