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Who doesn’t want a dog that follows you around during walks, without a leash. You might have even seen owners walking and playing with their labradors without the leash. Labradors are easy to train, beagles aren’t. So can beagles be off-leash?
Beagles can be trained to walk with you off the leash, but it is something most dog experts don’t recommend. Beagles, belonging to the scent hound group, have a curious and independent personality. They are more likely to run away chasing a scent and ignoring all your commands.
However, it’s not impossible. With the right motivation and consistent training, you can successfully teach your beagle to walk with you off the leash.
We will look into the step by step guide of training a beagle to walk without the lead, but before that, we understand the personality traits that make them so distracted.
Beagles were bred to be hunting dogs. In the past, they were used for track and chasing down small animals like rabbits.
They were bred to follow the scent of the prey and run behind it freely. Catching a scent and following its source is in their instinct.
Even though beagles have become house pets now, they still have the instinct to follow and find the source of the scent.
So if you leave an untrained beagle off the leash, he will probably catch sent and run away to find it source. And all your commands will be ignored.
Leaving a beagle off the leash is a little controversial topic among dog experts.
Some dog trainers believe that no matter how well trained your beagle is, there is always some risk of their escapades.
On the other side, some also believe with proper training, beagles can learn to walk side by side without the leash.
So let’s look into the step by step guide of how you can teach your pooch to be without a leash.
Training a Beagle to Walk off the Leash
Training a beagle to walk with you without any lead seems fascinating, but it can be a challenging task. However, it’s not impossible. Follow all the listed steps below and be consistent with the training.
Step 1: Create a Foundation
If beagles are curious, beagle puppies are Curious X 10. Do not even think about off-leashing a beagle puppy.
Before teaching your beagle to walk off the leash, he must have a solid understanding of walking on a leash.
If you don’t already have a leash, then here are some of the best leashes for your beagle.
Puppyhood is the time to create a solid foundation of on-leash training. Teach your pup to walk on the leash without pulling.
You should not move to the next step even if your beagle puppy walks on the leash without pulling.
Adult or puppy, your beagle should be on the leash for at least one year.
Step 2: Set up a Radius
An off-leash dog should know how far he is allowed to go from you.
To create this imaginary radius, put your beagle on a long leash for six months. Go to a nearby park regularly and allow your beagle to walk a little more freely on his long leash.
You can get a 30 to 50 feet long leash.
Do this for another six months until he gets the hang of his moving radius.
Step 3: Teach Discipline
In the first 1 and a half years of on-leash training, you also need to teach your beagle how to behave outside.
Beagles usually get distracted by small animals or other dogs and start pulling on the leash. You don’t want that. So whenever he pulls on the leash, stand still and hold the leash until your dog stops pulling.
Poorly socialized beagles may start barking and pulling when they see other dogs. So make sure you properly socialize your beagle. You should constantly introduce dogs and humans right from their puppyhood.
Step 4: Teach to come back on command
Another important thing you should teach your beagle is to pay attention to you instead of the surrounding.
When beagles get distracted, they tend to ignore all the commands. You don’t want that.
You want your beagle to come running to you when you call him. For this, you will have to be more attractive to your beagle than the surrounding. This how you do it:
- Attach the long leash to your beagle and take him outside in an uncrowded park.
- Have some treats in your pocket. A treat-pouch can come handy.
- Now stand still and hold the other end of the leash. Let him wonder the surround for a while.
- At some point, your pooch will look back to you, click the clicker and show him the treat (or say the marker word like ‘good boy’). Let him come running towards you to get his treat.
- Now repeat. Let him wander around, and when he looks back to you, give him a treat.
- After trying this for a couple of weeks, introduce a new word, ‘come back.’ This word should only be used to call your dog when outside.
- The key is to practice this regularly.
Step 5: Start with Off-Leash Training
Once your beagle has a solid foundation of walking on the leash, it’s time to start with the off-leash training.
Now, before starting this training, you wanna make sure that your beagle has had at least 1 and a half years of on-leashing and does not misbehaves on walks.
Select a closed area like a backyard for off-leash training. Remember, beagles are notorious for running away. So double sure that the area is safe and secure.
Now remove the leash of your beagle and start walking around. See if your beagle follows you. Try calling him and see if he comes back.
Now try the same thing in your friend’s backyard to see how well your dog does in unfamiliar territories.
Gradually switch to less crowded parks before going to public dog parks.
Your beagle should stick around you. Call him immediately if he tries to go away from you.
Risks of Off-Leashing your Beagle
I don’t want to scare you, but there no matter how hard you train your beagle, there will always be a slight risk of running away.
Beagles think with their nose, and when they catch a scent, their eyes and ears shut.
They are not bad dogs, but because of their instinct, you cannot trust them off-leash.
If you live in a city, then don’t even thing off-leashing your beagle. With all the cars, the risks are just too high.
Even if you won’t leave your beagle off-leash, training them to come back on your command can prevent potential accidents.
If you still want your beagle to walk off-leash, I would highly suggest you to get a professional dog trainer.