Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In Defence of Beagles

I have received overwhelming support from the dog bloggers community over the newspaper article on "Slow Dogs - Meet the World's 10 least intelligent dogs", which listed beagles in the list. Thank you dear friends for your comments and support for beagles.

I decided that it wasn't enough to voice my indignation about the article on my blog. So, last weekend, I sent the following e-mail to the Editor of the Weekender to present our views. Hopefully, this gets published so that readers of the paper do not get the wrong impression about beagles.

Dear Weekender Editor,
I refer to your article “Slow Dogs -Meet the world’s 10 least intelligent dogs” published on 11 October 2008. The article lists the Beagle as one of the “slow dogs”. As a beagle, I have a duty to defend my breed from being wrongly identified as a “slow dog”. The following points are my views and that of my fellow dog bloggers.

The criterion of “hardest to train” which was used to rank a dog’s intelligence is faulty. A dog that is hard to train does not mean that the dog is not intelligent. Yes, beagles are challenging to train. By nature, beagles are hunting dogs. This means that we are strongly governed by our nose and are easily distracted by scents. Unlike some breeds which are bred to work one-on-one with humans and have a strong desire to please their handlers, beagles are bred to work in a pack with other dogs. Hence, the desire to please our human handlers is a lot less. This leads to the perception that beagles are stubborn.

The challenge in training a beagle is using the right motivation tool. Beagle owners know that the one thing that never fails to motivate us is food. Beagles are intelligent and learn quickly when motivated. In fact, airports around the world use beagles as sniffer dogs to prevent illegal items from being smuggled into the country. This shows that beagles can be trained to provide service, if humans know how to motivate us. Of course, our intelligence can be a bane to our humans. Beagles are notorious for being escape artists because we are able to figure out how to get out from our enclosures - this requires both intelligence and agility. (I have escaped from my garden many times by scaling the fence, much to my humans’ chagrin.)

The article certainly does not do justice to beagles. Whilst I can understand that the title “Slow Dogs - Meet the world’s 10 least intelligent dogs” is certainly more catchy than “Meet the world’s 10 most difficult to train dogs”, it is incorrect and irresponsible to equate "difficulty to train" with "intelligence".

By Kess, the Beagle

P.S. My humans didn't have to teach me to carry my leash when going for walks. I learnt it myself

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oops...I Did It Again

Inspired by Sophia's amazing stunt, and determined to prove that beagles are NOT slow dogs, I did it again...Yes, I managed to escape this morning when my mum went to town to run some errands. It is still a mystery to my humans how I did it.

Based on our neighbour (and my occassional sitter) Aunty C's account, I was found in the arms of a "good samaritan"heading towards my home. It appears that this gentle lady found me roaming down the street and carried me back. Aunty C did not recognise her but was very thankful (as are my humans).

As it turns out, Aunty C found our gate open. Now, mum is certain she closed the auto gate when she left in the morning. Upon closer inspection when she returned home, she saw patches of dirty paw prints (it has been raining cats and dogs everyday!) on the wooden gate. So, their theory is that I have somehow managed to bulldoze the autogate open. Further checks on the gate revealed that the latch is now somewhat loose.

Anyway, mum has called the technician to come and inspect the gate to prevent further escapes. She is also contemplating installing a CCTV to capture my escapades. Until then, I'm not telling how I did it. Who says beagles are slow?

P.S. I am still peeved at the allegation that beagles are slow dogs, so I have decided to do a poll to seek the views of my fellow dog bloggers. So, do take part. Terima kasih (Thank you in Malay).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beagles...Slow Dogs???

I AM PEEVED! My humans came across an article on the Star last Saturday on "Slow Dogs...Meet the world's 10 least intelligent dogs".

  1. Afghan Hound
  2. Basenji
  3. Bulldog
  4. Chow Chow
  5. Borzoi
  6. Bloodhound
  7. Pekinese
  8. Mastiff and Beagle
  9. Basset Hound
  10. Shi Tzu
Apparently, this list is according to international kennel clubs, after a survey on 80 established breeds. The criteria for intelligence, get ready for "how difficult to train the dog"! Duh! The article states "Snoopy, from the Peanuts comic strip will never recover from this rankinig, for beagles are happy-go-lucky and merry, and enjoy the company of humans and other dogs. Curious and comic, they follow their noses and often end up in mischief and hilarious situations."

If you have seen the video on Sophia, the ultimate beagle escape artist, you would know that beagles not only possess extraordinary agility abilities (beagle owners can attest to that!) but also great intelligence. How else do you think, we, beagles are able to figure out a fail-proof escape route?

