Can beagles do tricks?


So, in your quest to find a not-too-big, not-too-small, family-friendly dog, you’ve decided on a beagle. Excellent choice!

You might have heard rumors that Beagles can grow up to be hard-headed, independent, and impossible to train.

Wanting to avoid a future of destroyed carpet or furniture, an important question to ask yourself might be:

Can beagles do tricks?

Yes, they can learn many types of tricks, but they may require more time and patience than other breeds. Training a Beagle requires more determination and consistency than other breeds. They can be stubborn, and their noses can distract them.

Smells Can Distract Beagles During Training

Beagles were originally bred to hunt rabbits. They are a member of the hound family, which means that they are driven by scent.

Because they were bred for one purpose, to follow scents and track down prey, beagles can be easily distracted, especially by scents. 

Once they pick up a scent, they have a one-track mind and are determined to find what’s on the other end of the scent.

The downside is that when they have to choose between the scent and your commands, they probably won’t choose you. 

Beagles have a reputation for being stubborn, independent, and obstinate, which is why it’s important to get ahead of their instincts. This can be done by training them from an early age to respond to your commands — even when there’s something more enticing nearby.

Despite their focus on scents, beagles are a popular family dog because of their independent, excitable, affectionate nature. They would make an excellent addition to anyone’s family.

But if them returning to you when you call them is something you would like to happen at some point, read on for some tips on how to train your beagle.

Correct Bad Behavior

Beagles were bred to be excellent hunting companions. Still, some great behaviors for hunting get lost in translation as a house dog. Here are some behaviors to look out for and keep in mind when training your beagle and beagle-proofing your house:

  • Separation anxiety. Beagles were bred to hunt in packs. That need for social connection can become separation anxiety when left alone for too long. And an anxious dog can become a destructive dog. To help alleviate that anxiety, be sure to give your beagle plenty of play, exercise, and walks before leaving them alone for long periods. If not, your carpet and furniture might pay the price.
  • Howling and baying. Beagles have a distinctive call that can carry over long distances. Perfect for alerting you to captured rabbits. Not so great for your neighbors. Be sure to train your beagle from a young age, and it isn’t ok to howl. We will address this trick down below.
  • Chasing and tracking. They love to follow their nose and chase down prey. Be sure to keep your beagle on a leash to keep them from wandering off. A fenced-in backyard with a dig guard would also be a good idea. Beagles are known as escape artists. They will follow the scent trail they are on even if it leads them straight into traffic!

Tips To Train Your Beagle

Training a Beagle to act appropriately is important. Beagles can learn many tricks but they should master the basics first. Correcting bad behavior is more important than teaching them to do tricks.

Once they grasp the basics you can teach them just about any trick you want. They’re very intelligent and capable of learning many complex tricks

Tip #1: Socialize Them Early

Beagles are friendly and energetic dogs. Start early by exposing them to new experiences, such as introducing them to other dogs, people, and new things like car rides. 

By socializing your beagle, you will help them grow up to become friendly, confident dogs while letting them play and get out some of their energy.

Tip #2 Correct Bad Behavior Early

Begin correcting behaviors you don’t want and reinforcing behaviors you do want as soon as possible. Beagles are independent-minded pups, so creating a foundation for obedience training early on will help you in the long run. 

  • Start by using a firm (but not too scary) voice and specific command to discourage a behavior, such as “no” or “uh-uh,” so they learn early on how you will signal an unwanted behavior.
  • Use lots of positive words and petting when they do a good job! Be sure you have a specific word or command that lets them know “this was a good behavior.” If you say “good girl/boy/dog” all the time, use a separate word specifically for when they follow an order.
  • Make sure you don’t unintentionally reinforce negative behavior with food. Beagles are highly motivated by food. A popular saying among Beagle owners is that “a way to a beagle’s heart is through his stomach.” This is very true! Use food and treats to reward GOOD behavior and make sure you are not unintentionally reinforcing bad behavior by giving them food when they are begging (or doing something you don’t want them to do)

Tip #3: Begin Leash Training Early

When walking your beagle, they may end up dragging you all over the sidewalk trying to follow their nose. Unless you enjoy being drug around like that (not my personal preference), here’s what you should do:

  • When your beagle pulls, come to a stop and bring them back to your side. Then, reward them with a little treat and some positive reinforcement. Keep them close by your side and repeat the reward until they remain by your side.
  • Be patient! Beagles were bred to follow their nose and sense of direction. It will take time to teach them to look to you instead. Consistency is key.

Tip #4: Teach Them The Basics: Sit, Stay, Come

The most essential tricks every pup should know. Teaching your beagle to stop what they’re doing and follow your command will take time and patience. Still, with a little consistency and lots of positive reinforcement, you’ll have your pup sitting, staying, and laying down exactly when you want them to.

  • Be sure to be consistent with training. It’s something you need to work on every day until they understand. Be sure to reinforce the behavior as long as it takes until they get it.
  • Once they grasp the trick, be sure to reinforce that behavior when they might be distracted, like outside, on a walk, or in noisy environments. 

Be consistent! No rewards or praise until they perform the behavior you want.

Basic Tricks To Teach a Beagle

Sit:

  • Hold a treat just in front of your pup’s face. Bring the treat up and over his head until he comes to a sitting position. Say “sit” in a firm voice. Repeat the word as you hand them the treat and give them lots of praise. 

Stay

  • Once they’ve learned to sit, you can start working on stay. Bring them to the sitting position, hold up your hand and say “stay” in a firm voice. Then walk away. They may only stay for a short period of time, but give them a treat and lots of praise. Keep working on the command until they understand how to stay.

Come

  • Whenever you call your pup’s name, and they come running to you, be sure to say “come” and reward them when they get to you. Be sure to use extra treats and lots of positive reinforcements, so they know to choose you instead of whatever they were doing instead!

Additional trick: Quiet

  • Anyone with a hound (or living in the general vicinity as a hound) knows exactly how loud their baying can be. Additionally, this barking and baying can come across as annoying or aggressive to other people or dogs. 
  • When you see them lift their head and pucker their lips to howl, quickly distract them with a toy. Then, when they don’t bark, bring them to a sitting position and reward them. You may never train them not to bark completely, but you can train them to stop when you want them to.

Let your beagle be a beagle!

Give your pup plenty of space to run, play and sniff their beagle heart out. Be sure to take them for lots of walks and play with them regularly.

Let them get their energy out, roam around the backyard or other enclosed spaces, and give them plenty of time to just be themselves. And you’ll have a smart, independent, energetic pup to spend lots of time with.

Final Thoughts

Can beagles do tricks? Hopefully, now you knw that with consistency and patience, Beagles can learn tricks! Beagles are independent, stubborn, and determined hounds who will follow their nose wherever it takes them. 

They’re also energetic and pack-oriented, so they need plenty of play and time with their people.

Do you have a Beagle? What tricks have you taught him/her? Let us know in the comments!

Andrew

I am a dog trainer and passionate about canine health and behavior problems. I train dogs of all ages but specialize in training dogs with behavioral issues such as aggression or anxiety. My favorite part of my job is watching the transformation that takes place when an owner starts to understand their pet’s needs and how to meet them.

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