Reading time: 8 minutes.
All dogs love to eat, but Beagles take it to a whole other level. This popular dog breed seems to have little control over its appetite. If given unlimited access to food, your Beagle will just keep eating, and if you let them, they can eat themselves sick or even to death. They are not picky eaters either and will devour virtually anything in front of them. It won’t be long before they become overweight, which, as we know, can lead to all kinds of health issues. Needless to say, you have to watch how you feed your Beagle, including the quantity and quality of food.
Are Beagles food motivated? Some dog breeds are motivated by attention and praise, but not Beagles. As they love to eat and don’t know when to stop, food is an effective and powerful motivator. Plan to use food motivation as part of your reward-based training, and you’ll see significant growth in a short period. Remember, moderation is key!
Beagles (scent hounds) have a place in the hearts and homes of many dog lovers, and it doesn’t take much research to find out why. They have many unique traits, which you should learn to better care for them. This dog breed is curious and food-driven and likes to examine things with their mouth to know whether they are eatable. Some even assume that if something can fit in their mouth, it’s eatable, which is why they tend to eat everything they find. There are several other reasons why Beagles overeat, as we’re going to see later on. We will also understand how harmful it can be and how you can manage this destructive behavior.
Are Beagles Food Motivated?
Teaching your Beagle a new behavior can initially seem hard because they are an independent breed with a mind of their own and don’t comply easily with human commands. Their strong sense of smell can also overwhelm them during training, making it difficult to concentrate. But with a bit of motivation, your dog will soon be doing most/everything you tell them to do.
Because they love to eat, Beagles are more likely to respond to the reward of food. Use treats during training to facilitate both learning and obedience commands, and play with different foods to get them motivated to learn something challenging or new.
This type of training should, however, be done in moderation. Beagles are opportunity eaters and will exploit every occasion to eat. Also, they have a slightly different digestive system where digestion begins when what they’ve eaten hits the stomach. Since it is a long path for this to happen, it takes longer for your dog to register that they are full, and will just keep eating. In short, your Beagle will eat as much as you put out and even go searching for more around the house.
As a Beagle owner, you have to control how much your dog eats, including during training sessions. These animals are prone to being obese, which can lead to other medical conditions such as heart disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes, wear and tear on ligaments and tendons, arthritis, Cushing’s disease, Hip Dysplasia, and cancer, just to name a few. If you’re offering a lot of treats, moderate their regular meal portions to accommodate the snacks. Most importantly, offer high-quality, nutritious meals that don’t pack too many calories and provide enough regular exercise to keep the weight off.
Too much food motivation can also bring diminishing returns. Your dog may begin to show less interest in this kind of training and even start to misbehave as a result of it. Consider training them out of their regular feeding hours. Since they are scent-driven, scent work training can be another effective way to train your Beagle. Lastly, Beagles crave human companionship and affection. Playing with them and praising them will make them feel great and more likely to do what you want them to do.
Puppy Exercise and Weight Control
Dogs gain weight the same way we do, by overeating or a high-calorie intake with little to no exercise. So, the first step to keep their healthy weight in check is to watch what they eat. Beagle puppies grow rapidly and essentially need to eat more than adults to facilitate their growth. They also have a higher metabolism, which makes them hungry more often. As a general rule of thumb, adult Beagles need one cup of dry quality food per day. Since puppies eat more, two cups of quality dry food per day should suffice. This is only a guide since optimal feeding amounts will vary depending on the type/quality of food and the dog’s weight and activity level. You should distribute the meals throughout the day. That’s because they’ll eat it all in one sitting if given the opportunity, which only means they will get hungry later in the day and need to eat again. Most people recommend feeding a Beagle puppy 2-3 times per day.
It’s also important to watch their calorie intake. Reduce the number of snacks given each day and replace high-fat cheap treats with healthier options like fruits and vegetables.
Controlling your Beagle puppy’s diet is only the first step. Of course, they need enough exercise to help maintain ideal weights or lose the extra pounds. The most obvious activity for your puppy is walking. This will exercise their entire body and provide crucial mental stimulation and an outlet for their instincts to sniff. Swimming, running, scent work, agility, and playing games are other significant forms of exercise for Beagle puppies.
How much exercise your puppy needs is based on their general health. But don’t expect them to maintain activity for extended periods. Start slowly as you gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise based on your pet’s ability.
When Is A Good Time For Treats?
Your Beagle will enjoy an extra treat at any given time, so it’s up to you to offer the right kinds at the right times and make sure they don’t become part of their regular diet. Once you’ve chosen a special snack that your dog likes, the best time to offer them are in between meals. If you provide it right before a meal, they will lose interest in the actual nutrient-filled meal, and if you do it after they’ve had a full meal, they may not want it.
Snacks are a great way to train your dog. You can use them to teach a new behavior, reward good behavior, and reinforce good old behaviors. If you see your dog do something you like and want them to repeat it, treat them. You’ll be surprised what dogs can do for some snacks! While you’re at it, use tiny pieces to avoid overfeeding, and don’t treat a dog that is excited, climbing on things, jumping around, and the likes. Treating them when they are hyper will only reinforce bad behavior. Let them sit down and wait patiently, and once they are calm, they can be treated. Over time, you can reduce the number of snacks given for a particular behavior, and your dog will become well-mannered without them.
It can be tempting to fall for those puppy dog eyes, but make sure you only offer treats occasionally. Overdoing it could lead to stomach issues in the short run and obesity in the long run. Since excess weight can lead to a serious medical issue, being mindful of your dog’s daily calorie intake is important. Treats should only add up to 5-10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. If you’re not sure what your dog’s daily limit should be, talk to your vet to give you some specific advice.
There are lots of different treats available; some are suitable for other types of dogs than others. Knowing the right kind for your dog and the ideal amount and best times to offer them is crucial to your pet’s health.
Training Your Beagle as a Family Activity
Beagles are great family dogs, good with children and other pets as well. These pack animals rely on companionship for their happiness, and their human family is their pack. That being said, successful dog training relies on working in collaboration with everyone who lives with the dog. Here are a few tips to ensure every family member is creating a positive training experience for your Beagle:
Be consistent – It will never work if some people allow the dog to eat from the table while some don’t. Your Beagle will thrive in a house where the rules are clear and consistent. So, have family meetings to develop the same training methods to avoid sending mixed messages, which can be confusing to the dog. You can create a cue sheet that lists all the skills and their corresponding verbal and body language cues so the dog receives consistent information for faster and easier learning.
Take turns working with the dog – Beagles are pretty smart. Your dog will notice who supplies them with playtime, walks, treats, and so on. They’ll naturally bond more with the one who offers all the good resources and even learn to work with and listen to them more. So, have every family member take part in their care.
Keep track of everything – If everyone is taking part in the dog’s care, it can be easy to get confused about how much the dog has eaten, how far they walked today, and so on. Everyone should record their part in a notebook or calendar for easy tracking.
Have one handler at a time – Imagine being the dog, and one person is telling you to do skills while the other has a treat. Who would you pay attention to? For a training session to be successful, have one family member be the trainer. They should have all the tools and perform all the actions. A good example is a trainer holds the dog’s leash, says the cue word while giving the gesture, tells the dog when they are correct by rewarding them with a treat, and lastly, releases the dog from the skill.