While it can be heartbreaking, sometimes you have to leave your Beagle behind to go to school, work, or even run errands. As part of the hound family, Beagles are known for their sociable nature and strong attachment to people and other animals. They will often get bored when left alone, resulting in escape attempts in search of companionship. And, without proper training and showing them that it’s okay to be alone, they can become rather stressed, making them irritable and causing them to resort to destructive behavior like digging, excessive barking, and chewing on everything they can find. In some instances, this could lead to separation anxiety.
So, do they have separation anxiety? Beagles were bred to be pack animals, truly enjoying the company of others. Now their human family is their pack, and they yearn for their companionship more than most breeds of dogs. This makes them prone to separation anxiety, especially if left alone for prolonged periods of time without having experienced being alone.
Canine separation anxiety is a condition where dogs develop a panicked feeling of being alone and become highly anxious and distressed, worrying where their human pack has gone. When your Beagle suffers from this disorder, they cannot gain control and don’t have the self-confidence to play independently. Waiting for you to return can be emotionally stressful. This condition can manifest itself in varying levels, from mild to severe, with symptoms including destructive behavior such as digging, chewing, excessive barking and howling, inappropriate pooping and peeing, etc. If your Beagle shows any signs of separation anxiety, we recommend seeing a vet or professional dog behaviorist for diagnosis and advice. We have also provided a few strategies in this article that you can use to help your Beagle cope.
Are Beagles Prone To Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety in dogs happens when a dog is deprived of the company of its favorite human. This condition often stems from fear of being abandoned or a lack of proper training at the right age to be self-reliant. It can also be exacerbated by a variety of reasons, such as:
- Being on their own for the first time
- Disruption in their daily routine
- Change of ownership
- Death of a human family member
- Background noise
- Pre-Leaving Anxiety
While separation anxiety is pretty prevalent in all dogs, it’s more common in Beagles. But why are they more predisposed to this anxiety disorder?
Beagles were originally bred to be in large hunting packs and would eat, play, sleep, and hunt wild game together. This breed’s life has changed over the years from having lots of social interaction and the taste of freedom to being domesticated. But their instinctive nature is still embedded as they inevitably will take their human family as their pack. Beagles form strong bonds and become highly attached to their owners, and it’s only natural to want to be around them constantly. When everyone leaves the house, and the Beagle is left alone, they tend to become upset, stressed, and lonely. Their inability to control these feelings is what eventually causes separation anxiety.
But how do you know if your Beagle is struggling with separation anxiety? Signs of separation anxiety can vary greatly depending on the severity of your dog’s condition. Because this breed is smart, they tend to pick up on your daily schedule pretty fast. Some signs of this anxiety disorder are more subtle than others, and you’ll notice some even before leaving the house. As soon as they see you gather your things, put on shoes, and get ready to leave, their anxiety starts to creep in. Since they’re very vocal, they’re not afraid to let you know they’re upset through excessive barking, whining, and howling.
But sometimes, separation anxiety can begin after you’ve left the house. In that case, other common signs include excessive pacing, chewing, escape attempts like digging under the fence or jumping over it, pooping or urinating in inappropriate places, and Coprophagia (poop-eating), to name a few. There may also be involuntary physiological responses like dilated pupils, excessive drooling, panting, or sweaty paws.
Do Beagles Tolerate Being Alone?
Beagles are an independent breed, and yes, they can tolerate being alone. However, constantly leaving your Beagle alone, especially for long periods of time and without any form of entertainment or human companion, can easily lead to separation anxiety. As with all dogs, there’s a limit to which your Beagle can tolerate being alone. This limit often comes down to their temperament, tolerance to isolation, training, and age.
Beagle puppies and adults tolerate loneliness differently. Most adults over 18 months can stay at home alone for no more than 4-6 hours a day. Some may be able to withstand loneliness for longer, up to 8 hours, if they have been properly socialized and trained. Older beagles can also be left alone for longer since they spend most of their time sleeping during the day. That being said, you’ll need to provide all the necessary things like food, water, and toys to keep them busy and entertained. Be sure to start small and build up the time you leave your Beagle alone until they become comfortable.
