How to Train a Beagle: Everything you Need to Know
Beagles are amazing dogs with a rich history as hunting companions. However, whether or not you plan to take your Beagle hunting, obedience training is an important part of being a responsible pet owner and unfortunately, beagles do have a bit of a reputation for being challenging to train!
Beagles are natural hunting dogs and have a strong prey drive and can become easily distracted by smells and sights. Obedience training helps to control this behaviour, keeping your dog safe and focused. Plus, it’s always good to know you have control over your dog, especially in situations where safety is a concern.
Establishing a good relationship with your Beagle is crucial for their wellbeing. Obedience training is a great way to build trust and communication between you and your dog.
In this article, we’re going to look at and explain all the steps you need to take to effectively train your beagle. You can use the table of contents below to skip forward to a specific section if you’d like!
Before you begin to train your beagle, it’s important to understand their temperament and personality, then you can begin to create a comfortable and safe training environment.
Understanding your Beagle’s temperament and personality
Beagles are social animals and thrive on companionship. They love to be with their human family and other dogs, and they can become anxious and destructive if left alone for long periods of time. So, make sure you spend quality time with your Beagle and give them plenty of attention and affection.
Beagles are also extremely intelligent and curious dogs that love to explore their environment, coupled with their strong sense of smell and the fact they love to eat everything, can make raining a challenge!. They can be stubborn at times, but they respond well to positive reinforcement and rewards. Use treats, praise, and toys to motivate your Beagle and make training a fun and positive experience.
Setting up a comfortable and safe training environment
Having the right environment and setup to train your beagle is absolutely critical if you want to have some success, especially as they can be so challenging to train, here’s a few of my top tips for creating the right environment:
- Find a quiet and distraction-free area
- This will help them stay focussed
- Make sure the area is safe and free of any hazards
- This will keep them free of risk of injury
- Get some nice, comfortable and appropriate training equipment
- Create a positive and welcoming atmosphere in the training environment
- Perhaps the most essential tip, your beagle is not going to trust you if you don’t act in a positive and welcoming manner, never use aggression or get cross, as this will have the opposite effect, plus we don’t want our beagles living in fear of their owners!
Now you’ve set up your training environment and got your tools and treats, you can get started! Let’s take a look at some basic training commands.
Basic Commands Training
Basic commands training is the first step to training your beagle, it’s key to get these right before you move onto other steps, as these very much lay the foundation for training your beagle. The first four commands to teach your beagle are; ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘down’.
Generally you should start with the ‘sit’ command, and then you can add the other commands as an extension of the training, here’s the process I followed with my beagle Bella:
- Start by getting your beagle’s attention. Call their name or use a treat to get them to look at you.
- Hold a treat just above your beagle’s nose, and then slowly move it up and back towards their tail. This should cause your beagle to naturally sit down in order to keep their eyes on the treat.
- As soon as your beagle sits, praise them and give them the treat. Use a positive and upbeat tone of voice to show them that they did something good.
- Repeat this process several times a day, gradually raising your hand higher each time until your beagle can sit without the treat being present. Be sure to praise and reward your beagle each time they successfully sit.
- Once your beagle has mastered sitting, you can start to add a verbal cue such as “sit” or “down” to let them know what you want them to do. Say the word just before you move the treat up and back, so your beagle starts to associate the command with the action.
- Practise the sit command in different locations and around distractions, so your beagle learns to respond to your command no matter where they are or what’s going on around them.
Remember that patience and consistency are key when training your beagle. Keep the training sessions short and fun, and always end on a positive note. With time and practice, your beagle will soon be confident and happy to move on to more advanced commands.
Advanced Training for Beagles
Teaching your Beagle more advanced commands are by no means essential, but can be useful if you want to take your beagle’s training that one step further, or are looking to use them for hunting and having them take part in competitions.
What are some more advanced commands to teach beagles?
Here are a few of our favourite advanced commands to teach beagles:
- Teaching your Beagle “Heel”
- This command teaches your beagle to walk beside you on a lead without pulling, getting a harness is useful for this as it reduces strain on the neck. It is a useful command for taking your beagle on walks or in public places. Start by having your beagle walk on a loose lead, and reward them with treats and praise when they stay close to you. Gradually decrease the treats and praise as they become more reliable.
