Dealing with Beagle Behavior Issues
The most common theme of the messages and emails I get from other Beagle owners have to do with obedience – or lack of it. If you’re in that situation don’t worry, I have good news for you. Nearly all behavior problems can be fixed, and it can be done at home without the need of a personal dog trainer. All it takes is some patience, consistency and willingness to understand your dog.
The Beagle pedigree is quite impressive. These small little hounds have been breed with a specific intent in mind – to track and hunt. These dogs are incredibly loyal and will do whatever needs to be done, even if there is danger involved. You just need to know how to handle them.
They have their needs and concerns that have to be met. If not, then things can quickly get out of hand. Even though they want a good leader, respect is earned. In fact, most unwanted behavior is learned – and guess from who…
Your Beagle Learned to Disobey You
Most of the common behavior issues are learned by your Beagle as he is growing up. The way pups learn what’s what is through a lot of trial and error. They try something and then watch others react to it.
For example: Playing rough with other puppies is fun, but when others stop playing with you because your bites actually hurt, you’re going to have to cut it off. The other pups yelp and/or stop playing with the sharp tooth hooligan and cause him to stop.
LEARN MORE: Stop Beagle Puppy Nipping and Bitting
So how does this relate to behavior problems? Well, most behavior problems start off as something small or innocent. Sometimes the dog doesn’t even want to disobey, but is trying to deal with some issue, like pain, fear, anxiety, distrust, etc. If left unchecked that small behavior will develop into a nasty habit or complete disobedience. The sooner you spot the problem the better.
The scary part is that the owner can actually encourage their Beagle to disobey – and not even realize it. It usually happens in one of two ways:
Allowing him to get away with it – We love our dogs so much, maybe sometimes even too much. Most owners are guilty of spoiling their Beagle from time to time. We just can’t help ourselves. Sometimes it’s a harmless reward, other times we let certain things slide even though we know we shouldn’t.
Beagle is Encouraged to Misbehave – As crazy as it might sound, but sometimes we are the ones who encourage them to act inappropriately. The worst part is that we do it in such subtle ways that it’s actually hard to notice it.
You’re busy and have to rush home, but your Beagle is not in a hurry to do what he came out to do. After 15 minutes he finally decides to do his business and as soon as he is finished you rush back home to get to whatever you were doing.
While it’s not a problem to end a walk short, doing it repeatedly can turn into one. After a few walks like this, your Beagle will realize that as soon as he finishes outside, the fun is over and it is time to go back home. So to prolong the walk, he will wait until the last moment to stay outside as long as possible.
Again, the example above is not that big deal of a deal, but this can apply to more several behavior issues such as aggression, play biting, unwanted howling, etc. Remember that your Beagle only sees your actions – the intent he has to guess.
Figure Out Why Your Beagle Misbehaves
The truth is that there is no one simple answer. The term “behavior problem” can mean so many things and going into the cause of each problem would require me to write a whole book – so instead we will just group them into two categories.
If Beagle Doesn’t Know Better
The most common reason for “misbehavior”. I put it into quotations because it really isn’t misbehavior. Technically your Beagle doesn’t know he is not supposed to behave that way which means he didn’t do anything wrong in his eyes. So yelling and shouting at the dog for it isn’t going to help much here – not that it would help anywhere else.
The key to solving these kinds of issues is to find out why he does it and then find a new way to do it. Dogs that feel neglected can pick up some nasty hobbies to get some stress out. Or it can be a simple case of the puppy not knowing that he isn’t supposed to go potty indoors. Other behaviors that can fall in your category include begging for food, barking at strangers, stealing from the table, etc.
Your Beagle Knows Better But Misbehaves Anyway
If the behavior issue that your struggling with falls into this category, you might have a more serious problem on your hands. There are many reasons as to why this can happen:
- Lack of trust
- Too much energy
Examples of this would include separation anxiety, destructive chewing, ignoring commands, aggression, howling, etc. You need to be careful when you decide in which category the behavior belongs. Old habits can be hard to kick, so something that looks like clear disobedience, might actually just be a habit.
Even though we love our Beagles, they can get out of hand if their needs are not met or we spoil them too much – which is understandable. However, it shouldn’t ruin the overall experience of owning one of these amazing dogs. Teaching our dogs and correcting them when they go wrong is part of that same experience. And as long as you fully understand your Beagle’s needs/concerns and how to deal with them, you should do fine.
Next Article: Obedience Training
The Guide Book: Your Guide to a Happy Beagle