Is a Beagle Hard to Train?
Is a Beagle Hard to Train? The beagle breed
by Robert Hudson
The Beagle is a beloved old breed that has become a part of pop culture. Or should I say “pup” culture. The big ears, a loud howl, and devotion to their family are all traits of this lovable dog. Here we address the burning question about the worlds favorite hound dog.
Are Beagles Hard To Train?
If you have arrived here from a Google search, then you have seen the hundreds of pages that say beagles are stubborn, easily distracted and therefore difficult to train. Every website from AKC to all breed profiles states this. Ask any trainer and you will get a completely different answer. NO.
I have asked this question to over a dozen different professional trainers and got the same answer every time: every dog is an individual and learns at its’ own pace regardless of breed. There is no breed that is difficult to train. You just need to find what motivates them.
“I don’t agree with any generalization for any breed/type of dog. If I were prone to generalizations, I would say that beagles are one of the easier to train types of dogs because they are usually exceptionally food motivated. I also rarely see aggressive beagles so I think they are one of the most ideal options for the average dog parent. But again, every dog really is an individual. Parental traits are important. Breed traits don’t really exist,” Debby McMullen, trainer. Www.pawsitivereactions.com
‘Just helped a family with a Beagle puppy today. No different to any other 12 wk old puppy – a delight.”
Tricia Dunlop, Dogspeak
Motivation for the beagle breed
“Find something that is incredibly motivating to the dog. Stinky treats work well because they will track the scent. I use a lot of warm hot dogs, freeze dried liver, freeze dried fish, rotisserie chicken. Also connection. Focusing on building up the bond between you and the dog. People say it’s harder to train beagles than other breeds but I haven’t personally experienced that,” Heidi Joy Clem https://www.facebook.com/forcefreepaws
True Breed Traits Are Key
I spoke with Steve Dale, behaviorist, pet expert; radio/TV personality and writer. He brings up an interesting point that training a dog to do something that is natural to what they were bred for is easier than trying to train them to do something they were not bred for.
“While dogs can be insistent, independent or stubborn as people say – it’s a matter of finding what motivates. For Beagles, typically they will do anything for food, so use it. They were bred to have their noses to the ground. That doesn’t mean they’re being stubborn as much as being distracted.
It’s like you texting when I am asking you about something else. Beagles are wonderful family dogs and have been among the top 10 dog breeds in America for many decades, and once the number one breed, and for a reason.
Absolutely any breed or mix can be taught (I prefer that term to train). Dogs co-evolved with us and bred to live with us for thousands of years. If zookeepers can train Siberian tigers to voluntarily offer a paw for a blood draw, yes, we can train Beagles”.
Yes and No
Steve went on to say, “Are some breeds more difficult? Yes. But that’s a complex question. What are you trying to teach? Teaching a Beagle to discover a scent is a no brainer, and they’re Mensa compared to Border Collies when asked to do that. However, Border Collies are far more proficient at “herding” Frisbee discs or learning complex behaviors, maybe even doing my income taxes. They’re really smart! So, teaching a dog something most akin to skills they were originally bred for is easier than teaching a Basenji to retrieve tennis balls like a Golden Retriever.
But a Golden won’t learn as quickly how to find a lost person compared to a Bloodhound, though they certainly can learn that. Of course, some individual dogs of any breed or mix can be more easily motivated to learn, so some of all this has nothing to do with breed and everything to do with the individual. And within breeds there are different lines, so it gets quite complicated.
For any dog or mix or any species for that matter., it’s a matter of understanding how learning occurs and what will motivate that individual .” Steve Dale, CABC
Breed specs for the beagle breed
- Life span: 12 – 15 years
- Temperament: Amiable, Excitable, Even Tempered, Intelligent, Determined, Gentle
- Weight: Male: 22–24 lbs (10–11 kg), Female: 20–22 lbs (9–10 kg)
- Height: Male: 14–16 inches (36–41 cm), Female: 13–15 inches (33–38 cm)
- Colors: Lemon & White, Tri-color, White & Tan, Chocolate Tri, White & Chocolate, Orange & White, Red & White
Beagles are very vocal. One of the biggest reasons Beagles are given up to rescue is because of excessive barking and howling. They howl when bored and are reactionary to sounds. They are not however suitable as protection dogs because they usually just want to lick the face of any stranger. Barking can be curbed to some extent by proper training. Bear in mind though that each dog is an individual and may not be part of this generalization.
The modern beagle breed was developed in Great Britain in the early 1800s. Earlier versions that led to the modern beagle were various hounds brought to England by William the Conqueror in the Norsemen invasion of the 11th century and bred with local hounds.
The modern beagle breed like the hounds it was bred from, was developed for hunting. Its’ small size was created to hunt rabbits and hares while the dogs ran in packs with the hunters right behind on foot. Larger hounds were bred for speed to hunt deer with hunters following on horseback.
If you are attracted to beagles for their cute face and loving personality, don’t let the fear of training stop you. Treat them right and you will have a life long bond that cannot be broken.