Are Beagles Hard To Train?
[And How To Train Them]

By kropek2021. • Updated July 1, 2021

If you have landed on this article, you must really be tired of trying different ways to train your doggo or researching to know if bringing home a Beagle is safe. 

No matter what the reason is, I’m glad you’re here, and I will help you understand Beagles better in just a few minutes. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

Understanding the origin and background of Beagles

Originally, beagles were bred to be hunting dogs. They are scent-driven hounds.

Humans trusted their smell sense so much that instead of leading the dogs, they followed them. The beagles would ultimately find the prey with no difficulty.
They were true ‘companions’ of us humans. They had the freedom to go around without restrictions and live on their terms. Beagles are social and friendly by nature, so that wasn’t a problem for us. In fact, this made them all the more beneficial to our species. Friendly dogs that were hunters. What else could we ask for!

Beagles have one of the most powerful noses in the world, with as much as 220 million scent receptors! Isn’t that something?

But if they are so amazing, why do some people find it close to impossible to train beagles? What challenges can one face with a pet beagle? And are there ways to deal with these problems?

Let’s take a look.

Why is training a beagle dog difficult?

First-time dog owners

One of the most common reasons for not handling a beagle is having had no experience with any pets (especially dogs) before. That makes dealing with a beagle all the more nerve-wracking.

A free-spirited breed

A major challenge with beagles is their independent and free-spirited nature. Even people who’ve trained dogs before sometimes find it impossible to understand the Beagles language and train effectively without any help. 

Beagles are intelligent creatures, great companions, and amazing pets. But what’s problematic about training them is their stubbornness. Because of their independent nature, they are used to moving around freely, without any rules. Training such a bullet can be super challenging.

Strong smell sense

Beagles, as we know, have a strong sense of smell. This causes them to get distracted by different scents quite easily. You might have noticed that when on a walk, it’s almost impossible to get a beagle to come back to you when they are sniffing at something. Or while training, when you start thinking, they are truly getting it; they shoot away like a bullet. This happens when their instinct to follow scents takes over, and getting control over it is no piece of cake.

This sense of smell and the instinct to run off chasing scents are major reasons why training a beagle is a task in itself—a very, very difficult at that. 

Physiology

While there’s not much backing to this theory, many beagle owners believe that male and female beagles respond differently to training programs. 

Most agree that females are much easier to train than their male counterparts. This could be because females have a tendency to please and are a little needy. On the other hand, male beagles are highly independent and stubborn.

Hyperactivity

If your pet hasn’t been getting enough physical activity, chances are that they are frustrated and need a vent for all that energy. Especially for dogs like beagles, which are inherently active and were bred for hunting!

This energy could be the reason why your pooch is all distracted and lost during school time. With a regular exercise regime, your dog will get the much-required outlet for their energy, and you will receive the gift of attention from them.

How can you train your Beagle dog?

Use sense of smell

Use your beagle’s sense of smell to train them. Use treats with flavors like fish skin that have strong scents and tempt your beagle. Use their strength to strengthen your behavioral reprogramming.

Use exercise to your benefit

Beagles are one of the most energetic breeds of dogs to exist. They require a regular, vigorous routine of exercise and physical activity. The absence of which leads to restlessness and mostly hyperactivity in them. This further leads to attention spans getting shorter and, therefore, not following what the trainer is trying to teach.
Exercise can also be used as a tool to facilitate training. Not only is it a healthy way to keep your beagle happy, but it can also be used to tire them out before the training sessions, during which they will have no energy to fool around.

My trainers have been using this tactic to make training sessions much easier without any extra effort.

Give it a try!

Socialize

Beagles are inherently social. They love humans, hugs, cuddles, and all the petting we could possibly shower upon them. So, when they don’t get enough social time, it can become a problem and should be addressed as early as possible.

Treats to the rescue

This is no brainer. Dogs, like humans, like to be paid. The only difference is that their currency is delicious treats. So, fill up on your stock and get ready to train.

