Stop Beagle Howling
Beagles have three types of vocalizations; the bark, the howl, and the bay (a cross between a bark and a howl). Lovers of the breed seem to find Beagle howling endearing while most others are irritated by it. Beagle howling is quite amazing; the dog throws his head back, points his nose straight up and lets out a long, drawn out, haunting song. It’s almost a sad sound and is not easy to forget. Luckily Beagles aren’t the type of dog to bark incessantly like many of the toy breeds but they are hard-wired to sound alerts. The alerts are usually to let it be known that prey has been spotted. The bay which is Beagle howling with a bark added in is a vocalization used with a lot of insistence. The Beagle is trying to point out something of interest; it’s what he was bred to do.
Why Beagles Vocalize
Beagles are hound dogs that have been bred to vocalize while on a hunt. The vocalizations, especially Beagle howling help keep hunters aware of the dog’s position to let him know whether the beagle is chasing its prey or whether the prey has been caught. All of these vocalizations can be heard over very long distances. On the hunt they often disappear into thick vegetation making it hard to see them. In those situations sound is the only sense available to the hunter to locate where his dog is and that’s why it is important that Beagle howling is loud.
Since most Beagles are pets, the majority of them have never been on a hunt and the vocalizations are caused by almost anything that gets the dog’s interest such as strange sounds, another animal within sight, or even something as simple as a moving shadow. Beagles keep a constant vigil on their immediate environment in preparation of alerting their owner that something is out of the ordinary.
One of the biggest problems with Beagle howling and baying is that the dog will use these vocalizations when left alone. Beagles love companionship and become unhappy during long periods of time without a playmate leading to separation anxiety. They will spend hours howling and baying while waiting at the door, in the backyard, or even out the window.
Since howling is an integral part of their breeding, it’s very difficult to train your Beagle to not do it. If you know that you’re going to be leaving your Beagle alone for extended periods of time it may be a good idea to kennel the dog or to hire a dog sitter if possible.
If you think your Beagle is exhibiting his howling behavior because of loneliness, please read my article on separation anxiety for solutions. Click here to read it.