The Beagle is a very popular dog breed, and they are known for their lively personality. They can be quite stubborn at times though, and one of the most common problems dog owners have with them is how to stop a beagle from pulling on a leash and how to do leash training.
Many people give up walking their Beagle because it’s so difficult to get them to walk in your desired direction when they’re constantly trying hard to pull ahead.
The good news is that there are many easy ways you can teach your Beagle not to pull on the leash! These tips will help make walks more enjoyable for both you and your pet.
What is leash pulling and why does it happen?
Leash pulling is a common problem that can stem from many different things such as anxiety, dominant behavior, or just simple stubbornness.
When dogs feel anxious about something they are seeing, hearing, or smelling while on walks with their owner, it can cause them to take the lead and get ahead of you at all costs.
The other common cause is the dog’s desire to establish dominance over their owner. If they don’t see you as an equal, it can lead them to run ahead or pull on the leash in order to get what they want – usually this involves getting out of whatever situation was initially making them anxious or simply chasing down a scent or other dog.
Beagles are especially likely to start pulling because they are scent hounds, and to them following a scent is totally normal, and the quicker they follow the scent the better as far as they are concerned!
Understanding the root cause of your beagle’s anxiety will help you decide what type of training might work best for them, and it also helps to troubleshoot any underlying issues so they don’t lead to bigger problems in the future.
Leash training should start from a young age. Start training your beagle puppy on a leash by simply placing a correct size collar on your beagle puppy, attaching a leash and having a little walk around the house, or just simply stand in place while the puppy gets used to the collar and lead. Do this every few days for a week or so.
Leash training with young puppies will make it less likely they will pull on the leash as they become used to walking on a leash in safe environment such as your house.
Why do beagles pull on leashes more than other breeds?
The Beagle is the perfect example of an “instinct-driven” dog. They have a number of instincts that they are born with, including their instinct to follow scents and hunt prey. One instinct in particular – pack drive – can lead them to be more likely to pull on leashes than other types of dogs, as well as require more training.
Beagles are pack animals, and given the chance they will work their way to the front of a group or pack (whether that group is an other dog walking with you on your walk, or other people) so they can be at the head of what they perceive as “their” pack.
Beagles were bred as scent hounds and and as such have a very strong sense of smell, so they can be overstimulated by certain smells or even just the feeling of being on a walk and want to keep following that scent.
Keep in mind that some breeds, like beagles, are more likely to pull than others.
Leash training your Beagle from the get go will help prevent pulling issues before they start (or at least minimize them). There are many options for leashes you can use when walking your beagle. Let’s explore the options and reasons as to why your dog might excessively pull on the leash.
Is your beagle getting enough exercise and mental stimulation?
A great way to help stop your beagle from pulling is by giving them enough exercise and mental stimulation.
Beagles need a lot of physical activity and are high energy dogs so they may feel the need to pull on their leash because they have pent up energy that needs an outlet.
Giving your Beagle plenty of time off-lead will help as they will cover much more ground than being on a leash, which will help wear your dog out. Warning, ensure your beagle is trained off the leash before allowing your beagle to roam free, you may find they have poor recall and struggle to get your pup back!
Giving your Beagle plenty of mental stimulation is also beneficial to helping stop pulling because it keeps their brain occupied and stimulated which is tiring to your dog, and prevents boredom which can lead to excessive leash-pulling.
A great way to provide for this exercise and mental stimulation that satisfies a beagles needs, is by getting him or her an automatic treat dispenser such as the one pictured.
A treat dispenser will automatically dispense from inside so that it’s available even when you’re not present in order to keep your beagle occupied.
This device is a great way to provide your beagle with an outlet for mental stimulation. They are like puzzles, once the beagle has worked out the puzzle they are rewarded with a tasty treat!
Another simple way to stimulate your dog is by playing catch with your pup for several minutes. Your pup will enjoy the fun of chasing down a ball, will help train them focus and they will burn off excess energy before your main walk.
Loose leash walking
Loose leash walking is an important part of dog training and is also a great form of exercise for your pup. It can be used to help teach good walking habits, such as staying close by on your side or walking at your pace instead of charging in front. It is also a great way to have fun with your pup and provide them with some mental stimulation.
With all that said, make sure you are using the right type of head collar for your beagle so they can play freely without choking themselves or hurting their neck while exploring!
Use a harness instead of a collar to reduce pulling
The first option to consider when teaching your puppy or dog not to pull on the leash is switching from a traditional collar and leash to a no pull harness.
A no pull harness is more comfortable for your pet and will not put any pulling pressure on their throat, which could be uncomfortable for your dog.
One of the most popular types of harnesses are those that connect at the neck as well as around the chest area in order to distribute the weight evenly across both shoulders.
Using a harness for leash training will achieve two things:
- It will help stop your dog pulling since the pressure is spread evenly across their body instead of on one spot like a neck collar. This not only makes them more comfortable but also reduces any strain or potential injuries to the throat and trachea.
- They are also easier for you to control because you are able to apply even pressure to your beagle across the front and back of their body, rather a single focal point around the neck.
Leash training if your dog pulls
The next step to stopping beagles from pulling on leashes is training them not to pull by following a few simple training techniques.
