Okay, maybe you can’t entirely PREVENT your Beagle from wandering. Bred to be hunting companions, they love to explore the environment. But wandering can be lessened with some simple techniques.
Beagles are active, joyful dogs with good temperaments. Unless he’s ill, you won’t see your dog moping around. But all that energy has to go somewhere. Giving him lots of exercise will help, especially for younger dogs. Like children, they behave better when they’ve had a chance to give those natural high spirits a vigorous workout.
In that same spirit, a little free wandering (under supervision) is not a bad thing. Let him express that natural urge to explore. If there’s no danger to plant or dog, a walk through the shrubs allows him to satisfy that need.
To direct and focus that need, an obstacle course is a good training tool. Beagles are smart. They can be trained quickly to navigate a maze, jump over hurdles, and slide safely down a ramp.
Though not Terriers (bred for centuries to hunt small game in tunnels), they nevertheless enjoy a good chase. Moving an object just ahead of him in the obstacle course gives your Beagle a chance to express that natural inner hunter.
Then comes time for more formal, structured training exercises.
Walking correctly on leash is a must. With Beagles, that’s a challenge that can test the patience of the best trainers. Beagles are assertive and tend to pull ahead like Terriers. But, they’re less willful and independent, more interested in exploring and having fun.
Start young, but ensure you’re not overdoing any physical strain on your puppy. A sharp, quick tug to the side will help put him off balance and provide a cue he can remember. With consistency, Beagles can walk on leash without dragging you forward. Just take care not to increase aggression by violent actions that make the dog sense danger or make him anxious.
As you walk, take a moment to stop, insisting that your Beagle heel. A short, quick tug backward on the leash, accompanied by a gentle downward pressure on the hind end if needed, will encourage him to sit. Make him stay until you want to go, regardless of what he wants. Accompany all movements by sharp (but not angry), clear-cut voice commands.
That exercise is a lot easier in an area where there are few distractions. Beagles like to chase cats. They naturally seek out prey in order to show you the way. They react sharply to loud sounds, especially from animals. Selecting an area where those are unlikely will make your training more effective for the dog and less frustrating for you.
Now perform the same exercises off leash, but in an area where you can limit your Beagle’s movement. A backyard, a fenced in dog park in the absence of other dogs, or a lonely beach cove can serve that purpose. With persistence, your Beagle will limit wandering when you give those same voice commands used on leash.
Now, for the reward: free wandering to go wherever he likes!
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