Can a beagle be left alone? Managing Separation Anxiety

I love my Beagle. He’s a loyal friend and wants to be by my side all of the time. 

Before I got him, I didn’t understand that Beagles form such strong bonds and suffer from separation anxiety. My beagle does not like to be away from me, that is for sure, but can a Beagle be left alone? 

Beagles can be left alone for a maximum of 6-8 hours in my experience. Any longer than this, they will need to be let outside to use the bathroom. Beagles do not like spending time alone as they are an extremely social breed, but they can learn to adapt with proper care and training.

I’ve heard people comment not to leave a beagle alone for more than 4 hours, but I think that is ridiculous unless it’s for a medical reason.

It’s true, Beagles get separation anxiety, but with the proper training, they can learn to adapt and can get comfortable being alone.

16 Tips To Train a Beagle to Stay Home Alone

The easiest way to teach a Beagle how to stay home alone is to create a positive experience. They have to be re-conditioned and learn to associate positive things with being alone.

The first goal should be to teach your Beagle not to follow you around the house all of the time. You will teach him that being by himself can be a good thing.

The First and second tip were inspired by Cesar Millan

Tip #1 Count the Number of Times He Follows You

Start by counting the number of times your dog follows you around the house in a day, and then divide this number in half. 

Your first goal is to reduce the number of times he follows you by half.

Pick a day that you have the time to get an accurate count, or just take your best guess. You want to count every time you leave one room and go into another.

Tip #2 Teach Him to Stay

Open a bag of his favorite treats, something that amps him up and gets him excited. Beagles love food, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

Bring him to an area in the house that you want him to stay. With a calm voice, command him to “stay.” Or use whatever word or phrase seems good to you.

Make sure you are calm but firm. He needs to understand that you want him to stay. He should be able to see and smell the treats that you have.

Tip #3 Walk Out of the Room

After he understands what you want him to do, you need to leave the room, even if it’s only for 20-30 seconds. 

Ensure he stays if he doesn’t obey at first keep at it until he does.

Tip #4 Reward Him with Treats

Can a beagle be left alone? Managing Separation Anxiety

When you get to the point, your Beagle can stay for at least 20-30 seconds, walk back into the room and reward him with a treat.

Use your tone and body language to communicate that you are pleased with him. Be calm but firm. There is no need to overly excite him with too much praise or excitement in your voice.

Tip #5 Increase Time Left Alone

Once your Beagle has mastered the “stay” command for 30 seconds, you want to increase the amount of time he is alone.

Get him to the point he can be alone long enough to fall asleep independently. That’s what Beagles love to do anyway.

It’s important not to call his name from another room. If you want to reward him or speak to him, you should go to him to release him from your command to stay.

Tip #6 Give Him Space

Giving a dog a room or an area of the house that belongs to him will help train him to be home alone. 

The area should have a bed, toys, a safe bone, and things to occupy his time. You want this area to be fun for him. He should feel like he owns it, not in an aggressive sense, but so that he has a feeling of belonging there.

Tip #8 Crate Train

Crate training is a very effective method of teaching a dog how to be left home alone. Once he has an area of the house that is his, you can place his crate in the same room.

Crates should not be used for punishment. You want your dog to view his crate as a safe place that he enjoys. The door should be left open the majority of the time.

You want to use positive reinforcement and train him to enjoy his crate. You want to get him to the point where he can come and go as he pleases.

Tip #9 Create a Positive Association With Being Alone

A beagle with separation anxiety has an excessive amount of energy. While you are training him, you want to give him things to do that redirect this energy into something positive. This will get his mind off being alone.

From experience, I know that Beagles loves Kongs filled with peanut butter. This is an excellent example of what I mean.

The idea is that you want to associate his safe area (room or crate) as a positive thing. Rewarding him with treats teaches him to associate his environment and behavior with something positive.

Tip #9 Stop the Free Lunches

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Giving your Beagle treats for bad behavior will undo the positive reinforcements you are implementing in your training.

You teach him that any behavior, such as begging for food, is acceptable and something you want him to do.

