Monosyllabic Pedantry

Friday, June 13, 2008

They call it vocalizing

Here's a bit of Beagle trivia for you. Beagles were bred to hunt rabbits. It's not that a Beagle is faster than a rabbit; it's that they are so scent driven, and so tenacious, that they follow the rabbit until it's exhausted. In order to aid their owners in following them, they have also been bred to hold their tails straight up in the air so you can see them in brush; and to make noise when they get a scent. This allows their owners to locate them by the sound. They call it vocalizing. The stronger the scent, the more intense the vocalizing. And it's continuous. Don't think you can wear them out by "letting them howl". They are bred to do that shit all day. My two girls are only about 18-20 lbs and they easily hit 120 dB.

Vocalizing sounds like the dog is being fed into a grinder, tail first. It's this spine-chilling mix of a bark and howl that blends into a cry of pain, fear and despair. Banshees yearn for a howl like this.

Mrs Schwartz is such a helicopter parent, that she can't even begin to deal with listening to it indoors. That's the reason why we are so far behind on the crate training. They howl, she comes running.

On the other hand, it's pretty fun to watch when we take them to the local cemetary. They take off out of the car, nose to the ground, cutting back and forth like a bat in flight. A few seconds of this, and one of them will start in with the howling. The other one will rush over and join in as soon as she picks up the scent.

The Missus and I will start walking while the girls stay in our general area, cutting back and forth with their noses to the ground. Depending on the value of the scent trail, they follow, then abandon, one scent after another. This is the funniest part, because their movement is always the same. It's just that every now and then they'll start with that horrible howl, then it will stop for a minute, then start up again.

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