Walking around with your dog without always having to control its leash sounds very appealing. However, this requires a lot of training and practice. Especially with a breed like Beagles, you need to put a lot of effort into off-leash movements.
Beagles are originally hunting dogs, making their hunting instincts naturally suitable. The hunting traits make it risky to let them off the leash. They can effortlessly chase after something they find or follow a scent with their sharp senses. Thus, off-leash training can be very tricky for Beagles.
This article will talk about by which you can train your Beagle to walk around without a leash. Although it is a risk, you may become successful with it. Read further to learn more about off-leash training in detail.
When you think of Beagles, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably how friendly they are with their happy nature. However, Beagles were originally hunting dogs. This means they have naturally sharp hunting instincts.
Beagles do not have a problem chasing something under their target. They have sharp senses, which makes them easily distractable.
Letting a Beagle off the leash without training is a very risky move since they will quickly run off chasing after something that catches their attention. Many dog trainers advise against off-leash training for beagles. However, some believe that proper and calculated training can make the Beagles walk beside you without any leash.
If you plan to train your Beagle off the leash, you should keep reading further to know more about the methods.
Training a Beagle to walk off the leash
Though it’s a very challenging task, training a Beagle to walk off the leash can be done with extra patience and hard work. Below are the steps you must follow to prepare your Beagle:
Step 1: Create a Foundation
When you are raising a Beagle puppy, you should start training them with basic exercises early on. Scheduled walks are one of the essential basic pieces of training you should give to your pup.
Since Beagles are very curious about their surroundings, you must get them accustomed to walking with the leash on at first. Since they can get distracted very quickly, you must never let them off the leash for at least a whole year.
Only when they are entirely accustomed to the on-leash training should you start thinking about letting them off the leash.
Step 2: Set up a Radius
Setting up a radius for your dog is another very essential step to take. This makes your dog learn what the last distance it is allowed to stay away from you is.
You should get a long leash (about 40-50 feet long) and let your dog walk around while being on the long leash. Let your Beagle walk a little more freely and slightly away from you. This will help the Beagle develop some freedom and confidence in itself. However, the leash still being there will remind your dog to return to you.
Continue this long-leash training for six to eight months till the dog is accustomed to the radius.
Step 3: Teach Discipline
While you carry on with the on-leash training, you must simultaneously teach discipline and proper behavior to your Beagle.
Since Beagles have very short attention spans, they can get distracted by certain smells or other animals around while on a walk. This can cause them to chase such things and pull on their leash. At such moments you must stay firm and not let go of the leash.
Being firm and strict with your Beagle will make it conditioned to staying calm and by your side while on a walk. Let the Beagle socialize with other dogs as well as people to maintain friendly and relaxed behavior.
Beagles with bad social skills and irritable behavior are also prone to pulling away from the leash. Thus, social exercises and the right amount of attention are also necessary for the Beagle while the off-leash training is going on.
Step 4: Teach to come back on command
This step is where the command exercises are helpful. Teaching your Beagle to come back to you on your command is very important. Since they tend to get distracted, Beagles can often go on to ignore your commands at times.
To make them obey your instructions in a public place, you must train your dog with many treats and patience. You can instruct your Beagle while you are setting up the walking radius.
When you are letting it walk around on the long leash, let it explore the surroundings. After a while, call back with some commanding words like “come” or “come back” and show them the treat. The Beagle will surely come back for the treat. This is when you must praise the dog for doing a good job.
This way, you can condition your dog to come back to you on a single command. IT certainly requires a lot of practice and patience too. But once you and the dog have mastered it, you don’t have to worry about your Beagle not listening to you.
Step 5: Start with off-leash training
After you have completely fulfilled the above four steps, you can finally start off-leash training. However, you must ensure that your Beagle is thoroughly trained and well-behaved enough to let it off the leash in public.
Ensure that your Beagle doesn’t try to pull away from the leash. The best way to establish a solid foundation is to train the Beagle for at least one and a half or two years. This way, there will be enough practice and trust between you and your Beagle.
After you have ensured all the possible risks won’t be a problem, you can take your Beagle out in less crowded places in the beginning. Let it off the leash and try out the command practice. It should stick by your side and listen to your instructions.
However, if it tries to run off, you must go back to the on-leash training for a little more while.
Gradually, take the Beagle to more prominent public places like dog parks or regular parks as well.
Risks of off-leashing your Beagle
Though training your Beagle can allow you to keep it off the leash eventually, there is still a risk in it. Since Beagles get distracted very quickly, there are chances of yours to run away even after a lot of training.
Therefore, even if your Beagle is well-trained, do not let it off the leash in extra-crowded places. Beagles tend to follow their instincts first, so they might lose their way in crowded areas.
Beagles are hunting dogs that tend to follow their strong instincts. Thus it may prove to be a risk to let them off the leash. A good amount of training can help them with it, but the risk will always be there.
Thus, you must avoid letting your Beagle off the leash in crowded places and areas that may distract your Beagle.
We hope you got your answer to how you can train your Beagle to walk off the leash. Do share this information with other fellow Beagle owners as well!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.