Whether your beagle has some obedience issues or you just want to teach your dog some new tricks, you can choose from several methods of beagle dog training. Read on as we explore the basics and discover what training methods are effective and fun.
Basics of Beagle Dog Training
When deciding on a training regimen for your floppy-eared K-9, keep these points in mind:
- Keep it simple – Don’t try to cover too many things at once. Beagles tend to have a short attention span, so keep the training sessions short and interesting for your dog.
- Keep them secure – Beagles will naturally follow their noses, so it is important to train them in an enclosed area or on a leash. And while you’re at it, don’t forget that leash manners are important, too!
- Keep it consistent – Beagles are smart dogs, but you don’t want to confuse them with inconsistent commands. Use consistent terminology, even if you have to write it down!
- Keep it fun – Boredom is the enemy of beagle dog training, so make sure both you and your pooch have fun doing it. Make a game out of it and you’ll both enjoy it more!
- Keep it timely – Your beagle pup should remain with its litter until at least 8 weeks of age. After that, housebreaking should be the number 1 priority and then you can start on more advanced training.
Today, you have many options on how to go about training your beagle. You might opt for an obedience class with an experienced instructor or you could go the DIY route and purchase books, DVDs or an online course. Using DIY material allows you to go at your own pace, but you have to motivate yourself to follow up.
Beagle dog training may take just a few weeks for a simple program or several months if it is more involved. Any training regimen will be more successful if you are diligent and keep at it on a regular schedule. It helps to write down your goals, but also be realistic and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Getting Started with Beagle Dog Training
There are a variety of skills and behaviors that can be learned or modified by you and your beagle. Your own goals for your dog will determine where you start and how you go about the training. Whether you start with a DVD or enroll in a course taught by an instructor, you may find some or all of the following methods used:
Socialization – This aspect is often overlooked by many owners, but how your beagle is socialized will greatly affect his demeanor and obedience later in life. It starts with the litter as your small pup learns how to interact with his siblings and mother. It is important not to remove your beagle from the litter until at least 8 weeks of age. At that point, socialization isn’t yet done, but progresses next to acclimating your dog to your family, which may include other pets. Neglecting either stage can result in problems like biting and nipping, howling or other bad behavior.
Crate Training – A crate can be a useful tool for housebreaking, but it will also provide a place of refuge for your beagle. The crate can help avoid problems like separation anxiety and territorial issues, such as excessive barking or chewing on furniture.
Traditional Obedience Training – Beagle dog training gets into high gear with basic obedience. Most programs include several groups of basic commands: sit, down, stay, speak and quiet are a few commands you might learn. It would probably also include leash manners (heeling) and learning how to interact around other people and dogs.
Clicker Training – Some trainers will use clicker training. Many breeds, including beagles respond well to the clicker, so this is something to consider when choosing a program for beagle dog training. It’s best to start at a young age, usually around 10 weeks.
Alpha Dog Training – Contrary to what you might assume from the title, alpha dog training is geared more toward you, the owner. Learning to be the alpha “dog” is a great step in beagle dog training, as it will give you control over what can otherwise be a very stubborn dog. Being the alpha dog means being firm and assertive, but not aggressive or abusive. Much of this is about your attitude and confidence.
Tracking – Beagles are scent hounds, so this is a natural for your little pup, though also optional. In in this specialized type of training, your dog will be taught to track specific types of scents, such as rabbits. Tracking a scent with beagles, also known as “Beagling” or running a scent, is probably best learned at a local beagle club. A good club will offer training and advice from seasoned veterans and will probably conduct competitive trials if you want to compete with other dog owners in proving how well your dog follows his nose. This can also be a fun family activity on your own if you have a suitable location to run your beagle.
When looking for a suitable DVD or local training course, consider the training methodology and success rate of the course. Perhaps a visit to a local trainer while in session can be helpful and online reviews of video training courses may give you an idea of how the course is conducted before you purchase it. Often the best results will come from combining several training methods. Don’t forget, though, that the most important element of any beagle dog training program is you and your beagle.