Obviously, the training criteria used to define "intelligence" is faulty. We beagles are governed by our nose, which means we are easily distracted by scents. We are also an independent lot, This may make it more challenging to train us, it is by no means an indication of our "low intelligence". In fact, I constantly amaze my fans (i.e neighbours, family and friends) with my clever escapes and tricks for treats, of course. Apart from cleverly providing home entertainment, beagles have important jobs to protect security as sniffer dogs at airports and borders.

If you ask me, it is not us beagles that are slow dogs. The author of the article, while human, may fall into this category coz he/she can't count. There are 11 dogs on the list. Duh!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Ultimate Beagle Escape Artist

My humans have always wondered how I managed to scale the 6-foot fence in our garden. Now, they know how. No, they didn't catch me in action. Instead, their Thai friend sent them this video. My humans were so intrigued, the googled it on Facebook and found the original video of Sofia's escape caught on tape. Way to go Sofia! Beagle power!

Check it out now. Do persevere with the download. It is worth watching!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lost and Found

We had a lil' excitement over the 2 days Hari Raya (Muslims celebrate the end of fasting during Ramadhan month) holidays last week. On Thursday evening, Mrs. T, a dog lover (who adopted 2 street dogs) was chasing after a dog who appeared to be lost. This dog was seen wandering around for a few days. She enlisted the help of my human dad. So, he went on his bike and tried to catch the lil' lost dog. It took about 30 minutes before they finally managed to corner the dog. With the help of another neighbour, Mr. C, they coaxed the frightened dog from her hiding place behind a commercial garbage bin.

Mrs T agreed to temporarily keep the dog whilst the owner is being located. Mr. C, who owns a pet shop donated some kibbles for the dog. Dad took photographs of the dog and printed posters. When dad went over to Mrs. T's home to photograph the dog, the shy Girl Dog immediately hid under the car. So, dad had to crawl on all fours to photograph her.

In the end, we managed to locate Girl Dog's owner from her red dog DBKL (KL municipal)licence tag on Monday (Due to the Raya holidays and the weekend, DBKL was closed). Mrs T's friend went to the DBKL office on Monday and was able to track the owner's address from the licence form. It really is so important to have a tag. Girl Dog may have been reunited with her owners a lot earlier if she had a tag. Read my earlier post on this. As it turns out, Girl Dog actually lives near my gramps place, just on the next street. Which also means, she had to cross over the very busy main road which I used when I went off to visit gramps on my own. Read about my adventure here . Girl Dog, whose name is Missy was happily reunited with her humans. So, there was a happy ending to this Lost and Found story.

Remember to always wear your tag!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mooncake - Yum...

Hi everyone! I can't believe I haven't blogged for 2 weeks... You guessed it - It's my human's fault of course! (isn't it always THEIR fault?). Anyway, I'm back again and will try to catch up with all your blogs soon.

Dad brought home a colourful box home one fine day last month. Of course, as the official sniffer in the household, it was my doggie duty to thoroughly check it out first.

I could smell something familiar...something I've tasted before. I tried to recall what it was...but to no avail. I couldn't open the box with my paws. Sigh...

Mum opened the box. It contained 4 mooncakes. Turns out that it was the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival last month. In Malaysia, it's also called the Mooncake festival. There are many stories behind the Mid-Autumn Festival. Mum remembers growing up hearing about the legend of the Jade Rabbit. She reckons if you stare at the moon, you can make out the shape of a rabbit... Of course, we all know that there are no rabbits in the moon! If you are interested, pop by Wikepedia to read about the festival and mooncakes.

Whilst my humans don't really celebrate the Mooncake festival, they can never resist buying a couple of mooncakes during the festival. Check out the beautiful floral design on the mooncake. It's traditionally made of lotus seed paste, although innovative chefs have used other fillings such as bean paste, jujube, taro and even ice cream (Yes - Haagen Daz Malaysia sells mooncake ice cream!). Traditionally, mooncake contains a duck egg yolk in the middle which symbolises the moon. For health reasons, many people opt for the plain mooncakes without the yolk.Mooncakes are yummy. How do I know that? I've tasted it before! No, my humans didn't feed me mooncakes. They reckon it's not good for dogs...I reckon they want the mooncakes for themself! A couple of years back, before they wised up to my tricks, my humans accidentally left a slice of mooncake on the living room table. Naturally, I did what all dogs would have done - I chomped it down!

For the purpose of this post, we have re-enacted the scene of the crime for our readers. Of course, back when it happened, my humans weren't around, so I chomped it down in seconds. This time, my human kept an eagle eye on me and gave me the "Leave" command. Sigh...such temptation! It's cruel, I tell you.

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