Beagles are excellent hunting dogs and loyal companions. Their easy-going and funny ways make them a source of endless joy and entertainment for beagle owners. Their intense curiosity and cleverness can lead to mischiefs and antics. With their boundless energy, they require plenty of playtime and exercise. With their strong hunting instincts and acute sense of smell, they couldn’t resist escaping to chase off a compelling scent.
Athletic, energetic, and fast, beagles can do agility sports and really excel in it. While there’s no doubt that they can run the agility course, it’s the training and preparation that got beagle owners taking a step back.
Are Beagles Hard to Train?
With a reputation for being stubborn, beagles give the impression that they are hard to train. Beagles are intelligent and independent dogs and their instincts tend to take over when something catches their attention.
There’s this notion that beagles are very difficult to train, but that’s not true at all. Any dog is trainable if you use the right approach. Beagles are right smack in the middle of being stubborn and being eager to please, so it can go either way depending on the situation.
Beagles may be a challenge to train but it doesn’t mean they are a lost cause. They are generally agreeable to training and they can learn commands and obey them without any problem.
At What Age Should Beagles Start With Agility Training?
Dogs typically start competing in agility trial between the ages of 1 and 2. If you’ve decided that agility training would be a fun and exciting activity for you and your beagle, you should start his training early. But before you do this, consult your veterinarian to make sure that your beagle is fit to train and compete for beagle agility sports.
How to Prepare Beagles for Dog Agility Training
Beagles don’t respond well to harsh training methods. This means that yelling at them, tapping their noses, applying “dominance downs”, and using prong or and shock collars when they do something bad or refuse to obey commands will not work.
What will work for Beagles are rewards-based training, positive reinforcements and, a creative approach with some treats for a little motivation.
When you’re training your beagle for dog agility trial, consider the following:
- Determine what motivates your beagle.
Food easily comes to mind, particularly his favorite treat. If this will motivate your beagle to obey commands, learn new tricks, and be focused on the agility course, then incorporate it to the training.
Not all beagles would be motivated by food and treats. Toys, walks, and playtime are also great motivators for beagles.
- Start with obedience training
It would help tremendously if your beagle already has some obedience training under his belt. He must have mastered the basic commands of sit, come, stay, and down. Many clubs require this before moving to the agility class. It makes sense because it will be much easier to train and introduce new commands and runs if your beagle has obtained some obedience training.
- Make your beagle’s motivator the most enticing
Whether you’re in a dog agility class or training at home independently, there will be a lot of distractions for your beagle. Being a hunting dog and a scenthound, he’ll be curious and his attention would be divided. This makes training difficult so your motivator must be the most attractive among all the objects and distractions in the class or in the training area.
- Avoid comparisons with other dogs’ progress
In a dog agility class, there will be other dog breeds that may do better than your beagle. There may be some Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, or Shetland Sheepdogs in the class that are quicker to figure out concepts and commands. Stop comparing because it puts unnecessary pressure on you and your beagle and it takes away all the fun in the sport.
Beagles Can Do Agility Competition
Beagles are excellent hunting dogs and loyal companions. They are easy-going, funny, and extremely cute. Because beagles can be stubborn at times, they are quite difficult to train for agility trials.
Although beagles can do agility training, it would take a patient and persistent handler to train them. But with positive reinforcement and a whole lot of patience, your beagle can be a formidable competitor at agility sports.