Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Insightful comment on "hunting"...

I thought that I would publish this comment on my blog because I think it is very relevant. I would hate there to be any confusion about my intentions when I take my beagles "hunting".

Hi, I'm a bit confused by your blog ... how can you support / participate in anything associated with a hunt if you are an animal lover as you say in your profile? I'm hoping for some form of clarity here, as I too am a passionate animal lover and a hunt goes against all those values.
September 13, 2010 10:27 AM

I quite agree. I would not participate in a hunt where any live (or dead) animals were involved. Though the organisers call it a "hunt", what the dogs do is follow scent trails that are laid out by dragging a bag filled with tinned pilchards across the ground. This leaves a scent that does not disperse quickly and is easy for the beagles to follow. I am comfortable with this as I know that it is unlikely that my beagles will make a career out of hunting live fish. I just have to be careful about avoiding rubbish dumps (beagle heaven).

Beagles have a strong olfactory sense so this "hunt" challenges that talent. It also exercises the dogs in a way impossible to do by only walking them at the end of a lead. If you go back to all my blog posts related to the "hunts" you will see how and why my interest developed.

As a dog lover, one of my greatest concerns is how to give working dog breeds that are city pets, adequate stimulation and exercise. This is a huge problem as so many of them live in the limited confines of city gardens and apartments. They develop problems because they are bored and under stimulated.

Scent trails or "hunting" is one way of enriching my beagles' lives. They are very active dogs with a highly developed sense of smell (they are used in narcotics detection). They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

This is no easy task and is a constant challenge I face as a Johannesburg city dweller trying to keep my pets happy and content. They have loved been out in the African bush running and following scent trails (albeit mackerel fish) and I have loved been out of smog city under a clear African sky. A win win situation!


  1. Thanks for the extensive clarification in response to my comment! I thoroughly enjoy your blog which is why I was so dismayed and confused by your dogs participating in a 'hunt'. This artificial hunt does make a lot of sense. I can imagine that beagles require extensive exercise and it must also be incredibly important to give them the opportunity to utilize their olfactory senses.
    Wonderful to hear that you aren't in support of actual hunting!
    I look forward to following your blog in the future. As I live in Moscow at the moment, I can only enjoy dogs vicariously. Though I suspect that my cats might be very disapproving of this enjoyment ;)
    All the best
    The Coates' Purr

  2. Hi there!
    Glad to come across your blog! Nice reading and will keep my wife reading for her last week of holiday.
    Good to see that there are other people who love their animals.
    By chance met two of the cutest beagles last Sunday on a walk arranged by the puppy school we are with. One male one female, very cute and friendly!
    Looking forward to more great stories

    GnC and their 3 cocker spaniels
    Ps: I support

  3. Hi GnC + 3
    Apologies for not picking up your comment earlier. So glad to hear from you all. Yes, they are doing good work at Barking Mad! You said you are going to puppy school. Does that mean you have three cocker spaniel puppies? Oh my gosh! Let me know how it's going and your thoughts about puppy schools. As I am currently being trained as a puppy school instructor, I am interested to hear about people's experiences.

  4. LOL, seems I also miss comments! (forgot to subscribe)
    Anycase the 3 spaniels story:
    Jade (8) Golden, the mother of the house, now formal training but learning from the other two. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks...?
    Dylan, will be 2 in January 2011, black with tan points. Head of the house, VERY playful and active, we call him ADD, actually ADT because he cant sit still but patrols the house constantly!
    The final and 2nd golden spaniel is Teddy, which describes him to the T, he is so loveable and ready to nap wherever you may be busy in the house.
    Both Teddy and Dylan went through the Eukanuba Puppy School in Germiston (next to the vet) at their respective ages and are now both doing the Teenager School presented by Ed. To call it a school is wrong, this is a meeting place for puppies to meet up with their friends and play the whole time in between having their owners get taught. I don't know how we managed to teach them to sit, stay and even walk on a leash!

  5. Hey what a cool family! Isn't amazing how temperaments and personalities can differ dramatically even in the same breed. I have always had beagles and when my first two finally passed away, I was surprised at how different my next two are. Sure there are common traits in every breed, but each dog is special and different. Excellent that you are keeping up the stimulation and socialisation by taking them to Teenager School!

  6. Thanks very much! Must say, your beagles are the cutest things.
    I cannot believe how different they all are, although the two golden spaniel seem to have the same traits, the two boys have fun everyday playing together, which is why we got Teddy in the first place.
    I actually grew up with bullterriers my whole life till 3 years back. Now there's a whole different kettle of fish!