If you are considering adding a Beagle to your family, knowing if they are prone to biting may help you decide if this is the right dog for you.
Maybe you already have a Beagle and you’ve noticed his behavior is more aggressive than other dogs you’ve been around. Or, perhaps you’re in the market for a new four-legged friend and want to know the likelihood of a Beagle being more of a biter than other breeds.
Are Beagles prone to biting?
Beagles bite a lot. They tend to use their mouths for communication, exploration, teething, playing, or when bored. Knowing what causes a Beagle to bite and how you can redirect this behavior will help both of you have the relationship you desire.
When your puppy is young, biting can seem harmless, and even cute. When they’re teething, you know there’s no malice to this behavior, just relief for sore gums. But, as your pet grows and the biting gets worse, it can become problematic if you don’t get to the root of the problem and find a solution for it.
As an avid dog fan and someone who has spent countless hours researching dog behavior, I can tell you firsthand what a difference it makes when your pooch has learned to stop this painful habit. Keep reading to learn how to help him move past it.
Do Beagles Bite?
The short answer is yes. Beagles are mouthy, and they like to use their mouths to explore everything in their path. But – though their mouthiness may just be a breed-specific behavior, that doesn’t mean we have to like or tolerate it, especially when it hurts.
What Causes Beagles to Bite?
Because of their inherent nature, what may be seen as biting or chewing, might just be your Beagle trying to figure out if something is food or fun. Unlike certain breeds, Beagles don’t usually bite to harm, but instead for other reasons that have nothing to do with aggression.
There’s lots of research behind why teething makes a puppy bite. Just like with a baby, when teeth are trying to break through the gums, it’s painful, and biting down on something will oftentimes alleviate some of that pain.
If your dog’s biting is because of teething, there are still things you can do to control or redirect it, but know this stage won’t last long. (Most Beagle puppies are done teething by 8 months.)
Biting is to a puppy what roughhousing is to human children! Because dogs use their mouths for so much stimulus and exploration, biting – when it’s done in a playful way – is not intended to hurt or harm.
(If you watch two puppies play, mouthing and biting are all part of the fun.) Again, this is not behavior that should be seen as aggressive but needs to be stopped and dealt with early on, so it doesn’t become problematic later.
Beagles are hunters and therefore, smellers. (In fact, the olfactory area in their brains is 40 times bigger than a human’s, meaning they truly go through life leading with their nose!)
We all know that taste and smell are closely linked, so for an animal that has a heightened sense of smell, it would make sense that using their mouths to get a better sense of something would seem reasonable.
All that biting and gnawing might be annoying to us, but for the Beagle, it’s part of his daily work.
Each of us has habits we’ve adopted that we turn to when we’re bored, anxious, or lonely. The Beagle is no different. These guys are social dogs and love being in the middle of the action, with their pack. If left alone for long periods, or not given enough stimulation, a Beagle will turn to behaviors that may be destructive, such as chewing and biting people and things not meant for his mouth.
Making sure your doggie has an adequate amount of activity will keep the boredom and the biting at bay.
How Can I Modify My Beagles Biting Behavior?
As I said earlier, just because your Beagle (usually) isn’t trying to hurt you when he bites, that still doesn’t mean it feels good. And, there may come a time when his bite does do actual damage, to you or someone else.
Helping your Beagle modify this behavior will make life easier for both of you, especially if he’s biting out of anxiety, boredom, or fear.
Give Him Lots of Toys
Play is the work of the Beagle! Make sure this fella has lots to do and plenty of play toys that he can chew on to his heart’s content. Your local pet store, vet’s office, and plenty of online retailers will have tons of options for your pooch, based on his size and your budget.
Give Him Lots of Time
We are all busy, but dogs need to be busy too. Depending on your lifestyle, it will make a difference as to what kind of behavior your Beagle is displaying. Beagles are pretty active, but they don’t require tons of time playing or going outdoors.
They do, however, need some consistent time every day to engage in activities that will keep their brains sharp and focused. With the right amount of engagement from you, a Beagle can be happy in a variety of different settings, whether you live in the country, an apartment, or the suburbs. You’ll know if he needs more attention if you find him biting and nipping more than usual.
Give Him Positive Reinforcement
Beagles are people pleasers. These guys aim to bring joy and want your approval.
Giving your dog lots of praise and positive reinforcement when he redirects his biting is a great way to make your expectations clear, while also giving him a sense of safety and showing him you are proud of and happy with his behavior.
Different dog experts suggest different ways of giving praise to a Beagle. Whether you do it through small treats, soothing words, or physical hugs and rubs is up to you.
Try to choose one style and stick with it, as the consistency will help your Beagle understand that he has made you happy and his non-biting behavior is appreciated.
If All Else Fails…
There comes a time when nothing is working. You’ve tried playing with your pup and giving him the proper pet toys to enjoy. You went for a walk, or a good romp in the park. You tried treats to show what happens when he’s a good boy and doesn’t bite. Still…he just can’t seem to keep his mouth to himself.
This may be a time you need to try a heavier hand, and I don’t mean a physical one. Hitting your pup will only result in him being wary of you, not changing the behavior. Instead, consider a sharp, “No!” or “That hurts!” and pull away from him. Physically showing you’re in pain may help him realize he took it too far.
Another option is a literal time-out. Some Beagle owners choose to crate their dog when he is biting or behaving badly.
Physically removing him from the room and the things that are important to him (like you!) may result in him understanding the cause and effect. Though I would always try redirection or positive reinforcement before resulting to a punishment, sometimes your sweet pooch is going to leave you no other option.
Remember, your long-term goal is that you and your Beagle have a life together that is positive and pleasant for both of you.