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Training & Maintenance

Beagle Pros & Cons
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Care of Your Beagle

     The well bred Beagle is a generally hardy, healthy & long lived dog, with 12-16 years being the average lifespan. Due to their tendency to put on weight, which is a trait related to their hunting heritage, the breed requires small amounts of food in relation to other dogs of a similar size - a good hunting hound must be able to keep up weight despite the rigors of the field & thus requires a slower metabolism. This can be both a pro & con to owning a Beagle. It makes them a breed that is very economical to feed as they require small amounts of food in relation to their size. But an alarming number of Beagle owners are inadvertantly overfeeding their hounds, allowing them to become pudgy, overweight, in some instances morbidly obese. This does nothing except to greatly shorten the lifespan and degrade the quality of life of their dogs.


An overweight Beagle is predisposed to decreased longevity, slipped or ruptured discs in the spine, hypothyroidism, cushings disease, asthma/breathing problems, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and early onset arthritis - to name a few off the top of my head. Obesity is almost never the dog's fault except in the case of true thyroid function problems. 99% of the time obesity in Beagles is due to the owner's overfeeding, feeding cheap grain based bargain foods, a simple lack of exercize, or a combination of all these factors. The most a normally active adult pet Beagle 15" or under should be eating is approximately one cup daily, divided into two meals (half cup in the a.m. & half cup in the p.m), slightly less for a more sedentary hound. NO FREE FEEDING should ever be allowed under any circumstances! If the food is going "straight through" the dog, meaning you are feeding 2-3+ cups, dog is going to the bathroom excessively & you can still see ribs, do not increase the amount fed. Rather, it's time for a diet upgrade! 

Keep your Beagle slim and he will be with you for years to come - with the added benefit of him requiring less costly vet bills.



Beagle Training Tips ...



     Beagles have an undeserved repuation for stubbornness and an inability to be successfully housebroken or trained. Its complete nonsense.

     Contrary to popular belief, Beagles are one of the most intelligent breeds as they have an uncanny problem solving ability. They're certainly not as willing to learn obedience commands and practice perfect off leash heels as a Border Collie or German Shepherd, but you must take into consideration the breed was bred for centuries to NOT automatically listen to you. A good hunting hound must shut everything else out and follow his own nose. In a family companion situation, this trait is often referred to as "selective hearing". If it doesn't suit their needs - they choose not to listen.

     The breed has a quick mind and bores easily. Often, they are able to pick up the meaning of entire sentences and will have "silent" conversations with their owners through body language and "Aroooing". They are not dumb hounds and must never be treated as such. Beagles respond to training quite well when the correct incentives and methods are used.

     We do not, under any circumstances recommend using a choker or prong collar for training this breed. Firstly, this is a merry, happy go lucky breed that does not need or respond to outdated, brutal training methods. Don't believe a choker or prong is brutal? Place one around your own neck and have a person who outweighs you by 150lbs walk you around in it. Better yet, place one around your arm and yank with moderate pressure. It WILL leave bruising. Some Beagle owners will use chokers because hounds tend to pull on lead. Pulling is a natural tendency to a degree and while it should not be encouraged, it also should not be completely discouraged. Also, chokers are meant for short training sessions and were never intended as a collar to walk a dog in. We recommend a harness or buckle collar for walking your Beagle. If the hound is trained and well exercized, he should not become a problem puller.

     Secondly, there is a teriffic health risk associated with the use of choker/prong collars. Most dogs will instinctively pull harder when they feel a pressure around their throat - they're crudely attempting to escape from it. Even mild to moderate pressure with a choker can cause a condition known as "collapsing trachea" which is quite common in Beagles who wear these devices. Signs of a collapsed trachea is a hacking cough that lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. 

     We have found the best way to train a Beagle is by the use of "clicker training", a form of operant condiotioning. They learn to associate the click noise with two things. First, a reward, and second, a treat. The hound associates the click with a correct behavior, and in time, a word command is added, and eventually, the treats are phased out, as is the clicker. Clicker training has the advantage of getting a hound to perform commands they normally would protest to without them even knowing they are being trained. Its a game to them! As fun as it is for the hounds, they do become reliably trained with this method.




     The best method to housebreak a Beagle involves patience and consistancy, a crate, and a large bottle of Nature's Miracle cleaner :o) Don't forget a super sized roll of paper towels ... NOTE: Don't use ammonia to clean up accidents. It will only attract your pup to re mark the same spot!

     Do NOT punish pups who have an accident! You'll only make them realize that they get punished when you SEE them have an accident. So, being the intelligent hounds they are, they will make every effort to pee the second your head is turned. Instead, *calmly* pick your pup up and either take him in the yard. It won't matter if you stand outside fo ra half hour at first - he'll probably come back inside and have another accident. Don't get angry. Pick him up again and calmly put him in the yard. Repeat as necessary. Eventually the lightbulb WILL go off in his head. "Oh, they want me to go here!" Once he does his business in the yard, go overboard with the praise! He just did a wonderful thing! Never take a pup inside immediately after they go, unless they want to go in. You want to teach him that the fun of being outside does not end as soon as he does his business.

     Make sure to clean up all accidents thoroughly with Natures Miracle or a similar enzyme cleaner. A product called the "pee post" is also helpful. It is a ground stake that can be placed in your yard to attract the pup to go in that particular area.

     Try not to use newspapers or wee wee pads. Beagles have a tendency to get their mind set on doing things a certain way and can be resistant to change. It may be harder to housebreak certain indiviguals if papers are used as soon as he arrives in his new home. We DO use newspapers to initially housebreak our pups, but as they age, we stop praising them for using them and start praising for pottying outside.