Beagle PuppiesBeagles have a long history as both companions and hunting dogs. After centuries of selective breeding to produce the ultimate tracker, many beagle owners find it challenging to teach their dogs how to behave in a modern household. A beagle’s curiosity, fun-loving nature and intelligence often leads it into more mischief than an average dog. By understanding what makes your beagle tick, you will have an easy time teaching him how to hunt, play and live safely in the modern world.

Overcoming Separation Anxiety

Beagles are more prone to separation anxiety than many breeds because they were bred to hunt in packs. If left to his own devices for too long, your beagle will find creative – and undesirable – ways to entertain himself. Before leaving him home alone all day, take him outside for a game of fetch or a run through the park to use up some of his abundant energy. Keep plenty of toys around the house and encourage your beagle to play with them. He will associate the toys with happy memories of you, and be less likely to look for new toys, like your favorite shoes.

Stopping Excessive Barking

One of the unique characteristics of beagles is their deep, baying voice that echoes over long distances. As hunting dogs, this is what they use to alert their owners of nearby prey. When you and your beagle aren’t in the field, barking can turn into a serious problem. Start teaching your beagle pup the commands “speak” and “quiet” early on so that you can control his urges to bark.

Beagles are Born to Run

Every beagle lives for the thrill of the chase, whether it is rabbits, your neighbor’s cat or cars. It’s of vital importance that your beagle learn to come when he’s called, sit and stay early so that his responses to your commands become automatic. However, with the best of training, a beagle’s urge to give chase is often overwhelming. If you live near a roadway or anything that could pose a danger to your beagle, it’s a good idea to either fence your yard or keep him on a leash.

Beagles Love to Dig

It’s not unusual to find a beagle owner’s lawn and gardens pock-marked with freshly excavated holes. Being natural hunters, they love to uncover anything interesting they smell in the soil. You can do several things to save your landscaping.

First, provide the beagle with plenty of toys that are more interesting than the tantalizing aroma in your flowerbed. You could also try changing fertilizers, since some fertilizers have scents that are irresistible to beagles. You could also try designating a spot just for digging. Correct your beagle when he digs where he shouldn’t, reward him for digging in his spot, and he will soon learn the difference.

Food as a Motivator

Beagles are the foodies of the dog world. They will eat nearly anything – the more it smells, the better. As you train your beagle, you can use this to your advantage. Offering tasty treats as rewards will hasten the training process while ensuring that your beagle enjoys learning new things with you. Just make sure to account for all the treats you feed your beagle throughout the day. Make necessary cutbacks to breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep your beagle from gaining too much weight.

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+Neil Kilgore is a dog owner, dog lover and the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He blogs about dogs, breeders and puppy care on the Greenfield Puppies website.