Mar. 25, 2017

Charlie the Beagle

We just recently went to the Humane Society and brought home a little Beagle-mix dog. He’s very clearly a hunting dog, complete with the “0” bleached into his coat. He is so adorable and we love him already. However, we’ve recognized some behaviors we’re going to have to work on. One in particular is the barking.

The Humane Society had named him Benson but he didn’t look like a Benson, nor did he answer to that name. My son wanted to name him Zero because of the “0” in his fur. We decided on Charlie. He seems to respond well to his new tag so, Charlie it is.

We brought Charlie home and introduced him to Annabelle, our lab and to Melody, the cat. Since we have a fenced in yard we turned him loose to let him frolic, run, play, whatever. The first thing he did was spend about two days roaming around the yard sniffing and marking his territory.

On the third day, we heard the strangest noise. It was a very nasal and high pitched sound. It was our dog. He was sniffing and barking all over the yard nonstop. My husband grabbed the papers we received from the Humane Society and skimmed over them.

“It says here he has a nasal bark,” he announces.

“Yeah, I think me, you, and the neighbors have already deduced that,” I answered.

“Oh, well that explains it then … the high pitched tone,” he concludes.

“What explains it?”

“He’s been neutered. I bet that is why his bark is high pitched.”

I can’t believe my husband missed that. I noticed it right off when we first brought him home; Charlie had been neutered.

The barking has continued from the time we put him outside, until the time we bring him back into the house. He will sniff and bark in that high pitched nasal tone. For the first week, I thought he was chasing moles; but upon further observations, I’ve noticed he’s sniffing out squirrels. I realized this when I saw the squirrels sitting on the tree branch eating nuts while pointing and laughing at Charlie.

Annabelle, our golden lab, will have nothing to do with him. As long as he stays from her food bowl, she’s fine. Melody, the cat, decided she had a new target. She smacked his nose one time and he ran away yelping. That tipped her off right away she could bully him. Now she chases Charlie around the house. He runs away scared to death of her. She laughs at him. I think I even saw Annabelle crack a smile (and she does smile).

Charlie is learning very slowly about the barking. My son or my husband often go outside to quiet him so now, when he sees one of us, he stops, if only for a few minutes. The neighbor’s dog taught him a new trick too; howling. When he howls, Charlie howls and then the neighborhood dogs are all howling quite loudly. He’s such a bad influence on our new family member.

I was on the phone one night explaining to a friend of mine Charlie’s routine, “He barks and barks and then someone has to go out and silence him; then he’s quiet for a while and starts back up again.”

“Go out and smack the crap out of him! He’ll stop then,” he offered.

“I am not going to smack my dog! Someone has to go out and quiet him down,” I explained. “I can’t do it because I’m so slow, by the time I get out there, silence him and get back in the house, he’s back to sniffing and barking again.”

“Send your husband out to hush him.”

“I did. He’s out there now chasing Charlie all over the yard hollering, “No, bad dog! Stop! Charlie, no, be quiet! I don’t know who’s louder, he or the dog.”

We’ve had to order one of those No-Bark collars that zap a dog when he barks at a certain pitch. Charlie now has a new routine when we let him outside: sniff, bark, zap - sniff, bark, zap. I wonder how long it will take to train him to stop?