Beagles For Dummies
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Your Beagle needs clear, consistent boundaries not only to stay in your good graces, but also just to stay safe. Those boundaries start with the outdoors: specifically, with enclosing part or your entire yard so it's escape-proof.

Fencing comes in a wide variety of materials and price ranges, but the most important consideration for the fence-building Beagle owner is that whatever you build be impermeable. Ask your local hardware store or fencing professional what materials best keep Beagles on their own turf. After you or the contractor start to install the fence, make very sure that no openings or crevices exist above or below ground that may allow your Beagle to make a bid for freedom. And check at least weekly after installation is complete: Beagles are masters at fashioning creative escape routes by digging under or chewing holes in fences.

Going for an electronic fence

For many Beagle owners, the prospect of installing conventional fencing either offends their visual tastes or wreaks havoc on their household budgets. Either way, electronic fencing appears to provide an attractive, cost-saving alternative. After installing underground wiring around the perimeter of your property, you buckle a special collar around your dog's neck. If he crosses your property line, he receives a mild electrical shock.

Unfortunately, all too many Beagles and other breeds venture beyond their property lines despite getting shocked — but then refuse to come back to their domiciles because they don't want another mini-jolt. And that's not the only potential problem with electronic fencing; another is that other dogs, animals, or people can cross freely into your yard, but your Beagle can't get away from them unless she's willing to risk getting shocked. In other words, electronic fencing can make your dog more vulnerable to being attacked or stolen.

The bottom line: Don't rely on electronic fencing to contain your little hound. The Beagle who gets lost could be your own.

Deciding against an electric fence

If you choose not to install a fence, don't let your Beagle out in your yard without your holding the other end of a leash. No matter how much your little hound loves you, she'll love the great outdoors more. If she gets the chance to explore the world beyond the backyard without being tethered to you, she will jump at it — and the results could be tragic. Some dog owners install an electronic fence thinking it will protect their Beagle just as well as a traditional fence.

Even though you've provided an outdoor play area for your Beagle, don't leave him outdoors unattended. The great outdoors, even within the confines of your yard, offers too many hazards for your little hound — hazards that range from dangerous plants to kids' toys to uncovered swimming pools. When your Beagle's outside, be there with him — or at least be watching him from a reasonable distance (that is, close enough to get to him quickly if necessary).

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Susan McCullough is the author of the bestselling Housetraining For Dummies and the award-winning Senior Dogs For Dummies.

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