I have two new pups, brother and sister and they're 8 weeks old and are beagle/cocker spaniel mix... I'm hoping to teach them to hunt rabbits and just wanted to make sure I wasn't wasting my time, they seem to show a lot more beagle in them from their fur coat to their personality. Is it possible to teach them to be rabbit dogs without being full blooded beagles?? When do I need to start introducing them to gunfire so they won't by gunshy?? What should I start out with as far as training?? I already have some rabbit scent and a stuffed animal that looks like a rabbit. I poured some of the scent on it, teased the dogs with it and then took it outside and drug it around the yard before hiding it in some bushes and Dixie was all over it and followed the trail right to the bushes and found it so that has me feeling confident it's possible.
Don't expose them to gun fire. A rabbit dog only hears the gunshot when he is on the trail and at that point he is so excited he dont care.
Im not sure how well a half beagle will do, but it cant hurt to try. Walk them somewhere well you're likely to see rabbits and encourage them to give chase.... But be warned once a beagle is turned onto hunting he is a hunting dog. I put my beagle down on a rabbit scent when he was a couple months old and he opened up barking. Since then all he ever does is look for rabbits and try to hunt. The rabbit scent is good, but before that drag a hotdog on a string around your yard and leave pieces and a big piece at the end. This will get them really using their noses.
If you can get your hands on a wild rabbit it would be great for them to sight chase, but only once they are using their noses so they pick up on the scent as well.
Good luck to you!
Heres my pup and the first rabbit he circled, circled him 3 times and I got the shot.