The Animal Doctor

Manic Puppy Behavior

DEAR DR. FOX: We bought a female beagle pup at 8 weeks old. She's almost 5 months now. She is, and has been, a total maniac.

We keep her in a large cage because she is impossible to deal with on any level. She goes up and down off the couch or bed and attacks (wants to play with) our two Chihuahuas and our cat. She will not stop running at hyper speed. She barks to go outside until she's out there, and as then she barks to come inside.

We make sure she has plenty of food and water, and she flips the bowls. I think you get the picture. We have less time for the other animals because she's so demanding. She's as sweet as can be, but she's nuts.

What can we do? How can a puppy with this kind of energy be handled? -- M.P., Fargo, North Dakota

DEAR M.P.: Keeping your puppy for what seems like most of the day and night in a “large cage” is likely to make her even more manic and eventually neurotic, with possibly obsessive-compulsive, anxiety-driven behavioral problems.

Have you forgotten how most puppies are? They burst with curiosity, chew on things and get into trouble; a constant "bother" if that is your attitude. Step back and see this naive and benign spirit in the adorable form of a beagle puppy who means no harm but needs your acceptance, affection, guidance and understanding to be a good canine companion.

This crazy teething and getting-into-everything phase will subside by the time she is 9 to 12 months old, but she will not mature temperament-wise until around 2 years. You have plenty of time to get her on the right path with you, using the cage as an overnight den and a short time-out place (for puppy naps) during the day only. Let her play and run around until she is exhausted, and feed her only after she has been out and had a good run. Beagles do tend to chase and bark a lot because they are a pack-hunting breed, so think about finding a younger and more active family for this adolescent dog to join, since her genes may be incompatible with your needs and wishes.


A greyhound who won a Florida race on April 27 tested positive for cocaine exposure for the sixth time, and the incident marked Florida's 18th positive test in a four-month period.

The trainer of the 12 dogs involved in the 18 cases has had his license suspended. Although lack of follow-up and resolution in such cases means it's not always clear whether drug exposure was intentional or incidental, doping has been a longtime problem in the industry, with dogs testing positive for agents from anabolic steroids to industrial solvents, and cocaine is associated with dangerous health effects in dogs.

America’s free enterprise system rolls on regardless of animal suffering and unethical exploitation where money rules over ethics, and compassion and effective animal protection enforcement is trumped by corruption and lack of funding for trained police and animal welfare inspectors, which every community needs.

(Send all mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

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