If anyone reading this has had a hound I think it’s fair to say you understand the love-hate relationship. They can be fantastic! Loving, gentle, phenomenal hunting dogs and a go-go-go temperament when you want them to be, but turn a switch and they can play dead for 23 hours beside you on the couch. However, they remind me of the nursery story The Little Girl with the Curl, “when she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid!” That pretty much sums them up.
I have spent more nights chasing hound dogs up the mountain and making “friends” with neighbours bringing my dogs home than I can count. Here’s the thing though, hound dogs were never my thing – they were my husbands dream. He’d grown up with the fantasy of having a couple of loyal hounds as hunting buddies. That mans-best-friend vision that was likely instilled in him as a child watching Where the Red Fern Grows. At last his dreams came true about 6 years ago when we found someone living in an apartment in downtown Vancouver with a 6 month old redbone coonhound that was simply “too much” for them.
Now I’m not sure what’s wrong with some of you city folk (and I’m from the suburbs), but DO YOUR RESEARCH before you buy a bloody hound dog! We now have 4 hounds and most of them were dogs we took from people living in the city that couldn’t handle them once they passed the cute stage. The last darling we got (and I’m NEVER looking for more dogs) was a 14 month old Bluetick hound that the owners had to get rid of because he wouldn’t stop barking.
His yard was a 10 x 10 and he lived largely locked up – no wonder he was vocal. We contacted the owners and he had bounced to 3 different homes in 5 days because no one could handle such a boisterous and loud dog. Here he is chilling out on the couch after 8 hours of running and playing on our property. Now he’s darling and I love him to death, but it takes a special kind of place for a dog who jumps fences, takes off into the mountains, barks A LOT and needs more than a walk around the block as exercise. He’s like having another child.
We struggled with our first hound Dixie when we lived in the city because it was SO HARD to keep her home. She was a master sneak. If anyone left a door ajar or a gate not quite latched she was G-O-N-E. I felt like the worst dog owner on the planet, and I certainly ranked up there. I had little kids and people coming in and out all day long. Even with gates on the decks and on the yards, accidents happened biweekly at least. Finally we got to move to the mountains, where life fits us all a little better. But with the move, strangely enough came… more hounds. I wonder if deep down that was part of the appeal for my husband to move to a sky line?
So now we have 4 hounds a Redbone named Dixie and 3 Blueticks Scarlet, Cinco and Blue. Now when we moved here our property wasn’t fenced, so we dropped a small fortune into fencing it for dogs. Field and Farm wire fencing around the entire perimeter and rail fencing within the property for livestock. It was a monster job and it took forever! Now that’s it’s done, we still have escapees on a regular basis because if the chase is good enough all three Blue ticks jump (let me reiterate how painful and expensive the fencing was). We had bears regularly throughout the summer come down and hop our fence to eat the horse hay – I don’t know if that made them brave or stupid but did it drive the dogs insane! It felt like almost daily I was going outside to absolute silence, knowing full well that I was packing kids into the truck and heading up the logging roads to look for dogs, it was enough to drive you X%#$ing bonkers! Yet here I am with the stay-home hounds Scarlet and Blue outside lounging in their heated custom dog houses, Dixie the chronic sneak sleeping on my bed and Cinco nursing his icy run-away wounds by my feet.
Like I said before, it’s a love-hate relationship and a TON of work monitoring them. They need to MOVE and they are born to follow that nose. Think long and hard about this one….