This can undo his training. 

Don’t reinforce negative behavior. Always reward positive behavior.

I know that Beagles love food. They have sad, soulful eyes that just make you love them and want to give them something to eat. They’re so cute but don’t do.

Begin by establishing rules for yourself and your family on when he is allowed to have treats and stick to them.

If he is begging for food, it’s ok to give him something once he obeys a command.

Never waste a treat, and never give your Beagle a free lunch!

Tip #10 Get a Second Dog

Beagles do well in pairs, be it with another Beagle or a different breed. Some Beagles will benefit by having another dog in the house.

Tip #12 Don’t Let Him Be Co-dependant

Beagles have a special place in my heart. They are highly empathetic and develop stronger bongs than other breeds. They make wonderful therapy dogs.

Even so, your Beagle may be so attached to you that it’s unhealthy for him. This happened to my Beagle. 

An extremely co-dependant Beagle needs others in his life, especially other dogs.

Tip #11 Try Doggy Daycare

Can a beagle be left alone? Managing Separation Anxiety

Beagles love to socialize with other dogs. When I take my Beagle to the dog park, and he’s around his own kind, he forgets all about me. I love seeing him so happy and fulfilled.

Taking your dog to a doggy daycare kennel, at least one or two days a week, will give him something fun to look forward to.

I understand that it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be every day.

Tip #12 Exercise Him Before You Leave

Beagles have a lot of energy, and they need daily exercise, 30 minutes per day minimum, though an hour or more is better.

I take my Beagle for long walks in the morning, and when I get home, that lasts 20 to 30 minutes. By the time I’m ready to leave the house, he is exhausted and sprawled out on the floor, taking a nap. Of course, he wakes up when I leave, but he’s usually too tired to care.

Tip #13 Change Your Routine

Dogs, Beagles especially, are masters at picking up on our subconscious behavior. When you are getting ready to leave the house, you do things that give your dog a heads up that you will be leaving. 

Separation anxiety begins before you leave the house. You might not even realize this.

For example, if you grab your keys each time you are getting ready to leave the house, your Beagle recognizes the sound. It likely has a negative association in his mind that triggers anxiety.

You want to change this and create positive enforcement at the sound of your keys.

It doesn’t have to be keys because the trigger could be something else for your Beagle, like putting on your coat or shoes. The point is to find what you do in your routine that lets your Beagle know when you are about to leave.

When you go through your routine and your Beagle notices, you can bring him into his safe area, command him to stay, and reward him with his favorite treat.

This reinforces the previous training and develops a positive association, in your Beagles mind, with the routine that you go through before you leave the house.

You can condition him to anticipate a reward at the sounds of your keys, shoes, or whatever you do before you leave.

Pavlov’s Experiment

It’s similar to the experiment Pavlov did with his dogs. 

They were fed meat at the sounds of a bell. 

Each time the bell would ring, the dogs would salivate in anticipation of food, even if none was present. 

Pavlov also notices that the dogs began to salivate at the sound of his assistant’s footsteps. You can get your Beagle to do this, too, in a sense.

They were conditioned, by Pavlov, to expect a reward. You can take this same psychological understanding and apply it to what you do that triggers your Beagle before you leave.

Tip #14 Never Punish Your Beagle For Anxiety

Can a beagle be left alone? Managing Separation Anxiety

If your Beagle has separation anxiety and is misbehaves while you’re gone, don’t punish him for it.

He’s not acting out of revenge or trying to spite you. Any damage he does when he is by himself is because he is under extreme duress

He doesn’t want to be fearful and anxious just as much as you don’t want him to misbehave while your gone (if that’s what he’s doing).

Imagine the anxiety your Beagle has when you are gone. He’s suffering all day long trying to cope with intense fear, and he acts out and destroys something or gets into some mischief.

When you come home and punish him, you are adding to his psychological distress, not helping it. You are making things worse and traumatizing him further than he already is.

Beagles can learn to cope with being home alone, but it requires gentleness, patience, and love. Bite your tongue when you become frustrated with him.

