Beagles are one of the most popular breeds in the United States and Canada. They are one of the oldest breeds of dogs and were originally bred to hunt in small packs or suspenders (pairs). Today, hunting and field trials are still popular with beagles, but they are increasingly being raised as family pets.
Beagles are adorable and friendly by nature and they like children, so they can be ideal family pets. Their moderate size and modest need for exercise make them suitable for anything from apartment living to a farm in the country and anything in between. Beagles are very social animals, so it is not uncommon for families to adopt more than one.
With all its qualities, prospective beagle owners should be aware that there can be some challenges as well. Beagles are often stubborn and easily bored, so this can make training difficult if you don’t do it the right way. They are bloodhounds and will follow their noses for miles if given the opportunity, although this tendency can be somewhat reduced by breeding. Understanding how Beagles behave and using methods that work well with your breed will take much of the frustration out of training your puppy to be a great family companion. Read on as we discuss some techniques that work well with beagles.
Here are some key points to remember when training your beagle:
• Start with short training sessions of just a few minutes. Beagles have short attention spans, especially when they are puppies. Keeping them engaged for 10-15 minutes at a time is a good way to start.
• Beagles love food, so treats can be a good reward for the behavior you are trying to reinforce.
• Don’t scold your beagle and don’t be aggressive with him. These methods can often backfire and cause behavior problems in your dog. Instead, reinforce positive behavior rather than scolding negative behavior. Show them how you want them to behave and reward them when they do well.
• If you are outside, use a leash or work in an enclosed area. Remember that most beagles will wander off if they detect an interesting smell.
• Early socialization is often overlooked, but it is very important to your dog’s development. Do not remove your puppy from its mother and litter until it is at least 8 to 10 weeks old. Then, go out of your way to socialize the puppy with his family and other pets.
• Cage training is a good option to aid in housebreaking and to help your beagle feel safe. The box becomes his den and reduces the tendency to bark when he thinks the whole neighborhood is his territory.
• Obedience training is important for all dogs, including Beagles. Often times a class is the best approach as you will get an experienced instructor (ask about the class to find the right one). It is also a good environment for additional socialization with people and other dogs.
• Beagles can respond well to clicker training and this can help teach your dog obedience commands.
• Learn to be the alpha “dog” in your “pack.” If you don’t take control of your home, your dog will assume the role of alpha and this will lead to all kinds of obedience problems. Since beagles are stubborn, it is important that they understand that you are in charge. Learn to be calm, assertive, and firm with your dog, but not abusive or mean. Your dog will understand how he fits into the family structure (your pack) and everyone will be happier. Body language and your attitude are important to learning alpha leader skills, so look for a resource that can help you do this right.
• Don’t forget to have fun. Training your beagle should be fun for you and your dog. Sometimes, with a little creativity, you can turn your training routine into a game that both of you will enjoy.
There are also training methods for specific problems, such as barking and howling, digging, chewing, biting and biting, aggression, separation anxiety, pulling on a leash, and many other common difficulties that beagle owners may experience. Correcting these problems early rather than putting them off will be easier and can prevent more serious problems, such as your dog biting a stranger. Sometimes it is best to involve a professional, such as an obedience instructor or your veterinarian, to help you solve a problem before it gets out of hand.
There are many resources to help you learn how to properly train your beagle. Don’t be afraid to try a few different things and see how they work. You and your dog are unique individuals, so you will likely get different results that should be tailored to your specific situation and needs. Trying out various options will help you figure out which one works best for you and your beagle.