While dogs have the ability to learn and carry out commands with amazing efficiency, some dog breeds need more guidance than others. So are beagles easy to train?
Beagles are a challenging breed of dog to train. While beagles are intelligent dogs, they are difficult to train because they are energetic, curious, and independent dogs that can be overwhelmed by external stimuli. Thus, beagle owners need to find unique methods to keep them focused.
Beagles are difficult dogs to train, but we must accept their unique personalities and find creative ways to keep their attention at the task.
Why Are Beagles Difficult To Train?
Although beagles are very intelligent dogs, they can be challenging to train. Beagles are not difficult to train because they cannot understand commands or house rules. Instead, maintaining a beagle’s attention and understanding their motivations can be difficult.
When training dogs, it is crucial to understand which dog breeds respond well to which type of training. The three main methods of dog training include:
- Modeling (where a dog learns by watching/listening to you)
- Classical condition (where a dog learns by constant repetition)
- Association (where a dog learns by experiencing positive feedback).
Generally speaking, because Beagles were trained as hunting dogs, they are pack animals that learned from being in the field with other dogs and engaging in activities that feed and reward their curiosity (like tracking and/or retrieving animals.)
Therefore, beagles learn from experience and respond well to positive feedback. Unlike some dog breeds that want to learn and work just to please their owners or keep busy, beagles respond well to training that rewards their curiosity and intelligence.
In conclusion, beagles are difficult dogs to train for the following reasons:
- Beagles are extremely inquisitive
- Beagles are fiercely independent
- Beagles are energetic dogs.
Beagles Are Extremely Inquisitive
One of the main reasons why beagles were/are used as hunting dogs is they have an incredible sense of smell. Sporting over 225 scent receptors, beagles are believed to have the 3rd best sense of smell out of all dogs, with a sense of smell 10 000 times better than humans!
Understandably, beagles experience the larger environment and its range of smells in a vastly different way to humans and other dogs; therefore, beagles have to focus intensely on a task that interests them, or they will become distracted and seek out an exciting scent instead.
With their incredible smell, beagles are naturally intelligent, friendly, and curious dogs. Thus, beagles tend to wander and follow their fantastic sense of smell in pursuit of something/or someone interesting to see, meet, and/or explore.
In conclusion, beagle owners must respect their curiosity and intelligence by not wasting their time on tedious or menial tasks and not have long training sessions that will leave beagles disinterested and unenthusiastic for further training.
Beagles Are Fiercely Independent
Although beagles are pack dogs, this does not mean they are content following orders and mimicking those around them. Instead, beagles are friendly dogs that enjoy the company of others while pursuing their own goals and interests.
This makes beagles ideal hunting dogs, as a pack of beagles are happy to spend time together but are happy to track independent scents while out in the field instead of following each other.
A beagle’s curiosity and independence can lead to stubborn behavior, where a beagle will ignore commands or activities in pursuit of its own goals. While this can be frustrating for owners, people must understand that pursuing personal goals makes beagles happy.
Furthermore, denying beagles the opportunity to explore their surroundings and/or scolding them for doing so can lead to rebellious, fearful, and/or miserable dogs. Instead, owners must find unique and exciting ways to hold a beagle’s attention during training sessions with positive reinforcement.
Where after, beagles should be allowed to roam and pursue their own goals if they perform well in training. Not only does this result in a happier dog, but it also shows your dog that you respect their time, intelligence, and independence.
Beagles Are Energetic Dogs
Despite their small size, beagles are very active and energetic dogs. As one of the fifteen most energetic dog breeds, adult beagles require at least two hours of exercise daily. Whereby beagles should have varied exercise routines that feed their curiosity and intelligence.
Although energetic dog breeds are not inherently difficult to train than more docile breeds, like how border collies are considered one of the most active and most accessible breeds to teach, it does mean that dog owners need to train energetic dogs correctly.
Namely, energetic dog breeds like beagles should be trained in ways that allow them to burn off energy, while not being trained should they have lots of pent-up energy. Consequently, it is better to train your dog toward the end of an exercise routine rather than the beginning.
How Do You Train A Beagle?
Because beagles are pack animals, it’s good to develop a pack hierarchy early and establish yourself as your beagle’s pack leader. Therefore, you should set clear boundaries where your beagle can and cannot go while using strong and assertive language to praise and scold accordingly.
However, the importance of pack animals is to establish mutually beneficial and respectful relationships; therefore, you should make it clear you have your beagle’s best interests at heart by giving them much affection and never physically threatening them!
It is vital to develop this relationship and begin basic obedience training/commanding training at a young age. Although young beagles should be made to feel welcome and comfortable, beagles older than seven weeks should be partaking in basic obedience/command training.
During this time, developing a positive relationship with training is essential. Therefore training should be short, focused, involve games/affection, and encouraged through positive reinforcement.
Should you find your beagle easily distracted during training, you should consider changing their training programs, including exercise with routines with training, and/or introducing different types of positive reinforcement (like different treats or toys.)
If your beagle remains stubborn and disinterested, we recommend using a “clicker” in training or consulting expert dog trainers that are equipped to deal with stubborn breeds.
Although beagles are intelligent and curious dogs, their stubbornness and independence can make them difficult dogs to train. Therefore, beagle owners must be creative when developing training programs for their beagles!