Positive reinforcement is a key to training dogs. It involves rewarding the dog for good behaviour and ignoring or preventing bad behaviours. Rewards come in many forms including praise, petting, food (which should be limited) toys, games or even play time with other animals .
Leash training will help keep your beagle calm and can be fun and rewarding for your dog while they learn a new behavior!
Train your beagle to walk on the leash by using treats or toys as positive reinforcement for good behavior. The first step to reducing the amount your beagle pulls on a leash is to get their attention. We all know how food driven beagles are, so it’s time to use it to our advantage!
How to stop a beagle from pulling on a leash
Start your leash training by grabbing a small bag of your beagles favourite goodies. Using one of the those little clip on bags that attach to your belt buckle is a good idea as it places the bag in easy access and in time your beagle will actually recognise the bag swinging at your side and hold their attention!
When leash training it’s important to use low calorie training treats, or low calorie kibble so that your beagle doesn’t get fat! Top tip, tubes of soft cheese are great, easy to dispense and beagles love cheese!
Place the leash on your beagle, and straight away reward with a treat from the bag. You have now signalled that when they do something that you approve of they get a reward, and they will recognise the fact you are carrying tasty bits of food! By now you should have their attention.
Start your walk and as soon as they start to pull, stop. get your dog to heel position. Start walking again and reward your dog when they walk calmly by giving a treat or petting as a reward. Do not give your beagle anything if they are pulling, this just shows your beagle that they can do whatever they like and still be rewarded.
If your dog pulls as soon as you set off you may need to take a treat and hold it so they can see it, and start to walk. The treat should be held in front of your dog, and as soon as your dog pulls, stop and wait. Set off again and as soon as you have a loose leash reward your beagle.
As you walk with your beagle at a steady pace reward when they are not pulling to make sure that walking nicely is the only behaviour rewarded.
Be consistent with training – it can be slow and monotonous at times, but if you don’t follow through, your dog will get the message that it’s okay to pull on the leash. Be patient, use plenty of rewards on your walk to keep your dogs focus.
Tips for training a beagle not to pull on the leash
- If you’re going for a long walk, make sure you have enough tasty treats and water for your beagle.
- Try to avoid situations where your beagle can become anxious while you carry out leash training.
- Rather than out on long walks try a quiet place in the ark to do leash training with your dog.
- Use a harness and comfortable leash with a padded handle to make teaching more comfortable for you both.
- The harnesses with the dual leash attachments, front and back are best for total control.
- Remember, your beagle is a scent hound, so let them sniff at least some of the time.
- When a beagle stops to sniff they not only find it interesting but it’s mentally stimulating too and will help tire out your beagle. Beagles sniff, it’s what they do, so let them sniff!
How to teach your dog not to jump up at people or other dogs when out walking
Not everyone likes being jumped on when out walking, and some dogs can be quite insistent about greeting people or other animals. For this reason it is important to teach your dog not to jump up at other people.
- Use treats in a easy to access treat bag to help with positive reinforcement when training your dog.
- If you see someone approaching and your dog is overly excited, wait a little while, get their attention by offering a reward to your beagle
- Show them the treat until the other person has passed, this will keep your dogs attention.
- Once the other person has passed give your dog the reward and praise them for not jumping up to greet the person.
Common mistakes that owners make with their dogs while out walking them, and how you can avoid these mistakes in the future
- If you are out walking your dog and they start to pull on the leash, do not yell at them or try to yank them back. Your beagle will best learn loose leash walking by positive reinforcement.
- Do not use a prong collar or shock collars to train your beagle. Prong collars can cause more harm than good, and they will not teach them anything about loose leash walking but just cause them pain and discomfort.
- Do not let your beagle off the leash unless they have good recall. This can lead to them running away from you and getting into trouble!
The benefits of walking with a harness instead of a collar or leash
- A harness is less likely to cause injury or irritation, and when used correctly, can actually help prevent leash pulls
- This works because a dog feels like they are guiding themselves with the leash rather than being guided by their owner
- Harnesses encourage dogs to walk close next to you instead of trying to pull ahead.
When you should use a head halter instead of other types of collars or harnesses
Head halters are good for dogs with extreme pulling problems who need a little extra help. With head halters, you can control the amount of force your dog pulls as the leash is connected to the head collar and not to their body or neck. This is important for dogs who need a little extra help or have less control of themselves on leash.
It’s important that the head halter fits correctly for it to be effective. It should fit high on the head with just enough space for two fingers between your dog’s neck and the strap. Though head halters are not designed to control or correct a bad behavior, they do help you steer your pup better!
Combining a head halter and positive reinforcement to leash train will help get a dog with severe leash anxiety under control.
If you’ve been struggling with your beagle pulling on their leash on walks, don’t worry- we have plenty of ideas for how to stop this behavior. The most important thing is that your dog gets enough exercise and has a variety of things to do when they are at home. You can also use a harness instead of the collar which will help deter them from pulling as well as teaching them it’s not ok by giving attention only when they behave themselves. Be consistent in training sessions while using treats whenever possible so they learn what behaviors get rewarded! Grab some healthy dog treats and start working towards stopping bad habits today!
How to house train a beagle puppy. Read the full post here.