Training the Rabbit Dog

Greg and I are both trainers.  We have been around animals our entire lives, and both started out training horses and other farm animals from the time we were little.  In 2009, we opened Chance 2 Ranch Hounds and Horses.  We have been successfully training horses professionally since then, and in our spare time, training unregistered grade hunting beagles for ourselves.  As the dogs got too old and began dying off, it was clear we needed to buy more Beagles.  In 2013, we purchased our first registered field Beagles, intending to trial them and start our breeding operation.  Today, we have 3 different field bloodlines and 2 different show bloodlines that we are breeding and testing, with a total of 14 dogs as of December 2017 and 3 litters planned for 2018.

So we have discovered some training methods that we have proven over the years.  Many of you have heard of Bio Sensory training – stimulating the nervous system of newborn pups over a period of time.  The method improves the stability of the dog as an adult and makes it easier to train and less scared of its environment.  There are cautions with it, however, as too much stimulation can cause behavior problems, and not enough doesn’t do much good – you have to be aware of each pup’s individuality.

A pup’s development is measured in weeks, unlike a human’s that is measured in years.  This means if you miss something during one of those weeks, you have missed the best opportunity to give your pup what it needs during that developmental phase. Timing is everything.

So each week, we work with the pups for what they need at that time.  You can watch them grow, become bolder, smarter.   We take them at a young age into a small training pen that is overgrown with brush and rabbits.  It is hear that they learn in a small, comfortable environment how to hunt on their own.  They are in there most of the day and then come into a 10 x 10 kennel with a dog box at night.

C2R is fortunate in that we have 10 acres that is bordered on two sides by 6,000 acres of state land.  We can take our pups for daily walks in the woods, getting them familiar with being in the wild.

We see pups start chasing rabbits as early as 8 weeks old, and by 6-7 months old they are packing up and running in the wild.  There have been a few late starters, not packing until a year old.  Our pups get this experience on a daily basis, so every day work is a must if you are training a pup.

Another benefit of a C2R dog is that we have very good communication with our dogs – they are not considered machines that only get to hunt and then go back into a box.  This is an advantage, because dogs are avid pack animals – the pack keeps them safe, brings them food, water, shelter and continues the bloodlines.  The Pack instinct is so strong in a dog, it is what they live for.  Therefore, if you never interact with your dog, they actually resent it.  They may get out there and hunt, but they don’t ever live up to their full potential.

C2R dogs look you in the eyes and expect some sort of communication.  By the time they are adults, they actually understand much of what you are saying.  There is documentation of this in many studies, where they have owners participate in looking their animals in the eyes and giving them feed – the animal will look at the owner, then back to the feed until it gets the owner’s attention.  When owners don’t look at the dog or give feed when the dog asks, the dog quits trying and eventually becomes an introvert.  When a dog is introverted like this, the training stops.  Dogs will continue to hunt on their own, but they will never have that edge of knowing what is expected of them.

As our dogs reach adulthood, which is at 3 years of age, they become “trainer” dogs.  We run the pups with the very slowest and tightest trainer dog until the pup can outrun/hunt the trainer dog, then we pack it up with the next faster trainer dog and so on.

You would be amazed at the results we get.  Every dog we have raised and trialed is a rabbit or show champion or both.  C2R is devoted to further research, training, and showing quality show and field Beagles.