- Teaching your Beagle “Leave it”
- This command teaches your beagle to ignore something they are interested in, such as food on the ground or another animal. This can be exceptionally challenging, as beagles have a brilliant sense of smell and can be stubborn by nature. Start by placing a treat on the ground and saying “leave it.” When your beagle looks away from the treat, reward them with a treat from your hand. Gradually make the “leave it” command more difficult by using more tempting items.
- Teaching your Beagle “Speak” and “Quiet”
- These commands teach your beagle to bark on command and to stop barking on command. Start by getting your beagle to bark by saying “speak” and then reward them with treats and praise. Then say “quiet” and wait for them to stop barking before rewarding them. Gradually make the “quiet” command more difficult by using more distracting noises.
- Teaching your Beagle “Fetch”
- This command teaches your beagle to retrieve an object and bring it back to you. Start by getting your beagle interested in a toy and throwing it a short distance. When they bring it back to you, reward them with treats and praise. Gradually increase the distance and complexity of the fetch command.
- Teaching your Beagle “Find it”
- This command teaches your beagle to find a hidden object using their sense of smell. Start by hiding a treat in plain sight and saying “find it.” When your beagle finds the treat, reward them with praise and treats. Gradually make the “find it” command more difficult by hiding the treat in more challenging locations.
Once you’ve mastered these, you’re well on your way to a fully trained beagle! If you want to go further, you could look into agility training, which is slightly out of scope for this guide as most owners won’t be interested!
Useful Tools & Resources for Training a Beagle
There are many tools and resources that can make your life easier when trying to train a stubborn beagle, here’s a few of my favourites:
Training treats: High-value training treats are an important tool for advanced training because they can help motivate your beagle to learn new commands. Use small, soft treats that your beagle loves, and give them as a reward for good behaviour.
Clicker: A clicker is a small, handheld device that makes a clicking sound when pressed. It is used to mark good behaviour and signal to your beagle that a treat is coming. Clicker training is a popular and effective method for advanced training.
Long lead: A long lead can be useful for practising recall and advanced obedience commands. It allows your beagle to move around freely while still being under your control.
Treat dispenser toys: Treat dispenser toys such as puzzle feeders can be used to mentally stimulate your beagle and keep them occupied. These toys require your beagle to work for their food, which can help prevent boredom and destructive behaviour.
Professional dog trainer: Working with a professional dog trainer can be a helpful tool for advanced training. A trainer can provide guidance, feedback, and personalised training plans to help you and your beagle reach your training goals.
Common Beagle Training Issues
Dealing with common beagle training issue such as barking, biting, and chewing issues in your Beagle can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that these behaviours can often be corrected with consistent training and patience. Here are some tips that might help:
One way to discourage barking is to teach your Beagle the “quiet” command. Start by saying “quiet” in a firm but calm tone every time your Beagle barks. When they stop barking, reward them with a treat or praise.
It’s important to teach your Beagle that biting is not acceptable behaviour. One way to do this is to redirect their attention to a toy or chew bone whenever they start to nip or bite. This will help them learn that biting people is not an appropriate way to play.
To discourage chewing, make sure your Beagle has plenty of appropriate chew toys and bones to play with. When you catch them chewing on something they shouldn’t be, say “no” in a firm tone and redirect their attention to a toy or bone.
Training a beagle can be challenging due to their stubborn nature, however, it’s crucial to get at least some basic training in your beagle
Remember, training takes time and patience, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. With consistency and positive reinforcement, you can help your Beagle overcome these behavioural issues and become a well-behaved, happy pup!
What are the best treats to use for Beagle training?
Some of our favourite treats for training Bella were gravy bones, she couldn’t get enough of them!
Can you train an older Beagle?
Whilst puppies are generally easier to train, older Beagles can definitely learn new behaviours and habits. In fact, many older dogs can be just as eager to learn and please their owners as younger dogs.
How do I address aggressive behaviour in my Beagle?
Dealing with aggressive behavior in a Beagle can be a serious issue, but with the right approach, it can be addressed and corrected. First you must find the cause of the aggression, is it fear? anxiety?. You should socialise your beagle more and teach it some basic commands to establish some discipline. If all else fails, you should seek professional help.
How long does it take to train a Beagle?
Training a Beagle can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the behaviour or task you are trying to teach and your dog’s individual temperament and learning style.
Is obedience training essential for all Beagles?
Whilst not essential, I would strongly recommend obedience training for all beagles, this will help them stay safe when off the lead, promote good behaviour, provide mental stimulation and help you keep a strong bond with your dog.