Tip #15 Try Anxiety Medication 

Anxiety medication for Beagles with separation anxiety may be necessary in extreme cases. There are different types of anxiety medication for dogs, so you’ll have to speak with your vet to find the right one.

Typically, your vet will prescribe an anti-depressant or  SSRI for Beagles with long-term anxiety issues.

Benzodiazepines are sometimes prescribed for your dog to take as needed, either by itself or in conjunction with another medication. Benzo’s are good for situational anxiety, like thunderstorms or traveling in a car.

#16 Try CBD Oil

CBD oil is used to treat all kinds of disorders in humans and even dogs. It may calm your Beagle down and minimize the amount of anxiety he experiences.

There aren’t any scientific studies done that support any claims made to it being an effective treatment. It’s a popular alternative therapy and may be worth a try when you’ve exhausted all of the other tips on this list.

How do Beagles develop separation anxiety?

It’s not natural for a dog to be by himself. In the wild, dogs live in packs and are always together. They sleep in dens and snuggle up with each other for warmth and comfort.

They are never alone.

Humans practice was Cesar Millan refers to as “separation and Beagles don’t understand life in our world.

Humans aren’t with each other all of the time.

We live in a society that requires us to be separate. We go to work or school and take care of responsibilities. We teach our kids how to become independent and responsible adults.

It wouldn’t be normal for your significant other or your kids to follow you into work every day. It wouldn’t be normal for you to follow them around at work or school either.

It’s the same for dogs. They can’t be with us all of the time. It’s unfortunate when they don’t understand this, but it can turn into something your Beagle is able to deal with in a healthy way.

Beagles need to learn the concept of separation. This can be accomplished with the right training, but for Beagles, it may take some time.

Beagle’s Are Empathetic

Beagles are very social and require a lot of attention. They form strong bonds with their owners and fellow dogs in the family.

Beagles view their human family members as their pack. So it’s natural for them to want to follow you around all of the time.

Some breeds are more independent and can be aloof, like the Chow Chow. They, typically, have an easier time being left alone.

Each breed has its own uniqueness, but Beagles are prone to experience separation anxiety more than other breeds.

I think it’s because of their deep and empathetic nature. They seem to be empaths and can feel our emotions deeply. It can be difficult to get them to detach, but at times it’s necessary and good for him to learn.

Separation Anxiety FAQ

Why does my beagle howl when left alone?

He’s howling out of boredom, anxiety, or both. Beagles may make a lot of noises. The most common one is called “baying” and is probably the noise he’s making when he’s alone. It’s just the way they communicate with humans and other dogs.

Hunting beagles are trained to howl when they pick up a scent trail. This signals the hunters and other dogs that they’ve found something.

If your Beagle is going through separation anxiety while you are gone, that could be a way for him to cope.

If he doesn’t have much to do while you’re gone, then he could just be trying to entertain himself.

How long can you leave a beagle alone?

A Beagle can be left alone for up to 8 hours before he will need to relieve himself outside. Anything longer than 8 hours, and you should call a friend to let him out or hire a dog sitter.

Can Beagles be left outside?

Can a beagle be left alone? Managing Separation Anxiety

Some Beagles live most of their lives outside. This is common with working beagles that are used for hunting. I’ve known some people to do it, but I can’t say I recommend it, but then again, that’s not my world.

If you have a pet Beagle, then I’d caution you against keeping your Beagle outside. Beagles have such a strong sense of smell that they will wander off the first chance they get.

You’d have to keep them on a leash or inside a fenced-in Kennel.

Beagles can be quite the escape artist. Just do a quick search on youtube. I don’t recommend keeping your Beagle outside, but I’m not judging the people who do.

I just don’t understand why you’d want a pet in the first place if it has to live outside. My beagle is my family member. I’d never make him spend the night outside.

If you are building a dog kennel and he will have others with him, provided the shelter is sufficient, and the weather is good, it might not be too big of a deal.

I understand doing this for working dogs, just not pets.

Andrew Sharpe

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