Beagles are hounds, and hounds have an innate instinct to howl or bay, especially when they are successful on hunts. If you’re getting a Beagle, you’ll need to prepare yourself for this quirk in the breed, which can sometimes become a regular habit. Here are some tips for dealing with your howling hound.
Why is your Beagle howling?
There are lots of reasons a Beagle will howl. In the Beagle there is an tendency to howl when hunting, which alerts both pack members and humans that they have found game. However, in the family home the Beagle will also find other reasons to howl. Maybe he is lonely, or he can hear other dogs nearby. Perhaps he has found something interesting, or he simply just wants your attention! More mental stimulation is often the answer to lonely or bored dogs who howl. Whatever the reason, observe your beagle closely and find out the main triggers of this behaviour. Once you’ve pinpointed the cause you can start to remedy it.
If your Beagle seems to howl only when you leave the house, or you get complaints from neighbours saying there is howling when you aren’t home, then your Beagle is simply crying out for company. Dogs are pack animals by nature and need companionship for as much of the day as possible. Leaving any dog alone for eight hours a day while you go to work is a really cruel thing to do, and it is one of the major causes of behavioural problems in dogs like Beagles. The solution here is simple. Find some company for your dog during the day time, or find him a loving home where he will not be so lonely. You could think about getting another dog as a companion, which can help to cure loneliness in some dogs. Or perhaps you have a retired relative who would be only too happy to provide company to your Beagle every day.
Find some activities to occupy your Beagle
A busy Beagle is a happy Beagle! And in general, when your Beagle is calm and content, he won’t feel the need to howl so much. So, the first thing to do is increase the amount of exercise you’re giving him, and vary your walks so that they are full of interesting sights, sounds and smells. Try the river, the beach, or a ramble in the countryside. Next, get your Beagle’s mind working and set him some challenges. Teach him fetch, or hide scented toys and treats for him to seek out in the garden. Enrol your dog in agility classes or even sign him up to be a therapy dog. Even dogs need active social lives! Finally, take a look at some online pet shops and you will find a huge range of dog toys out there from tunnels to puzzles. Your Beagle will thank you.
Respond carefully to howling
When your Beagle howls, be careful not to send him the message that howling is something which wins him attention. There are two approaches which might be useful to try. Either teach your Beagle an alternative distracting behaviour to do instead of howling (such as sitting or lying down), or completely ignore the howling and turn your back on him. Dogs can be very quick to learn what wins them attention and what doesn’t!