Use cues, hand motions

Using hand gestures and motions while training can add an extra stimulus for your pet and help them better understand the command. Using signs like an open straight palm for the cue “stay,” waving an open palm up and down when commanding “sit,” etc., may help you train your dog faster.

Leash on or off?

Almost all dog owners face a dilemma like this. And mainly because they feel that putting their pet on a leash is like punishing the dog. While it’s a whole different topic talking about all dogs, but with regards to beagles, I’ll tell you that it’s untrue.

Beagles love being connected to their humans. They like the proximity and closeness. So, throw that worry out the window and get that fancy lace out and on your pet.

Keeping the leash on for at least the first year of training, especially when your doggo is a pup, is very important. After that, you can steadily decrease leash time as and when you get confident in your training.

Puppy training

Yes, training from the very beginning is essential. 

And no, you must not over-train them. Yes, it’s a thing! I have witnessed so many people regret letting their baby dog get too much exercise that I include this instruction everywhere without a miss. Seeing your pup sleep effortlessly after tiring playtimes may feel satisfying, but you’re increasing their appetite steadily with that habit. They will get older and stronger, and that same playtime will no more tire them out. But you know who else will lose their mind? I think you got it. 

Being assertive

If you don’t already know, let me tell you that the concept of “Alphas” is big in dogs. It means “the boss.” So, to have your pup listen to you and follow your commands, you must first earn their respect. And how do you do that?

By being assertive

As with any form of education with literally any species, with beagles too, patience is a must. But with it must come a strict, disciplined teacher.

You have to turn your heart into a rock while in the training zone. Your dog needs to know that you are the boss, the decision-maker. It may sound harsh, but it’s for the best, and you know it. 

To increase the effectiveness of your training, make sure that you don’t run behind your trainee. At any given point, you must give a specific command only once and wait for their response. Only after a clear break must you go back to giving another instruction.

If you start repeating commands or running after your dog, they will first think it’s a game. And if, by chance, they do take the hint and follow the instruction, it will be after thinking that they must do so when you give repeated instructions only!

Now that’s one annoying trick you just taught them. 

Here’s an elaborate playlist that talks about different aspects of training a beagle—a good start for your training program.

Things to remember

  • Don’t encourage bad behavior: No matter how cute your baby looks, how intense their puppy eyes are, don’t give in. Don’t give a treat even when they do something unwanted or when they simply ask for it. 
  • Don’t be a softy: Your leniency today will cost you much more tomorrow. Your “let go” attitude will lead to a dog behavior that’s much more difficult to undo than training them strictly right now!
  • Don’t assume that your dog’s behavior will improve with age: If you have a pup and you let go of their mischiefs, thinking they’ll stop when they grow up, you could not be any more wrong. Any behavior as a puppy will only get stronger with age, if not put a brake on.
  • Identifying pre-learned behavior: If you have a rescue or re-homed dog, the reason they aren’t responding to your training might be because of their previously learned behaviors. Try different methods to unlearn those or seek help from a professional.
  • Pup beagles are going to be much more difficult. They are much more active, energetic, eager to run and play, and always curious. You will have your hands full but remember, the clay is wet, therefore also much easier to mold
  • Step after step: With each step of training, you might feel that a lot more is remaining. But understand that with each learned behavior, your canine is also learning to learn. With each trained response, their foundation of willpower is getting stronger. Therefore, each step you climb is much more valuable than just another achievement.
  • Avoid overfeeding: While you may be on top of the world after every positive response from your pet and may want to treat them will all the treats in your hand or even the bowl, but do not be so generous and control your emotions. Your training, along with being disciplined, needs to be healthy. And too many treats will only make your pup unnecessarily obese and lazy. We do not want that.

Bottom line

The last thing I’ll say to you is that you have the ultimate power in your hands. In the end, regardless of the breed, dogs are our best buddies, and with the right steps, any pooch can be trained to the best of its abilities.

Just be patient and see your love take over them like magic!