All Things Dog

Keeping Up With Your Busy Beagle

There's no doubt about it, the Beagle is one social animal. He wants nothing more than to be part of the family and can often sulk when left out of group activities. This hound's social side also makes him a bit of a busybody. Beagles love nothing more than to run, wander, and explore—often landing them in lots of trouble. So what's a Beagle owner to do?

Here are some common Beagle problems and simple ways to deal with them.

Chewing: Beagles are known to chew on just about anything they can get into their mouths. Don't make the common mistake of giving him an old sock or shoe to chew on. Your Beagle can't tell the difference between the new and the old ones—he just knows they both smell like human feet. Make sure he always has an appropriate chew toy to sink his teeth into.

Barking and howling: Beagles will bark at leaves falling from trees, at a toy that is out of reach, or at kids playing in the yard. While the AKC calls the Beagle bark "the melodious voice of the hound," chances are you will have another description for it. Beagles have a true hound-howl and they love the sound of their own voice.

If you have a noisy Beagle, you can teach him to turn down the volume a bit. By praising your dog when he is quiet, he'll learn to associate something pleasant with being quiet. When your beagle does begin to howl, or bay, sternly tell him "no!" Then, when he stops, praise him for doing as he was told.

Climbing: When Peanuts® creator Charles Schultz decided to draw Snoopy on the roof of his doghouse, he must have known that Beagles were fond of climbing. Don't be surprised to find your Beagle on the back of the couch, or on the kitchen table. (The breed's natural climbing skill is one of the reasons they make incredible search and rescue dogs in urban disasters.) It's a smart idea to set boundaries right from the start and to enforce them. If you don't want your dog on the furniture, don't invite him up on the sofa—ever.

Above all, remember that the key to avoiding problem behavior in your dog is prevention. If you spend time walking and exercising your dog each day, he won't have as much energy to tear up the couch, carpet, or whatever else catches his eye.

Make sure he has plenty of interesting things to keep him occupied when he's home alone. Try hiding treats in puzzle toys. And, if at all possible, don't leave him alone for hours at a time. Beagles, more than most breeds, crave social interaction and can easily suffer from separation anxiety.

Remember that your curious, social Beagle has a mind of his own, and needs constant stimulation. A little understanding on your part will go a long way.

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