If you’re looking for an affectionate, loyal, active, good-natured dog, a Beagle often springs to mind. As pack-oriented dogs, they will usually get along with humans and other animals in the household. The key to having a well-behaved dog is through proper training. This also promotes security, comfort, confidence, and strengthens the human-animal bond. Some breeds are easy to train while others are difficult, but no dog is untrainable. All you need is commitment, patience, and tasty, healthy treats. With the Beagle’s eager-to-please and easy-going nature, many people think they are easy to train. But they can be particularly strong-willed, which can make training sessions a bit challenging.
So, are Beagles easy to train? Beagles are relatively difficult to train compared to other dog breeds. The truth is they are independent thinkers who don’t care about pleasing humans. They are also easily distracted. This doesn’t mean they are untrainable; it will just take a little more effort than training other dog breeds.
Beagles have a reputation for not being smart dogs. In fact, most professional dog trainers don’t like training them because they are not the most receptive of dogs. However, don’t let this generalization put you off. Despite having broad characteristics, every individual dog is different, and the answer to their training abilities isn’t black and white. Plus, several factors may impact a Beagle‘s ability to train, such as their age and gender. How difficult or easy training a Beagle is will also depend on you and your training techniques and the environment the dog is in. Let’s see why Beagles can be difficult to train and how to make the process easier.
Are Beagles Easy to Train
Your Beagle might be adorable and independent, but like any other dog, it should be trained to encourage good behavior. Otherwise, you’ll have accidents in your house, holes in the yard, and all kinds of destructive behaviors. As pack animals, Beagles view you as their pack leader, meaning you’re in charge. Training a Beagle will take much effort, although, for the most part, it won’t be that much different from training any other dog. Luckily, there are a few Beagle-centered tips that will certainly make training them much easier.
Tips for Training a Beagle
Understand how your beagle learns – The first step to successfully training your Beagle is understanding how they learn. Dogs can learn through repetition, by watching you, or through association (whether with something positive or negative. Most Beagles learn by experience; in that case, training should be a series of experiences and rewards instead of direct commands. Be sure to use positive reinforcement, which involves rewarding good behavior with praise and treats rather than punishing bad behavior by yelling or shaking the dog in anger.
Consistency is key – A training routine will need to be repeated every day until the dog can understand what is or isn’t expected of them, and can follow commands without hesitation. Teaching specific commands or even behaviors can take weeks or even months, so patience is also important.
Start simple – Start simple with the training sessions and increase gradually so as not to overwhelm your Beagle. Most people will focus on one type of training before moving to something else. You can begin with potty-training them and then move on to teaching them to sit, lay down, stay, come, don’t bark, don’t jump, and other basic commands. While you’re at it, keep those training sessions short. Beagles are easily distracted, as we’re going to see later on, and if they’re not paying attention, then anything you’re teaching will go in one ear and out the other.
Use food for training – Beagles love to eat and will do anything for food. It’s pretty easy to encourage good behavior if your Beagle knows that they’re going to get a tasty snack out of it. But be careful not to overdo it; you don’t want your Beagle to become overweight and, in turn, develop severe illnesses like diabetes and hypertension.
Are Beagles Hard to Train
When it comes to dog intelligence, Beagles don’t rank as high as we’d expect. They struggle with working and obedience intelligence and tend to take 80-100 repetitions to learn a command and obey only 25% of the time. This is why Beagles are considered hard to train.
This is not to say they are dumb, but rather they have the wrong kind of intelligence for training. Having been bred for hunting, they are highly skilled at finding and flushing out prey. Beagles possess great hunting qualities, which are come in handy on the field but can make them a bit more challenging to train. This includes:
The Beagle’s Nose – With over 200 million scent receptors, Beagles have a sense of smell that’s up to 10,000 times better than a human. Once they pick up an interesting scent, that’s all they’ll focus on until they can find its source. Trying to get your Beagle’s attention or training them when they’re following a scent will prove difficult since their noses lead them.
Stubborn, Independent Dogs – If you were out hunting with a Beagle, they would be in control. After all, they are the ones following the scents and tracking prey. All you have to do is follow them in the hope that they lead to the Game. This means that they were bred to be independent thinkers and are less interested in pleasing you. These traits make it harder for training.