On the other hand, puppies tend to be more anxious and scared. After all, they’re in a new environment, experiencing new smells, new people, and most likely, they’ve never been alone before. Plus, they need frequent bathroom trips. In that case, Beagle puppies should not be left alone for more than two hours. Training your pup to be left alone should start as early as possible.
When it comes to newborns, they should not be left alone at all, and hopefully, their mother is around. If you live alone and have a job that requires you out of the house all day, every day, you need to think about your dog’s quality of life and even rethink owning them.
How Do I Stop My Beagle from Having Separation Anxiety?
Thankfully, separation anxiety issues in dogs can be prevented and even downright cured. Here are some strategies to make your Beagle feel less anxious and nervous:
Set up the right environment – A major contributing factor to anxiety in Beagles is the environment they are left in. Being left in a whole house amplifies their feelings of loneliness and isolation. It’s best to keep them in small spaces, but only if you are away for shorter durations; otherwise, they will begin feeling confined and claustrophobic, which only makes matters worse. While you’re at it, provide enough food, water, and plenty of interactive toys to keep them entertained. If your Beagle is experiencing the worst separation anxiety, provide companionship by getting a second dog, hiring a dog walker/sitter, or asking family or friends for help.
Downplay your departures and arrivals – Your Beagle takes emotional cues from you; it’s part of that special human-animal bond. If you get anxious about leaving and too excited to see them when you return, you risk reinforcing their fear of your absence, leading to more severe Beagle separation anxiety. Practice no-talk, no-touch, and no eye contact immediately before leaving and when you come back.
Train Your Beagle to Be Alone – From an early age, begin training your Beagle puppy to be alone. Start with a short amount of time away, say 10 minutes, and observe their reaction. Then gradually increase the time as the dog ages until they become accustomed to being alone.
Certain sounds, actions, and sights such as keys juggling or alarm ringing, or background noises can trigger anxious behavior because your dog associates them with you leaving. Try training by association. For example, you can start jangling your keys while at home, and after they make a noise, give your Beagle a treat. With time, they’ll begin to associate picking up keys with positive feelings and not loneliness.
Provide plenty of exercises – Exercising with your dog every day, especially before you leave, is a great way to tire them out and reduce anxiety. A tired Beagle is a calm dog, and all they’ll want to do after is eat and sleep.
Do Beagles Need a Lot of Attention?
To be good hunting companions, Beagles were bred to be independent-minded, energetic, intelligent, and have an overwhelming desire to be in a pack. Today, they look to their pet owners as their new pack, which is one of the reasons that they make great companion dogs with a gentle temperament. But this need for companionship also means they require lots of attention from their human pack compared to other breeds of dogs, which is why they are prone to severe separation anxiety, as we’ve seen above. There are quite a number of ways to provide the proper attention to your Beagle. This includes:
Daily walks – Walking is an important activity for any dog and an integral part of your Beagle’s life. For starters, it’s a form of exercise, allowing your dog to release pent-up energy. Being scent hounds with powerful noses, walking around the neighborhood or at the park provides an outlet for their instincts to sniff. They also get to socialize with other dogs and people.
Jogging/Running – Secondly, Beagles are highly energetic and require much more plentiful exercise than most people give them. In addition to walking, you’ll need to stimulate them with short, intense exercises like running or jumping. This provides numerous physical and mental benefits, including preventing obesity and helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Teach tricks – This is another great way of spending time with your Beagle and strengthening the bond between the two of you. It helps them build focus and concentration while giving them the attention they so crave. You can also teach various commands that can make them more disciplined and obedient.
Play fetch – Beagles also have a playful personality and will love to play games with their human family. You’ll need to create time to play fetch or other interactive games with them.
Groom your Beagle – Though they are short-haired dogs, Beagles still need regular grooming. Their curious nature often causes them to get dirty and their soft fur needs brushing. Grooming can prevent many health complications and is also an excellent way to bond with your dog.
Beagles have high attention requirements. And while all these may seem like a lot, it’s worth it. Lack of attention will only lead to stress, anxiety, and destructive behavior. So get a Beagle only if you can take care of them and provide proper attention. That being said, this doesn’t mean you have to provide 24 hours of undivided attention. Two important things you need to do are drain their energy because an exhausted dog is a calm and happy dog. It would also help if you trained them to be alone early on to avoid separation anxiety issues.