Renowned for being bold and cheerful, Beagles were principally bred for tracking hares by scent. The Beagle breed is well-tempered, smart and amiable – all of these traits making it easy and enjoyable to live with.
However, it’s also important to be aware of how active Beagles are. They will need plenty of exercise in their own unique way due to their astounding levels of energy, stamina and determination.
Due to their natural working instincts, the best way to train and manage a Beagle is tailoring training that works in harmony with these instincts, rather than against them.
To do this, we first have to have more understanding of the Beagle’s mentality, then we can establish the best ways to train them in ways that will engage and benefit them.
Due to the Beagle’s active and lively nature, they require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to sufficiently match their levels of endurance.
This is why their training should be extensive in order to burn off excess energy, as well as both varied and interactive to keep them interested and stimulated mentally.
A great way of doing this is to incorporate the Beagle’s scenting ability and desire to track by scent into a training game.
Scent training games
Beagle training can begin with teaching your dog simple scenting and tracking games. For example, hiding one of their treats, i.e. one with a scent that will win their attention, in a faraway location, and then asking them to locate it.
This can be done by utilising the Beagle’s willingness to learn by using a cue such as “find it!” You can then hide their toy or treat further away each time and hide them in unpredictable locations. This will improve your dog’s range and keep them thinking while they run around.
Once your dog becomes well trained in this game, you could eventually use a different term for different toys, and then teach your Beagle to selectively find a particular one at your command.
Keeping training fun and engaging for your Beagle is vital in both retaining their attention and as a way to encourage them to learn new skills and responses.
In terms of house training, the Beagle can be particularly stubborn and challenging, so it is essential to be consistent with this kind of training and to start it as soon as possible.
You should provide them with food at the same time every day so that you can learn when your dog will need to go outside – as this will tend to follow consistent patterns.
Allow your Beagle outside to toilet frequently throughout the day and reward or praise them when they toilet in the appropriate place. Ignore any accidents in the house.
Calling a Beagle
Beagles are notoriously difficult to divert from a trail once they’ve caught a scent. This makes teaching a Beagle to come to you at your beck and call a hard challenge.
It is a good idea to find out early on what motivates your Beagle most. High value food rewards may be needed but some dogs respond well to clicker training, attention, a game or a toy as a reward.
A high value reward will almost certainly be needed to get a Beagle to respond to your recall and return to you reliably, otherwise they will just continue to look for a reward of their own at their own leisure while exploring!
Great effort, great reward
It’s important to note that you should not attempt to stifle a Beagle’s natural instincts, e.g. the desire to follow scents – this will not work and will only result in an untrained, unsatisfied Beagle.
Training the Beagle effectively certainly isn’t a walk in the park, but as long as you use routines that work in tandem with the Beagle’s natural instincts, i.e. following scents, learning and running, then you should have no problem, and possibly quite a bit of fun, in successfully training your Beagle.
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