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Home > Dogs > Are Beagles Smart? Facts & Training Tips

Are Beagles Smart? Facts & Training Tips

beagle sitting on a couch

The beagle dog breed originated in England around 1830, and since then it has become one of the most popular dog breeds in the US. Often referred to as “scent hounds” due to their remarkable scent detection capabilities, these dogs are great hunters and are one of the most lovable breeds that you can have as a family pet.

So, whether you purchase a vehicle as a small pup or as an adult, you’re likely going to find a good friend and this dog breed and a dependable companion. But where do beagles rank in terms of intelligence? Are they smart?

Beagles are generally considered to be a fairly smart dog breed. However, they can be pretty difficult to train and may appear very stubborn. Famed psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren ranked beagles at 131 when compared to hundreds of other dog breeds in terms of intelligence. However, this doesn’t mean that beagles aren’t smart in comparison to other dogs, it just means that they may have different motivators that may not necessarily be in step with other breeds.

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The 4 Things That Make Beagle Training Challenging

Many dog owners who have Beatles may very well attest to their intelligence and their skill-set as dogs. However, their personality style can make it especially frustrating when you’re training them. It doesn’t mean that they are trainable, it just means that they may respond to different cues and be motivated by different factors.

1. They Were Bred This Way

It can be super challenging to train beagles because of how they were originally bred. These dogs were originally bred to hunt deer and rabbits in the mid-16th century. Their human companions pretty much let them hunt without having to micromanage their actions. Beagles love to do things their own way and from a breed perspective, they’re simply not used to receiving orders.


2. They’re Scent Hounds

Remember that Beagles are bred to be scent-hounds, so no matter how faint the scent may be, they’re able to pick them up easily. Fun fact: Beagles have 45 times the number of scent receptors as humans.

Therefore, taking them outside will most likely expose them to outside smells, which can make guiding these pups frustrating when you first put them on a leash. Note that untrained pups will roam wherever they please, and any commands you make to “Sit” or “Stay” will likely be ignored.

beagle hunting
Image Credit: olginaa84, Pixabay

3. Beagles Are Active Dogs

Beagles are known for being a hyperactive breed and it can be difficult for owners to train them because they’re so high-spirited. It can be exhausting to deal with this energetic dog breed, but it’s possible to train them to behave when they get a bit tired.

So training your Beagle first thing in the morning after it wakes up may not always be the best time. Instead, consider starting your training session in the afternoon after it’s gone for a walk or completed some other physical activity for the day. Young pups will tire out faster than older dogs, so be sure to pay attention to their energy levels.


4. The Beagle Breed Is Primarily Food-driven

All dogs are motivated by food-this we know. But Beagles are easier to train than other breeds when there’s food involved. Most Beagles will find training without treats boring and a young pup may ignore you unless there is a tasty snack nearby during the session.

Using treats is a very effective training strategy, but don’t overdo it. Be sure to incorporate other training techniques, as your Beagle may become irritated and may stop accepting other forms of reinforcement like affection or verbal praise.

beagle enjoying its bully stick
Image Credit: Iryna Imago, Shutterstock

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When Is the Best Time to Train a Beagle?

An 8-week-old Beagle pup can be trained as soon as you take it home. Training should become an integral part of his daily life if you want to avoid pulling your hair out once it becomes an adolescent and adult.

Look at a Beagle pup sort of as a clean slate that needs to be taught the right and wrong behavior. Your actions, your reactions, and the way that you treat it in the long term will all affect its day-to-day temperament.

Lemon Beagle
Image By: Watcharapong Sermwichitch, Shutterstock

How Long Will It Take for My Beagle to Be Completely Trained?

Each Beagle dog is different, so training will vary from pup to pup. While some dogs would need to learn the basics in a training session over a period of several months, others may only require one week or two. Although Beagles can learn things quickly, it’s important to train them for their future. What activities do you want them to do in their daily lives?

Do you want your Beagle to help you guard the house at night? Well, be sure to train it for this. Want it to alert you to your crying baby? Teach it the steps to do this. Training will reinforce their skills and knowledge as well as the rules you have set each week. A trained Beagle is always much better than one that has never been taught.

divider-paw Basic Daily Commands for Puppy Beagles

Your Beagle pup should learn basic training to help it become an obedient dog–remember, the earlier you train, the better. And it’s better to start with the most basic training than jump straight to the more complicated ones. Beagle pups, just like many other breeds, have short attention spans and can easily become distracted or bored. So here are a few tips to get things started with the training basics.

Daily Obedience

This is one of the tougher things to train for when it comes to Beagles. Their little noses can get attracted by a certain smell and their other senses seem to just shut down. But this is where you have to teach your dog how to work with you. Your Beagle should be able to understand the meanings of “Stay”, “Heel”, “Sit”, and “No”, as well as any other verbal cues.

Potty Usage

Your Beagle must be trained immediately upon arrival at your home, or you might find yourself with a house full of wet stains and bad smells. Immediate potty training will get your dog in the habit of going in the space that you designate and during certain times during the day.

potty trained beagle
Image By: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Puppy Biting & Licking

Most Beagle pups will show affection by licking and biting your hands, arms, and face (and shoes). This behavior is normal when a Beagle puppy is playing, but it can become dangerous if it continues to be a problem as it ages. Try redirecting your dog to a toy every time he attempts to do it to you. Or start giving it verbal commands such as “No”.

Crate Training

Young pups don’t often take to crates too well, and Beagle pups really aren’t ones that you’ll want to leave alone for extended periods of time. Crate training early is essential, especially as they begin to take more trips to the vet or dog park.

Separation anxiety can be avoided by introducing your Beagle to its crate and associating it with comfort and safety. It may take several months to master this technique, but it will definitely pay off in the end.

beagle dog inside crate
Image By: Jagodka, Shutterstock

Meeting Other Animals & People

It’s important that your dog get used to seeing other people outside of your home. Places such as dog parks, doggy daycares, and the pet groomer can expose your dog to other animals and strange people.

Your dog will become more comfortable seeing different faces every day and it’ll help reduce its barking when it encounters them. If you’re training your Beagle to be a guard dog, you’ll want to keep it on a lease when in public, as they can get pretty aggressive with other dogs.

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Wrapping Things Up

Beagles are intelligent, happy, and active pups. They make for great workout companions and will need a significant amount of training to minimize their aloof and independent nature. However, once you begin training them, you will see that these dogs can be a stubborn breed, it’s also one of the smartest, useful, and loyal dog breeds that you can welcome to your family.


Featured Image Credit: Andres Arbelaez, Unsplash

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