I'm brand new to Beagles and am coming to an end of my patience with mine. We bought one as a family pet, we did a bit of research and learned about the different breeds of Beagles and that one known as a Foot Beagle had been created as a type of family pet rather than a hunter etc. for this reason alone we purchased one.
He is now a year old and he has always been very excitable and extremely energetic. We managed to teach him some basic manners in the beginning but we found his energy and excitement levels increased as he got older as he was getting bigger this became more of a problem as he was getting stronger and heavier. We also found that his attention became less and less, then he started jumping up at anyone who came into our house, not in an aggressive way but he is just so excited to see people. He has even knocked over young children by running and jumping at them. I read that ignoring this behaviour can help but does not seem to deter him as he just keeps jumping and jumping, he can now jump 6" at times so no-one is really safe in my house. After failing to stop this behaviour we felt that maybe neutering would help with this type of behaviour and hyperactivity, it did not. Even 6 months after his "removal" he still acts out in this way.
I bring him for a 40-60 minute walk daily to try help with his energy levels and he will literally drag me (I am not a small man at 100Kg) for 3-4 miles with his head down sniffing the entire time, all the way up to the park around the park and back home again. Once the lead is on he will yelp and yelp and drag until we finally get out the door, he will not pay attention even when calling him while he is on a leash outside, and forget about letting him off the leash. The one time I did let him off the leash I caught up with him only after he entered someone else's house because he wanted to play with some children. I have tried to bring his favourite toys (tennis balls and ropes) up to the fields to play with but he is not interested. He will not even look at the ball if I held it in front of his face. All he wants to do is run and follow scents. The whole family love him dearly but we cannot continue to have him behaving this way and segregating him from the everyone when we have visitors over.
I suppose my question is this:
Is the above behaviour because he is just a Beagle? Will he ever grow out of this type of behaviour? and is there any training tips anyone would have?
Thank for reading all of that and I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.
OK , take a deep breath and relax and I,ll try to cover some info on your Beagle.
The very first thing is to never get upset or allow yourself to be harsh to your Beag b/c it is counterproductive and in many cases it will make things worse.
With this in mind I'll cover your concerns to my best ability:
1. >Is the above behaviour because he is just a Beagle?< I would say mostly No... The majority of young dogs exhibit many of the characteristics that you describe , with one exception , the non hound breeds do not tend to follow scents to the degree that a hunting or scent hound will. To be fair to the breed , this is as natural as breathing and requires little to no training as you have seen. You have already seen the affectionate family pet side that Beagles are famous for.
2. >Will he ever grow out of this type of behaviour?< Starting at about 18 to 24 mos age you will start to see a more mature Beag with less edge and the ground work training you have done will pay big benefits. Regular work with basic obedience and manners training with a soft touch will pay you the biggest benefit and all it will take is making use of the correct training protocol on those walks you are already taking.
3. >and is there any training tips anyone would have?< Yes.......... But first , I would like you to tell me a little more about what daily life is like for your Beag from the up in the am to down in the pm and don't forget to describe out side life such as fenced yard and interactions with other family and other pets.
The bottom line is that training and behavior modification will give you most of what you want.........With a few caveats...>Smile<
Oh , The term " Foot Beagle " is one I am not familiar with. Most are either 13 inch or 15 inch , and color may vary widely , however , most are tri-color . Are you in the US?
Thank you, OldHoundDog, so much for taking the time to reply to me. I know it was a bit of a rant I am based in Dublin, Ireland. I never heard of a Foot Beagle before either apparently they were bred as house dogs and over time became smaller and less likely to hunt etc.
As for his daily routine.
He sleeps in the house but in his bed on the upstairs landing area. I get up first mostly and he's allowed out the back, this is about a 4m x 5m area. He does his business, we play fetch or tugging with a rope for a few minutes and then I get ready for work/gym. The kids come down and top up his water and get him his breakfast. We do it at the same time as our breakfast to stop him wanting the kids food (this does not always work). When we are all leaving the house for School/Work he goes into the yard. This does not go down to well with him as he will jump howl/Bark and scratch the door - to the point now where he has scratched the glass and it is no longer see through. I think this is definitely anxiety.
When my wife comes home about 2 hours later he is let back in and generally spends the rest of the day with the run of both in the house and the yard. My youngest son spends the day playing etc with him, even going for his midday nap with Buster. They are pretty much inseparable at times. When I return from work 6pm it is dinner time so more food for everyone and once I get showered and changed Buster knows its walk time. We can spend 45mins up to 90mins walking depending on weather and his behaviour, also on whoever tags along for our walk.
That is pretty much it, often at night he will want to play with the rope a bit more and then it is bed time.
This is what I would do to get things started with your late day walks with Buster.
This first step starts a little slow , but has proven results in my experience.
Late day meal and training walk: Feed about half of regular kibble and save the remaining kibble for training treat/rewards while on walks.
The first step is to train the "sit" and hand feed the kibble a little at a time as reward for correct behavior. While on your walk keep everything fun and upbeat. Repeat the sit command often and reward for correct behavior. Continue with training and keep things fun for up to 20 min or less if Buster looses focus. Continue walk and have fun , after a break you may want to try a few more sit's if you still have kibble for rewards. Keep everything fun and finish walk on an up beat note.
The object is to have at least one command down solid , and , this may take a couple of days. With the sit now down solid , the next step is to start having Buster sit before meals and at door before going out , reward for correct behavior. For example: Have Buster sit for various things he likes, meals , going outside , favorite toy or just plain sit for a treat and reward/treat for correct behavior. This is the start of focus work and trains Buster it is fun to listen and learn and there is something in it for him.
