Are Beagles Hard to Train?

Due to their friendly, social, and affectionate personality, beagles are a popular choice among families. However, you might have heard or read that beagles are challenging to train. But is it true? Are beagles hard to train?

Due to their independent and stubborn personality trait, beagles are a little hard to train. However, with positive motivation and consistent training, this loving breed can be trained to follow all your commands.

Further, we will look into some reasons that make beagles hard to train and understand the correct way of training them.

Reasons why Beagles are Hard to Train

beagle sitting and watching

As adorable and playful beagles can be, they can be equally annoying when it comes to training. When you get down to training a beagle with simple tricks such as sit, shake hands, and fetch the ball, you might realize that Beagles are one of the most stubborn breeds.

Indeed, Beagles are an independent and proud breed. Every time you command your pet, chances are you’ll get the “Why should I?” look from them. And trust me, getting down on your knees and begging them to listen to you doesn’t help either.

1. They are Independent

Beagles are lovable and highly energetic. But coming from a family of hound dogs, they can be annoyingly independent and self-centered. You cannot expect a Beagle to be as co-operative as a Golden Retriever, whose sole mission is to hear “good boy” from its owner.

2. They are Hounds

Hounds were bred to hunt along with their human companion. They were used to chase down small animals by their scent for their owners.

Belonging to the hound category, beagles are driven by their sense of smell. Once an exciting scent reaches the nostrils of a beagle dog, rest assured, they will become deaf to your commands. This can happen even in the case of well-trained dogs.

3. They are an Energetic Breed

Beagles were bred to hunt small animals. And hunting requires a lot of energy.

Beagles are an active breed, and owners often neglect their daily exercising needs. Having lots of energy in them makes it difficult for them to focus on training.

It then narrows down to how well you can command your beagle. However, this does not mean that they are entirely untrainable. It comes down to efforts, consistency, and patience, and training a beagle requires a lot of patience.

Here are some useful tips for new beagle owners.

Training a Beagle

There are quite a few methods for training dogs, but not all are effective on beagles. After a lot of trial and error, I find the following method the best for training beagles.

Beagles are known to be:

  1. Foodie
  2. Smell-driven
  3. Energetic
  4. Stubborn

To effectively train your beagle, we need to leverage all these qualities. Let’s have a look.

1. Foodie

picky beagle looking at cake
Beagles may not be big fans of following commands, but they do love food. Using treats as positive reinforcements is the best way to train them and teach discipline.

Every time your beagle does something that you want, give them a treat as a reward. It’s that simple. Here are some useful tips for this type of training:

  • Treat-oriented training can be very effective. However, beagles are prone to obesity. Use small pieces of treats while training and make sure they don’t accumulate more than 10% of their daily diet. You can refer to this Beagle feeding guide for more info.
  • Once they learn the cue word for the command, decrease the frequency of giving treats. For instance, after he learns the command, start giving treats every second time he follows the command, and then make it once every three commands, gradually not using the treats.
  • Don’t meltdown by their soulful eyes and give away treats when they don’t follow your commands. It will encourage bad behavior.
  • Get different types of treats, and keep switching them to keep things interesting. Here are some of the best treats for beagles.
  • Use clicker for training.
  • Use these vegetables and fruits as high-value treats while teaching new commands/tricks.

2. Smell-Driven

Beagle on a walk for exercising

Beagles are scent hounds. They were bred to follow scents. They are infamous for catching a new scent out in the open and running away chasing it.

When beagles catch a scent, all their senses shut down except their nose. No matter how obedient your beagle is in the house, they would ignore all your commands when they catch a scent.

That’s why you need to train them to listen to you outside. Start with teaching the command indoor. After some practice, take the training to the backyard.

Ensure to bring some healthy treats along. Start with simple tricks such as sit, shake hands, and fetch.

Teaching your beagle to follow your commands indoor as well as outdoor will ensure utmost obedience.

3. Energetic

Beagle trying to jump

Being an energetic breed, beagles require a lot of exercise. Failing to give them enough exercise can cause various behavioral problems.

Experts suggest that majority of behavioal issues in beagles are caused due to lack of daily exercise.

Trust me, the key to an obedient beagle is daily exercise. Take them out for walks twice a day, play with them, give them some space where they can run.

The best time to train dogs is after exercise when they are exhausted. They will be less distracted and much more focused on the training. Apart from that, daily exercise keeps them healthy.

Here are 12 ways to exercise your beagle.

4. Stubborn

Stubborn beagle

Beagles may be hard to train, but this doesn’t mean they are dumb. Beagles are too smart to follow commands all the time.

That’s why it is essential to start their train from puppyhood. They need to learn to be obedient from an early age.

The last and perhaps the best thing you can do to train your beagle is, setting up a routine. Much like humans, dogs tend to follow a pattern as well if they become accustomed to it.

Final Thoughts

At times, the dream of training your beagle might seem like a lost cause. However, the critical thing is not to lose hope. It can be challenging, we understand. But it’s not impossible!

It just requires a little effort from you and a little from your pup. If worse comes to worst, you could always take your beagle to a professional trainer.