Beagles are popular pets and can make a perfectly lovable companion due to their outgoing and friendly disposition. However, if you consider getting a beagle, you should consider all aspects of their temperament and some of the difficulties you may face, as we’ll explore through this article.
Are Beagles Dangerous? Compared to many dog breeds, beagles generally have a mild temperament but, bred for their hunting capabilities, beagles can be aggressive when they are scared or in pain. Known for biting, beagles require thorough training to socialize safely.
Continue reading to discover how dangerous beagles can be, what causes them to become aggressive, and the signs to look out for that suggest their playfulness could be turning to hostility. Discover how they interact with other dogs and how they relate to humans, along with how to establish your dominance as the leader of the pack.
Is A Beagle A Dangerous Dog?
Beagles have a reputation as rowdy and disobedient dogs and with good reason. Bred as a scent hound for hunting rabbits, breeders have purposely selected characteristics of endurance and persistence to shape beagles into excellent hunters.
A beagle’s playful and persistent nature can cause problems for its owners:
- They love to dig up dirt and will happily dig up your garden.
- They have a bark that is loud and annoying.
- They are stubborn.
- They have a lot of energy and often run away.
- Their nose controls them.
Typically, beagles are not aggressive dogs, but they can become hostile in certain situations, especially when establishing dominance or protecting their territory. A beagle may also display aggression if it is scared or in pain. Nipping can be done in a playful nature, but if this turns to a more aggressive bite, it’s vital to deal with it before the bite becomes hard enough to injure or draw blood.
Chasing is another typical playful behavior for beagles, but if they growl or bare their teeth while they’re running, it may point to underlying aggression. Additionally, if the chasing becomes aggressive rather than playful, it can pose a danger to the prey.
If your beagle shows signs of aggression, you don’t need to worry. Gentle by nature, beagles can be trained out of aggressive behaviors. The golden window for training is between 3 to 12 weeks as an essential stage in the puppy’s development of obedience and socialization.
It’s essential to establish yourself as alpha of the pack; there are numerous ways to do this:
- Always eat first, as this mirrors the behavior of the alphas in the wild.
- Establish firm boundaries and ensure there is some space in the house that your dog is not allowed (i.e., your territory).
- When walking, ensure that you establish the walking route and don’t let your dog lead.
- Use assertiveness but stay calm. You do not need to shout or use violence to train your dog. A firm and assertive voice is enough to gain the respect of your beagle.
Has A Beagle Ever Killed A Human?
Though it is not a common occurrence, beagles have attacked and killed humans. Like any dog breed, they can display extreme hostility and aggressive behaviors if not trained correctly. In general, beagles are friendly, social, and affectionate towards humans, making attacks very unlikely, but there are scenarios where beagles could become aggressive towards humans.
Bred to hunt in packs, beagles think with a pack-dog mentality. Because the alpha dog shows dominance over the betas with aggression, beagles may show aggression towards their human owners if they deem themselves the alpha of the household.
Dogs view their owners as part of their pack, but they don’t necessarily assume that their owners are the alpha. In the early stages of training, it is essential to persist with discipline and rules to establish dominance. Never appear scared in front of your beagle as they can sense it, and it will undermine your alpha status. Stay calm and confident in front of your dog to solidify your role as the leader.
In psychology called resource guarding, beagles will be fiercely protective over any ‘resource’ they deem to be theirs, especially food. If you attempt to take a beagle’s food away while it is eating, it is likely to respond with a display of aggression.
Though not ideal, this is understandable behavior for animals that have a history of being opportunistic feeders. You will need to persist with obedience training or prepare yourself to face a torrent of food aggression.
As young children have a reputation for being rowdy and mischievous, they may pull a beagle’s ears or tail when ‘playing’ with it. These behaviors would likely see the dog snap back to defend itself and establish a comfortable boundary.
To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to teach your children how to respect your pet’s boundaries. Otherwise, there is a potential for them to get injured.
Do Beagles Bite Humans?
Beagles are adorable dogs with floppy ears and playful nature, and as a puppy, their nips and bites are done in fun and don’t cause any harm. However, as your dog grows, the bites will begin to cause pain to yourself and others and could lead to serious injury.
For this reason, you mustn’t tolerate aggressive biting behavior in any of its forms. Avoid punishing your beagle as this is likely to increase their tension and anxiety, only exacerbating the situation. Instead, teach bite inhibition to your puppy by redirecting it to a toy or using a timeout. Using these skills is an essential factor in training your beagle on what it is appropriate to bite.
Teach Bite Inhibition Method
Help your puppy to understand the idea – If your beagle plays too roughly with a member of its litter, the recipient of the bite will let him know it was too rough by squealing. Next time, the beagle will bite more softly to avoid hurting its companion. Using a language that your puppy can understand, let out a squeal or high-pitched whine if your dog bites too hard. This way, they can understand that they hurt you.
Reinforce or Reward – If your reaction causes your puppy to back down, reward them with a treat so that they can understand they did the right thing. However, if your puppy doesn’t respond to your squeal, they may need further reinforcement of your message by using a clear and stern voice to say no.
Timeout – Furthermore, if your puppy remains overexcited or doesn’t understand the message you are conveying, try using a timeout. Remove yourself from the game, and don’t give your beagle any attention for a set period.
When a beagle refuses to be obedient and remains aggressive towards people, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer to avoid the behavior getting out of hand.
Are Beagles Aggressive Towards Other Dogs?
Beagles will get along with most other dog breeds, and the males can be housed together with little to no conflict. Additionally, they will accept cats into their ‘family’ the majority of the time. In general, two primary situations would provoke a beagle to be aggressive towards another animal.
The first is in an attempt to protect its territory. A beagle’s territory refers to an array of things from its physical space to the property it deems to be its resources. Some beagles can be extremely friendly outdoors but become aggressive towards others when taken indoors.
Alongside things, beagles consider people to be part of their territory, so it’s essential to be aware that when you give attention to another pet, it can lead your beagle to become hostile.
Secondly, bred as hunting animals, beagles like to chase birds, rabbits, and other small animals. Usually, the chase is enough stimulation, and once they have cornered the animal, they will let it go. It’s unusual for a beagle to kill for no reason.
If your beagle is aggressive towards other animals, it’s important not to overreact. Stay calm and separate your beagle from the other animal if possible. After the incident, do not give attention to your beagle. Use dominance to show them that what they did was wrong.
It is important to remember that when asserting authority, do it without violence or aggression. Violence is detrimental to the beagle’s development and is a leading cause of beagle aggression. By remaining calm and confident in front of your beagle, you assert your authority and provide reassurance that you can look after them. If they feel safe, your dog will be less prone to aggression.
On the whole, beagles make friendly and sociable pets, but if you encounter any aggression, follow the steps in this article to balance them, so they remain a happy and healthy member of your family.