Continue this on your late day walks using treats until it is rock solid , and keep it fun and reward buster with kibble treats.
Note: Most all hounds are food motivated which makes our job easier. The reason for using his kibble for training treats is two fold.
One is that it is easy to keep track of the total amount of food and not overfeed , as we do not need middle of the night accidents b/c he had too much food that day.
Two is that we want to reserve progressively higher value treats for later needs and motivation. Some people worry about giving too many treats while training. For our purpose this is not a concern as we will fade this later on when we have gotten the desired results. Buster will be happy as he is learning that focus is rewarding.
Continue walks adding new but easy to learn commands and reward for correct behavior. After you have about a week of training walks under your belt and Buster has a couple commands down solid it is time for phase two.
Phase two will be to add the verbal sit command for all meals , and , all trips outside.. For example: Buster has to sit first before you put his food bowl down , and , before you open door to go out. Have your wife work on this with you and Buster, so he gets used to a sit command from someone else. Don't forget to reward , but get the correct behavior first.
For now this is enough, train until this is rock solid with at least the sit command. Be patient , your reward is on the way. Buster is learning to focus on you and wife and is rewarded with treats. Be consistent with all training , and Buster will get it.
Helpful Note: To prevent further damage to back door. Install some type of protective cover on lower half of back door to stop damage. Use small screws so you can remove later for cleaning. Make sure to use some material that won't splinter and has no sharp edges so no one with or without fur can be injured. ( Just my thoughts )
I will post more later. Good luck Connor, the ball is now in your court.
EDIT: Almost forgot to ask what type of lead and collar you are using?
For the purpose of keeping things moving on days when weather does not permit walks.
1. Be creative with inside games using the commands Buster will learn. For example: Try a game with something Buster likes such as the pull or tug rope. Have Buster sit first , the game itself may be reward enough.
2. Name recognition: While inside with Buster , say his name, if he looks at you, then call him to you and give treats and lots of praise for correct behavior. If this works , then set up a game with other family member and call buster back and fourth between the two and give treats and lots of praise for correct behavior.
Next. If the above goes well , add a sit command when Buster comes to each family member , treat and lots of praise for correct behavior.
Always get the desired behavior first and then treat. Use lots of repetition and as always keep everything fun. This is a great bonding tool and sharpens name recognition and commands.
Buster will get it , and , patience is key while Buster is learning that all these wonderful resources (treats , food and play) come from you. This is the key to drive the NILIF training process.
NILIF , ( nothing in life is free ) is a very effective training tool that can be adapted to many applications.
This approach to training has been around for a long time and can tweaked in many different ways to suit a particular need when training or problem solving.
Training the basic commands , ( sit , down , stay and come ) will serve as building blocks for all future training needs.
Work on these until they are rock solid. If having trouble with any of the basic commands , just skip that one for now and work on the commands Buster learns easily.
Post and describe any problems with training and we will solve .
Special Note: This is where a little human training will boost the effect of all training work.
Timing of rewards and later on for correction is very important. For Example: When Buster gives a correct sit , make sure to reward him with praise and treat as soon as his bottom hits the ground. This way it is clear to Buster what his reward was for.
Quick update! Training at home is going great. Buster is really starting to learn to sit when he wants things even before being told to sit. On the walks however it is still very difficult to break his concentration away from sniffing and focus on anything I say or do including waving food in his face.
Persistence is the key as you have pointed out so we will keep on going.
I did post links with his leash and harness but it required admin approval. I am using a hunter harness and training leash. I have him on the shortest possible leash for most of the walk and release it to the longest once we are away from traffic and in the field.
I'm not sure which harness you have , the Hunter Harness. is a good product.
Take a look at this short video on equip , notice front connection on harness. This will help you address pulling problems.
The leash used is a 6 foot leash and will help give better control when problem solving. The reference to the head halter with the nose loop is what you do not want to use as it can cause injury to the dog's neck.
The trainer in this video has a lot of free self help short video clips which will be a good fit for your needs.IMO
>On the walks however it is still very difficult to break his concentration away from sniffing and focus on anything I say or do including waving food in his face.<
A hungry dog is a dog that wants to learn , so , feed your dog's evening meal by hand for reward treats while on training walk for a test. Think of this as a work in progress and let me know how Buster does... You may want to take a bottle of water with you on walks and show Buster he can have a drink from your hand if needed.
This trainer uses a clicker, they are cheap if you would like to try one. The important thing here is technique and timing + rewards.
By now we should be making progress with buster discovering that learning can be fun and rewarding. Hopefully Buster has mastered a good sit , stay and down with your indoor training. Perhaps it is time to add a step before rewards. Try having Buster sit and then down before putting his food down. If he breaks his position when you start to put the food bowl down , just stop and stand back up and place Buster back in down position. Repeat if needed , Buster will get it fairly quick.
Use the same concept when going out the door. Place Buster in sit position, hook up leash , and , when door starts to open , if Buster starts to break his sit position just close the door back and repeat. When he holds position give several of treats. Repeat , Repeat. Buster will get it .
We want to keep Buster in learning mode and happy as we go forward and add new things while keeping what he has learned fresh.
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Nothing in Life is Free , NILIF program is a great tool. Please save for your records.
This is the Key to solving many problems as well as training motivation. I have used this training technique and many variations to suit special needs training.