Beagles and exercise go hand in hand, but how much exercise do Beagles need to stop them becoming bored and too mischievous? Beagles are curious and have boundless amounts of energy. If they are not able to burn off some of that energy, their inquisitive nature can get the better of them, often leading them into troublesome situations!
Read our post Beagle Dogs 101: A Comprehensive Guide To Beagles.
Adult Beagles should have two walks a day for a minimum of 20-30 minutes for each walk and set at a brisk pace. A puppy should be limited to a maximum of one mile per day and spread over several short walks. A puppies skeletal system does not fully develop until 18 months old, so exercise must not be overdone so as not to disrupt the healthy growth of bones.
Let’s explore how much exercise a Beagle needs, why they need regular exercise and other ways to keep your dog stimulated.
A brief Beagle history
To fully understand how much exercise your Beagle needs, we first need to understand a little more about the breed.
The Beagle breed, around for hundreds of years, was primarily bred to use as a scent hound to track small game. The dog would hunt for hours on end, leading their masters on the hunt, who would usually be on horseback.
As you can imagine, a Beagle on a hunt would run for miles each day, only stopping to pick up the scent, a tasty treat or for a quick drink. A beagle never had the chance to feel bored, and its rest at the end of the day was well deserved and welcome!
While some still use beagles for hunting in the wilds, the habitat of a modern-day Beagle is a family home with a much more laid back lifestyle.
Beagles are more than happy to lay next to you on the couch for a snuggle (if allowed). They will happily spend hours on end under a duvet (their favourite place). However, they still have that insatiable appetite for being outdoors, stretching their little legs, exploring, sniffing, and all the other things that Beagles love to do.
If a Beagle doesn’t get enough exercise, they will soon become bored and will start looking for ways to burn off that ingrained restless energy. That pent up energy can lead them to become mischievous and in some cases, destructive. There are many stories of owners coming home from work to a destroyed piece of furniture, an upturned trash can or worse. Beagles are known to have opened kitchen cupboards and fridges and help themselves to the contents. This is what happens when a dog is bored and with little opportunity to exercise. So let’s explore how to avoid that scenario.
How much exercise is enough for a Beagle?
So, you have decided a Beagle is a good fit for you and your family. You want a little guidance as to how much exercise your new Beagle buddy needs to stop him from tearing your home apart (just kidding, mostly). Well, the good news is that you don’t need to join up with your local hunting pack just yet!
As with people, how much exercise Beagles need depends on the individual dog. We’ve had Beagles that can literally walk all day and a Beagle that we had to physically drag out the door for a walk! From experience, most Beagles fall into the category of being able to walk all day. A dog that has plenty of exercise is much easier to manage and enjoyable to live with than a dog that has little.
With a common-sense approach, you can give your new Beagle friend all the stimulation and exercise he needs to stop him becoming bored and frustrated. It’s worth noting that proper regular exercise can extend the life expectancy of your Beagle.
We split exercise into two categories;
- Cardio, activities such as walking, running, playing swimming etc
- Mental training, activities such as leash training, leave, stay and recall commands.
You may be surprised at how tired a dog gets after 20 minutes of recall training!
Cardio workouts for your hound
Walking is probably the most common activity we do with our dogs, and for a good reason. It’s easy to do, no special equipment is needed (we all have leash/lead, right?) and dogs and people alike enjoy it equally as much.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for a dog. Walking is a relatively low impact activity for your hound. Walking helps to stretch muscles, maintain muscle mass and keep the metabolism working well. While walking, you are likely to see other dogs and people, which is useful for developing your dog’s socialisation.
You can combine walking with training too. Most Beagles will instinctively pull on the leash/lead. By employing a few simple training tips, you can actively stimulate your dog’s brain while on a short walk and at the same time teaching your Beagle not to pull. Win-win.
Start with a minimum two walks a day — one before work and one when you get home and make each walk at least 30 minutes long, but longer if possible. We give our two Beagles 30 minutes in the morning then a good hour after work, more if time allows. Ideally, you would give your dog some exercise at lunchtime. If you work from home, a lunchtime walk is often easier to do and is good for you and the dog.
If you are out of the house all day every day, then a professional dog walker may be a good option. Professional dog walking has taken off as a ‘career’ choice, so the number of trustworthy people willing to walk your Beagle for a reasonable price has risen dramatically over the years. Professional dog walkers are likely to walk your dog with several other dogs, which will help socialise your dog and increase stimulation. They will come home shattered!
If the cost of a professional walker is an issue, then maybe ask a family member or a friend. Most will be happy to help. If you have not yet decided to have a Beagle and you think the dog will spend most of its day by itself, then I would strongly reconsider your choice of breed, for your sake and the Beagles.
Beagle puppies and exercise
Walking is good for puppies but only in small doses. A puppies skeletal system does not fully develop until 18 months old, so exercise must not be overdone so as not to disrupt the healthy growth of bones.
Once a puppy is old enough to go outside, walking should be limited in distance and time, with a maximum of one mile per day, spread over several spurts. You can gradually build this up over time until they reach around 18 months old.
An added benefit to taking your puppy out is that it will help them to socialise with other dogs which is vital for a puppies development.
Keeping your Beagle safe when exercising
Beagles are scent hounds, and when off a leash, free to roam, they are prone to picking up a scent and not stopping until they feel like it, which could be several miles away!
It’s essential to train your Beagle with some basic recall commands before letting them roam free. Beagles respond well to food, so always carry a pocket full of their favourite treats to encourage them to return on call. Before totally letting them run free, you could try using a long training lead of around 50ft. Using a long training leash is an excellent way to train them and still retain control until you feel confident in letting them run free without a leash. Point worth noting, even with solid recall training a Beagle will still follow its nose if it thinks its more interesting than your recall. Beagles are stubborn. Get used to shouting their name lots.
Beagles are excellent escape artists. It’s vital to make your garden or yard space Beagle proof. Gaps in fences will need blocking, and high barriers may need installing, gates need to be closed at all times and visitors made aware that a Beagle resides here. Failure to do this will result in your Beagle finding a gap in the defences, and before you know it will be hurtling down the road on a Beagle adventure!
We wrote an article about walking your dog off the leash, you can read it here.
The worst thing for a Beagle is spending the days by himself, with nothing much to do. With little interaction with people or other dogs, you will end up with a very frustrated and unhappy hound. Nobody wants that, least of all your Beagle.
When you take a Beagle into your family, the best thing is to let them be involved in most of what you do. Live an active lifestyle, take the Beagle with you, include him and he’ll get the exercise and stimulation he needs, without feeling like you have to change your lifestyle. He’ll reward you with so much love and affection and years of loyal companionship.