Beagles are a compact, yet sturdy dog breed with lots of stamina and high energy levels and as such will need around an hour and half of physical exercise per day, usually in the form of at least one or two walks. You can supplement walking with your pet with other activities, such as running, play time and free time in your secure garden.
Understanding Beagles and their Exercise Requirements
Beagles were originally bred for hunting game, hares and other small animals and so would be required to spend a lot of time out on the hunt. The modern day Beagle is less likely to be out hunting, but still retains the curious nature and energy of its early hunting ancestors.
For you and your Beagle to live a happy life they will need to be provided with plenty of opportunity to exercise. A Beagle would not be happy living in a high rise apartment with little to no access to the outdoors. This kind of environment could severely affect the mental health of your beagle.
If you try to fit a Beagle into an indoor lifestyle you may end up with a frustrated and destructive dog, as they try to release their pent-up energy in some way or another.
Regular cardio exercise is crucial to give your beagle the chance of a long life expectancy so that you both enjoy a fulfilling and long lasting friendship.
The Different ways to Exercise a Beagle
Ideally, your beagle would exercise in three different ways over the period of a week;
- General moderate walking – walking is a great way to keep dogs of all ages fit and healthy and should be part of you and your beagles daily exercise routine.
- Higher intensity exercise – ideal for younger and more energetic beagles where they have more energy to consume and includes more intense, shorter bursts of exercise, such as chasing a ball or simply being allowed to run around off the leash.
- Mental stimulation – playing games, training (such as off-leash training) and anything that involves your dog using its brain will help burn off some energy.
Tailor Exercise to the Dogs Age
It’s important to make sure that your beagle gets the correct amount of exercise depending whether it’s a puppy or an adult dog and health status. A beagle left alone at home extended periods can cause all kinds of problems, from separation anxiety to destructive behavior.
Puppies and Young Dogs Exercise Requirements
In the first 18 months of life a beagle puppy’s skeletal system is still developing and can be damaged if put under too much strain and stress.
A beagle puppy should only be given very short bursts of activities and will mostly get their exercise from playing with their littermates. It’s generally accepted that up until the age of 18 that a beagle puppy can be given walks up to one mile. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a good starting point to avoid placing too much stress on their joints and limbs.
If you feel your dog has more energy to release then further exercise, walks, recreation time etc maybe needed. The goal is to give your beagle the exercise and stimulation it needs without letting it reach full exertion or putting too much strain on its developing body. So best to leave out the rigorous hikes and marathon training until their bodies are fully developed.
Once their skeletal muscle has fully developed the beagle is quite capable of being out and about all day long, they have endless stamina!
Adult Beagle Exercise Requirements
Beagle walking is probably the best form of exercise for an adult beagle. Not only is your dog getting a nice physical workout, it also has the chance to sniff around.
Sniffing is what beagles are good at. Beagles were originally bred for hunting, and their nose and scentign skills are second only to that of the Basset Hound.
Even though a beagle loves to sniff, for a beagle, following scents is tiring, they are processing so much information while their nose is stuck to the ground. It’s a great way to let your beagle get mental stimulation, which will help burn off energy. If you ever watch your beagle follow a scent it’s like they are trying to solve a problem!
Interesting fact – According to a study by the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) beagles have been trained to sniff out cancer with 97 percent accuracy. They go on to say “Dogs’ sense of smell is at least 10,000 times stronger than that of humans; specifically, beagles have 225 million olfactory receptors compared to humans’ 5 million receptors.” Citation Link.
As a beagle owner myself, I can tell if my dogs have not been out for their twice daily walks. My beagles become restless and bored. As soon as I can, I’ll take them out for a good long walk. It’s good for them, and good for me too!
For adult beagles I’d recommend two walks per day, for at least 30-45 minutes each, more if you can afford the time. For puppies limit that to just 15 minutes or so (presuming they are vaccinated to go outside).
Other Ways to Exercise and Stimulate a Beagle
Walking should be part of your daily exercise routine with your beagle, but what about other activities?
My beagles love to do all kinds of things, such as;
- Swimming – Not all beagles like to swim, but if you start them early most will learn to love the water and it’s great exercise.
- Playing with toys – Most beagles will have a favorite toy they love to throw around or get you to play tug with.
- Treat puzzles – Beagles love to solve problems. These ingenious puzzles let you hide treats inside and your dog has to solve the problem to get to the prize!
- Agility lessons – Sign up to agility classes or build an obstacle course in your yard, and train them to use it. Reward them with treats to encourage them to properly use the agility equipment.
- Hide and seek with their favorite smelly treats – Scatter some super smelly treats around your yard or garden and let them sniff them out!
- Strong chew treats – Treats like deer antlers are great for beagles to chew on as they are super tough and last a long time. CHewing will help keep your beagle occupied and stimulated.
Beagle Specific Exercise Best Practices
Beagles have some unique traits that mean you will have to be mindful when outside walking or doing other recreational activities. For example, their powerful nose may lead them astray.
Some beagles, once they have picked up a scent, will not stop until they find the end of the scent, and then move on to another, and another. Before you know it they are out of sight and not listening to your recall.
One of my beagles is great off the lead, the other is what I call ‘fizzy’ as in she will pick up scents and wind herself into a frenzy, trying to hunt down the source. She will bay and howl like crazy. While this is fun to see, it’s not fun when trying to get her attention back, and put her back on the leash.
I only let her off the leash in a controlled environment where it’s safe for her and easy for me to get her back under control.
Before letting your beagle off the leash it’s important to understand what kind of beagle they are. Do they respond to recall? Are they ‘fizzy’ like my dog?
Start off by visiting a closed off area, somewhere they can’t escape past the boundary of. Try training leads to keep them attached to you but with enough length to see how they behave.
Always carry a pocket full of their favorite treats as an incentive to keep their attention on you and only reward for good behavior.
Only once you feel confident that you have them under some control can you let them off in public spaces. Be aware though, beagles are wilful, and even with good training can decide to not listen to you at the drop of a hat. Always be prepared for your dog running off, or stealing someone’s picnic!
Exercising Your Beagle In Adverse Weather
A quick note on when not to let your beagle exercise. In extremes of weather, such as very hot or extreme cold it’s best not to let your beagle outside.
In hot weather sidewalks, pavements and sand can become very hot and will actually burn your dogs feet. In these situations walk your dog early, before the hottest part of the day and in the evening once the sun has set. Avoid the middle of the day as this is when the heat can cause damage to your dog.
In extreme cold temperatures, be aware of your dog becoming cold, use an insulated jacket to keep them warm and dry. In some rare cases of sub-zero temperatures it may be best not to let your dog out in case they get frostbite on their feet.
Beagles are generally a hardy breed and they are unlikely to complain about weather, so it’s down to you to use your common sense and limit when they can and cannot go outside.
Finally, always ensure your dog has easy access to clean fresh drinking water and feed them a quality diet.