I saw a notice at Ed’s Way that beagle puppies were for sale and it brought back memories of bringing home our own long-eared bundle of joy. My son named him Coop but we still don’t know what it means. At least I don’t feel ridiculous yelling it when he’s howling at some danger, like blowing leaves. 

I was in charge of training Coop. Canine discipline started with the purchase of a large cage, where the puppy would slumber. These cages are ideal for dog owners with severe hearing impairment. Those that can hear might be moved by soul-wrenching howls coming from the puppy prison. This is where firmness came in. Sure, I let Coop sleep in our bed but he didn’t get his own pillow.

The next order of discipline was teaching Coop not to destroy our property. I did this by rubbing his nose in receipts for all the shoes he chewed and the overstuffed chair he ruined. I also pushed his snout into the carpet cleaning bill.

Next, I took Coop on walks to teach him to heel. Every time he yanked on the leash, I stopped until he quit pulling. After a half hour, we had walked about twenty feet. I decided to give up on this, along with “sit, roll over and fetch.” Coop would fetch a ball but ruined the game by not bringing it back.

He wasn’t interested in playing. He only lived for one thing – his scientifically balanced puppy chow. He would announce breakfast very early every morning and wouldn’t stop howling until his dish was filled. As soon as he finished, he’d start begging for his 2:00 p.m. feeding. It took every ounce of my resolve to hold him off until noon.

This didn’t keep him from munching throughout the day on grass, soap and microscopic crumbs from the counter. Eating and sleeping were his sole pursuits. He found a good night’s sleep so exhausting; he needed an all day nap to recover. 

He also lived for taking walks but there’s a reason we had a fenced-in yard. Coop relaxed in the yard by rolling in the foulest material he could find. He already had that sweaty fur fragrance going. Dogs don’t smell good except to each other. We gave him a bath whenever he would allow it. 

Now that Coop is a canine senior citizen and I’m home most of the day, we have a very prickly relationship. He begs to go out so that he can literally hound our neighbors or startle a passerby. He rolls over on his back and demands to be petted. I continue my training by giving him one belly rub a month.

So, if you’re purchasing one of those beagle puppies, you’ll know what to expect and how to train your dog. If you use my method, you’ll have plenty of firm discipline left over for raising kids.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.