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Frequently Asked Questions

- I've heard Beagles are hard to train and they are very stubborn. Is this true?

There is no simple answer to this question because, like people and most other breeds of dogs, individuals do vary. However, in general, most hounds are somewhat more challenging to train. When talking about Beagles, it is often said that they "live on their own agenda". This doesn't necessarily make training difficult; it just means you have to find the training method that works for your dog. Most people find that food is the best motivator for Beagles. The use of food in training is not accepted by all dog trainers, so when you take your dog to obedience school, it is important to find both an instructor who understands Beagles (or scent hounds in general) and is willing to use different methods, depending on what is effective for your Beagle. Beagles are actually quite intelligent dogs and very good problem solvers, which can cause problems in training. They can get bored very quickly with an exercise and find another way to have fun - which might mean teaching you how to stop a training session.

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- "Everyone" says Beagles are hard to housebreak. Is this true?

Beagles are no more difficult than other breeds to housetrain. There are many methods for house-training dogs. Your best bet is to read up on as many methods as possible and to choose the one that will work for you and your dog. You may find that you like one method, but your dog does not respond. Don't despair - just try another way.

- What are Beagles like with children?

Beagles generally adore children and will play for hours with them, however, like any breed of dog, Beagles need to be socialised properly with children and also like any other breed, you should never leave young children and Beagles alone together. If socialised properly and supervised properly, you should not have any problems. However, there are two things you should be aware of.

Firstly - Beagles play rambunctiously and can accidentally hurt younger children. Secondly - Beagles are often "mouthy" which means they like to play with their mouths or chew on things. This is not biting, but rather grabbing on to things with their mouth. It is not done in anger or fear but is for Beagles, a way to play. This can of course be trained out of them, but it seems to be rather instinctive in many Beagles and something that you should be aware of when considering a Beagle.
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- Do Beagles shed their coat? Do they require regular grooming?

Yes Beagles shed. Don't be fooled by the short coat, however, the shedding is sometimes not as noticeable because the hairs they shed are so much shorter. They will generally shed more in the spring, as their coats tend to thicken over the winter. This isn't necessarily due to climate. Dogs' hair growth is dependent more on how much light there is as opposed to the cold. In the winter there is less daylight and this encourages hair growth. Beagles should be brushed with a medium bristled brush or a hound glove at least once a week. This will help loosen and remove dead hair and allow for new hair growth.

Beagles are fairly clean dogs and as long as they aren't rolling in really nice dead things, they don't require frequent baths. However, if you are trying to control fleas, you may be bathing more often.

Because Beagles have ears that hang, their ears must be checked at least every two weeks for any sign of infection or waxy build-up. There are many ear washes you can get from your vet that will help clean out the ears. If you ever notice an odour from your dog's ears, it is likely that he has a yeast build-up or some other kind of infection and may need stronger treatment. Other signs of ear infections are constant head shaking, scratching at the ears and scratching just below the ears.

- Do Beagles bark or otherwise make a lot of noise?

Beagles do not tend to be "yappy" dogs, however, they can and will bark when given the right stimulation. Most will bark/growl when strange dogs/people/things you can't see come into their territory. They will also bark when excited, although this varies from dog to dog. Most Beagles will become very vocal if they are left alone a lot. Some Beagles can be extremely vocal, although this can vary by individual as to amount of vocalisation and type.

Beagles can also howl. This sound was useful in hunting, as it would alert the hunters when the Beagles had cornered their prey. Again, not all Beagles will howl but you should be prepared for the possibility.

A third noise Beagles can make is hard to describe. It's kind of like a half-howl, called baying. Beagles will often make this noise when they catch the scent of something. Again, this was useful in hunting.

The amount of any barking, howling, etc will always vary from dog to dog. If you want your dog to be quiet, you can train them to be. But again, when training Beagles, patience is the key. It could take several months for your dog to understand the "quiet" command.

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- Personality and Temperament:

When looking for a companion in your life, it is very important to understand the personality, temperament and traits of that companion. For most dogs, their temperament is based on the purpose for which they were bred. Beagles are scent hounds, bred to track prey over the countryside. This makes them energetic, independent, outgoing and sometimes, stubborn dogs, as they wish to follow something to its conclusion.

Beagles that were bred in puppy farms can often be extremely difficult to housetrain, due to the fact that they are kept in very unclean conditions. When examining a litter, how clean the mother is helps to determine how easily housebroken the puppies will be. Another reason to buy a dog from a responsible, ethical breeder and not a pet shop.

Beagles were also bred and kept in packs. This has resulted in a near genetic need for companionship. If they don't get it from another dog, they will demand it from you. This is not to say that a lone Beagle will be underfoot, begging for attention all the time - but they will require a substantial amount of your time in play and companionship. If they are not given enough stimulation from their "pack", they will find ways to amuse themselves and this can mean trouble!

Beagles do not make good "outside" dogs, especially if you only have one. Again, they need to be kept occupied and if regularly left in a backyard, they will usually start digging, barking and looking for ways to get out and have fun. If you are dedicated to walking them in the morning before work and spending lots of time with them when you get home, they should be able to handle spending the day in a securely fenced backyard.

As stated in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section, the Beagle's independent and stubborn nature makes obedience training a necessity and a challenge. Be sure to get into some kind of training routine early in your Beagle's life. If you attend obedience classes, make sure your instructor understands the hound personality. Beagles require a firm trainer, but not a physical one. Beagles neither respect nor acknowledge physical force.
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Beagles have loads of energy and are well suited to someone who likes to take longs walks. Beagles can be kept successfully in apartments, however, you must be extremely dedicated in taking your dog out for regular walks. Bred to run cross-country in pursuit of rabbits, hares and foxes, they don't mind going for long runs. Keep in mind however, that you should wait until the dog is at least a year old before starting any running program and you should start slowly. Talk to your vet (and your breeder) for more information on running with your dog.

Because Beagles were bred as a pack animal they generally get along well with other dogs and often, cats. Beagles should not be aggressive towards other dogs, however, they will protect their territory. Usually this means just growling and other posturing. More often than not, your Beagle will end up playing with the intruder as opposed to fighting with it. Beagles should never ever be aggressive towards humans. However, due to their independent nature, they can sometimes try to be dominant over you. You should not allow this and if you are having problems, see a good dog trainer on how to correct it.

When looking for a Beagle, you need to be sure to go to a reputable, responsible breeder. Beagles are one of the top puppy farm dogs because they produce such adorable puppies. Dogs from puppy farms (usually those purchased from a pet store) can be extremely timid and/or aggressive. In addition, they can suffer from numerous health problems.

Overall, Beagles are fun loving, happy dogs and as long as you understand the Beagle personality, they can make a great addition to your family. One Beagle owner was heard to say that "Beagles belong in Disneyland - they are the happiest dogs on earth."

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