If your beagle barking is getting you down, you first need to realize that there is only so much that can be done about it. Even with refinements in breeding over the centuries, barking is mainly how dogs vocalize their needs and how they feel. There is only one breed of dog that won’t bark – the Basenji.
The first step to getting beagle barking under control is to understand why they do it and which forms of barking you can control.
Causes of Beagle Barking
Beagles will bark for several reasons. They’ll bark when they’re excited, when they’re angry (do beagles ever really get angry?) and when they’re scared. Here are some categories that lead to your beagle barking:
- Greeting Barking
- Attention Seeking Barking
- Territorial Barking
- Frustration Barking
- Alarm Barking
- Compulsive Barking
- Injury- or Illness-Related Barking
Barking is a major part of who your beagle is, so don’t expect to be able to stop the barking completely. Your dog needs to express himself and barking is his main way of doing it, no matter how much you’d like him to stop.
How to Stop Beagle Barking
If your beagle continues to bark, the first step is to figure out why he is barking. Is there a good reason for it? Most of the time, the barking is excessive and for no good reason and can be controlled. If it falls into that category and you think it needs to be under more control, ask yourself these basic questions:
- When does my dog bark?
- What is my dog barking at?
- Does anything specific trigger my dog’s barking?
If the issue is triggered by your dog protecting his territory or due to some form of alarm, don’t yell at your dog to stop. This type of negative reinforcement will confuse your dog and may lead to other bad behavior, such as aggression, biting or even more barking. The real issue here is that your dog feels that his territory is being threatened.
The solution in this case is to change the situation so your dog does not feel like his territory is being invaded and that he has to defend himself. Step one is for you to take control and to assume the role of the alpha leader – you are the one that will protect that territory or space. Next, remove the visibility of the threat by drawing the blinds or limiting access to windows where your dog can see outside passersby. It may mean putting up an opaque fence so your dog cannot see the neighbors.
How to Stop Anxiety-Driven Beagle Barking
If your beagle suffers from anxiety, barking may be a symptom of a larger problem. In this case, your dog is looking for attention and the problem is often reinforced by the owners. For example, if your dog is excited and barks when you return home and you great him with attention, he sees this as a reward to his barking. The solution is to wait 10 or 15 minutes after returning and then give him attention after he has gotten into a calm state. During the first few minutes, simply ignore him so you are not reinforcing bad behavior.
A training technique to prevent excessive beagle barking is to train your dog to “speak” and to be “quiet” on command. By controlling when you (the alpha leader) want the dog to bark, you help him learn not to bark unless necessary. You can teach your dog to “speak” when someone comes to the door, so they will alert you if there is an uninvited visitor, even if you don’t give the command.
Incessant barking does not have to be the norm in your neighborhood. Teach your dog how to respond appropriately and you’ll have a much quieter and peaceful life while still being alerted each time you have a visitor.
Shawn is a kind dog trainer who is obsessed with beagles.