Beagles have a bit of a bad reputation, they are often labelled stubborn and people say they are hard to train. The truth is, it can be tricky but beagles can be trained.
I was lucky enough to get Luna my beagle when she was 8 weeks old, she was a blank slate that I could mould into the dog that I wanted. I know this isn't true for everyone, many beagles find their forever home later in life. Beagles are a common breed found in rescue centres up and down the country and that is because they can be hard work but with great training and careful management, beagles can be the most wonderful family pet.
Beagles are scent hounds, a perfect description of a Beagle is a nose on legs. Beagles were bred to work independently from their humans for hours at a time, following scent trails of wildlife over large distances. Their white tips on their tails were bred into them, as this allowed their hunters to keep an eye on where they were. A beagle has more than 220 million scent receptors, not far behind the leader on the scent receptor board the Blood Hound. Their big floppy ears, as cute as they have come with a purpose, they can angle their ears to trap the scent near their face and direct it to their nose. Genius! How To Train A Beagle
Find The Right Motivation Beagles are food-driven dogs, you'll find only a handful who aren't. When it comes to training any dog, you have to find out what motivates the dog you are working with, this could be food, toys, playing a game or affection from you. The way to Luna's heart is food, this makes training fun as she'll do anything for a treat. However, beagles have a tendency to put on weight so watch the waistline if you're doing training sessions every day.
Put In The Work If you're lucky enough to get your beagle from a puppy then put in the work from the day you bring your beagle puppy home. Do short training sessions every day, work through all the basics and make training fun. I don't find beagle puppies different to other puppies, all puppies require consistent training from their owners.
Give Them An Outlet to Use Their Nose A beagle who doesn't get to use their nose will most likely use their nose in ways that you wish they wouldn't. Lots of beagle owners won't let their beagle off lead because they'll be off following a scent and disappear for hours at a time. We did scent work with Luna from when she was a tiny puppy and we've never had a problem with her running off following a scent trail. Giving your beagle an outlet to use their nose, that you have control of will fulfil a natural need for them, plus it'll make them very happy.
Recall Training Is So Important A recall is a hard behaviour for dogs, we're asking the dog to stop having fun and to come back to their owner, often for just a 'Good Girl'. When it comes to recall training with your beagle, use a variety of rewards. I still reward every single recall from Luna and she is 2 years old, I do mix how I reward her, sometimes it's with food and sometimes it'll be a game of tug with me or I'll throw her frisbee which she loves. I keep recall interesting, I don't just reward with praise alone as I know Luna wouldn't stick around quite so often. I reward everything from her checking in with me, staying close whilst off lead, coming back to me even if I didn't call her. Beagles can be let off the lead but it requires hard work and dedication from their owners.
Training your beagle to come back to a whistle.
Work on at least 5 different cues that you can use for recall.
Don't reinforce any attention-seeking behaviours or barking (this is not a time to give them food).
Don't punish or use any aversive training methods, use positive reinforcement only.
Beagles may be small but they are strong so work on loose lead walking.
Use a long line on walks until you are confident that your beagle puppy will come back when called.
Get in touch to find out how I can help you to train your beagle.