If you are working on halting excessive howling in your beagle, you will first need to learn the difference between howling and baying.
Howling is a sound meant to be a warning or to communicate with others in the pack about possible threats.
Baying is the sound made when they are hunting and have located their prey. The mindset behind baying is very different, and the intensity of this sound will match that high drive feeling in your beagle.
A howl is usually used to communicate a need. This might be a need for some attention, an attempt to state that they are in pain, or other requirements that the beagle cannot meet on its own.
Baying is specifically a hunting-based alert, and the behavior that leads to this form of a howl is more likely to do with aggression or conflict. This would be the noise your dog might make if someone tries to harm them or your family. They might also make this sound if they are frustrated with another dog’s behavior in the family unit.
Beagles are pack dogs and don’t like to be left alone. To handle this kind of unwanted howling, you can make sure there is another dog in the house. You can also turn on background noise that will make your dog think you are there, even if you have left the house for a while.
Many beagle owners who do not use hunting boxes for their dogs find that creating a security den in their home helps their beagle to calm down when they are away. This is normal dog instinct, as they love a good den to sleep in. With a beagle, part of the breeding built into them is to like small, dark places to sleep.
If your beagle is displaying separation anxiety, it may also be paired with their fright and frustration at the noise and other stimuli invading their sleeping time. Other breeds might bark at these invasions, but a beagle will use their vocalization of a howl instead.
Remove Sounds That Bother Them
If your beagle is always howling at a specific sound, try to eliminate that noise from your daily routine. You may not be able to control what the people living near you do, but you can make sure that your beagle doesn’t howl at a piano located in your own home.
Reward Good Behavior, Not Bad
Many first-time beagle owners get themselves into trouble by not rewarding silent or patient behavior in their beagle. Beagles love to please, and they will be willing to work against their instinct to howl if you reward them each time they do so. All dog breeds can be taught to behave against their genetic coding if you spend some time rewarding the behavior you approve of.
Teach Them to Howl on Command
This might seem counterintuitive, but it can help a lot. Taking control of your beagle’s howling behavior makes it possible for you to decide when they howl. Dogs who are trained to wait for a command before doing an action will be far less likely to take that action on their own. This means that you can stop howling you don’t want because your beagle will look to you for approval before howling.
Baying is not a desirable behavior unless your beagle is actually being used as a hunting dog. Even if your beagle saw another dog or has been left alone, baying is not an acceptable response.
Your beagle may howl, but the aggression that accompanies baying is not acceptable. Give your beagle more boundaries surrounding its howling behavior to prevent baying. Baying should only be done in response to prey, and you do not want your beagle to be thinking about other dogs or people around you as prey.
Keep Them Busy and Active
Beagles are very energetic dogs. Their howling vocalization can sometimes mean that they are not getting enough exercise for their age. They need the chance to play with each other or to be played with daily to help them with a howling problem.
If you have been exercising your beagle but it is still exhibiting unwanted howling behavior, add some distance to your walks. This is a strong breed that was designed to hunt for prey through fields with hunters. They love a long walk and often need this much exercise to help them ignore sounds and listen to their owners.
If you have a beagle puppy wearing you out, remember that they often improve quite a bit in their self-control after their first birthday.
Is a Beagle Right For Me?
Now that you have learned some more about this breed of dog and why a beagle might howl at all times of day, you need to consider if you can give a beagle enough attention.
One reason that many people feel frustrated with their beagle is that they were not prepared for the amount of exercise and attention that this dog breed needs. If you have lots of neighbors living around you or don’t have time to get your beagle out of the house for a walk a lot, you may not want to get one.
Beagles make great dogs for many people, but they need a committed effort to helping them use their hunt skills for useful purposes. This is something that not everyone thinks about when they get a beagle puppy.