Beagles are scent hounds and were originally bred for hunting rabbits and small animals. Therefore, it is in their nature to hunt. It is easy to train a Beagle to hunt animals like rabbits, deers, or squirrels.
We will look at a few tips and tricks that will be helpful for you in training your Beagle to hunt. We will also see how you can teach them to hunt for rabbits, deers, and squirrels.
What Makes Beagles A Perfect Breed For Hunting?
Beagles have a history of being hunting companions. Since they have an excellent sense of smell, they can track their prey efficiently. They are also good at chasing prey since they have high energy levels. These traits make Beagles a perfect breed for hunting purposes.
How To Train Your Beagle To Hunt
There are a few pieces of training that you need to start giving your Beagle from an early age to make it fit for hunting. You can begin the training once your puppy is 5 – 8 months old. Here are some of the pieces of training that are necessary for your Beagle to become a successful hunting dog.
1. Obedience Training
This is the primary training required for your Beagles to become good hunting companions. For them to aid you in hunting, they must obey your commands. It is necessary to make sure that your Beagle is focused when in the field.
The obedience training should start early, and it will help build trust in you and your doggo.
2. Training Collar
It is an instrument that will help you make your Beagle follow your commands. It is good for communicating with your dog during the hunt. Nowadays, you can also find training collars with GPS in the market. This feature makes it easier for you to locate your Beagle during hunts, in case they get distracted.
However, it would be best to use a training collar for your Beagle when they are capable of obeying your commands.
3. Introducing An Animal And Training Your Beagle For Scent-Tracking
This training is to be done once your Beagle has mastered the obedience training and becomes capable of following your commands. The purpose of it is to teach your dog to be able to track the scent of prey.
You can give this training by keeping your dog and a rabbit in an enclosed space. It could be done in a backyard with fencing. Hold a rabbit close to your Beagle and let it sniff on the rabbit.
Once the sniffing part is done, it is time to make your Beagle chase the rabbit. First, release the rabbit and let it run. You can start chasing the rabbit as it will encourage and prepare your Beagle to follow too. Now, let your Beagle free and let it chase the rabbit. It could take several attempts before your puppy is able to track the rabbit properly, but you must keep on trying and persuading it.
It is always better to reward and show appreciation towards your Beagle after it chases its target successfully. This will keep them encouraged and act as positive reinforcement.
Keep doing and repeating this exercise frequently for some months till your Beagle masters the training. In the beginning, you can keep it simple, but with time, you can increase the area of training. During a hunt, the area for prey to hide and run away is going to be vast.
Your Beagle must be able to use its sense of scent to track down the rabbit. Also, you could try putting the training collar on your Beagle during these trials. This will help you bond with your Beagle better.
5. Trial Hunting
Once you feel your Beagle has enough stamina and is really ready for a hunt, take it for one trial hunting. Take your Beagle to some area where there is a possibility of finding many rabbits. Encourage your Beagle to track the scent of a rabbit, and let it rely on that rather than on seeing. Also, make sure initially there are no other animals in the area so as not to distract your Beagle. You can also let an experienced Beagle accompany it.
The purpose of trial hunting is to make your Beagle get used to the wild environment and become a little familiar with jungles. Take your Beagle for such trial hunts s few times. After this, you can take them for the actual hunt.
Training Your Beagle To Hunt Deers
We have already seen how a Beagle can track and chase a rabbit. Now let’s see how you can teach your Beagle to hunt a deer. By now, your Beagle must be aware of the basics of tracking and chasing. Therefore, it will be easier to teach your Beagle to track and chase a deer.
What you need to do is to make your Beagle familiar with the scent of a deer. Unlike rabbits, it will not be easy to arrange a deer for your Beagle to sniff on. So, an artificial deer scent will have to do the job. You can get one online or from a hunting store.
Drop a few drops of the deer scent on the ground, creating a trail. Make your Beagle sniff on the scent and follow it. Once it reaches the end of the deer scent trail, appreciate and reward your Beagle. Your Beagle must keep regularly practicing for better training.
After this, it is suitable to take your Beagle to the jungle, where there is a possibility of finding deers. Once you spot a deer, make your Beagle sniff and follow the scent. Let this training continue for about a week. You can eventually let your Beagle chase the dear.
Training Your Beagle To Hunt Squirrels
In order to train your Beagle to hunt a squirrel, introduce it to the scent of a squirrel. You need to follow what you did while teaching it to hunt for deers. You will have to create a trail of the scent of a squirrel on the grass and then ask your Beagle to sniff on it and track it.
It is going to be easy since your Beagle will already have learned this from Deer and rabbit hunt training. After a few sessions, you can finally take your Beagle to the woods to chase squirrels.
Dos And Donts Of Hunting
These are some of the dos and don’ts to keep in mind while training your Beagle to hunt.
1. Regular Exercises
If you are expecting your Beagle to aid you in hunting, fitness is non-negotiable. You have to make sure that you take your doggy for a daily walk and running. Doing so will prevent obesity in your Beagle and keep it active and fit. You can try taking them out twice a day.
2. Trust Building
Your Beagle and you should be able to share a trustworthy relationship. Make it easy for them to trust you. Appreciating their efforts and rewarding them at the end of training will help.
3. Show Patience
This one is very important. It is going to take you some months before your Beagle is fully trained to hunt. You need to have a positive outlook and deal with them patiently and calmly.
4. Don’t Confuse Them
Stick to teaching one thing at a time and do not overtrain your Beagle. They might get confused and lose interest in the training.
5. Start The Training Early
You can start training your Beagle when it is 5 – 8 months old. Start off with simpler training and teach them to track scents. You can also start with obedience training.
Beagles can be great hunting buddies. After all, this is what they were bred for. With the proper training and efforts, you can find in them the perfect partners for your hunts.
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.