Training a Beagle Puppy
Beagle puppies are very intelligent but that doesn’t mean that training a beagle puppy doesn’t have plenty of challenges. While going through the process of training a beagle puppy, the owner and the puppy will forge a strong bond with each other. They are highly intelligent dogs but seem to have a stubbornness when it comes to training. Many people say that training a beagle puppy is almost impossible because they have a mind of their own. Don’t believe everything that you hear…training a Beagle puppy is not as difficult as people will have you believe but it requires lots of patience.
When should you begin housebreaking?
House breaking should not begin until your Beagle is between 10 and 12 weeks of age and only after your puppy has been acclimated to your home. He needs to be old enough to have the physical capability of holding it. Most trainers will tell you that crate training a Beagle puppy is the best method for house breaking. Don’t let your human emotions stand in your way by thinking of a crate training as caging your Beagle. Beagles, like all other dogs, are a den type of animal and they come to regard their crate as a den; a safe place of his own where he will make a nest. Another nice thing about crate training is that it lessens the possibility of your Beagle suffering from separation anxiety. You can find more information on crate training a beagle puppy on this site.
Training a Beagle puppy basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, lie down, roll over, fetch, etc. should begin between the ages of 3 and 6 months. Start with the easy ones like sit and work your way up from there. This is also a good time for leash training your Beagle. Beagles are easily distracted while out walking so here are the basics of training a Beagle puppy to walk on a leash:
The traditional training method
The traditional method of training a Beagle puppy to walk on a leash is a series of repeated interventions. Here’s the scenario…Your Beagle pulls on the leash…You stop…You issue a sharp command such as “No!”…At the same moment give a quick tug on the leash…Let the leash go slack…Start walking again…Repeat as necessary.
If you give enough repetition to this technique it will eventually work. Outdated methods such as the use of choke chains and collars are totally unnecessary.
Head and harness collars
Another innovative training technique for Beagle owners who are tired of their Beagles yanking them around by the leash are head and harness collars. There are several varieties of this type of device with the Halti Training Headcollar being the best known. Rather than the traditional dog collar that goes around the neck, the Halti consists of a nylon nose strap and neck strap. You attach the leash to a ring at the end of short strap under the dog’s chin. The two straps each have a specific function. The nose strap replicates the practice of showing pack dominance between two animals. One Beagle in the pack will firmly take another’s muzzle into his own in an act of dominance. The neck strap works differently and is intended to calm the Beagle my mimicking the practice of his mother grasping him by the back of the neck.
Beagles usually respond to an applied force by exerting an opposing force, which is why they often respond to a backwards pull of the leash with more pulling! The Halti is designed to reverse this behavior. The strap applies pressure to the back of the neck instead of the front of the throat and arrests any forward movement when that force is exerted. Also, in a fashion similar to a horse’s bridle you control the head of the Beagle. It is said that if you control the head, you control the beast.
What comes next?
After obedience training a Beagle puppy has been completed there is a lot of time left to train him in other ways. The old adage that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks is totally false when it comes to Beagles. Usually the basics are enough for most Beagle owners but other people want to go further with more complex tricks. Beagles are very adept when it comes to agility training. Agility is a sport where dogs are timed as they run through a variety of obstacles and Beagles are one of the favorite dogs for this. Check with your local kennel club to see if there are any agility clubs in your area.
Training a Beagle puppy to sniff out game animals such as rabbits is one thing you won’t have to train him to do. They are scent hounds and have been bred to do this naturally and that is why so many people use Beagles when they hunt. Not only do they have an incredible sense of smell but they also have a remarkable howl to keep in touch with the hunter and communicate their location and what is happening on the hunt.
If you decide to take your Beagle beyond the basics make sure that he is old enough to handle the physical stress. He should be fully developed before you have him jumping, sprinting, or diving.
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