Tons of Energy – Dogs are much easier to train when they are calm. The problem with this dog breed is they are hyperactive. They just want to burn off all of that excess energy and are more likely to be bouncing around when you’re trying to train them or even to run off mid-session. Hyper dogs also have a shorter attention span and can get distracted by external stimuli more quickly. Needless to say, provide rigorous daily exercise to keep their energy levels at bay.
But just because Beagles are difficult to train doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you put in the time and energy and follow the tips mentioned earlier, you can successfully train your dog.
Are Beagles Easy to Potty Train
Potty training will be one of the most challenging types of training that you and your dog will have to work on together. The powerful Beagle nose is known to interfere with the potty-training process. That’s because it makes them capable of detecting previous messes, particularly if not cleaned up properly, which leads to a vicious cycle of more messes. Secondly, like any other dog, Beagles are very territorial and will want to discharge their scent in every corner of the house. Dogs tend to soil over already soiled areas, so the traces and smell of pee and poop left behind will inform your Beagle that that is their potty area.
Potty training is essential to help prevent accidents in your house, while also teaching your Beagle that they’re capable of holding their urge to go. To do this, pick a designated bathroom area. You can start with pee pads for puppies but work towards teaching your dog to hold it long enough to get them outside.
Beagles shouldn’t be more difficult to potty-training than other breeds. The key is to start soon, possibly from the day you bring them home, and be consistent. You’ll want to decide which cue words to use to signal your dog that it’s time to do their business. Popular choices are ‘potty time’ or ‘go the bathroom.’ Ensure every family member uses the same cue words every time to avoid confusing the dog. Remember to feed your dog on a schedule to allow for more predictable bathroom times, and when they do their business the right way, reward them with tasty treats. With the proper training techniques, your Beagle should be fully potty-trained within 2-8 weeks.
A dog on the loose inside the house will pee and poop anywhere and everywhere, including on the carpet, in the kitchen, on your shoes, on the sofa; well, you get the picture! So, until they’re 100% fully potty trained, you may want to contain all the messes when you’re not at home. This may mean incorporating baby gates to block off areas or keep the Beagle in one room. Portable, indoor pens are another great option. Be sure to provide your dog with all his needs, including food, water, and toys, while in these confined spaces.
Easiest Dogs to Train
Many dog owners need a well-behaved dog, probably due to their health or physical disabilities, the size of their home, and their general lifestyle. Of course, you don’t want to be that dog owner whose pup jumps and aggressively yelps at every single person or pees on a friend’s carpet, etc. This is why training your dog is important. Plus, a well-trained dog is a happy one, so it benefits everyone.
Each dog breed has its own distinct personality, intelligence level, genetic heritage, and natural instincts, all of which can affect trainability. Therefore, choosing a dog by breed is one way to ensure they’ll have characteristics and behaviors that will align with your lifestyle. With that being said, some of the easiest dogs to train include:
Border Collie – Border Collies are considered the workaholic of the dog world. They thrive at canine activities such as agility and obedience and are willing to do whatever it takes to win the affection of their owners, which makes them easy to train. Also, as one of the most intelligent dogs, they learn remarkably fast.
Poodle – There’s a reason this breed of dogs excels at dog shows. They are more than willing to learn new tricks with you thanks to their healthy mix of playfulness, obedience, and intelligence.
Labrador Retriever – This dog is playful, friendly, sociable, and eager to please its owners. With an even temperament and love of the outdoors, training can become fun, albeit exhausting. They are also one of the most intelligent dogs around, making them fast learners.
Golden Retriever – Their pure devotion to family, patience, easy-going nature, and intelligent brains makes them one of the most trainable dogs out there. They are food motivated, so try to add treats in training sessions, especially to reward good behavior or when they finally master what you’re teaching.
German Shepherd – This dog is eager to please, always ready to work, very motivated, and excels at obedience work and agility courses. They are also smart and can learn and retain commands for an amazing number of specialized jobs.
Papillon – Most small dog breeds are not easy to train, probably due to their hyperactive nature. But the Papillon is playful, affectionate, intelligent, and excels at learning new tricks and obedience work. They are naturally curious and will respond well to positive reinforcement.