Why are Beagles so Stubborn?


A beagle standing and being stubborn

Beagles have a face that all dog enthusiasts have grown to love. However, their cute appearance contains a willful and sometimes stubborn personality. You may have spent many hours training your beagle, for them to just completely ignore you when you give them commands. So why are beagles so stubborn?

Beagles are scenthounds and they were bred to track small animals, and blissfully ignore any other stimuli when they have locked on to a scent. Apart from that, they have an independent and curious mind. That’s why beagles are very stubborn and comparatively hard to train.

Beagle Lifestyle

Beagles are a dog with bundles of energy. Make sure your beagle is getting enough stimulation during the day. Beagles benefit from long walks. If your beagle has a strong and reliable recall, your beagle would benefit from coming off the lead in areas where he is able to do so. You should properly socialize your beagle so that he can interact with other dogs on their walks.

When your beagle is inside, do not crate him. Let him explore your apartment, flat, or house. If you have a garden, you can make exercise tracks for him – like tunnels and items to weave in and out of. If you don’t have a garden, you can establish scent training routines for your beagle.

A beagle with a fulfilling lifestyle is more likely to be happy and relaxed. A fulfilled beagle is less likely to be stubborn.

Relationship with your beagle

If you have a positive relationship with your beagle, they will be willing to obey you. You need to respect your beagle as an individual. A lot of training websites tell you to ‘dominate’ your dog, and be the ‘alpha male’. This information is not entirely true and could damage the relationship that you have with your dog. The dominant theory has long been disproved by various established and well-respected researchers and behaviorists.

A beagle should be a part of your family and should know the hierarchy. He should look up to you for guidance rather than be fearful of you.

Dogs do not like being shouted at and respond to the human voice better when it is normal pitched and friendly. Dogs can also read our emotions, so an anxious and stressed owner will lead to an anxious and stressed dog. When your beagle is anxious, they are less likely to listen to your commands and will be stubborn.

You want your dog to listen to you because they respect and want to please you, not out of fear. A stubborn beagle should not be shouted at, or hit. A stubborn beagle should be bribed with treats and lots of positive attention when they finally do the task you want them to do.

However, you do not want to spoil your dog. Beagles are very intelligent, so they will recognize when their owner is ‘soft on them’. They will realize that they can get away with being naughty, as long as bad behavior is followed by some puppy eyes. Create fair rules for your beagle (such as no soiling inside), and make sure your beagle engages in desired behaviors before giving him a treat and a head scratch.

Beagle Training

beagle listening to NO command

Beagles have been bred to hunt small animals, and their keen sense of smell is used in various industries to this day. They are used as sniffer dogs in airports and police force. Although willful and independent, beagles CAN be trained, if you know the correct way to make yourself appealing to your beagle and be consistent with the training.

When you are training your beagle, make sure you do it in a calm, quiet place. As your beagle becomes more obedient you can take the training in a distracting environment. Some commands your beagle should know are:

  • Sit/stay
  • Leave it
  • Drop it
  • Come here
  • Stop (barking)

You can refer to this article to teach these commands to your beagle.

Make sure your beagle has your full attention during these training sessions, or you will be unsuccessful. If your beagle becomes bored or restless, terminate the training session and try again in a few hours. Beagles are quite intelligent, but with intelligence comes a sense of determination.

Your beagle will become stubborn and unruly if you do not reliably and consistently train your pooch to follow these commands. Although a stubborn dog can be funny, it can sometimes lead to great danger. For example, if your dog is about to run into a busy road, you want him to stop and return to you. If your beagle is about to eat dangerous food, you want them to drop it and leave the food alone.

What if nothing helps with stubbornness?

beagle holding a toy

If your beagle is too stubborn, you should find a new, unique way to get them to listen to you. Also, you should take effective precautions to ensure your beagle does not endanger himself or others. Keep them on a lead in public places. If they catch the scent of an animal they will chase it and not come back.

If you are having no luck with your stubborn beagle yourself, you should seek a qualified animal behaviorist. After all, dogs are mostly reflections of their owners. So, if your beagle is not behaving or listening to you, your training methods may not be efficient. Behaviorists and trainers are qualified in dog training and can tell you why your beagle is stubborn and not listening to your commands. They can also draw you up a detailed training plan, with hints and tips to make your beagle listen.

Final Thoughts

Beagles are a popular dog. Although they have a sweet disposition, their tendency to pick up scents can make them stubborn and “ignorant” to other commands. Make sure you have a good working relationship with your beagle, to accommodate for their stubborn personality. If you become frustrated with your beagle’s behavior, do not take it out on them. Your beagle was bred to sniff out scents with reckless abandon – their nose decides what their body does.

Bryony Ravate

Bryony has an MSc. in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is passionate about Scientific Communication and interested in animal science, behavior and husbandry.

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