I love beagles. Heck, everyone loves beagles. Especially beagle puppies. If your lucky enough to have one of these adorable pups, you might be looking for some guidance on how to train a beagle. If so, you are in the right place.
Beagles are some of the most loyal dogs around. They can also be tricky to train. With a little knowledge and lots of patience it can be done. Let’s start with some Beagle basics.
Beagles are a small to medium size dog with short hair. They do shed some, but their coat is relatively easy to care for. Beagles are very even tempered and have a great disposition. They are energetic and playful.
Beagles are scent hounds. This means that they were originally bred to sniff out and chase prey. Specifically, beagles were bred in England to chase hares or rabbits. As you can guess, that means they have an amazing sense of smell. They can also be relentless once they pick up a scent.
Overall, beagles make great family dogs which is one of the reasons they are so popular. They are good with kids and tend to get along well with other family pets.
You’re probably saying, “That sounds perfect! I’m all in!”
Whoa there Snoopy. Before you run out and adopt a beagle, there are some things you should know about this breed. The more you know about beagles and their personalities, the better prepared you will be to train yours and be a good pet parent.
Let’s start by getting some false expectations out of the way.
1. Doggie Obedience School Valedictorian
If you want a perfectly behaved dog, a beagle is not for you. Don’t misunderstand, beagles can be trained, it’s just that they are a little….independent. Is that the polite way to put it?
Download our FREE printable cheat sheet that you can use to get your dog to come everytime.
Since beagles are scent hounds, they can be very focused and narrow minded. They are not always overly eager to please. A lot of people say they are stubborn and hard to train. Those people are right. But as with any dog, you need to understand their behavior if you want to train a beagle. It’s a little trick, but definitely not impossible.
2. A Guard Dog
If you expect your beagle to guard the house while you are gone, I would be sure to put your valuables someplace safe! Some of the traits that make beagles such great family pets are the same things that make them bad guard dogs.
They are very social and they do love to meet new people. As a result, they are very outgoing, even to strangers. So while your beagle may make a little noise for an intruder, his next step will probably be to lick not attack.
3. A Quiet Dog
Beagles are very social and outgoing. They also have a really cool bark and are very vocal. Now, if you are not a beagle lover, replace “really cool bark” with “loud and annoying howl.”
Point being, beagles can be pretty vocal. If you live somewhere where that’s going to be a problem, a beagle is probably not right for you. Or if you are trying to sneak your pup past the landlord….probably won’t work with a beagle.
Beagles are not quiet and reserved dogs. If that’s what you are looking for, you might have better luck with a more subdued breed.
4. A Dog That Will Stay Off Leash
Once again, because they are scent hounds, beagles are prone to catch a scent and take off in hot pursuit. Not a good thing if your dog is off the leash or out of the yard.
To be safe, you should probably have a fenced backyard as well. They love to sniff around and they love to take off. It’s in their blood to track a scent and run it down. O that note, make sure your fence is secure. You gotta lock it down like a supermax prison! You don’t want your beagle on the loose. Remember, it’s your job to keep your puppy safe.
Ok, don’t be discouraged by all that beagle badmouthing above. Beagles are awesome, we just don’t want you to be surprised if you adopt one.
As was mentioned earlier, beagles are great family dogs. They are full of energy and love to play. Playing with your dog is a great way to build a bond between you and your dog. It also helps you understand your dog better.
The pros of the beagle far outweigh the cons. Not only do they have an agreeable disposition, they are a pretty resilient dog breed. They really are fun to be around.
Potty training a beagle puppy can be extra challenging. This is because of the beagle’s ultra strong sense of smell. Many times puppies will go where they smell they have gone before. With a beagles nose, it’s very hard to get rid of the smell on carpet to the point where your beagle puppy can’t smell.
Other than that, you potty train a beagle much the same as any other puppy. Check out this article for some of the basics.
The most important thing when potty training a beagle puppy is to really pay close attention to your puppy in the early phases. The first sign you see that your puppy is about to go, you need to get him outside.
You also need to choose a word that you and your family will use when taking your dog out to go. It can be “potty” or you can get creative and call it sunshine. The important part is that you are consistent. Soon your dog will learn what that means.
Once you get him outside, you need to praise him for going in the right spot. You also should give him a little treat. You really want to encourage your puppy when he goes in the right spot.
On the flip side, you should never use physical force when potty training your puppy. If you catch your puppy in the act, quickly pick him up and take him outside. Then praise him once he goes out there.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but punishing your dog after the fact does no good. They just don’t get it.
Remember, the sooner you start house training your beagle, the better. You don’t want them to get used to going in the house.
As was mentioned before, beagles are not the most obedient dogs. They get distracted, they can be “stubborn,” but they can be trained. Because of their nature, they won’t respond well to any kind of coercive training techniques. They respond best to positive reinforcement training, the kind we whole heartedly recommend on this site.
It is important to focus on positive reinforcement if you want a healthy relationship with your new beagle. You can express disapproval by saying no or nuh-uh, but don’t overuse it. With most behaviors it’s better to either redirect or ignore.
There are 3 main commands that you want your dog to to know: Sit, Stay and Come. If that sounds too simple, think about it for a second. All 3 commands are about keeping control over your dog. The important part is that your dog learns to listen to you. This is the extra tricky part with beagles.
We have in more in depth articles on teaching those 3 commands. Check them out below:
Read these articles and keep in mind the special challenges you will have with your beagle. Luckily, they love food so treats work well. It will just take a little extra patience. When working on come, make sure you do it in an area that is secure, so your beagle doesn’t run off and get into danger.
Remember that beagles are very smart dogs. They will catch on quickly to your cues. You are always training your dog whether you realize it or not. That means they learn bad habits and behaviors from you as well. That is why it is so important to be consistent when training your beagle.
Once you get the 3 main commands down, you will have spent enough time with your dog to form a good, solid relationship. This will be so beneficial going forward for you and your beagle.
Hopefully by now you are ready for a beagle in your life. You won’t regret it, as long as you hold up your end of the bargain. If you want a great training guide for free, check out our Everyday Training Guide.
We always suggest adopting so that a doggie can find a good home. Fortunately, there are lots of great beagle rescue organizations. Here are some links to help you find one near you:
Dog problems? Train your dog in a humane and gentle way.