Playful, friendly to everyone, and affectionate, Beagles have what it takes to become part of any family. But as much as they’re cute and loving, they can sometimes become destructive and noisy. It’s all in the way that you treat them.
Check out my list of things you should know when having a Beagle, to keep your family, your dog and your neighbours happy.
#1 You need time and patience to potty train a Beagle
These dogs are fast learners, but potty training isn’t going to happen overnight. Beagles need time to get used to asking themselves outside, so keep your expectations low, at least when your puppy is still very young.
Start potty training around the age of 8 weeks, and no matter how well your dog’s doing, keep training until she’s 10-12 months old, to prevent setbacks. Many Beagle owners find the crate useful, especially in the first two years.
#2 Inspector Beagle will always find a way to sniff around the house
Beagles are intelligent and curious, a dangerous combination if you have places where you don’t want them to go to. Boundary training is a good way to set some limits, but as Beagles are nose-driven (they’ll follow a scent in any circumstance), you’d better not rely completely on your dog’s ability to stay outside the forbidden areas in your house.
Pet-proof your home and make it a safe place for your dog:
lock rooms where your dog shouldn’t have access. Kids’ rooms in particular should be off limits. Small toys are dangerous for dogs because they can be easily swallowed, cause choking or intestinal blockage. If bedrooms are upstairs, you can try to use a baby gate to keep the dog from climbing the staircase;
keep all food away from the kitchen counter. Beagles love food, and they’ll do everything they can to get close to something that smells good and tasty. Hide all food in places where your dog can’t reach them and secure all kitchen cabinets;
protect the garbage can. A dog should never have access to leftovers, as they can be dangerous for her health. Keep the garbage outside the house, or in an area where your dog can’t reach it;
hide all electric wires. Many dogs feel tempted to chew on them, especially when they’re young, causing themselves various injuries.
If you’re planning to keep your Beagle in a crate when you’re not around, make sure you choose a resistant product. These dogs are escape masters, and they usually have a natural ability to get what they want:
#3 You’ll have to keep your dog close all the time
It’s common for a Beagle to let herself be driven by an interesting scent outside the yard. To keep your dog from escaping, you need a high enclosure with a solid base. These dogs are good at climbing and digging, so take all precautions before letting your Beagle alone in the yard.
Thieves are another reason why a Beagle shouldn’t wander on their own. These dogs are friendly with everyone, making them pretty easy to steal. Never let such a dog alone in an unfenced area, and when you take her to the park, always use a leash to keep her close.
Another reason why you should always keep your dog leashed when going outside is that Beagles may not respond to their owners’ calls, being too involved in “hunting”. You can control this bad habit with obedience training, but it seems their instinct is sometimes stronger than what they learn, and they’d rather follow their nose instead of responding to your command.
#4 It’s play time… all the time
Beagles have a lot of energy and they love to play, which makes them suitable for families with children of all ages. But this also means you need to keep up with your dog’s exercise needs. Take her for a 30-minute walk once or twice a day, and make time to play with her outside at least four or five times a week.
These dogs are often called “a nose on four legs” and are included in the hound group by the American Kennel Club. They need mental stimulation and enjoy playing hunting games, where they can use their specific abilities.
Without exercise, your Beagle will get bored and develop bad habits to keep herself busy, such as chewing, jumping or biting. The lack of exercise can also cause obesity, which has serious side effects, such as:
#5 You must have patient neighbours
Being a small dog, a Beagle can thrive in a small apartment if she gets enough exercise. However, your dog can become a real challenge if you don’t dedicate enough time and energy to her. Beagles make a lot of noise. Some owners say it’s a habit caused by boredom, but the fact is these dogs have three different barks, each one with a specific significance:
regular bark - which they usually use to let you know someone’s approaching;
yowl - used when they’ve picked an interesting scent;
howl - used when they’re bored or sad.
Excessive barking can be controlled through training, but your dog will continue to communicate using her natural talent for communication.
#6 You need to find a serious breeder
Beagles are funny, playful and intelligent, but they’re also independent and sometimes stubborn. Furthermore, they’re prone to a series of genetic health conditions, so you should get a puppy from a reputable breeder, who can give you information about her parents.
Beagles are great family dogs that do well with children. But they’re also noisy, hard to housebreak, and very active. You need to dedicate a lot of time to keep such a dog happy and healthy, so if you’re always busy and almost never home, then a Beagle is not the right dog for you.
What do you think about Beagles? Do you have any experience with these dogs? Share your story with us in a comment below.